Geography of Rockingham County, New Hampshire

Geography of Rockingham County, New Hampshire

Rockingham County, located in the southeastern part of the state of New Hampshire, is a diverse and picturesque region known for its stunning coastline, rolling hills, and vibrant communities. From its sandy beaches and tidal marshes to its charming towns and historic landmarks, Rockingham County offers a wealth of natural beauty and cultural attractions.

Topography and Landscapes:

According to Clothingexpress, Rockingham County’s topography is varied, with a mix of coastal plains, wooded hills, and fertile river valleys. The county is bordered by the state of Maine to the east, Strafford County to the north, Hillsborough County to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast.

The central part of Rockingham County is characterized by its gently rolling hills and fertile farmland, where agriculture has historically been an important industry. The region’s rich soil and favorable climate make it well-suited for a variety of crops, including apples, strawberries, and corn. In addition to agriculture, the county is also home to several small towns and villages, each with its own unique character and charm.

To the east, the terrain becomes flatter, with sandy beaches, salt marshes, and tidal estuaries along the coastline. The county is home to several picturesque beaches and coastal parks, including Hampton Beach State Park and Rye Harbor State Park, which offer opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The Great Bay estuary, located along the county’s southeastern border, is one of the largest estuarine systems in New England and provides important habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife.


Rockingham County experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The region is influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, which can result in variable weather patterns and frequent coastal storms.

Summers in Rockingham County are typically warm and humid, with average daytime temperatures ranging from the 70s to the 80s Fahrenheit (about 21-27°C). Thunderstorms are common during the summer months, bringing heavy rain, lightning, and occasional gusty winds. However, temperatures are moderated by the ocean breezes, providing relief from the heat and humidity.

Winters in Rockingham County are cold and snowy, with average daytime temperatures ranging from the 20s to the 30s Fahrenheit (about -7 to -1°C). Snowfall is common, particularly in the inland areas of the county, where several feet of snow can accumulate during the winter months. However, the coastal areas of the county may receive less snowfall, with more variable winter weather patterns.

Spring and autumn are transitional seasons, characterized by mild temperatures and more variable weather patterns. These seasons are often considered the best times to visit Rockingham County, as the weather is generally pleasant, and the landscapes are transformed by the changing colors of the foliage.

Rivers and Lakes:

Rockingham County is intersected by several important rivers and waterways, which play a vital role in shaping the region’s geography and providing habitat for wildlife. The most significant river in the area is the Merrimack River, which forms the county’s western border with Hillsborough County. The Merrimack River provides important habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife, as well as opportunities for fishing, boating, and water-based recreation.

In addition to the Merrimack River, Rockingham County is also home to several smaller rivers and streams, including the Exeter River, the Squamscott River, and the Lamprey River. These waterways provide important habitat for a variety of aquatic species, as well as opportunities for recreation such as fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.

While natural lakes are relatively scarce in Rockingham County, there are several artificial reservoirs and impoundments created for water supply, irrigation, and recreational purposes. Notable lakes include Canobie Lake, located near the town of Salem, and Country Pond, located near the town of Kingston. These lakes offer opportunities for fishing, boating, and picnicking, as well as habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.

Natural Resources:

Rockingham County’s geography is rich in natural resources, including forests, wetlands, and abundant wildlife. The region’s forests provide habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and songbirds. Hunting and fishing are popular recreational activities in the area, with opportunities for hunting game such as deer, bear, and upland birds, as well as fishing for trout, bass, and perch in the county’s rivers and lakes.

In addition to its natural beauty, Rockingham County is also known for its rich history and cultural heritage. The region was first settled by European colonists in the early 17th century and played a significant role in the American Revolution. Today, the county is home to several historic sites and landmarks, including the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, which preserves and interprets the region’s colonial history.


In summary, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, offers a diverse and captivating geography shaped by its coastal plains, wooded hills, and fertile river valleys. From the Merrimack River to Hampton Beach, the county’s landscapes provide a rich tapestry of ecosystems and habitats.

The climate of Rockingham County is humid continental, with warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Despite its relatively small size, the county is home to a variety of natural and cultural attractions, making it a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.

As Rockingham County continues to evolve and adapt to changing environmental and economic conditions, it will be important to preserve and protect its natural environment and cultural heritage for future generations to enjoy. By promoting sustainable development and responsible stewardship of the land, the county can ensure that its unique and diverse geography remains a cherished part of New Hampshire’s natural landscape for years to come.