wheres should I retire?
You are here: Home > New Hampshire > New Hampshire Seacoast

Retirement Living In New Hampshire Seacoast

Jump to: Area, Characteristics, Cost, Amenities, Climate, Demographics, Housing, Assistance

Area Description

With Money Magazine ranking Dover, New Hampshire as one of the top 100 places to live in the country, Dover has been earning recognition as a dynamic city that has it all: thriving businesses, expanding arts and cultural scene, a wide selection of dining establishments, a notable history, a strong sense of community, and beautiful scenery.

The Garrison City's strong, active business community and stable economy make it a popular choice for setting down roots and doing business. The area's highly trained yet affordable employee base, combined with a solid infrastructure and a host of transportation options—highway, rail, air, and port—make the greater Dover area very attractive to existing businesses, as well as to new and relocating businesses. The City's waterfront district is currently undergoing an intense beautification and revitalization effort that will only add to the quality of life.

Housing in Dover reflects a wide architectural influence. New neighborhoods are planned with careful consideration of preserving nature while still allowing for quality homes. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the city's parks, trails, and outdoor activities. Self-guided historic walking tours lead to the renowned Woodman Institute Museum and other historically relevant locations that underscore the significance of New Hampshire's first permanent settlement.

The Dover public school system includes a modern high school with an outstanding technology center, a state-of-the-art middle school, and three elementary schools. The Dover area is home to a number of fine private schools, a performing and fine arts charter school, and an adult learning center. The University of New Hampshire is the state’s leading
educational institution, with its main campus located in
Durham, just six miles from Dover.

This New Hampshire Main Street community offers exceptional shopping and dining opportunities, and with no sales tax in New Hampshire, shopping dollars go so much further. Dover's tree-lined downtown is brimming with quaint shops, boutiques, and restaurants of all types.

Dover's cultural scene is strengthened by fine art and craft galleries, an art collective at One Washington Center, a variety of music venues, including the Rotary Arts Pavilion in Henry Law Park and the Garrison Players theater group. Dover is also home to the Children's Museum of New Hampshire.

The Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce presents a number of community events throughout the year, including the award-winning Cochecho Arts Festival. This free, outdoor, summer-long family concert series features an array of acclaimed entertainers and includes a Children's series, Luncheon Concert Series, and Evening Concert Series. Apple Harvest Day, held on the first Saturday in October, draws more than 35,000 people to downtown Dover to enjoy more than 250 hand crafters, children's activities, games, food, and more.

The city of Dover has a long and colorful history spanning nearly four centuries. Its earliest days as a colonial seaport led to a successful shipbuilding industry in the 1700s, and it flourished in the 19th century as the nation's leading manufacturer of cotton goods. The development of a brick industry spanned decades of successful mill operations through the middle of the 20th century. Dover's renaissance as a thriving, competitive community continues today.

The quality of life in Dover is unmatched. Dover boasts an exceptional school system, outstanding parks and recreation services, as well as premier medical facilities. The downtown area reflects the city's mill heritage. The Cochecho River graces the banks of the downtown. Members of the community hustle by on shopping or business trips.

Dover is nestled between the mountains and the ocean. The community is close to the University of New Hampshire, Pease International Tradeport and harbors a local airport. The city is a short drive to the Port of New Hampshire, the state's only deep water port, scene to industrial barges escorted by tugs, importing and exporting goods to and from the Granite State. Dover is a quick commute to the metropolitan area of Boston, and less than an hour's drive to Boston's Logan International Airport. In addition, there is easy access to rail and highway transportation routes.

Dover's response to the challenge of changing economic times is evident along Central Avenue, the city's primary north/south connector. Trees line the downtown sidewalks and arch over renovated store fronts. The restored and updated Cochecho Falls Millworks, a focal point since the early 19th century, hums with activity. Today, however, the source of the hum is 900 office workers and their computers rather than rows of whirring machinery.

The developing waterfront and Cochecho River-walk are small examples of a cooperative spirit between public and private sectors. Nowhere is this spirit more evident than in the close working relationship between the city's Office of Economic Development, the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce and the Dover School System. The groups share a common goal of creating, preserving and promoting a sound environment for existing and prospective businesses. The community is ensuring future generations are up to the challenge of perpetuating economic prosperity in Dover

Dover has not been left behind by successful modern manufacturers. The whir of high technology and movement of heavy equipment takes place in attractive industrial parks located on the outskirts of the city. As part of an ongoing commitment to commercial and industrial growth, a 400-plus-acre parcel has been rezoned. The parcel is being improved to accommodate companies drawn to Dover's business-friendly environment.

The success of Dover's continuing economic development is due to cooperative efforts between the public and private sectors. The community is home to individuals and private businesses that invest ideas, time and finances to improve municipal services, the economic climate and quality of life.

Farther north, just outside the downtown area, is the "Miracle Mile", home to two major shopping plazas, familiar fast-food restaurants and other services.

Dover is in city in Strafford County, New Hampshire, in the United States of America. The population was 26,884 according to the 2000 census. Dover is the county seat, and home to major employers like Liberty Mutual, Measured Progress and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.0 square miles (75 km2), of which 26.7 sq mi (69 km2) is land and 2.3 sq mi (6.0 km2) is water, comprising 8.06% of the city. Dover is drained by the Cochecho and Bellamy rivers. Long Hill, elevation 300 feet (91 m) above sea level and located 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of the city center, is the highest point in Dover. Garrison Hill, elevation 284 ft (87 m), is a prominent hill rising directly above the center city, with a park and lookout tower on top. Dover lies fully within the Piscataqua River (Coastal) watershed.

The city is crossed by New Hampshire Route 4, New Hampshire Route 9, New Hampshire Route 16, New Hampshire Route 16B, and New Hampshire Route 108. It borders the towns of Madbury to the west, Barrington to the northwest, Rochester to the north, Somersworth to the northeast, and Rollinsford to the east.

As of the census of 2000, there were 11,573 households, and 6,492 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,006.2 people per square mile (388.5/km²). There were 11,924 housing units at an average density of 446.3/sq mi (172.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.47% White, 1.12% African American, 0.20% Native American, 2.36% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 1.14% of the population.

There were 11,573 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.9% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,873, and the median income for a family was $57,050. Males had a median income of $37,876 versus $27,329 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,459. About 4.8% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.4% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those aged 65 or over.

Includes Cities/Towns: Dover, Durham, Portsmouth, Rochester, Somersworth.

Region Characteristics

Area Amenities

Things to Do, Recreation & Fitness

   Dover is surrounded by extensive parkland, three rivers, hiking trails, and stunning natural views.

Water access is easy, and the Cocheco, Salmon Falls, and Bellamy Rivers are all popular destinations for kayakers, canoeists, boaters, and fishermen.

Boaters coming up the Cocheco can dock at George’s Marina, a full service marina offering dock slips, a nearby restaurant, and service and repair for all kinds of craft.

Dover’s parks encompass more than 150 acres, ranging from parkland in the heart of downtown to the 73-acre Willand Pond Recreation Area which offers four-seasons of fun. The pond is ideal for swimming, fishing, and boating, ice skating and ice fishing in the winter, and hiking anytime along its pond-side trail.

Hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are all easily available, as are great walking and running trails.

Families escape the summer heat at the Jenny Thompson Olympic Pool, named for the much decorated Olympic swimmer, a Dover native. The pool is located at Guppey Park, which also encompasses the Dover Ice Arena, home to learn to skate, hockey, and figure skating programs, and a community softball field.

Families enjoy the many programs offered year-round by the Dover Recreational Department, including a full slate of aquatic offerings at the indoor pool, basketball and indoor soccer at Butterfield Gym, fitness programs, basketball, soccer, baseball and golf leagues, and summer camps and playground programs filled with activities galore.

Golf courses abound, with four courses in or adjacent to Dover.

Cultural Activities

From history to art, dance to theater, Dover has offerings that broaden your mind and lift your spirit.

One of the city’s premier institutions is the Woodman Institute Museum and William Damn Garrison. Often called a “museum’s museum,” the Woodman Institute is a true turn-of-the-century institute with exhibits on natural science, history, art, culture, and furniture displayed throughout a four-building complex that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Spring through fall, people flock to the riverside every few weeks to go on board the gundalow, a full-scale replica of the historic boats that once plied the region’s rivers. A Coast Guard-certified version is also now available for excursions.

At the Children’s Museum, guests take their imagination to new heights, as they explore two floors of custom-created interactive exhibits for children of all ages, from toddlers to middle schoolers. Here kids can dig up dinosaur fossils, play music, take the controls of the space shuttle or navigate a submarine. Special programs and events are held throughout the year.
The city is home to several dance academies, a gymnastics academy, vocal and music studios, art galleries and a downtown cinema offering feature films. The Dover Public Library features monthly exhibits, programs, and presentations by local authors.

Enjoy live theater at the Garrison Players in neighboring Rollinsford.
The Whittemore Center in nearby Durham is a 6,100-seat multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility located on the University of New Hampshire campus. The “Whit” annually hosts more than 100 athletic events, popular music concerts, special events, and trade shows, and is home to the nationally-ranked UNH Wildcats hockey team.

Public transportation

Dover is located midway between the cities of Portland, Maine and Boston, and is easily accessible by a variety of means.

Via the Spaulding Turnpike, Dover is right off the vital I-95 corridor, which runs from Maine to Florida, and has the highest concentration of professional medical companies in the country.
Dover is served by both freight and passenger rail, with multiple daily Amtrak Downeaster passenger connections to Boston and Portland, Maine. New Hampshire has the most railroads in operation in the United States, with 200 miles of active line.

Air travel, both commercial and private, is available through Pease International Tradeport, just minutes away in neighboring Newington, New Hampshire, from Manchester, New Hampshire, Portland, Maine, and Boston’s Logan Airport. Manchester, Portland and Boston are all roughly one hour from Dover. Skyhaven, a smaller, general aviation airport, which offers servicing, flight school and fuel, is located in the adjacent town of Rochester.

Manchester Airport is the third largest cargo airport in New England, sending off 200 million pounds of cargo in 2008. UPS, FedEx, and DHL have all increased their presence here. The regional hub has invested more than $500 million in airport improvements in the last decade, with more upgrades planned.

Dover’s downtown Transportation Center, which is served by the Amtrack Downeaster Commuter Train, is also the hub for public transit services, including COAST and Wildcat Transit. COAST’s bus routes connect downtown Dover with business parks on the perimeter of the City, as well as important employment, educational, and cultural destinations throughout the Seacoast. Some examples include: the Pease International Tradeport, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Great Bay Community College, and four of the region’s major hospitals, along with two community health centers. Wildcat Transit connects Dover with the Town of Durham and the campus of the University of New Hampshire. COAST and Wildcat Transit account for nearly half of the state’s annual public transit boardings.

Dover’s Bus Terminal and Park & Ride at Exit 9 of the Spaulding Turnpike is the jumping off point for C&J, which provides motor coach service to Portsmouth, NH, Newburyport, MA, Boston, Logan Airport, and New York City. C&J is the second largest provider of intercity bus transportation in northern New England.

Commercial shipping is available through the Port of Portsmouth, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, just eight miles south of Dover.

Within the City, residents and visitors easily get around by foot, car, bike and bus. On-street parking is readily available, and a downtown parking garage is also being planned, with completion scheduled for within the next three to five years.

Medical Facilities

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is one of the largest acute care hospitals in the Seacoast region of New Hampshire and Southern Maine, specializing in Trauma and Emergency Services, Surgery, Cancer Care, Birthing, Orthopedic Services, Cardiovascular Services, Sleep Disorders, Rehabilitation, Pain Management, Wound Healing, Wellness and Prevention Programs plus extensive diagnostic services. Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is a not-for-profit charitable organization. Wi-Fi is available throughout the hospital for patients and visitors.

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is one of the NH Accountable Care Partners.

For more information, see Our History below or visit our News Release Archive.

Quality Awards and Accreditations
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Advanced certification as a Primary Stroke Center - NH's 1st. read more or visit our Stroke page
Accredited by the Joint Commission on Healthcare Organization.
Only NH hospital listed in U.S. News Media & World Report's 2012-13 Best Hospital rankings for the Boston Metro Area.

Ranked second in the state of NH, following Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, in the U.S. News Media & World Report's 2012-13 Best Hospital rankings.

Listed first of only two hospitals recognized for strong performance in Southern NH in the U.S. News Media & World Report's 2012-13 Best Hospital rankings.

Diabetes Services - recognized by the American Diabetes Association for meeting strict standards of patient education.

Joint Replacement Center - received BlueCross BlueShield's Blue Distinction Center Designation award. read more

Laboratory - accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

Seacoast Cancer Center - approved by The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.

Sleep Disorders Center - accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. read more

Spine Center - an Aetna Institute of Quality® Orthopedic Care Facility for spine surgery, selected for consistently delivering evidence-based, safe care.

Vascular Laboratory - accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation of Vascular Labs.

Walk-In Urgent Care in Dover, Lee, and Newington NH - a Certified Urgent Care Center designated by the Urgent Care Association of America.

What Will The Climate And Weather Be Like If I Retire In New Hampshire Seacoast?

For those of you that retire in New Hampshire Seacoast, you will enjoy warm summers, a cool fall, a cold winter and a temperate spring!

Winter temperatures are cold with averages in the mid 20's and highs in the mid 30's. Nights are cold with lows in the upper 10's. Expect some rainy days in the winter. Assume a few days of snow with a lot of days with snow remaining on the ground so you can enjoy some winter skiing!

If the weather in the spring is too cold for the outdoors, enjoy some indoor activities in New Hampshire Seacoast such as a movie, a visit to a museum, dining, nightlife or some shopping. Spring temperatures are cold with averages in the mid 40's and highs in the mid 50's. Nights are cold with lows in the mid 30's. Expect a lot of rainy days in the Spring, great for a day of shopping in New Hampshire Seacoast!

Summertime in New Hampshire Seacoast is a great time to enjoy your retirement with a day at the lake, an outdoor concert, a local festival or other outdoor activity! Summer temperatures are mild with averages in the upper 60's and highs in the upper 70's. Nights are cool with lows in the mid 50's. Humidity may feel "sticky" with muggy evenings. Expect some rainy days in the summer.

If you retire in New Hampshire Seacoast, you can look forward to fall weather activities such as biking on a bike path, hiking, enjoying a walking path and more! Fall temperatures are cool with averages in the low 50's and highs in the low 60's. Nights are cold with lows in the upper 30's. Expect some rainy days in the fall.

Monthly Temperature Ranges

 Month  Low  Avg  High
 Jan  14  23  33
 Feb  16  26  36
 Mar  24  34  44
 Apr  34  46  57
 May  44  56  68
 Jun  53  65  76
 Jul  59  70  82
 Aug  57  69  80
 Sep  49  61  72
 Oct  38  49  61
 Nov  30  40  49
 Dec  20  29  38

Monthly Average # of Hot and Cold Days

 Month  Days Greater Than 90 F°  Days Less Than 32 F°  Days Less Than 0 F°
 Jan  0  30  4
 Feb  0  26  2
 Mar  0  25  0
 Apr  0  13  0
 May  0  2  0
 Jun  1  0  0
 Jul  3  0  0
 Aug  2  0  0
 Sep  1  0  0
 Oct  0  8  0
 Nov  0  18  0
 Dec  0  28  1

Rain & Humidity

 Month  Rainfall  Rainy Days  Humidity
 Jan  3 "  10  14 %
 Feb  3 "  8  16 %
 Mar  5 "  10  22 %
 Apr  4 "  10  31 %
 May  4 "  12  43 %
 Jun  4 "  11  54 %
 Jul  4 "  10  60 %
 Aug  4 "  9  59 %
 Sep  4 "  9  52 %
 Oct  5 "  10  40 %
 Nov  5 "  10  31 %
 Dec  4 "  10  20 %


 Month  Snowfall  Snow On Ground Days  Snowy Days
 Jan  16 "  21  5
 Feb  11 "  19  4
 Mar  10 "  12  4
 Apr  2 "  1  1
 May  0 "  0  0
 Jun  0 "  0  0
 Jul  0 "  0  0
 Aug  0 "  0  0
 Sep  0 "  0  0
 Oct  0 "  0  0
 Nov  1 "  2  1
 Dec  11 "  12  4

Natural Disaster Areas

Cost of Living for New Hampshire Seacoast

New Hampshire Seacoast cost of living for Housing, Healthcare, Transportation, Taxes, Utilities, etc.:

Cost of Living




Political Party


Senior Housing Options

Dover is a city of options, from dynamic downtown urban living, to friendly neighborhoods, and outlying rural properties. Intown, choose from historic homes, condominiums, or apartments, including some in restored mill buildings with their handsome brick and large windows. Downtown living means enjoying the many restaurants and street cafes, shops, thriving arts and music scenes, and nearby parks.

If a downtown neighborhood is what you seek, Dover offers classic homes on tree-lined streets. Many homes feature architecture from Colonial, Georgian and Victorian periods. You’ll see children playing ball and riding bikes, and families gathering to visit. Dover’s suburbs offer a mix of modern and older homes, including new subdivisions with green features. A rural character still exists within Dover’s boundaries, with a number of active farms and greenhouses still in operation, and opportunities for buying single family homes out in the countryside.

Senior Assistance in New Hampshire Seacoast

New Hampshire Seacoast offers the following assistance for seniors:


There are many areas for Senior living including Maple Suites, where the all-inclusive independent senior lifestyle is irresistible.

There are many assisted living facilities such as Belamy and Watson Fields, Langdon Place, Wentworth Home and Riverside Rest Home to name just a few.

What Job or Volunteer Opportunities Does New Hampshire Seacoast Offer For Retirees?

Volunteers are active in our community with the Award Winning Wentworth-Douglass Hospital; the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce; Dover Adult Learning Center for Enrichment classes either teaching or attending. There is no end to the various volunteer opportunities.

Here are our Top Employers:
1) Liberty Mutual Insurance: 3,158 employees in Dover alone
2) Wentworth-Douglass Hospital: 2,000 employees
3) Measured Progress: 420
4) City of Dover: 354

Additional Information

Visitor Information

Relocation Information

Back to: Area, Characteristics, Cost, Amenities, Climate, Demographics, Housing, Assistance


Disclaimer Privacy Contact Us