Gundalow Company. Sail the Piscataqua River in a flat-bottom gundalow built at Strawbery Banke. Help the crew haul up lobster traps and trawl for plankton, or buy a picnic lunch from the White Apron Café (next door to the office) and sit back and enjoy the spectacular views. Learn all about the region's history from an onboard educator. Cruises run Memorial Day to Columbus Day. 60 Marcy St., Portsmouth, NH, 03801. 603/433–9505. www.gundalow.org.
Isles of Shoals Steamship Company. This company runs cruises aboard the Thomas Laighton, a replica of a Victorian steamship, May through October. Cruises take you to the Isles of Shoals, Portsmouth Harbor, or the nearby lighthouses. Lunches and light snacks are available on board, or you can bring your own. Barker Wharf, 315 Market St., Portsmouth, NH, 03801. 603/431–5500 or 800/441–4620. www.islesofshoals.com.
Portsmouth Harbor Cruises. From May to October, Portsmouth Harbor Cruises operates tours of Portsmouth Harbor, foliage trips on the Cocheco River, and sunset cruises aboard the MV Heritage. 64 Ceres Str., Portsmouth, NH, 03801. 603/436–8084 or 800/776–0915. www.portsmouthharbor.com.
Portsmouth Kayak Adventures. Explore the Piscataqua River Basin and the New Hampshire coastline on a guided kayak tour with Portsmouth Kayak Adventures. Beginners are welcome (instruction included). Tours are run daily from June through mid-October, at 10, 2, and 6. 185 Wentworth Rd., Portsmouth, NH, 03801. 603/559–1000. www.portsmouthkayak.com.
If you'd rather pedal than drive, stop by Portsmouth Rent & Ride for equipment, maps, and suggested bike routes to Portsmouth sites, area beaches, and attractions. Guided two-hour tours of the seacoast area are also offered.
One of the questions visitors to Portsmouth ask most frequently is whether they can tour the familiar red tugboats plying the waters of Piscataqua River and Portsmouth Harbor. Unfortunately, the answer is no, but you can get a firsthand look at Portsmouth's working waterfront aboard the Tug Alley Too, a six-passenger replica. The 90-minute tours ($49) pass lighthouses, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and Wentworth Marina. Tours are conducted daily from May through October and leave every two hours starting at 10 am.