Portsmouth Naval History

From historic seaport to the modern Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth has a long history of maritime tradition. With the Piscataquis River winding through town, the historic downtown is surrounded by marinas and signs of Portsmouth naval history at every turn. Our boutique hotels, located in the heart of downtown Portsmouth, are the perfect home base from which to explore this historic seaport. If you're a true history buff wanting to learn all about Portsmouth naval history, check out these three historic sites, two in Portsmouth and one across the river in Kittery, Maine.

Portsmouth Naval History: Our top spots to learn all things nautical


USS Albacore | 600 Market St, Portsmouth 

This retired submarine turned museum was used by the U.S. navy for research on top-secret submarine design and wartime weaponry in the 1960s. It was decommissioned in the early 70s and moved to Albacore Park where it showcases Portsmouth naval history to visitors today. The tour of the Albacore starts in the museum, where you'll learn about life onboard and the ship's history, while checking out some artifacts from the sub. The self-guided tour continues through the ship, as you climb onboard and experience the tight quarters in which the crew lived and worked. This tour is great for kids and adults alike.

John Paul Jones House | 10 Middle St. Portsmouth | (603) 436-8433

John Paul Jones was a Scottish immigrant and commander in the country's first navy and as such is known as the "Father of the American Navy." He spend some time in Portsmouth helping to build the largest American naval ship of its time and the boarding house he stayed in is now a museum dedicated to Portsmouth naval history. Fans of colonial architecture will enjoy touring the historic home, and gardeners will love that the grounds and gardens that are being restored to the historic 1859 design.

Kittery Historical & Naval Museum | 200 Rogers Rd, Kittery, ME | (207) 439-3080

This small museum, located over the river in Kittery, Maine is worth a visit for its incredible collection of naval and historic artifacts. The museum is chock full of ship models, wooden signs, tools, household goods, antique toys, and other historical artifacts. Parts of the museum are dedicated to recreating the first Kittery post office and the historic Andrews-Mitchell House, the fortified homestead of one of Kittery's first families.