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Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts
Where: Eastham, Massachusetts
Why we love it: Quintessential Cape Cod
Who it's best for: Families
Nearby attractions: The historic Nauset Light, which visitors can tour on Sundays from May to Halloween, and also on Wednesdays in July and August
Cape Cod is home to some of the region’s most picturesque beaches, but we love this one because it’s ideal for families. The sand is super soft (great for little feet), the waves are shallow enough for young swimmers, and the local seals are always a delight.
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Mohegan Bluffs Beach, Rhode Island
Where: New Shoreham, Rhode Island
Why we love it: Spectacular views
Who it's best for: History buffs
Nearby attractions: The Southeast Light is a rare example of a Gothic Revival–style lighthouse. In the summer you can take a Tower Tour and learn all about the island rich maritime history.
There are numerous beaches on Block Island, but none are more spectacular than this secluded spot on the island’s southwest reaches. Situated 150 feet below its namesake bluffs—the site of a pivotal 16th-century battle between the Niantic and Mohegan people—the beach can be reached using a steep 140-step staircase. On clear days, you can see all the way to Montauk on neighboring Long Island.
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East Beach, Massachusetts
Where: Chappaquiddick Island, Edgartown, Massachusetts
Why we love it: It’s almost never busy
Who it's best for: Privacy-seekers
Nearby attractions: Mytoi, a 14-acre Japanese-inspired public garden filled with walking paths, gorgeous flowers, and a relaxing pond teeming with goldfish.
On those peak season summer days when Martha’s Vineyard gets a bit too crowded, hop on the Chappy ferry for a two-minute crossing from Edgartown to Chappaquiddick island. Then head east over the Dike Bridge and plant yourself on secluded East Beach (also known as Leland Beach), where locals fishing from the shore and seabirds far outnumber tourists.
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- 4 / 14
Goose Rocks Beach, Maine
Where: Kennebunkport, Maine
Why we love it: Just enough social scene, just enough solitude
Who it's best for: Couples, weekenders, and groups of friends
Nearby attractions: The Tides Beach Club, the only hotel in Kennebunkport located on the beach, is a much-beloved spot for post-beach lobster rolls and cocktails overlooking the water.
Located in tony Kennebunkport (where the Bush family summers), this quiet spot—which insiders consider one of the best beaches in New England—spans three miles, so you won’t need to compete for space when throwing down your beach blanket. At low tide, keep an eye out as the barrier reef that protects the beach surfaces, also known as Goose Rocks.
- 5 / 14
Siasconset Beach, Massachusetts
Where: Nantucket, Massachusetts
Why we love it: It’s located adjacent to the quaint, quiet village of Sconset
Who it's best for: Families traveling with seniors
Nearby attractions: Golfers should try and score a tee time at the nearby Sankaty Head Golf Club, a world class course with views over the Atlantic.
If you’re looking for a respite from the clam bakes and crowds on Nantucket’s busier beaches, bike over to the island’s east end to find this secluded spot, popular with seniors for its lack of rickety stairs or inclines down to the water. Just don’t call it by its full name, ever, or the locals will sniff you out—lifelong Nantucketers call this one “Sconset.”
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Ogunquit Beach, Maine
Where: Ogunquit, Maine
Why we love it: Location, location, location
Who it's best for: Multi-generational groups
Nearby attractions: Marginal Way, a mile-long cliff walk with superb coastal vistas
From the Abenaki word for “beautiful place by the sea,” Ogunquit Beach lives up to its name—its vast, sweeping white sands stretch for over 3.5 miles. Plus, it’s easily accessible from Boston; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Portland, Maine, making it ideal for day trips and extended stays alike.
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Plum Island Beach, Massachusetts
Where: Newburyport, Massachusetts
Why we love it: For a side of education with your beach day
Who it's best for: Nature lovers
Nearby attractions: The Joppa Flats Education Center is filled with educational opportunities for people of all ages; and nearby downtown Newburyport is one of New England’s top destinations for seafood restaurants
It’s hard to believe that this pristine barrier island is just one hour north of Boston. While you won’t encounter many humans here, more than 800 species of plants, birds, and animals inhabit the surrounding Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The footpaths attract lots of walkers and bikers in the summer months, but it’s always easy to find some privacy on these gold sand beaches.
- 8 / 14
Sand Beach, Maine
Where: Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine
Why we love it: For the cenery
Who it's best for: Hikers and adventurers
Nearby attractions: Don’t leave without having a tall stack of wild blueberry pancakes at Jordan’s in Bar Harbor
Founded in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson as the East Coast’s first national park, Acadia draws millions of hikers and bikers each year for its mountainous terrain and craggy coastline. But nestled in between all the rocky grandeur lies the dreamy Sand Beach. At just 300 yards, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with stunning scenery: the soft sands and dazzling sapphire waters are almost Caribbean in beauty (though not in warmth).
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Singing Beach, Massachusetts
Where: Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts
Why we love it: The sand sings!
Who it's best for: Day trippers from Boston
Nearby attractions: Nearby in Gloucester is the Hammond Castle Museum, a European-style castle built in the late 1920s by scientist, inventor, and art collector John Hays Hammond, Jr.
While some people may make the trip to Manchester-by-the-Sea to see where the movie was filmed, others come for the more curious Singing Beach—if you shuffle your feet in the dry sand you will hear a sing-song-like squeak. It’s wildly popular with families in summer, but from mid-October to mid-April expect to hear more barking than singing, as it’s the beach’s official dog-friendly season.
- 10 / 14
Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island
Where: Newport, Rhode Island
Why we love it: It's Newport at its finest (and there's free parking)
Who it's best for: People who don't want to sit still
Nearby attractions: Fort Adams, Cliff Walk, The Breakers, Marble House
Sitting on a beach and baking under the sun not quite your thing? Consider this classic Newport spot, located in the shadow of historic Fort Adams and ideal for long, exploratory walks. There are sports fields, the Museum of Yachting, and a sailing facility all nearby, and the beach is also just minutes away from the shopping and restaurants of downtown Newport, the scenic Cliff Walk, as well as many of Newport’s iconic mansions. Then again, if you pause long enough to take a deep breath and simply enjoy the scenery from the beach, you’ll be treated to idyllic views of the sailboats coming to and fro in Newport Harbor.
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- 11 / 14
Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts
Where: Plymouth, Massachusetts
Why we love it: For the history
Who it's best for: Beach walk enthusiasts
Nearby attractions: Plymouth Rock, Plimouth Plantation
Plymouth is one of those New England towns that wears its history very proudly. A pit stop at Plymouth Rock and the live-action Plimouth Plantation are musts when visiting the Mayflower’s landing site, but perhaps less-known about Plymouth is that its beach is home to one of New England’s most special and underrated natural formations: a mile-long peninsula of sand stretching out into Cape Cod Bay.
- 12 / 14
Jenness State Beach, New Hampshire
Where: Rye, New Hampshire
Why we love it: Hanging ten and shredding some gnar
Who it's best for: Surfers, boogie boarders and beach runners
Nearby attractions: Across the street is Summer Sessions Surf Shop, a local hub for New England’s small-but-mighty surf scene
That there is a surf scene north of Boston still feels surprising to some—the cold water!—but the skills on display at this small New Hampshire beach are on par with any other surf beach in the country. Thanks to its forgiving sandy bottom, it’s also a great place for first-time surfers to come try their luck. If staying put on terra firma is more your speed, there’s plenty of space to do that, too. At low tide this beach feels particularly vast, making it a prime spot for long, leisurely walks.
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Crane Beach, Massachusetts
Where: Ipswich, Massachusetts
Why we love it: It’s a snapshot of the past
Who it's best for: Design lovers
Nearby attractions: You’ll need at least a few hours to explore Castle Hill (a sprawling Stuart-style mansion) and the manicured gardens on this 2,100-acre estate.
If you’re looking for hot dog carts, boardwalks, nightlife, and boogie board shops, this isn’t the beach for you—stepping onto the 2,100-acre Crane Estate is like stepping back in time. The beach commands an admission fee of $25 per car on summer weekends (exorbitant by New England standards, so it almost never gets too crowded), but once you see how beautifully clean the beach is, and how meticulously the grounds are maintained, you’ll immediately be planning a return visit.
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Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts
Where: Duxbury, Massachusetts
Why we love it: Cape Cod vibes without Cape Cod traffic
Who it's best for: Oyster lovers
Nearby attractions: Stop by the Island Creek Oysters Farm for an inside look at why Duxbury Bay breeds some of the best bivalves on the planet
If you know, you know—Duxbury has long been an insiders-only South Shore spot, geographically very similar to Cape Cod but with pretty much none of the crowds or tourism. Parking can be tricky if you don’t have a resident sticker, but once you plop down your beach chair you’ll be rewarded with sunshine, gentle waves, and six miles of unspoiled beach.