Return to Content

The 25 Best Beach Towns in New England from Yankee Magazine

Home to historic mansions, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and Touro Synagogue (oldest existing synagogue in America), Newport has more than enough diversions for those who want to step away from the shoreline. Add strolling atop the rugged shoreline along the Cliff Walk and sailing on Narragansett Bay, and you’ve got a world-class summer getaway. One quirk: The area’s best beach, Second Beach on Sachuest Bay, is actually in neighboring Middletown. Don’t miss: Alloy Gallery, now on Bellevue Avenue, owned by a Rhode Island School of Design–trained jewelry artist who displays contemporary wares created by herself and her peers.

See Yankee‘s recommendations for the best places to go, eat, and stay in Newport, Rhode Island.

#5 Old Harbor, Block Island, Rhode Island

Veer left (south) in New Shoreham’s Old Harbor after the hour-long ferry ride from Galilee, and you soon reach the red-brick Southeast Lighthouse and dramatic Mohegan Bluffs, where sea-gouged cliffs drop precariously to the water 200 feet below. Head to the right (north), across from a small strip of stores, restaurants, and inns, and you arrive at the glorious three-mile-long Crescent Beach, packed with daytrippers in the summer months. Old Harbor is as simple as that—and that’s the reason why people make the trip year after year. Don’t miss: Rent a bike and take a 13-mile loop around the island, stopping at the many lemonade stands—or hike the Greenway walking trails.

See Yankee‘s recommendations for the best places to go, eat, and stay in Old Harbor, Rhode Island.

Amble along the sidewalks of this Martha’s Vineyard town, laced with whaling captains’ homes from the 18th and 19th centuries. Then take your bikes on the two-minute ferry ride over to Chappaquiddick and remote Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, a long coastal stretch that you can call home for the rest of the day. If you feel like getting even closer to the sea, the Trustees of Reservations offers guided kayaking tours on Cape Poge and Wasque Reservation waterways. Don’t miss: A cone at Mad Martha’s and the requisite stroll over to the docks.

See Yankee‘s recommendations for the best places to go, eat, and stay in Edgartown, Massachusetts.

Kennebunkport, Maine -- Bridge connecting Kennebunk and Kennebunkport
Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
Kennebunkport, Maine — Bridge connecting Kennebunk and Kennebunkport

#7 Kennebunkport, Maine

Most people associate Kennebunkport with the shopping at Dock Square. That’s a shame, because the true joy of visiting Kennebunkport is driving on backcountry roads to find the lobster traps stocked high on Cape Porpoise, the small strip of sand at Goose Rocks Beach, and the many favorite local eateries in between (like Nunan’s Lobster Hut and The Ramp). Don’t miss: One of the best meals in New England, the four-course prix-fixe menu at The White Barn Inn, west across the river in neighboring Kennebunk Beach.

See Yankee‘s recommendations for the best places to go, eat, and stay in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Rockport MA Beach
Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey
Front Beach in Rockport, MA.

#8 Rockport, Massachusetts

Neighboring Gloucester boasts two of the finest beaches on Cape Ann, Good Harbor and Wingaersheek, but you’ll want to spend most of your evening hours in Rockport. Bearskin Neck, with its collection of boutiques, ice-cream shops, and restaurants, juts out into Sandy Bay, ending at a rock jetty. Front Beach, a two-minute walk from Bearskin Neck, will suffice for sand-castle building and a swim. Don’t miss: The new Shalin Liu Performance Center, a classical-music venue whose floor-to-ceiling stage window overlooks the Atlantic.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Tags:
Updated Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
CVR1_YK0516_210h

Bring New England Home

Subscribe for 1 year for only $19.97!

A 44% saving!

BUY NOW!

14 Responses to The 25 Best Beach Towns in New England from Yankee Magazine

  1. Madeline thomas June 11, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Ocean beach,new London,ct

    • vittoriao July 24, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      New London beaches are always listed in the top ten for whitest powdery nicest sand anywhere! And our water even tastes good! Nice and salty and clean ocean water every 6 hours right from The North Atlantic Hammonassett is 1) a pain in the *** to get to 2) costs money 3) is way Too crowded and 4) the water tastes the the big fat brackish OIL slick that it is yuck yuck yuck

      • vittoriao July 24, 2014 at 10:10 am #

        Waterford Beach The Strand Hole in the Wall Misquamicut State Beach RI your article is weighted too much in Northern New England overlooking all of Southern New England!

  2. Matthew Purtill July 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    You missed Mystic, CT. Also, your numbering is not correct. If two towns are tied for 14th, the next one is 16th, not 15th. If it trails 15 towns, it can not also be 15th.

  3. Audrey C July 23, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Matthew, that drove me crazy too. A list of the 25 top beaches should not end with 21.

  4. vittoriao July 24, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    That is because of the two ties!

  5. J Marrone July 26, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    Dennis, MA

  6. CATHERINE August 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Dear Yankee,
    My husband and I lost our very dear friend to CANCER this past year. He used to sail all the New England beaches, no matter what “number” they were.
    Catherine

  7. John and Beth Agli April 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    Can’t wait for Spring to come this year Ogunquit Maine will be our first getaway. we got there about four times a year. We Stay at the Riverside on Perkins Cove just shush a beautiful Place and nice People everyplace there. Lot of Little Shops and O yes the Lobster Shack can get a bad Chowder anyplace in Maine or a lobster roll the very best anyplace. We spend our Money in Maine now on more Caribbean for us did that so many times and it’s all the same thing. what some Heat try Key West again so dam beautiful and it’s in the U.S.

    • Susan May 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

      We make Ogunquit Maine our first stop. Just did May 2nd. Then again in November. Marginals Way all the way. Stay at the Juniper Hill Inn.

  8. Mark Reidy April 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

    #21 Brewster also has Sheep pond,The Brewster Store Nickerson State Park the Drummer Boy Museum.and More

  9. brad warren June 13, 2015 at 4:36 am #

    Brought back a lot of memories I left new England almost 40 yrs ago and earliest memories of going to wingersheet beach in the late 1950s it was a a beautiful beach and we couldn’t wait to start going I guess around memorial day and I still remember how cold the water was and our parents would have to pull us out because our lips were blue and would be shivering! Also have nice memories of plum island as a teenager surfcasting of the beach and hanging out at cranes beach during the summer trying to meet girls also there the crane estate what a place hopefully it is still there built by the fortunes of the first flush toilet in America

  10. Maureen Reilly August 9, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    Happy to say I have been to 75% of the beach list…granted I am most partial to Falmouth and to Newport…but what a great bucket list to see the rest!

  11. Kat Sullivans May 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    I’ve always loved the North side of Revere Beach. For 50 year’s it’s the choice for me. Although I’ve been to at least 13 on your list, my heart will always be Revere.

Leave a Reply

We reserve the right to remove or edit comments that are offensive or disrespectful to our readers and/or writers, cannot be verified, lack clarity, or contain profanity. Your comments may be republished by Yankee Magazine across multiple platforms.

©2016, Yankee Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Yankee Publishing Inc., | P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444 | (603) 563-8111