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The 25 Best Beach Towns in New England from Yankee Magazine

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.

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

You’ll find a quintessential village green here, replete with gazebo and bands playing concerts in summer, surrounded by a good selection of restaurants and shops. Note that parking at some of Chatham’s fine beaches is limited, so go early. Don’t miss: Lodging at Wequassett Resort in nearby Harwich (worth the splurge), where a motorboat shuttle will escort you to a deserted beach (part of Cape Cod National Seashore) that was once connected to the mainland.

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

This classic summer retreat offers a town beach, a ride on one of the oldest carousels in the country, long coastline walks, and a nice array of shops and restaurants. An added bonus is that Watch Hill isn’t directly off I-95, so you have to earn this slice of beachfront territory. Don’t miss: Drinks on the glorious wraparound verandah of Ocean House, where you can watch the croquet pro give lessons on the manicured lawn.

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

South of Ogunquit, York Beach shares many of the same attributes as our best-beach-town winner. There’s a lovely beach, Short Sands, right in the center of town, on which to leave your footprints, or venture out to Long Sands, true to its name. Both beaches feature nearby metered parking and enough ice-cream eateries, fudge shops, and chowder-in-the-rough joints to satisfy beachside cravings. Don’t miss: The Central and South American butterflies at York’s Wild Kingdom.

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


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.


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13 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.

  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!

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