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The 25 Best Beach Towns in New England from Yankee Magazine

One of the larger communities on Cape Cod, Falmouth has both its busy and its picturesque sides. If you’re looking for affordable lodging, restaurants that grill fresh seafood perfectly, a fun town center to stroll, a vast assortment of beaches, the Shining Sea Bikeway trail down to Wood’s Hole, and easy accessibility on Route 28 south off the Bourne Bridge, follow the Bostonians who have a second home in Falmouth. Don’t miss: The pearly-white sands of Old Silver Beach in North Falmouth, on the shore of Buzzards Bay.

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

#12 (Tied): Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
Photo/Art by Stockbyte/Thinkstock
#12 (Tied): Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

#12–Tied Wellfleet, Massachusetts

If we were judging beach towns solely on variety and quality of beaches, Wellfleet would earn top honors. Its mix of Cape Cod National Seashore beachfront, freshwater ponds, and bayshore and harborside walks is unparalleled. It’s all worth the drive from the small town center. Don’t miss: A first-run flick at the circa-1957 Wellfleet Drive-In.

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

#13: Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.
Photo/Art by Ruth Schneider/Veer
#13: Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.

#13 Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Amid those whimsical gingerbread houses are the family-friendly environs of Oak Bluffs, packed with T-shirt shops, restaurants of every stripe, and one of the oldest carousels still in operation. If you feel like a dip, grab a bike and head 3 miles to Joseph Sylvia State Beach, halfway to Edgartown. There, you’ll find the famous bridge where the movie Jaws was filmed, now popular with kids who make the plunge to the deep water below. Don’t miss: Carved in 1876, the mighty steeds of the Flying Horses Carousel have manes and tails of real hair, yet the real joy for children is the chance to lean over and snag a brass ring.

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

Narragansett, Rhode Island
Photo/Art by Annie Graves
#14 Narragansett, Rhode Island

#14 Narragansett, Rhode Island

In the off-season, the waves at Narragansett’s Town Beach provide local surfers with enough action until their next trip to Rincon. In the summer, the beach is a bit milder, attracting families who can walk easily from the lodging and restaurants in town. Don’t miss: Point Judith calamari and native littleneck clams on the outdoor deck of Coast Guard House.

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

#15 (Tied): Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Photo/Art by Suzanne DeGeorge
#15 (Tied): Newburyport, Massachusetts.

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.

Updated Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

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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.

  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.

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