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The 25 Best Beach Towns in New England from Yankee Magazine

Old Orchard Beach.
Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
#17 (Tied): Old Orchard Beach.

#17–Tied Old Orchard Beach, Maine

This ocean-drenched Maine town, with its collection of arcades, amusement rides, and snow-cone shops, carries a bit of Coney Island vibe, which may not be for everyone. But for folks who want to saunter over to a seven-mile stretch of beach from their  budget-conscious lodging, it’s hard to top. Don’t miss:A pepperoni-studded slice at Roma Pizza.

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

#18 (Tied): Little Compton, Rhode Island.
Photo/Art by Butch Lombardi
#18 (Tied): Little Compton, Rhode Island.

#18–Tied Little Compton, Rhode Island

Who’d have thought that Little Comp-ton, best known for its historic village common and centuries-old cemetery, would have a gem of a beach just down the road? Backed by a marsh and salt pond, crescent-shaped Goosewing Beach is managed by The Nature Conservancy as a shorebird preserve and is just as popular with walkers as sunbathers. (Parking is nearby at South Shore Beach.) Don’t miss: Quahog chowder, jonnycakes, and lobster rolls at The Commons Lunch after your day of breathing in the salty air.

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

Long Beach in Plymouth
Photo/Art by Janice Drew
#18 (Tied): Long Beach in Plymouth

#18–Tied Plymouth, Massachusetts

With a thriving town center and historic sites galore, including Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II, this community has all the makings of a premier beach town, though you’ll do a little driving to get to the beach part. A few miles southeast toward the village of Manomet lie the soft white sands of White Horse Beach; head out there early, as public parking is limited and you might have to grab a spot on a side street. Plymouth Long Beach is closer to town, but a bit rocky. Don’t miss: The great symbol of freedom, Plymouth Rock, now housed in a colonnaded building down by the waterfront.

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

Hampton Beach
Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
#19: Hampton Beach

#19 Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

Few towns transform in summer like hyperactive Hampton Beach. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a day (or an evening) when something special isn’t planned: concerts at Hampton Beach State Park’s beautifully re-designed Seashell Stage complex (part of the park’s newly completed $14.5 million redevelopment), movies on the beach, fireworks, beach-volleyball tournaments, even beach soccer (who knew?). With all that action come a lot of people and traffic along the road that carries them to the sand. Once you find a parking spot, you’ll quickly find a place to plant your towel on this long stretch of beach and sparkling sea. Across the street is everything you always wanted in a beach town when you were 10: soft-serve ice cream, fudge, snow cones, pizza. Don’t miss: The fun annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition, with world-class builders.

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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