The Best Beach in Each New England State
Where to stay:
Arbor Inn, 400 Brackett Road, Rye, NH. A quick walk to Wallis Sands State Beach and about two and a half miles from Odiorne. 603-431-7010; arborinn.com
Wentworth by the Sea, 588 Wentworth Road, New Castle, NH. A restored grand hotel. 603-422-7322; wentworth.com
Downtown Portsmouth. Lodging options in this historic maritime city: 603-431-1925; portsmouthnh.com
Boulder Beach, Groton, Vermont
There’s nothing quite as nourishing for both body and soul as a dip in a Vermont swimming hole, where the sylvan surroundings enfold you in a blanket of green. Nestled in one of the largest state forests in the Northeast Kingdom, Lake Groton is actually too large to be called a genuine Vermont swimming hole. There’s no waterfall or covered bridge–but in its place is a ring of mountains, with a forest of hemlocks, birches, and maples dropping all the way down to the lake’s rim. The sand is nothing special, especially compared with the beaches of its New England neighbors and their oceanfront settings. Ahhh, but there’s that cool refreshing lake water … Try it after a morning climb up 1,958-foot Owl’s Head Mountain just north in Peacham, or a bike ride along the abandoned Montpelier/Wells River Railroad bed, and I guarantee that Boulder will be nourishing.
2278 Boulder Beach Road, Groton, VT. From Groton, go 2 miles west on U.S. Route 302, then 6 miles NW on VT Route 232, then 2 miles east on Boulder Beach Road. 802-584-3823; vtstateparks.com/htm/boulder.cfm
Where to stay:
Seyon Lodge, 2967 Seyon Pond Road, Groton, VT. This historic ranch is nestled in the heart of a 27,000-acre state forest. 802-584-3829; vtstateparks.com/htm/seyon.cfm
Hammonasset Beach, Madison, Connecticut
I’m a sand hog–I admit it. I like to stretch out on my own slice of paradise with beach towels, chairs, books, magazines, and snacks. That’s why I savor the space offered by the two-mile-long stretch of shoreline at Hammonasset. I park my car near the East Bathhouse and walk a short way on the soft, white sand toward Meigs Point. Backed by grassy dunes and wildflowers, this shallow strip is so long it never feels crowded, even on a hot summer weekend day. I read, swim in the blue-green waters of Long Island Sound, peer at the lighthouse off in the distance, read some more, bite into fresh fruit, and always wander over to Meigs Point Nature Center with the kids. We feel the crabs in the touch tank, watch the native snakes and turtles, and walk through the butterfly garden. Then it’s back to my towel to stretch out as far as I can.
1288 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT. From I-95 take exit 62 and follow signs to the park (about a mile). 203-245-2785; ct.gov
Where to stay:
State park’s 550-site campground. 203-245-1817 (seasonal), 203-245-2785; ct.gov
Downtown Madison and Guilford. Lodging options: 203-245-7394, madisonct.com; 203-453-9677, guilfordct.com