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The Best Beach in Each New England State

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;

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.

Getting there:
1288 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT. From I-95 take exit 62 and follow signs to the park (about a mile). 203-245-2785;

Where to stay:
State park’s 550-site campground. 203-245-1817 (seasonal), 203-245-2785;

Downtown Madison and Guilford. Lodging options: 203-245-7394,; 203-453-9677,

Popham Beach, Phippsburg, Maine

At the end of one of those fingers of land that dangles off the Maine coast into the Atlantic, Popham is hopelessly exposed to all the elements. There’s nothing manicured about this rare spit of sand sandwiched between rocky shores. Pieces of driftwood lie on the beach, backed by dwarf pines and uprooted trees. Come at low tide, and the grooved sand leads to a tiny island where seagulls have picked over unfortunate crabs, and mussels lie exposed on the kelp. When the water rolls in, kids swim in the warm (yes, warm) waters of the tidal pool as parents take long beach walks, watching three-masted schooners and lobstermen cruise past pine-studded islands and lighthouses. Let the cool breeze blow through your hair and breathe in the salty air. This is the raw, genuine Maine coast you’ve yearned for.

Getting there:
Route 209, Phippsburg, ME. 14 miles from downtown Bath. 207-389-1335;

Where to stay:
Popham Beach Bed and Breakfast, 4 Riverview Ave., Phippsburg, ME. Former lifesaving station right on the beach. 207-389-2409;
Sebasco Harbor Resort, 29 Kenyon Road, Phippsburg, ME. Featuring its own ice cream stand, bowling alley, and pool jutting out into the Atlantic. 207-389-1161;
Downtown Bath. Lodging options in this historic shipbuilding town: 207-442-7291;

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 Sunday, June 15th, 2014

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