10 Prettiest Beaches in New England

New England comes alive in the summer, and there’s couldn’t be more evident than that the region’s stunning beaches. When the temperature rises, Northeasterners flock to New England’s best beaches for sun, sand, and surf.

All across New England – from Maine to Long Island Sound – you’ll find a range of amazing beaches. From the rugged and wind-swept dunes of Sand Beach in Maine’s Acadia National Park to the sandy shoreline of Cape Cod, New England is home to beaches that are great for couples, families, adventurers, and history seekers.

Need a little inspiration for planning your summer vacation? These are 10 of the best beaches in New England.

  1. Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport, ME

Upscale Kennebunkport is best known for its well-connected summer guests. But in addition to its upscale restaurants and shops, you’ll find one of New England’s best beaches: Goose Rocks Beach. This three-mile stretch of sand offers plenty of space; you won’t be fighting for a place in the sun. Plus, the shore is protected by Goose Rocks barrier reef, which is why the sand on the beach is so soft. With plenty to do nearby, as well as its manicured good looks, Goose Rocks is perfect for an afternoon escape, followed by sunset cocktails.

What’s to Love: The perfect mix of natural beauty (seals hang out nearby) and amenities
Who Should Go: Families and weekenders
What to Do: After a day on the beach, stop into one of Kennebunkport’s legendary seafood cafes for lobster rolls and cocktails

  1. Mohegan Bluffs Beach, New Shoreham, RI

Rhode Island’s Block Island – a favorite destination on New England yacht charters – is home to numerous beaches. But one of the most spectacular is Mohegan Bluffs Beach. The namesake Mohegan Bluffs tower 150 feet above the beach; in fact, it’s a bit of a hike down. But the views of Long Island Sound (you can see Montauk if the weather’s clear), make this a must-see destination on Block Island.

What to Love: Panoramic views and a great hike down a 140-step staircase to the beach
Who Should Go: Great for nature lovers
What to Do:
The nearby South East Lighthouse is one of New England’s finest

  1. Footbridge Beach, Ogunquit, ME

Maine’s southern coast, known for its lighthouses, foggy-drenched chowder houses, and all-star views, is home to numerous world-class beaches. But in the fishing village of Ogunquit, you’ll find one of the best: Footbridge Beach. Cross the short footbridge to the beach, and step into a relaxing refuge. The beach is perfect for walks, shelling, digging for clams, kayaking and paddleboarding.

What to Love: Quick access to Boston, Portsmouth and Portland
Who Should Go: Great for couples, families and seniors looking for a relaxing respite
What to Do: Ogunquit is a beach town; you’ll also find another gem, Ogunquit Beach, here.

  1. Siasconset Beach, Nantucket, MA

Nantucket is home to dozens of amazing beaches. But Siasconset, located on the island’s quieter eastern shore, is one of the best. The reason: The views of the Atlantic are incredible and the surf is super fun. Many surfers visit the beach for an exhilarating break.

What to Love: Solace away from the crowds
Who Should Go: Surfers and families
What to Do: There’s great golfing nearby, including the Sankaty Head Golf Club

  1. Sandy Point Beach, Ipswich, MA

Located just north of Cape Ann, Plum Island is an ideal destination to escape into nature. The island is home a variety of beaches, but the best is Sandy Point, located at the southern tip of the island. The beach is located right in the middle of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and offers unobstructed views of sound and break, as well as plenty of quiet.

What to Love: Quiet and solitude
Who Should Go: Nature lovers and adventure seekers
What to Do: After a day at the beach, stop in at The Paddle Inn in Newburyport for craft beers and surfer fare.

  1. Sand Beach, Mount Desert Island, ME

Maine’s Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful destinations on the East Coast. Hugging Maine’s rugged, pine-tree-lined coast, the park is home to numerous beaches, but the most beautiful is Sand Beach. Located on Mount Desert Island, this 300-yard-long beach epitomizes Maine: rocky cliffs, piney breezes, and dazzling azure waters.

What to Love: Beautiful Maine scenery
Who Should Go: Great for nature lovers and adventure seekers
What to Do: Bar Harbor, the legendary seaside village, is a short drive away, and the perfect stop for good eats

  1. Second Beach, Middletown, RI

Newport, RI is New England’s hub for glitz and glamor, and it’s a major launching point for New England yacht charters. And if you’re headed to Newport to soak up the sun, you can’t go wrong at Sachuest Beach, which the locals call Second Beach. The beach is great for its lively atmosphere, with volleyball and a crowd that skews younger. But if you’re after a quieter beach day, just a 10-minute walk away you’ll find Third Beach, which is more isolated and with fewer crowds.

What to Love: A fun, social atmosphere
Who Should Go: Adventurous families and 20-somethings
What to Do: Flo’s Clam Shack is a classic New England chowder house and a must-see

  1. Aquinnah Public Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Escape the crowds of Martha’s Vineyards popular beaches at Aquinnah. Tucked away in the island’s southwest corner, the beach is one of the island’s best destinations to watch the sunset. The beach – which hugs the orange-red cliffs that dramatically rise from the beach – can be reached after a 10-minute hike in, but the walk is worth the solitude.

What to Love: Amazing sunset views and beautiful scenery
Who Should Go: Families and those seeking quiet
What to Do: Tour the nearby Gay Head Light House, or stop in Faith’s Seafood.

  1. Wallis Sands State Beach, Rye, NH

Wallis Sands is one of the best family-friendly beaches in New England. That’s due in part to its calm waters, which are great for swimming, abundant parking, and excellent amenities. If you’re looking for a day of sun and sandcastle building, this wide public beach is where to do.

What to Love: Excellent amenities, including a large bathhouse, picnic areas, a beach store, and abundant parking
Who Should Go: Families and weekenders
What to Do: Take a tour of nearby Star Island and Isles of Shoals, the waters are great for sailing

  1. Wallis Sands State Beach, Rye, NH

Tucked away along a marsh-lined road in South County, this state beach is sprawling. In fact, it’s more than 140 acres and offers amazing views of Block Island Sound. The beach is perfect for kids. The calm surf is great for swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and boogie boarding, and there’s plenty of amenities nearby, including concessions and picnic areas.

What to Love: Great views and a fun breezy atmosphere
Who Should Go: Great for anyone interested in water sports
What to Do: Be prepared to spend the day in the water; nearby fuel up at George’s of Galilee, a great seafood spot

Bottom line, New England has plenty of amazing things to do – from leaf-peeping in the fall, to history tours. But don’t forget about all the amazing beaches. With some of the best beaches in the country, New England is the perfect summertime destination.