The best beaches to enjoy this summer in New England

Although New England is better known for its charming small towns and scenic vistas (famously one of the best places to see fall’s foliage), it's also home to some of the best beaches. Here, our favorite sandy swaths along New England’s coastline and its surrounding islands.

Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts

Cape Cod has some of the most postcard-perfect beaches in the region, but we love this one because it’s ideal for families. The sand is super soft (great for little feet), the waves are shallow enough for young swimmers and boogie-board enthusiasts, and the local seals are always a highlight.

Mohegan Bluffs Beach, Rhode Island

Little Block Island, off the southern coast of Rhode Island, offers an impressive 17 miles of beaches, none more spectacular than this quiet spot on the island’s southwest reaches. Situated 150 feet below its namesake bluffs (and accessible by a 140-step staircase), the beach has spectacular views—on a clear day, you can see all the way to Montauk on neighboring Long Island.

East Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

On those summer days when Martha’s Vineyard gets a bit too crowded, hop on The Chappy Ferry for a two-minute ride from Edgartown to Chappaquiddick island. Head east to the end of Dike Bridge Road, and plant yourself on secluded East Beach (also known as Leland Beach), where locals fishing from the shore and seabirds far outnumber tourists.

Goose Rocks Beach, Maine

Located in tony Kennebunkport (where the Bush family summers), this quiet beach spans three miles, so you won’t need to compete for space when throwing down your beach blanket. At low tide, keep an eye out for the barrier reef that protects the beach surfaces, also known as Goose Rocks.

Siasconset Beach, Nantucket, Massachusetts

If you're looking for a respite from the clambakes and crowds on Nantucket’s main beaches, bike over to this secluded spot. Located on the island’s more eastern tip, Siasconset Beach is a little more untrammeled and a lot less congested.

Mansion Beach, Rhode Island

Another Block Island favorite is this small northern beach, famous among body surfers and their admirers. Expect some pretty intense waves when storms are brewing in the Atlantic. On calmer days, it’s idyllic for ambles and sunbathing.

Ogunquit Beach, Maine

Location, location, location. This 3.5-mile, white-sand beach is easily accessible from Boston, Massachusetts; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Portland, Maine, and offers something for everyone. If you need some quiet time, there’s Marginal Way, a mile-long cliff walk with superb coastal vistas.

Plum Island Beach, Massachusetts

While there are not many humans on this island’s gold sand beaches, more than 800 species of plants, birds, and animals inhabit the surrounding Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Needless to say: This is a great place to soak up the sun—as well as little nature.

Sand Beach, Maine

Founded in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson as the East Coast’s first national park, Acadia draws millions of hikers and bikers, who come for the mountainous terrain and the craggy coastline. But in between all this rocky grandeur lies a dreamy 300-yard, pink-sand beach surrounded by sapphire waters—a perfect spot to drop in after all the exploring.

Singing Beach, Massachusetts

While some people may make the trip to Manchester-by-the-Sea to see where the movie was filmed, others come for the more curious Singing Beach: If you shuffle your feet in the dry sand you will hear a sing-song-like squeak. It’s wildly popular with families in summer, but from mid-October to mid-April, expect to hear more barking than singing, as it’s the beach’s official dog-friendly season.

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