Beach season is upon us.
Whether you like sunbathing (wearing sunscreen, of course), wildlife watching, watching your kids dig in the sand or spending the night camping with ocean waves as your soundtrack, we’ve got recommendations for our favorite spots along the coast.
Beach: For Family Fun
Just an hour north from Boston, Hampton Beach in New Hampshire is abuzz with activities all summer long. Bring the kids and stroll the boardwalk, check out impressive sand-sculpting artistic skills, or hear a live concert. You can also enjoy fireworks, movie nights, arcade games and more throughout the season.
Beach: For Campers & Outdoor Explorers
Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Connecticut, is the state’s largest beach park offering 550 campsites, a boardwalk, a boat launch, a nature center and, importantly, showers. Saltwater fishing is also permitted, and the area is surrounded by trails for hiking and scouting wildlife.
Beach: For Man’s Best Friend
What’s a trip to the beach without your furry bestie? Take your pooch to Block Island, Rhode Island, where dogs are welcome year round — both on the beaches and on the ferry you’ll need to take to get there.
Dogs do need to be leashed, but there’s 17 miles of coastline to sniff and explore. Head to Grace’s, Dorrie’s and Cooneymous coves on the western side of the island for a bit of a hike in a more secluded setting. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular sunset views.
Beach: For Scenery
For a truly flooring beach scene, take a trip to Sand Beach in Maine’s Acadia National Park. The small beach is surrounded by mountains and rocky shores, showcasing the breadth of New England’s natural offerings in one gaze. It’s a great spot to unplug, strike a few yoga poses and escape from the noise of everyday life.
One thing to note, this beach is not wheelchair accessible.
Beach: For Bird Watchers
The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island in Newburyport, Mass., is home to an astounding array of birds, including swallows, chickadees, geese, you name it. In fact, the refuge boasts over 300 species of resident and migratory birds, as well as a large variety of mammals, insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians.
Beach: For White Sandy Shores
Imagine you’re relaxing in the Caribbean, running your toes through butter soft, white sand. Wait, you’re really doing that, only you’re at Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, Maine, on vacation minus the pricey airfare.
Footpaths lead from the gorgeous beach to the nearby Timber Point wildlife sanctuary. You can also spot harbor seals in the water from under your beach umbrella.
Beach: For Low Tide Surprise
At first glance, Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., seems like an ordinary spot to stake your umbrella — unless you arrive during low tide, which means you can stroll, and stroll, out to Salt Island for exploration. Climb its rocky façade for beautiful views.
During high tide, Good Harbor’s calm, relatively warm waters are perfect for swimming and floating.
Beach: For Surfers
If you’re a West Coast transplant and/or a surfing enthusiast, you’ve probably felt the frustration while trying to catch a wave on New England’s fairly calm beaches. But, for those in-the-know, Surfside Beach on Nantucket lives up to its name as one of the best spots in the area to hit the waves.
It does get busy so check the surf and tide schedule in advance.