New England beaches have it all, from rocky shorelines to sandy boardwalks, but we especially love our picks for the 10 prettiest beaches in New England. Add them to your must-visit list for when it’s safe to travel again.
By Necee Regis
Aug 02 2022
Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts | 10 Prettiest Beaches in New EnglandPhoto Credit : G. Mylyk
Please note that many establishments throughout New England have modified their hours and/or operations in response to COVID-19. Always check for the latest information before making travel plans.
Summer is a magical time in New England, and there’s no better place for swimming, sunning, sailing, and happy sighs than a visit to one of the region’s beautiful beaches. Dreaming of your own beach visit for when it’s safe to travel again? Here’s our guide to 10 of the prettiest beaches in New England.
More than five miles of trails and boardwalks wind through coastal dunes alongside a pristine shoreline on the Crane Estate. Home to nesting piping plovers, this timeless beach in Ipswich is managed for recreation and conservation by The Trustees of Reservations. thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/northeast-ma/crane-beach-on-the-crane.html#t1
Three miles of unblemished shoreline along this barrier beach separates the wide Atlantic from Ninigret Pond and the nearby Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. Arrive early to snag a coveted spot in the small parking lot. riparks.com/Locations/LocationEastBeach.html
Some New England beaches are truly unique. Pine tree-topped rocky cliffs and distant granite mountains are a dramatic backdrop for this 290-yard-long Mount Desert Island beach nestled in Newport Cove in Acadia National Park. Look closely at the sand; it’s made of tiny shell fragments. acadia.ws/sand-beach.htm
The 235-acre park is home to a 1.5-mile beach of alternating red, tan and black layers of sand – comprised of garnet, quartz and magnetite – offering sweeping views of Long Island Sound. A salt marsh nature trail and seasonally open Nature Center offer learning activities for adults and children. ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325260&depNav_GID=1650
Don’t be fooled by its name. You’ll find nearly three miles of soft white sand along this beach, named for Goose Rocks, an offshore barrier reef that is visible at low tide. Make sure to get a permit to park along Kings Highway before walking through low grass-covered dunes to the beach. visitthekennebunks.com
Nestled in the less-traveled southwest corner of the island, this beach is worth the ten-minute trek from the parking lot at the Aquinnah lighthouse, if only for the dramatic sunsets that enliven the nearby colorful and towering clay cliffs. It just might be the best of the many Martha’s Vineyard beaches. mvy.com/play-here/beaches.aspx
An expansive white sand crescent overlooking the rocky ledges of Salt Island – accessible by foot at low tide – this Gloucester, MA beach offers full-service amenities including lifeguards, concession stand and restrooms with showers. gloucester-ma.gov/index.aspx?nid=299
A quintessential New England beach with grassy dunes, light surf, and saltwater coves located eight miles south of busy Portland, Maine. Try sea kayaking, fishing or hike the nearby nature trails. maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/doc/parksearch/details.pl?park_id=4
This wide curve of beach in Rye, NH, framed by rock jetties, offers views of Star Island and the Isles of Shoals and sailboats skittering along the horizon. Amenities include picnic tables in grassy areas, bathhouse and variety store. nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/wallis-sands-state-beach.aspx
Located along Succotash Road in marsh-dotted South County, this 144-acre kid-friendly beach – with views of distant Block Island – boasts great waves for boogie boarding, picnic tables, and concession stands for hungry visitors. riparks.com/Locations/LocationEastMatunuck.html
Are these the prettiest beaches in New England? Share your favorite New England beaches with us in the comments below!
This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.