Are you in need of a day at the beach? If you’re looking for the best beaches in New England, you’re in luck because there are plenty to choose from!
New England has so many cute beach towns that offer quintessential New England beach fun, and the beaches in New England vary all across the region, with some featuring soft, white sand perfect for barefoot strolls and others allow you to splash around in the sea with dramatic, rocky cliffs as your background.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect New England beach for sunbathing on the sand or the most family-friendly New England beaches to visit with kids, we’ve got you covered here on this list of the best beaches in New England!
Surfside Beach on Nantucket MA
If you’re looking for a great New England beach that offers plenty of amenities, check out Surfside Beach! One of the most popular beaches in Nantucket, Surfside is known for having great surf (big surprise!) so bring the boogie board. Lifeguards are seasonal, but this popular beach has restrooms, showers, and concessions available, so you can easily spend the day hanging at this popular Nantucket beach.
Nantucket is a great getaway destination, too, with so many great things to see and do, both on and off the beach! There are lots of great hotels and vacation rentals all around the island as well, but if you’d like to splurge a little on your New England beach getaway, consider a stay at the Nantucket Hotel & Resort, where you’ll find generous amenities, including two outdoor heated pools, a hot tub, firepit, and so much more!
Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport ME
If you’re looking for a New England beach that’s great for kids, check out Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport! With a white sand beach and a barrier reef that shelters swimmers from bigger ocean waves, this gorgeous stretch of sand is the perfect beach in New England for kids. Plus, there are great places to eat nearby, including Goose Rocks Dairy, one of Kennebunkport’s favorite places to get ice cream!
Kennebunkport is always a cool beach getaway spot, with so many fun things to do and great restaurants to try. There are lots of cool places to stay in the area, but if you’d like a unique lodging experience, consider glamping at Sandy Pines Campground! If you’d prefer a more traditional stay, Nonantum Resort is an excellent place to stay, especially with kids!
Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island RI
If you’re looking for a beach in New England that offers stunning scenery and dramatic cliff views, check out Mohegan Bluffs, one of the most beautiful places in Rhode Island! Making your way down the 141 wooden steps to get down to the beach will give you plenty of time to take in the expansive view, and this beautiful Block Island beach often feels secluded and private, even when it’s full of other beachgoers.
Of course, Block Island is full of fun things to see and do and makes a great spot for a romantic Rhode Island getaway! There are lots of great restaurants on the island, but a stay at Hotel Manisses means you have a front-row seat to Manisses Restaurant & Bar for their famous Block Island brunches… yum!
Wallis Sands State Beach in Rye NH
This lovely New England beach offers a little slice of Seacoast heaven with its wide sandy beaches and scenic views of the Isle of Shoals. Wallis Sands State Beach is very family-friendly, with amenities like restrooms, outdoor rinse stations, and a beach shop with food, drinks, and convenience items for sale; anyone that’s ever gotten to the beach with their kids and realized they forgot to pack the sunscreen will appreciate this!
Rye is a cute little beach town with lots of interesting things to do, especially with the kiddos. Swing by the Seacoast Science Center to get an interactive touch tank experience, or head out on a whale watch tour. There are lots of great local restaurants and places to stay, but if you decide to stay at The Inn at Rye Place, you’ll get to enjoy a unique boutique motel experience and their convenient onsite restaurant; if you’re traveling with little ones, this convenience after a long day at the beach can be everything!
Ocean Beach Park in New London CT
If you’re looking for soft white sugar sand in New England, you need to check out Ocean Beach Park in New London, one of the softest sand beaches you’ll ever step foot on! In addition to the soft sand, people love all the great amenities and fun things to do at Ocean Beach Park, including walking the boardwalk, playing in the arcade, or even jumping in the Olympic-sized swimming pool if you prefer a chlorinated pool to a salty sea!
New London is full of fun things to do and see, but it’s also conveniently located just a few minutes up the road from another favorite Connecticut beach town, Mystic. If you’d like, spend the day at Ocean Beach Park and then head over to Mystic to explore, eat, and stay the night; check out The Whaler’s Inn in Mystic for a historic harbor stay!
Footbridge Beach in Ogunquit ME
Attached to beautiful Ogunquit Beach via a footbridge (we know, shocking!) Footbridge Beach is a quaint little New England beach experience that is great for families with kids. This little stretch of sand is near restroom facilities and a lifeguard stand, so families can rest easy that they’ll have what they need for their little ones.
Ogunquit is a beautiful beach town that offers lots of fun small-town things to do and a great opportunity to get out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Ride on the Ogunquit Trolley and take in that sweet coastal breeze; if you’re looking for places to stay in Ogunquit, consider splurging on The Cliff House, the luxury hotel that offers dramatically sweeping views, onsite dining, and just about every amenity a person could imagine during a Maine getaway!
Narragansett Town Beach in Narragansett RI
If you’re looking for beaches in New England that are flush with amenities, Narragansett Town Beach fits the bill perfectly! Not only is there soft sand underfoot and gorgeous views of the iconic Narragansett Towers, but there are restrooms, lifeguards on duty, concessions, and ample parking; ample parking is not something you find at a lot of beaches in New England!
Narragansett is an adorable Rhode Island beach town that has all kinds of cute small-town things to do. Rent a board from the Surf & Skate Shop to ride the surf at the beach, then visit the Point Judith Lighthouse, one of the loveliest lighthouses in the state. If you’re looking for a cute boutique hotel with ocean views, look no further than The Break Hotel; sitting back with your favorite beverage at the rooftop bar sounds like the perfect way to cap your beach day, doesn’t it?
Marconi Beach on Cape Cod MA
For a dreamy Cape Cod beach experience, check out Marconi Beach! One of Wellfleet’s best beaches, this beach offers seasonal restrooms and lifeguards but can feel like you’ve entered another world with the windswept dunes and the spectacular views.
There’s lots of fun to be had in Wellfleet and around the Cape, so be sure to spend some time exploring fun Cape Cod beach towns, too! Enjoy the gorgeous Cape walks, cool whale watching tours, yummy ice cream shops, fantastic restaurants, and all the great options for hotels and vacation rentals; if you’re looking for a neat place to stay, check out Nauset Beach Inn in nearby Orleans!
Hammonasset Beach in Madison CT
Located in Hammonasset Beach State Park with the largest shoreline in CT, Hammonasset Beach is a lovely two-mile stretch of sand that is the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, or building your best sandcastle! Lifeguards, restrooms, and concessions are available during the summer season, making this beach very convenient for those looking for a swim in the Sound!
In addition to the sandy shoreline, you’ll also find Meigs Point Nature Center next to the beach, offering great education on coastal Connecticut and lovely walking trails for anyone that wants to get out and explore some more! There’s also lots to do in Madison other than just splash around in the Sound, so enjoy some small town charm during your beach getaway; if you’d like to stay in one of the dreamiest B&Bs in the state, consider booking a room at Scranton Seahorse Inn!
Old Orchard Beach in Old Orchard Beach ME
The beautiful namesake of the town, Old Orchard Beach (affectionately referred to as OOB by locals) is 7 miles of stunning seaside space. OOB is a great beach for swimming and splashing in the ocean, but it has another fun feature that makes it one of the best beaches in New England: the last remaining beachfront amusement park in the region!
That’s right, once you’ve had your fill of sand and saltwater and want to see what else OOB has to offer, head to Palace Playland for some old-fashioned amusement park fun! Play in the arcade, ride the rides, eat the sweets, and have a blast enjoying this fantastic park in between dips in the ocean. Another cool feature of OOB is its beautiful wooden pier that juts 500 feet out over the Atlantic; a sunset on the pier isn’t a bad cap to the day! Book a room at Alouette Beach Resort for the perfect place to stay in OOB.
Second Beach in Middletown RI
Also known as Sachuest Beach, Second Beach is one of the coolest beaches in RI! In addition to its lovely mile of sandy beach, you’ll also find great amenities like restrooms, concessions, lifeguards, showers, and more! Second Beach is home to some great wind and wave action if that’s your thing, too: head to Surfer’s End to catch a wave or two!
Middletown is an adorable Rhode Island beach town that has a lot to see and do, and lots of yummy places to eat, too! Of course, Newport often steals the show being just a few minutes up the road; there’s a ton to do in Newport, including checking out beautiful Newport beaches, restaurants, hotels, airbnbs, and more! Spend the day at the beach and then check out some of Newport’s coolest sights, maybe tour a mansion or two? If you’d like a cool spot to stay in the area, you can’t go wrong booking a room at the boutique Wayfinder Hotel!
Menemsha Beach on Marthas Vineyard MA
On an island that is known for its beautiful beaches, Menemsha Beach is one of the most spectacular spots on Martha’s Vineyard! Calm, clear water combined with amenities like lifeguards, restrooms, and ample parking makes this beach an excellent swimming spot, but one of the biggest draws of this beach is its marvelous sunset views!
Martha’s Vineyard has all kinds of sights and such to explore and great restaurants to try out, but the seafood shacks near Menemsha are always a popular choice! After you’ve had your fun in the sun, consider grabbing a bite from one of the seafood shacks and settling down at Menemsha Beach to watch the sun slowly sink into the sparkling sea; what a lovely way to end your day! Of course, there are also plenty of great places to stay on Martha’s Vineyard, but a stay at Summercamp offers a unique, unforgettable lodging experience!
Sand Beach on Mount Desert Island ME
If you’re looking for the best beaches in New England that offer stunning views, Sand Beach in Maine is at the top of this list! This beautiful beach offers some of Acadia National Park’s prettiest views, with an inlet of turquoise water that complements the dense evergreens that surround the rocky cliffs of the land. Yes, you can swim at Sand Beach and there are lifeguards, but it’s going to be a brisk temperature no matter how warm of a summer day it is!
In addition to this beautiful beach, Acadia National Park is full of plenty of natural attractions, great hikes and scenic views, and Bar Harbor has a lot of fun things to see and do, too. Between the cool campgrounds, cabins, and vacation rentals in Acadia and the hotels in Bar Harbor, there are lots of neat places to stay and eat while in the area. If you’d like to land in a spot that’s perfect walking distance to lots of Bar Harbor fun and convenient to Acadia, consider a stay at Bar Harbor Grand Hotel!
Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly RI
For a gorgeous New England beach experience, check out Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly. Offering up a solid dose of classic Rhode Island beach fun, Misquamicut State Beach is the perfect go-to for soft sand to walk on and fun surf to splash around in! There are also lifeguards, concessions, and lifeguards, so Misquamicut checks all the boxes for beach must-haves! There’s also a cute little playground for the kiddos, too.
Westerly is one of those cute little RI towns that have all kinds of quaint small town things to do and make for a fantastic getaway destination. Plus, its Watch Hill neighborhood is where Taylor Swift bought her summer home! If you’d like a little taste of what Rhode Island luxury is like, consider booking a room at the timelessly elegant Ocean House.
Higgins Beach in Scarborough ME
Sometimes referred to as Maine’s Surfer Paradise, Higgins Beach is a perfectly picturesque New England white sand beach that has more going on than just great surf to play in! There are restrooms but no lifeguards, so swim at your own risk. One interesting feature of Higgins is that at low tide, the remains of The Shipwreck of 1897 can be seen; double-check where you park though because the parking rules at Higgins are very strict.
One of the best parts about Higgins is that it’s right up the road from Portland, where there’s always so much fun to be had, whether you’re looking for cool coffee shops, great restaurants, neat breweries, or cool hotels and vacation rentals. If you want to stay in a unique Portland hotel, check out The Press Hotel!
Whether you’re looking for beautiful beaches with dramatic scenery or fun family beaches in New England that offer amenities galore, there’s a beach in New England just calling your name!
You might also like:
- 10 Best Beaches in New Hampshire
- 10 Best Beaches in Rhode Island
- 15 Best Beaches in Massachusetts
- 15 Best Beaches in Connecticut
- 15 Best Beaches in Maine for Your Bucket List
Amy is the founder of New England with love. A proud Vermonter, she hopes to share her love of New England and help you find the best adventures in the region. Amy is also blogger/founder at Two Drifters, where she writes alongside her husband about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. When not working on websites, Amy is probably reading, cuddling with her husband, son, and cats, & drinking a maple latte.