Best Beaches in New England [Chosen by our members]

Updated June 14, 2024  |   Published June 10, 2024

We wanted some local opinions on where to find the best beaches in New England, so we asked our members to share some of their favorites with us – because people born and raised in Massachusetts will give you the most honest answers. The icon below means these New England beach picks have been “Member Certified.”

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Plymouth Beach, Plymouth, MA

Why we like it: The history – this is where the first pilgrims entered America in 1620 and named Plymouth Rock, which you can see for free.

Things to do near Plymouth Beach: See an exact replica of the Mayflower at the beach. Or visit Plimouth Patuxet Museum (formerly Plimouth Plantation) to see living history as actors portray pilgrims in a replica of the original Plymouth Colony Settlement. Other history museums and landmarks include Pilgrim Hall Museum, National Monument to the Forefathers, and Burial Hill – the burial site of many founding settlers.

Mayflower 2 at Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts

Mayflower 2 at Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts – Photo by Angela Talbot

Sandy Neck Beach, Barnstable, MA

Why we like it: You can drive your car and have a campfire right on the beach (with a pass and reservation).

Things to do near Sandy Neck Beach: Sandy Neck Beach is great for hikers as they have a 7.5-mile loop trail amidst the 6-mile stretch of beach. You can also hike through the nearby Jenkin’s Wildlife Sanctuary or take a kayak tour through Great Marshes Park. Sandy Neck Camp Sites is the campground adjacent to the beach. Overall, this beach is great for outdoorsy and active people.

Mayflower Beach, Dennis, MA

Why we like it: Gorgeous soft sands and a great place to watch the sunset.

Things to do near Mayflower Beach: Mayflower Beach is across from Sandy Neck on the other side of Barnstable Harbor. You’ll find nearby things to do that include great seafood restaurants, mini golf courses, and The Cape Cod Art Museum.

Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly, RI

Why we like it: Seaside bars and dining.

Things to do near Misquamicut State Beach: At Misquamicut, you can stroll right from your spot on the sand to Paddy’s Beach Club for food, drinks, and even dancing on their deck overlooking the water. Venture a few blocks down the road and you’ll find another restaurant and beach bar, The Andrea Seaside. If you’re staying in the area for a while, Mystic, CT is only a half hour drive away and home to many attractions and shops including Mystic Aquarium.

Misquamicut Beach, RI

Photo by Angela Talbot

Watch Hill Beach, Westerly, RI

Why we like it: Clean beach and clean bathrooms with showers.

Things to do near Watch Hill Beach: Watch Hill Beach is not far from Misquamicut. It’s mainly praised for its stunning views of the Watch Hill Lighthouse, calm waters, clean bathrooms, and merry-go-round for the kids. The beach is not far from town where you can find shops and restaurants. It’s such a nice beach that Taylor Swift decided to purchase her vacation home here.

Watch Hill Beach, RI

Photo by Caroline Moore

East Beach, Charleston, RI

Why we like it: Clean, quiet, and not crowded.

Things to do near East Beach: This beach has limited parking which keeps the crowds small. It is surrounded by campgrounds, parks, and ponds making it a good destination for nature lovers. The Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is protected land great for hiking, boating, and cycling. It’s also home to the Ninigret Troll, an art sculpture and tourist attraction.

York Beach, York, ME

Why we like it: Beautiful cliffs and many tourist attractions.

Things to do near York Beach: Restaurants and ice cream parlors. Breweries and distilleries. Ledges Golf Club and Take Flight Aerial Adventure Course.

Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit, ME

Why we like it: The shoppes and dining.

Things to do near Ogunquit Beach: Ogunquit is just north of York and while it also boasts beautiful sands and cliff walks, it is notably a hub for arts and culture. Take a walk down Shore Road to find many independently owned boutiques, art galleries, and gift shops, as well as several dining options. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is not far and Ogunquit Playhouse is the local performing arts theater.

Sandy Beach near Wells Maine

Photo by Linda Raymond

Kennebunk Beach, Kennebunk, ME

Why we like it: Great spot for surfing.

Things to do near Kennebunk Beach: Take a horseback ride on the beach or a lobster boat tour. For local history, visit the Brick Store Museum. Webhannet Golf Club and Hillcrest Golf are both very close by if you’re looking for a course.

Weirs Beach, Laconia, NH

Why we like it: Fun for the whole family with arcades, restaurants, ice cream, souvenir shops, and more.

Things to do near Weirs Beach: There is so much to do at Weirs Beach. Besides the arcades and shops, Weirs has a go-kart racing track, and is one of few places left which still has a drive-in movie theater. Mount Washington Cruises runs boat tours which leave from the beach and Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad runs a round trip train ride to along Lake Winnipesaukee. History buffs can find the Wright Museum of World War II. Additionally, every year Laconia, NH hosts Motorcycle Week where over 300,000 bikers will visit the beach for races, rallies, and raffles!

Hampton Beach, Hampton, NH

Why we like it: Lively boardwalk with events always going on throughout the summer.

Things to do near Hampton Beach: The boardwalk at Hampton Beach has all the arcades, souvenir shops, and eateries you can imagine a beach town would. Tourists like it for surfing, boating, fishing, swimming, and scheduled events during the summer – like fireworks displays, an annual sand sculpting competition, Movie Night Mondays, and more. When you’re not on the beach, learn about the ocean and sea creatures at Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium or Blue Ocean Discovery Center. The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom hosts big name musical acts and performers from April to November.