The 4 Best Beaches in New England to Visit This Summer 2023
Best Beaches In New England
By Jeff Knese
Lakes, forests, mountains, and rocky coastline may be the first things that come to mind when thinking about New England. Florida, California, and South Carolina are usually more associated with a beach environment. While those beaches are tantalizing, you don’t want to sleep on New England beaches—and we’ll show you why!
While not the first place that comes to mind, beaches and coastal parks in New England have everything you could want in a beach experience. Being lower on the radar of the average traveler makes New England Beaches the best option. Cleaner, less crowded, and less hectic sounds like a win-win, right?
What Exactly Is New England?
New England is a six-state region in the Northeast corner of the continental United States. From the north, there’s Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Each state has some Atlantic Ocean coastline with the exception of Vermont and even Vermont has Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain is a huge freshwater lake sometimes called “The Sixth Great Lake.”
There’s no doubt that New England has all the attributes to make it a beach paradise…but what’s the reality? Thankfully, in addition to the rocky shoreline, the sandy beaches and coastal parks in New England are abundant and beautiful.
Summer In New England
Usually, beach season in New England lasts from Mid to late June through August. The summer air temperature averages 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit (26-29 degrees Celcius). The water can be on the chilly side but still very enjoyable—especially on a warm, sunny day.
Enjoy The Beach Responsibly
Regardless of the beach you choose, it’s up to us to keep beaches clean. It’s important to consider future generations and the Ocean wildlife.
Enjoying responsibly can be as easy as picking up after yourself and leaving the beach as clean or cleaner than when you arrived. You can also play a larger role and participate in an Ocean Cleanup event or simply pick up whatever debris you find during your visit.
Let’s Talk Beaches
There are so many options when planning your beach trip to New England. If you want to go old school there are printed guides and AAA books. But thanks to the internet, just about everyone has an opinion and they’re happy to share it on their blog or social media account.
At Ocean Blue Project we don’t believe planning a trip should be a chore. That’s why we’ve made it as easy as possible for you to plan your trip! Below, you’ll find a round-up of the Best Beaches in New England. We did the research so you can enjoy stress-free planning.
Who’s ready to hit the beach?
1. Ogunquit Beach – Ogunquit, Maine
Ogunquit is a small coastal town in the south of Maine. Its population is only 1,577 but it fills up and comes to life every summer. Ogunquit, Maine has 3.5 miles of sandy beaches and coastline and Ogunquit beach is the jewel of the bunch.
Ogunquit Beach is great regardless of your activity level. You’ll have a pleasurable time whether you’re swimming, walking, floating, or lounging. It’s also very easy to get around town by walking or grabbing the Ogunquit Trolley.
Who Will Love Ogunquit Beach?
Ogunquit Beach is an ideal destination for couples, singles, and families. Ogunquit Beach is only 315 miles (507 kilometers) away from Montreal, Canada so expect to hear some French-Canadians nearby on the sand. Ogunquit Beach is also known for being particularly friendly to the LGBTQ+ community.
Chartered Sailing or Cruising Adventures
When in Maine you can’t go wrong with a visit to Ogunquit Beach.
Narragansett Town Beach – Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the United States but there’s big beach energy to be had in Narragansett Town Beach. As the name mentions, this is a beach right in the middle of a small beach town. Residents and vacationers alike flock to the soft sandy beaches for an amazing mix of relaxation and fun activities. Narragansett has all the things you would expect in a pleasurable trip to a beach town but they also have a few things that set them apart.
There are some great restaurants and shops. Brickley’s Ice Cream is a standout if you like sweets. Want to eat some beach food while taking in the views? You’re in luck as plenty of restaurants fit the bill, including The Coast Guard House Restaurant.
All that being said Narragansett Town Beach is most well known for one thing and that’s surfing.
2. Surfing In Rhode Island?
That’s right, Narragansett Town Beach is regarded as the finest place to surf in New England. The unique placement of Narragansett gives it waves you don’t see in most places in New England. Even if you aren’t ready to hang loose yourself, watching the surfers is almost as fun.
Know Before You Go
This beach does have an entrance fee and there are different fees and options for residents and visitors. It’s best to research or call before your visit for a hassle-free experience.
3. Chatham Lighthouse Beach – Massachusetts
Ready to get nautical? Then it might be time for a trip to the Chatham Lighthouse Beach. Chatham Lighthouse Beach to no one’s surprise features a postcard quality New England lighthouse on one end and the Cape Cod Sound on the other end. The views are out of this world. Not only is the Chatam Lighthouse a perfect backdrop to any photo but it’s also still an active lighthouse.
The most common beach activities are walking on the beach, swimming, kayaking, and flying a kite. The wind and water can be a bit unpredictable so make sure to follow all signs regarding where it’s safe to be in the water. There are no lifeguards on duty on Lighthouse Beach.
If you want a little more out of your beach experience Lighthouse Beach has you covered. From the beach, you can take a short walk over to Monomoy Island to take in some outstanding bird watching. Keep an eye out for Piping Plovers and Oystercatchers.
Looking for something a little more exotic? There are seals! That’s right, seals hang out near the Lighthouse and Monomoy Island. Late afternoon is the best time to catch a New England seal show. There are also seal watching tours available.
Other Points Of Interest In Chatham
Chatham is full of things to do when you want a quick break from the beach. Shops, restaurants, art galleries, and museums oh my.
- Atwood Museum
- Chatham’s Godfrey Windmill
- Chatham Railroad Museum
- Caleb Nickerson House
4. Old Orchard Beach – Maine
When you’re looking for a New England beach that has it all, look no further than Old Orchard Beach in Maine. Old Orchard Beach has a beach community going back to 1883. Now that’s some serious beach history. They must have something going for them—and that is 7 miles of sandy beaches, the Old Orchard Beach Pier, and the Palace Playland amusement park.
Old Orchard Beach is also in a great and convenient location. The beach is near the towns of Saco and Biddeford, Maine. If you’re flying into Portland, Maine the drive to Old Orchard Beach is under 30 minutes. The drive is also not bad if flying into other major airports like Manchester, New Hampshire, or Boston, Massachusetts.
7 Miles Of Sandy Beaches
The beach at Old Orchard Beach is perfect for any type of beach day. Want to sunbathe or read a book? Want to go swimming, bodysurfing, or walk along the shortline? Want to play volleyball, frisbee, or football? If you answered yes to any of the above then you will have a great time at Old Orchard Beach.
Old Orchard Beach Pier
The Old Orchard Beach Pier takes you back to a simpler time. Walk along the boardwalk to take in the ocean scenery, grab a treat to eat, or do some shopping. The current pier is not as grand as the original one built in 1898 but it’s still great for a stroll. Fun fact: Frank Sinatra once sang at a casino off the original pier.
Had enough of the beach for the day or want a quick break? Old Orchard Beach has an entire amusement park just steps from the sand. Palace Playland features a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, and tons of games.
Protect the Beaches in New England
Do all of the descriptions of beaches and luxurious vacations have your head swimming? Great, as it’s important to take time to enjoy the beautiful places the earth has provided us.
It’s also important not to lose sight of just how precious these outdoor resources are. We all need to do our part to ensure the earth and our one-world ocean stays clean and available for future generations.
“I’m just one person, what can I do?” The answer is, a lot more than you think.
Cleanup The Ocean
Ocean Blue Project makes it easy for you to either join an existing Ocean Cleanup or start the process of organizing your own. Check out the Community Clean-up Programs on Ocean Blue Project’s site to learn how you can get involved.
Donate Or Check Out The Online Store
Ocean Blue Project is dedicated to removing plastic from the ocean and saving marine mammals. For every dollar spent at the online store one pound of plastic will be removed from the ocean.
Don’t need another shirt or hat? That’s ok too because you can make a direct donation to Ocean Blue Project. Your donation will keep this non-profit out there cleaning up the ocean and increasing awareness in the community.
Author Bio: Jeff Knese is a writer living in Chicago, Illinois. Jeff enjoys running near Lake Michigan, hiking, watching movies, and traveling.