Top Beaches in New England

By | Last Updated:

Made up of six states, New England occupies the northeastern corner of the United States. Comprising Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, the region is best known for its beautiful scenery, quaint towns, and delicious seafood.

Whilst the biggest crowds come here in fall, when the forests turn various shades of red and gold, there are plenty of other reasons to visit New England. Chief among these is the region's fantastic coastline. Stretching from Connecticut to the Canadian border is as varied as it is long. From the rugged and remote coves of Maine to the holiday hotspots of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket in Massachusetts, take your pick.

And if you ever tire of the beach, New England has more than its fair share of history and charm.

  • Misquamicut State Beach // Rhode Island

    Misquamicut State Beach

    Misquamicut State Beach is located in the very west of Rhode Island, just over the state line from New Hampshire. Not only is this one of the longest beaches in the state, it is the most popular, and for good reason.

    Forming part of a sandy coastline that stretches off for miles in both directions, Misquamicut is a beach with something for everyone. Sitting on the edge of the little seaside town there are plenty of facilities close to hand. The beach itself also has a variety of amenities, including picnic tables,… read more »

  • Popham Beach // Maine

    Popham Beach
    ©Paul VanDerWerf

    Located at the mouth of the Kennebec River, Popham Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the Maine coast. The sandy beach spans nearly two miles of sandy shoreline and is backed by dunes and marshland.

    There are plenty of activities to do at the beach including swimming, kayaking, fishing, and windsurfing. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic on the beach or take a stroll to the historic fort at the northern tip of the beach. Popham is  known for its historical significance as it was the site of… read more »

  • Goose Rocks Beach // Maine

    Goose Rocks Beach
    ©Peter Rintels

    Goose Rocks Beach is the kind of idyllic spot that conjures up images of perfect East Coast holidays. The beach runs between Cape Porpoise and Granite Point and is backed by an archetypal seaside village.

    The beach itself is a picturesque sweep of white sand stretching for almost three miles. What you won't find at Goose Rocks is waves; the beach is sheltered by a number of small islands and reefs which keeps the crystal clear water pretty calm. Whilst you may not be surfing there's plenty of other activities from… read more »

  • Good Harbor Beach // Massachusetts

    Good Harbor Beach

    Good Harbour Beach is a public beach which sits at the mouth of a river, opposite Salt Island just east of the city of Gloucester. During low tide, visitors can even walk to Salt Island. Access to Good Harbor Beach is via its dedicated car park off Thatcher Road, or via the footbridge which crosses the river mouth at the beach's western end, close to its volleyball courts.

    Surrounded by dunes and marshes, Good Harbor Beach has excellent swimming conditions, while bodyboarding is another popular way of enjoying the waves.

    Formed of… read more »

  • Sand Beach // Maine

    Sand Beach

    This imaginatively named beach can be found in the beautiful surrounds of Acadia National Park. A landscape of pine forests, lakes and glacially-carved granite peaks this is a true wilderness. The wildlife won't disappoint either with bears, moose and whales found in the area.

    With a backdrop like this it wouldn't take too much for any beach to make it onto a list of Maine's best beaches. But Sand beach manages to live up to its name and more. As well as a 300 yard stretch of sandy beach there is… read more »

  • Higgins Beach // Maine

    Higgins Beach
    ©Ken Gallager

    Higgins Beach is located in Maine's Cumberland County, approximately ten kilometres south of Portland. With a length of just over half a mile, Higgins Beach makes for a charming and easy escape from the big city.

    Its attractions include the quaint uncommercialised community of around 300 oceanside cottages, many of which are only occupied seasonally, alongside the shipwreck trapped by the beach's white sands and the chance to fish for striped bass. At low tide, the Atlantic reveals shallow rock pools which are sure to be a hit with the kids.

    Although… read more »

  • Skaket Beach // Massachusetts

    Skaket Beach

    Skaket Beach lies on the west coast of Cape Cod facing into the sheltered waters of Cape Cod Bay. This makes it a very different proposition to the Atlantic facing beaches on the east coast.

    Just a stone's throw cross-country from Nauset Beach on the opposite coast, Skaket Beach is different in nearly every way imaginable. Instead of being pounded by some of the biggest waves on the Cape, Skaket is always calm. Another positive if you are thinking of taking a dip is the water here is considerably warmer -… read more »

  • Coast Guard Beach // Massachusetts

    Coast Guard Beach
    ©Margo Tabb

    When you arrive at Coast Guard Beach, you will be met with an stunning view over marshlands, sand dunes to the wide sandy beach and ocean beyond. The boardwalk runs right up to the beach, and provides disabled access.

    People love the soft sand, and they come from far and wide to enjoy this pristine stretch of coast. It does get crowded in the summer, but if you walk in either direction away from the center, you will find a spot. There is limited parking unless you are a resident,… read more »

  • Mohegan Bluffs Beach // Rhode Island

    Mohegan Bluffs Beach

    Mohegan Bluffs Beach is situated on the southeastern coast of Block Island. The beach takes its name from the towering cliffs which reach up to 200 feet above the coast. From atop the cliffs, visitors can admire some stunning views out over the Atlantic Ocean.

    The beach itself is fairly sandy but littered with large rocks close to the cliffs - which are in a constant state of erosion, so don't put your towel down too close.

    Mohegan Bluffs Beach takes a little effort to get to and for this reason remains… read more »

  • Singing Beach // Massachusetts

    Singing Beach
    ©Vitor Pamplona

    A picturesque crescent of soft golden sand between rocky headland is what makes Singing Beach one of the most popular on the North Shore. At around half a mile in length the beach here is backed by grassy slopes and woodland giving it a somewhat sechluded and peaceful feel.

    Singing Beach is one of a select few beaches globally where the sand "sings". We put that in quotes because it is actually more of a squeak than some sort of choral performance! It is only the dry sand that emits this… read more »

  • Greenwich Point Park // Connecticut

    Greenwich Point Park

    Greenwich Point Park Beach is located on a narrow peninsula of land that juts out from the northern shoreline of Long Island Sound. A private beach with public access via a day pass system costing around $10 per person plus parking, it was known to the Siwanoy people as Monakewego, or 'shining sands.'

    Visit at low tide and you'll see exactly why, although most beachgoers choose to wear beach shoes or sandals because of the presence of small stones that can be uncomfortable under foot. At high tide, much of the… read more »

  • Hammonasset Beach // Connecticut

    Hammonasset Beach

    Just over a hundred years ago, in July 2020, Hammonasset Beach State Beach opened to the public. It has been a popular destination ever since. Easy to access from I-95 Exit 62 and close to Madison, CT it attracts over a million visitors each year.

    Once a settlement for native American Indians, the name "Hammonasset" means "place where we dig holes in the ground". By 1898 the Winchester Rifle Company was using it as a firing range to test their weaponry.

    Today this 2 mile stretch of soft golden sand is… read more »

  • Old Orchard Beach // Maine

    Old Orchard Beach
    ©Paul VanDerWerf

    Set in Saco Bay, towards the southern end of Maine's Atlantic coast is the thriving little resort town of Old Orchard Beach. The town has a long and colorful history and was once dubbed "The Garden by the Sea" which featured, you guessed it, an orchard!

    However it wasn't until the late 1800s that the town took off as a holiday resort, with the near seven mile stretch of sand as the main attraction. Old Orchard Beach soon became hugely popular and along with a pier, hotels and boardwalk it was… read more »

  • Wingaersheek Beach // Massachusetts

    Wingaersheek Beach
    ©liz west

    Wingaersheek Beach is located in the western part of Gloucester county at the mouth of the Annisquam River on Ipswich Bay. It is possibly the best beach in the area with its white sands and clear waters. Wingaersheek is recognizable by the huge rocks that jutt out from the center of the beach and into the river. At high tide the rocks are surrounded by water but you can climb around on them as the tide goes out.

    The tides are big here and the water remains shallow for long… read more »

  • Crane Beach // Massachusetts

    Crane Beach
    ©Vitor Pamplona

    Crane Beach is one of the finest beaches on the U.S. East Coast. It has clean water and miles of golden sand backed by beautiful countryside. Part of the Crane Estate, the beach is managed by the Trustees of Reservations and is known for conservation as well. It has more than five miles of marked trails through the coastal sand dunes, and it is an important nesting site for the piping plover. The center piece of the estate is Castle Hill, an imposing early 20th century mansion.

    The sand at Crane… read more »