7 Best Beach Towns in Massachusetts

Who said New England is always a winter wonderland? With beaches like these, anyone can achieve that golden-tan all snowbirds seek. Better yet, vacationers can enjoy taking a pilgrimage nearby to where America’s Founding Fathers surfed and turfed in-between all the rebelling. Massachusetts’ coast is the dream location that history hunks and beach lovers dream of, with cozy pubs and fine dining just a step nearby. One thing is certain; you cannot afford to miss out on this collection of summer fun.

Hull

Fishing and lobster boats in Hull harbor on a sunny, summer day
Fishing and lobster boats in Hull harbor on a sunny, summer day. Editorial credit: Ryan McGurl / Shutterstock.com

There is a reason people journey from all over New England to check out Hull. Besides the open ocean and silky-smooth sand under your feet, Hull can transport visitors back in time to a simpler era in American History. The architecture of every home lining this peninsula establishes a 1950s “cottage on the shore” aesthetic. Accessible volleyball courts and playgrounds ensure a flow of good memories here. Making friends has never been easier when there is a common enemy: boredom! If you find yourself in good company, you should not be surprised if they offer you a plate of beachside barbecue. Just do not forget to wait an hour before jumping back into the surf!

Orleans

Orelans cape cod
View of Town Cove, in Orleans, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Swimming, fishing, surfing… it would be quicker to say what Orleans doesn’t offer! Wide swaths of sunbaked sand create a great space for children and pets to roam and frolic. Rock Harbor Grill and Ice Cream Cafe make stuffing yourself possible within lumbering distance. Crystal foaming tides create a perfect backdrop for a casual selfie with a loved one. Long quiet paths are perfect for evening jogs as the average sunset paints its daily masterpiece. Try to arrive early to Nauset Beach- the smaller parking lot has the benefit of keeping away large crowds. Onlookers will have the privilege of spectating veteran surfers in their natural environment. With endless sandy alcoves to huddle up in, Orleans truly is the top spot for an introverted dreamer or even a dreamy couple reawakening old sparks.

Falmouth

Falmouth, part of Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Small beach found at the base of the Knob in Falmouth, part of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Sometimes a quiet oasis has a way of resting the soul that sprawling coastlines can only dream of. Soft sand and small crowds nestled away from the bustle of city life offer vacationers a chance to meditate on what makes life worthwhile. If you are brave enough, try to see if you can swim to rock outcrops by Old Silver Beach, which operates like natural swimming docks! Hungry after an evening of play and whimsy? Stop by The Burger Shack just an inch away for traditional oceanside grub. Small crowds mean a short wait time, and never take for granted a public restroom! At the end of the day, everyone agrees; Falmouth has the sunset you can’t afford to miss.

Manchester

View of the Harbor of the town Manchester-by-the-Sea
View of the Harbor of the town of Manchester.

Now, this is the spot for a New England purist. Locked away behind suburban homes, Singing Beach possesses quaint dirt paths lining the edges of a spacious but enclosed half-mile shore. Well-made wooden benches offer relief to tired bodies, with cool shrubbery to rest your bare feet on. Head into town, and you’ll find Cala’s Restaurant with American food and build-your-own pizzas that kids cannot get enough of. Looking to sit down? Check out the Antique Table Restaurant with high-quality cuisine for good prices, and afterward stroll by the Manchester Harbor Boat Club to peek at classic New England yachts. Then, head back to the beach to finish off the perfect evening.

Gloucester

Gloucester
Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial located near the entrance of Gloucester city at Gloucester Harbor, Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

If you tried to design a perfect beach, Good Harbor would still have you beat. Tide pools for kids, a fantastical island within swimming distance, and a mesmerizing footbridge to help you cross the threshold into paradise; Gloucester will never not be proud of this tucked-away jewel. On top of that, planning a vacation has never been easier! Hotels like the Good Harbor Beach Inn snuggle right up over the surf. This allows for a perfect beach-to-home transition without worrying about dragging sand halfway across town. Nearby grocers like Shaw’s and Stop & Shop make Gloucester the ideal location for a long stay when a break from commute life is most needed. If that isn’t enough, museums and athletic fields dot the inside of Gloucester within walking distance, so there is no need to bring a rental car!

Ipswich

Ipswich, Massachusetts
Historic village along Ipswich Bay in the town of Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Castles & pubs & ocean preserves, oh my! Click your heels twice, and you would be lucky to end up in Ipswich. Immediate beachside essentials like Snack Shack serve up nosh on a surfboard menu. This ocean preserve has been well maintained, so like the rest of New England, do not expect litter or really any hint of a human presence; just how it should be! A short walk up the hill will reveal Ipswich’s very own “Castle Hill,” with a fairytale mansion and majestic lawn ready to be explored. Home to a few beaches and nature reservations, Ipswich puts the freedom back into the pocket of its visitors. Say goodbye to tourist traps when you stumble into here. Naturally, to tie off a proper night, feel free to visit around a dozen pubs and breweries in a New England crawl. Is the IPA craze dead yet? No? Then what are you waiting for!

Provincetown

Province town
An arial drone view of Province Town.

Isolated far from the chaos of city and suburban life, Provincetown sits at the end of Cape Cod’s “hook.” Towering into the sky at the end of Race Point beach sits Race Point Lighthouse. This wide sandy beach offers a thousand locations to lose yourself in. Bring a pair of binoculars for some of the nation’s finest bird watching on this pivotal point located adjacent to historical cottages and hiking trails. Take a break from the dunes by drifting into town for Tennis, art galleries, and a 252 ft tall Mayflower monument built in 1910! The Commercial street sits just around the corner and offers up fresh lobster and artisan jewelry for all you shoppers out there. If you’re really trying to impress the missus (or mister), take a day off in The Seaglass Inn & Spa. Because hey- you earned it.

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