There are few things more magical than a day at the beach. New England has some of the country's finest, boasting flat, sandy shores and warm, calm waters. Busier beaches can be fun (they often have great people-watching, and sometimes the carnival-like atmosphere of a boardwalk is exactly what you're in the mood for) but the quieter beaches are just as enjoyable. If you're looking for a nice spot to read a book, or take a romantic walk down the beach, here are some hidden New England beach gems to check out.
Connecticut doesn't have a ton of shoreline, but it still has some lovely beaches. Silver Sands State Park is one of the state's finest. It contains Charles Island, which is connected to the mainland by a sandbar only visible when the tide is out (it's suggested you don't cross to the island along the sandbar for safety reasons). As the story goes, Scottish pirate Captain Kidd buried treasure on the island! The beach was hit by a hurricane in the 1950s, and most of the development around here was wiped out. Shortly after, it was designated a state park, and remains a quiet patch of shore for swimming and sunning.
Menemsha Beach is tucked away on the sound on the island of Martha's Vineyard. The quiet public beach is a rarity on the island, where more beaches are private or have no parking, and it's near the cute town of Menemsha. You can watch the fishing boats bring in their catch here as well. It's a great escape from Boston; a 35-minute ferry ride takes you from the city to the island, and then a bus or car ride down to the beach makes for a great day trip.
Newport, Rhode Island has a few beaches, and even though Easton's Beach has umbrella rentals, a snack bar, and a carousel, it's still quieter than some of the others; the seaweed in the water keeps some noisy swimmers away, leaving more beach for you! Plus, you can walk here from Newport's Cliff Walk trail, and a break and snack at the beach is a great way to wind down a stroll past some of the city's most opulent mansions.
Sandy Neck Beach Park is a lovely little gem near Sandwich, Massachusetts. They have a parking lot, camping, horseback riding, limited ORV beach driving, and hiking trails. With 6 miles of shore, it's one of Cape Cod's longer beaches, which means plenty of space to spread out towels or to build a campfire on the beach.
Or, escape Cape Cod altogether at the highly-acclaimed Crane Beach. It's a nature preserve, so the focus is on the beach's natural state rather than building up development. There is a snack bar and Castle Hill Estate nearby, so it's not hard to spend an afternoon here. For food, try hitting up the Clam Box or Russell Orchards for a cider donut!
New Hampshire has a bit of shoreline as well, and you can experience it at Jenness State Beach. Unlike nearby Hampton Beach, it's further away from most of the shops and restaurants, which means it's a bit quieter. Although parking remains a bit tight, you can usually find something on the street. The surfing here is nice as well, so bring your board!
Sandy Point Beach on Cousins Island is a perfect spot for a swim, a picnic, or a walk. It tends to recede a lot during high tide, so time your visit for when the tide is low. Look for patches of purple sand, made from ground garnet, watch the sailboats and lobster boats cruise past, and enjoy Maine's famously rugged coast. Plus, no snack bars or restaurants nearby means that it's clean and quiet!
Rogue Bluffs State Park is along Maine's Englishman Bay and features trails, ponds, coves, woodland, and a playground. Boating, canoeing, swimming, and fishing are popular here, and just off the shore, you can see the 1817-era Libby Lighthouse, which is still an active beacon today.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. -John Lubbock