BEST NORTHEAST BEACHES

This page of our website is based on an eight-day early anniversary trip we took several years ago in September.  The farthest north we had ever vacationed before this trip was Virginia Beach. In those eight days we drove (from our home in Northeast Tennessee) all the way up the East Coast, visiting beaches in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine, across the Canada border, and back–a total of approximately 2,500 miles–stopping in a different state each night. That was alot of driving, but it was a great way to see the coastline and some of the best Northeast beaches!

Being from the South, the only beach terrain I was accustomed to seeing was sand, so the rocky beaches were new and especially beautiful to me! And the farther North we traveled, the longer the long rocky beaches became!  The first thing that came to my mind was one of my favorite Barry Manilow songs, Time in New England: . . . Time in New England took me away. . . . long, rocky beaches. . . . and you by the bay. . . By the time we got up to about Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I felt like I was living the song; I think I sang it the remainder of the trip (much to my husband’s chagrin, I am sure.)

 New Jersey’s

Best Northeast Beaches

New Jersey’s state seashell is the Knobbed Whelk

Atlantic City

Atlantic City is probably best-known for its casinos, shows, and other nightlife. But we beach-lovers are gonna find a way to sneak down to that coastline and at least take a peek at that beautiful beach! (And I did sneak a peek . . . . and it definitely a beautiful, best Northeast beach!)

Sunrise near the pier at Atlantic City, one of the best Northeast beaches in New Jersey

Sunrise under the Boardwalk

Absecon Lighthouse

More New Jersey lighthouses:

Cape May Lighthouse, Cape May Point State Park

Barnegat Lighthouse at twilight

 Rhode Island’s

Best Northeast Beaches

Rhode Island’s state seashell is the Quahaug, or Hard Clam.

Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State.  With more than 400 miles of beautiful coastline and over 100 public and private beaches, it’s easy to see why the coast is one of the state’s main attractions!

Narragansett Beach

Narragansett Beach

Watch Hill Beach

Watch Hill Beach and lighthouse in the distance

Point Judith Beach

The coast at Point Judith

More Rhode Island lighthouses:

Rose Island Lighthouse, Newport

Goat Island Lighthouse, Newport

Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport

Claiborne Pell Bridge & Lighthouse, Newport

Lighthouse on Dutch Island, Jamestown

Sunrise at Beavertail Lighthouse

Historic North Light, Block Island

 Connecticut’s Best

Northeast Beaches

 (Connecticut does not yet have a state seashell; one has been suggested, but not yet accepted.)

Connecticut offers more than 300 miles of rugged coastline, bays, harbors and coves. A historical maritime atmosphere is dominant along the coast, making the area a unique, most enjoyable area to visit!

Madison

 Hammonasset Beach

Sunset at Hammonasset Beach

New Haven

Lighthouse Point Park Beach

Sunset at Lighthouse Point Park Beach, New Haven

 Mystic

I know this is not technically a beach, but this little harbor just captured my heart! Hubby and I spent a couple of hours there just walking hand-in-hand, eating lunch at a little sandwich shop, and just enjoying the quaint, seaport harbor atmosphere. Truly one of the most memorable stops on our entire trip!  If you have time, catch a glimpse into Mystic’s historical maritime past at the Mystic Seaport Museum.

Mystic Seaport

Lighthouse at Mystic Seaport

 More Connecticut lighthouses:

                             New Haven Lighthouse at Five Mile Point

New London Harbor Lighthouse

Lighthouse at Avery Point, Groton

Fayerweather Island Lighthouse

 Massachusetts’

Best Northeast Beaches

Massachusetts’ state seashell is the New England Neptune.

 Cape Cod

Absolutely breathtaking! My first words upon seeing Cape Cod Beach were, “Ohhhh . . . . if we ever move, I wanna live here!” My husband’s reply was, “Yeah, you and what rich man?!! Do you know how much just a little piece of land and a hut would cost up here?” (Come on now, can’t a country girl dream just a little bit?)

Shoreline at Chatham, Cape Cod

Nobska Lighthouse overlooking Cape Cod

 More Massachusetts lighthouses:

Sunset over cliffs & lighthouse, Martha's Vineyard

Eastern Point Lighthouse, near Gloucester

 Maine’s

Best Northeast Beaches

(Maine does not yet have an official state seashell.)

 The Maine Coastline . . . . Wow, what a grand finale to our amazing Northeast Coastline roadtrip!  Indescribably Beautiful!!!  The best way to see this gorgeous state’s long, rocky beaches mixed with gorgeous white sand beaches and lighthouses galore (66 in all, I think) is to rent a car, drive South to North, and enjoy while you take lots of pictures!

Kittery

 Just across the southern Maine state line is Kittery, the state’s oldest settlement . . . . and gorgeous sandy beaches!

The beach at Kittery

The Yorks

A little farther North is York, the oldest chartered city in America. Be sure to visit York Beach and Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse while there.

Surf at York Beach

Dusk at Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick

White sand coastline in South Maine

Ogunquit

Ogunquit Beach was named the best beach in New England by New England Cable News.  It sure doesn’t take long to see why!

Sandy beach in Ogunquit

Kennebunk

In Kennebunk, you will find more pristine beaches.  One landmark that may be of interest, especially if you are into politics, is the Bush Presidential Retreat at Walker’s Point.  Also, be sure to check out the shopping, dining, and galleries in Dock Square!

Kennebunk Beach

Mount Desert Island

Mount Desert Island, referred to by the locals as just The Island, is the largest island in the state (with an area of 108 square miles) and the home of Acadia National Park (about half the island) and Bar Harbor. The best way to see the island is to drive the entire loop (Loop Road), which takes between one to two hours.  Loop Road is a 2-lane, one-way, scenic road (not a highway) with lots of places to pull over to take pictures and just savor the view for a moment, so be sure you plan enough time to enjoy! The cost to access Loop Road was $20 when we were there, which has been a few years; but the access fee was good for awhile (a year, I think), and the view is well-worth the fee!

Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Acadia National Park © Randy Hammer 2005 (Used with permission)

(Note: A very special Thank You to my older brother, Dr. Randy Hammer, for allowing us to post this  gorgeous photo!)

Hiker viewing the ocean at Acadia National Park

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island

 More amazing Maine lighthouses:

Whaleback Light, just off of Kittery Point, between              New Hampshire and Maine

Lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth

Portland Head Lighthouse

Portland Headlight Lighthouse at dawn

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse near Bristol

Winter at Pemaquid Lighthouse, Muscongus Bay

Marshall Point Lighthouse at sunset

Breakwater Lighthouse, Rockland Harbor

Fort Point Lighthouse, Penobscot Bay North

Bear Island Lighthouse

Historic Egg Rock Lighthouse, Bar Harbor

Prospect Harbor Point Lighthouse (in the Bar Harbor Area)

West Quoddy Head Light

Whitlocks Mill Lighthouse, Calais

 
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