3 Northeastern Cities With Amazing Beaches

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Cape Cod Lighthouse in New England

As alluring as the warm, sunny shores of southern states are, New England has its fair share of prime beach destinations, too. For your next summer vacation, don’t be afraid to venture north. The beaches in these three cities rank among the best in the northeast, and they won’t disappoint.

Cape Cod and the Islands, Massachusetts

Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are three immensely popular vacation spots in Massachusetts. All three are sprinkled with world-class beaches and attractions. The 22 historic lighthouses in the area make for great photo ops. You can also enjoy whale watching, kayaking, golfing, horseback riding, and summer theater. Go biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, stroll through the Heritage Museum and Gardens, or take a ride on the Cape Cod Central Railroad aboard a shoreline excursion train.

Cape Cod in New England
Cape Cod Lighthouse – Image via Flickr by AEelements Photography

Keep in mind that beaches on the northern or eastern sides of the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard tend to be shallow, clear, and gentle. Meanwhile, southern beaches are prone to heavy surf and stronger currents.

Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City consistently ranks at the top of lists of the best beaches in New Jersey. The main attraction is the city’s boardwalk, a 2.5-mile stretch lined with places to shop, eat, and more. Be sure to visit Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, which offers rides that range from a Ferris wheel and historic carousel, built in 1926, to the new Runaway Train roller coaster. Cool off at the Ocean City Waterpark, then head to Adventure Golf for a round of mini-golf while you dry off. The beach itself is clean, with warm, clear water in the summer.

Ocean City, New Jersey Boardwalk
Ocean City, New Jersey Boardwalk

Not sure where to stay? Click here to find the best deals on Ocean City hotels – many of which are conveniently located within walking distance of the boardwalk.

Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island is located just south of mainland Rhode Island. It is home to the beautiful Mohegan Bluffs and red-brick Southeast Lighthouse. The 200-foot clay cliffs overlook a secluded beach that can be reached by descending a winding wooden staircase. Of course, the island offers several other beaches, as well, such as the family-friendly Fred Benson Town Beach and the popular teen and young-adult hangout of Scotch Beach.

Block Island Southeast Lighthouse in New England
Block Island Southeast Lighthouse – By Brett Weinstein – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

At only 1,045 square miles, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S. That’s good news for vacationers because it means you can easily visit multiple beaches in the state without having to travel too far. Other popular beaches in Rhode Island include Second Beach in Middletown and Narragansett Town Beach in the Newport area, which is known as one of the best surfing spots in New England.

If you’ve never been to a beach further north than Virginia, you’re missing out. Although they might not boast the same year-round warmth as their southern counterparts, these northeastern cities make great summer vacation destinations and they are only a few examples. Remember that July and August tend to be the peak months for tourism in New England. For better deals and fewer crowds, try visiting during warm shoulder months like May, June, or September.

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