It’s hot and it’s summertime (for a few more days)! New England’s beaches are so varied and wonderful, you might want a bit of guidance to the beach of your dreams for a Labor Day visit.
Consider the variety: there are plenty ocean beaches (except in Vermont), of course, with big waves for surfing or long, delightful mud flats for sea life exploration. There are sugar-sand beaches or beaches composed of rocky inlets and breakwaters to climb. Some beaches don’t have beach sand because they are chopped into former marble and granite quarries, but they are an important part of New Englanders’ water play. Some beaches are quiet; others burst with the glitzy fun of boardwalks and honky-tonk shops. Here is a state-by-state guide with links to pages with more details:
Connecticut Ocean Beaches
Connecticut’s shoreline along Long Island Sound has eight state-run beaches, all with their own admirers. One of the best is Ocean Beach in New London, with white sugar sand and entertainment like a swimming pool and miniature golf. Sit and watch the ferries tootle over to Long Island, NY. Eight beaches — Black Rock, Burr Pond, Hammonasset, Indian Well, Rocky Neck, Sherwood Island, Silver Sands and Squantz Pond – have lifeguards on duty through Labor Day.
Connecticut Fresh-Water Beaches
The inland lakes and ponds of Connecticut are the first choice for a day of water play and picnicking for many people. The many fresh-water beaches at state and local parks are well-maintained with lots of amenities for a family vacation, like playgrounds, changing rooms, refreshments, and other treats to enjoy a full day on the lake. Other features like wheel accessibility and lots of walking paths add diversity and variety to a day at a CT lake or pond.
Rhode Island Ocean Beaches
Rhode Island is nicknamed “The Ocean State” and that bold claim by a small state is entirely borne out by the beauty of its beaches. (The nickname might also refer to the state’s proud tradition of seafood catching, cooking, and eating, including the official state appetizer, calamari.) Beaches of Rhode Island – on Narragansett Bay and Long Island Sound — have huge expanses to fine sand, sheltered coves and opportunities for great surfing.
Rhode Island Fresh-Water Beaches
Inland fresh-water beaches in Rhode Island include several beauties, like the lake and beach at the state-run Lincoln Woods State Park in the northern part of the state and its counterpart, a small lake at Burlingame State Park in the southern town of Charlestown. State beaches have parking and pavilions with bathrooms, food, and rentals. A fun hybrid water body of fresh and salt water is Ninigret Pond, a tidal pond separated from the ocean by a slim barrier beach.
Massachusetts Ocean Beaches
Massachusetts is famous for beautiful Cape Cod and the variety of bay-facing and ocean-facing beaches that people enjoy at this summertime wonderland. But the Cape is only the start of the story here. The North Shore towns from Marblehead to Rockport to Gloucester to Newburyport are home to wonderful beaches, as are the south-of-Boston towns of like Plymouth and those on Buzzard’s Bay. Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are a shore ferry trip from the mainland.
Massachusetts Fresh-Water Beaches
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts manages a variety of beaches, including more than 50 inland, fresh-water beaches on clear and clean lakes and spring-fed ponds. People flock ponds and lakes to enjoy stretches of tree-shaded sand, water sports from paddling to fishing, walking trails, and family celebrations in park pavilions. Most are open through Labor Day; many offer lifeguard services.
Vermont Fresh-Water Beaches
Vermont is the only New England state without an ocean shorefront, but its magnificent Lake Champlain, an avenue of history, commerce, and play for 400 years, more than makes up for the lack of salt water. Lake Champlain, aside the capital city of Burlington, is a crisp northern water body whose shores are dotted with well-managed state parks. Vermonters also have a long history of loving their swimming holes, cube-like cuts in the mountains where marble and granite have been quarried for generations.
New Hampshire Ocean Beaches
New Hampshire has a very short ocean frontage but its salt-water beaches stand up to the best anywhere else on the East Coast. Five state-managed ocean beaches offer wide, sandy expanses for play and out of the salt water. Portsmouth is a riverside city in the South Coast region, not far from the ocean beaches, and it is perfectly charming. Nearby waterfront lodging includes some of the last Grand Hotels that reigned in the late 19th century.
New Hampshire Fresh-Water Beaches
Beaches in New Hampshire cover a beautiful gamut of fresh water, inland beaches. Big recreational lakes, among many, are Winnipesaukee and Squam lakes. These sprawling bodies of clear blue water have attracted families from inside and outside for summer vacations for generations. Lake resorts offer plenty of room for families to stretch out between forays to the water for swimming, fishing, and boating.
Maine Ocean Beaches
Ocean-front beaches of Maine are all about drama. Nearer to the southern part of the state, beaches are wide and sandy, but as you move northward, toward the “Down East” region and Acadia National Park, the beach setting become more and more majestic, flanked by tall, reddish cliffs glowering above the water, some with a lonely lighthouse perched on a ledge. Acadia is certainly among the most majestic parks in the National Park System, and lodging and exploration services are extensive there.
Maine Fresh-Water Beaches
Maine’s fresh-water beaches are mostly on inland lakes, where swimming and water sports are pursued with vigor and the surrounding views are usually magnificent. The large number of state-managed parks on Maine lakes assures visitors of good and reliable services like parking, life guards, boat rentals, and more.