New England winters can be bitter, but the people of this state make the best of them. They flock to the mountains of New Hampshire for skiing, play ice hockey with a passion, and spend hours snowshoeing in the fields and forests. And, they also take full advantage when the warm weather comes, with a Massachusetts beach vacation on most everyone’s list even if it’s only for a day or a weekend. Most of the state’s population is located between Springfield in the center of the state and the Atlantic coast. It takes two hours or less to get to a beach. Ask just about anyone, and a list of which Massachusetts beaches are the best will surely be forthcoming.
Even those who don’t visit the ocean are quite apt to have a favorite beach in Massachusetts that is located on one of the many lakes, ponds, or rivers. A famous spot that is intricately bound up in the country’s Revolutionary War history is Walden Pond near Concord— the site of the battle where the “shot heard round the world” was fired. The popular Lake Dennison Recreation Area in the north-central part of the state near the New Hampshire border has excellent Massachusetts beaches for swimming, boating, and fishing. There are also miles of hiking trails and plenty of camping.
You can also find a beach in Massachusetts on one of the many kettle ponds that are found along the Cape Cod National Seashore and on Nantucket Island. But, most people will tell you that the best Massachusetts beaches are found on the Atlantic Ocean. In the far northern part of the state, almost on the New Hampshire border is Salisbury Beach, a 521-acre park with nearly 500 camping sites and a four-mile stretch of very accessible public beach. This is an ideal spot for a Massachusetts beach vacation that involves the entire family, and it’s only a few miles away from the amusement park rides and waterparks of Hampton Beach in New Hampshire.
Just north of Boston is another beach in Massachusetts that is very accessible to the public. Revere Beach is the first public beach in the United States, and has a fascinating history. It is also in close proximity to other popular vacation destinations like the famous fishing town of Gloucester, the historic whaling port of Marblehead, and the town of Salem, know for the notorious witch trials and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables. There are several urban beaches in the city of Boston, including Carson Beach with its Fort Independence State Park.
There are numerous Massachusetts beaches south of Boston, all the way to the Rhode Island border. Some of these South Shore beaches include Nantasket Beach with its long stretch of sandy beach and beautiful 100-year-old hand carved Paragon Carousel. Horseneck Beach is a convenient beach to visit if you’re coming from either the nearby Providence, Rhode Island area or other parts of Massachusetts.
However, the quintessential Massachusetts Beach vacation will be found on beautiful Cape Cod and the little island of Nantucket that is completely surrounded by beaches. Here you will find the best Massachusetts beach resorts and the most charming bed and breakfast inns, many with miles of pristine private beaches to get away from it all. If you want this kind of beach experience and still want to be close to great shopping and happening nightlife, you’ll find this at the tip of Cape Cod in the resort town of Provincetown.