Beaches in the Northeastern United States are a different breed of vacation. A beach getaway in the Northeast isn’t about mai tais and palm trees. It’s a whole different kind of vibe here. Instead, there are seaside amusement parks, fresh lobster rolls, boardwalks, saltwater taffy and hotdogs – all right next to the inviting waters of the Atlantic ocean.
If this sounds more your speed, it’s time to plan a vacation to the East Coast beaches that line the Northeastern shore. These beach towns are laid-back, and filled with that quintessential beach charm.
Related: How To Plan an Affordable Beach Vacation
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Old Orchard Beach in Maine is a fun, almost retro-feeling beach resort town. You’ll find an old-fashioned wooden pier, where you can enjoy soft-serve ice cream, fried treats, and old-school saltwater taffy. Don’t miss the fresh seafood in Old Orchard Beach, either. No trip is complete without a lobster roll.
The ocean is clearly the main attraction in this town, though. Enjoy seven miles of pristine, golden sands, where you can build sand castles and dip your toes in the waters of the Atlantic. Rent paddleboards and kayaks, discover sailing experiences, or head out on a fishing charter.
Ocean Beach Park, Connecticut
Ocean Beach Park is a great getaway for families. Kids and adults alike will find plenty to do here. There are lots of special events during the summer months and live entertainment on the Boardwalk Stage. You’ll also find an 18-hole mini-golf course, plus plenty of amusement rides and an arcade.
Of course, your getaway has to include some sand and sun. Ocean Beach Park is “New England’s finest,” featuring pristine, fine “sugar sand.” There is also a large Olympic-size pool, a triple waterslide, and a spray park for little ones. All in all, expect some serious fun in the sun!
Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
Hampton Beach is the biggest public beach in New Hampshire, a state with a 13-mile coastline. It is consistently ranked as one of the cleanest beaches in the entire country, making it a premier vacation spot. There’s plenty of swimming, fishing, whale-watching, and even beach yoga to keep you busy.
If that isn’t enough, Hampton Beach has a lively boardwalk lined with ice cream parlors, arcades, pizzerias, and souvenir shops. Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium’s biologist-led tours. You’ll find live entertainment in the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, which was built in 1899. Or, try your luck in one of the casinos.
Stone Harbor Beach, New Jersey
New Jersey has plenty of wonderful beach towns along its 127 miles of coastline, but Stone Harbor Beach is so easygoing. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a quiet seaside getaway. Instead of fireworks and amusement parks, entertainment here includes lazing on the pristine sand.
There are boutiques, cafes, and fine restaurants to enjoy, of course. It’s all very relaxed here. You can also head out on a fishing trip, go sailing, play volleyball in the sand, or stop in at the Wetlands Institute to learn about the ecosystem and the species that live there.
Singing Beach, Massachusetts
Singing Beach gets its name for its very unusual feature: “singing” sand! It’s something that you have to experience in person. No, really – you can hear the sand. When you walk on it, the sands magically produce sound. The noise is thanks to the shape of the sand grains, and the fact that the beach contains silica.
Aside from the sound produced by the sand, it’s also a very beautiful curve of beach. Visitors have been coming here since ocean bathing became popular in the 1800s. It’s in the adorable historic town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, and even the bathhouse was built in the 1920s.
Cape May Beach, New Jersey
A trip to Cape May Beach feels like stepping back in time. Cape May is home to Congress Hall, America’s oldest seaside resort. There are eclectic Victorian beach cottages lining the oceanfront with bright colors and elaborate details. Luckily for visitors, many of these are now rentals or B&Bs, so you can stay in one as if you’re a well-to-do Victorian on a seaside holiday.
Seaside visitors in the 19th century didn’t play like we do, though. At Cape May Beach, you can do all the fun beach stuff, too. There is swimming, surfing, kayaking, and fishing. There are also volleyball nets on the beach, but it’s BYOB – bring your own ball!
Coney Island Beach, New York
Coney Island is everything you’d imagine it would be: legendary roller coasters, neon lights, tacky souvenirs, nightly fireworks, and hotdogs from Nathan’s Famous. While you can certainly dig your toes into the sand, don’t expect a relaxing, quiet beach day here.
Plenty of people flock to Coney Island in the summer to soak up the sun, of course. But, this is the beach you go to if you want non-stop fun. It is an entire experience, between all the food, the crowds, and the amusement parks. You’ll never run out of things to do!