The Top 10 New England Beach Towns

By Kate Mulcrone

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YANKEE magazine used 14 criteria, ranging from the availability of beach food to accessibility of town amenities to lodging for all budgets to narrow down a list of the best beach towns in New England. Here are their top 10, along with some stories to help you plan.

1. Ogunquit, ME
In Algonquin, Ogunquit means "beautiful place by the sea," and this lovely beach town is certainly that. It's emininently walkable, plus a trolley operates between the town proper and its more than three miles of sandy beaches.

2. Provincetown, MA
As one of the oldest artists' colonies in North America, Provincetown is as eclectic as it is scenic. There are many shops and galleries, and Provincetown is also popular for whale-watching.

3. Nantucket, MA
The island of Nantucket is a mere 3 miles long, but you wouldn't know it considering how many jet-setters pay it homage every year. Brant Point Light, originally built in 1746, is a short walk from the town center.

4. Newport, RI
Known as much for its music festivals as its cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks, Newport is perennially popular. And no wonder -- there are several gorgeous beaches to choose from, and the dramatic cliff views make for an impressive backdrop.

5. Block Island, RI
Block Island is a nature-lover's paradise: forty percent of the island has been set aside for conservation.

6. Edgartown, MA
This hamlet located on Martha's Vineyard was settled in the mid-seventeenth century, and its Colonial heritage is still apparent today. Don't miss South Cape Beach State Park, which is great for sunbathing, fishing, and hiking.

7. Kennebunkport, ME
This southern Maine town attracted its share of dignitaries during George H.W. Bush's presidency. Dock Square, the town's center, is home to many souvenir shops, art galleries, and seafood restaurants.

8. Rockport, MA
Rockport is a beach town, but a cultured one! The town is home to both the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and the Rockport Opera House.

9. Chatham, MA
Chatham, incorporated in 1712, still boasts a quaint and walkable main street, and there's also a gazebo where concerts are held each summer.

10. Watch Hill, RI
This tiny hamlet is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Barrier beach Napatree Point is great for birdwatching.

Source: YANKEE
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