New England is historic, charming and diverse. It has so much to offer from historic cities with delicious food, museums and attractions to small towns and villages with cute boutiques, restaurants and opportunity for adventure. Many New England towns or cities have been rated some of the best places to visit and live in both the U.S. and around the world! New England is unique because its towns and cities provide amazing dining experiences with a diverse range of food and atmosphere for every taste. New England is popular among travelers for its proximity to the ocean and the plethora of opportunity this creates. It is one of the few places in the country with charming coastal towns and seaside villages where you can relax and enjoy the wonders of nature.
Whether you love to peruse museums and galleries, walk along rocky cliffs or sandy beaches, shop or head to the spa– New England has so many incredible coastal getaways to enjoy a little bit of everything this region has to offer.
If you are in the mood for a trip to (or within) New England, check out this round-up of dreamy places for a coastal getaway. Looking for more to explore in New England? Check out the best summer vacation spots and camping sites in New England.
10 Coastal Getaways in New England
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is one of our favorite New England coastal getaways. Jess called Newport home for most of her life and knows the island well. Newport provides a unique getaway with a little of everything from exploring sandy beaches to the town’s rich history, to excellent shopping and dining on charming cobblestone streets. Begin your day in Newport with breakfast at Belle’s Cafe, then head to the Cliff Walk for a morning enjoying the gorgeous rocky shores and Gilded Age Mansions. Finish your morning with some shopping at The Little Chateau and Kristen Coates before grabbing lunch at The Cooke House for the best oysters in town. After lunch, head to Third Beach for beach time in the sun, sand and ocean. End your afternoon with drinks on the lawn at Castle Hill.
For more of a more comprehensive guide, check out Jess’s Newport Guide with everything from where to stay, what to eat, drink and do while you’re in Newport. Don’t miss 15 of the Best Things to Do in Newport, RI this Summer and What To Do With Kids in Newport, RI. If you are in Newport for an extended vacation consider taking a day trip to Block Island and Narragansett as well!
Mystic is quintessential coastal New England seaport village vibes. This bustling historic seaport village dates back to the mid 1600s, making it a wonderful destination for everything from shopping and dining to wineries, breweries, tours, museums and parks. Mystic River is a 7 mile-long tidal estuary river running through Mystic village. Head to the Shipwright’s Daughter for delicious American cuisine and grab an ice cream cone at Mystic Park Ice Cream. Check out the Bee’s Knees boutique in downtown Mystic. Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Aquarium are great places for the whole family to enjoy. Local vineyards and breweries make a fun outing for adults!
Block Island, Rhode Island
Block Island is a bit of a hidden treasure located 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Only 3 miles long and 7 miles wide, this island may be small but it is full of 32 miles of hiking trails, pristine beaches, shops, restaurants, a lively night scene and everything you could ever want or need on a charming New England Coastal vacation. While on the island, check out Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, Southeast Lighthouse, Crescent Beach, 1661 Farm and Gardens, and The Oar.
Located in Maine’s MidCoast region in Penobscot bay, Camden is a beautiful historic coastal town you won’t want to miss. Well-known for the Camden Opera House for its music, film and dance performances as well as lovely hiking trails and sweeping views in Camden Hills State Park. Jess visited Camden a few years ago and stayed at The Whitehall Inn. Don’t miss Long Grain for a delicious Thai Fusion meal or Wolf Peach, another fun new restaurant. For more on Camden check out this travel diary.
Bar Harbor, Maine (Acadia National Park)
Bar Harbor is such a fun coastal destination. Not only is Bar Harbor a coastal town, but it is part of Acadia National Park with endless opportunity for adventure from biking, hiking, kayaking and canoeing to camping. In this National Park meets coastal village, beauty abounds! You can also rent bikes from the park in Bar Harbor and ride along the gorgeous paths. While in Bar Harbor be sure to enjoy fresh seafood and watch the lobster boats and yachts as you overlook the harbor. Bar Harbor is the perfect getaway for couples, families and adventure groups alike.
Provincetown also known as “P-Town” is located on the northern tip of Cape Cod. Well known as the landing point of the Mayflower in 1620, current day P-Town is home to artists and a thriving LGBTQ community. With everything from galleries, restaurants, nightclubs, cabarets and shops there is no shortage of fun and lively activity in P-Town. While other coastal towns can become too predictable, P-Town stands out for its authenticity, unique community and overall character. During the day rent bikes or hike along the family-friendly trails or check out one of their pristine beaches. Check out the nightlife by hitting up some of P-Town’s best bars. Provincetown also makes a great family vacation or getaway for couples and friends.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portsmouth is a historic port city in New Hampshire that is a great destination for a coastal getaway. In addition, Portsmouth offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy shopping and dining downtown and also explore the coast. The Portsmouth Brewery is a great place to stop for lunch and a beer. Some local Portsmouth beaches include: Long Sands Beach, Great Island Common, Hampton Beach, Wallis Sands State Beach and Jenness State Beach. Other fun things to check out in Portsmouth include the Portsmouth Farmers Market, Market Square, Strawberry Banke Museum, Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden and the ghost and trolley tour.
Rye, New Hampshire
Rye is an underrated coastal town that makes for a perfect relaxed, low-key New England getaway. While you’re in town be sure to check out Wallis Sands State Beach, Granite State Whale Watch, Odiorne Point State Park and Seacoast Science Center. Get your seafood fix at Seaport Fish Co.
This seaside town in Massachusetts is known for its incredible art culture. If you are in Rockport, spend a day wandering the streets and checking out the large array of galleries and art scene. Not only is Rockport an art haven, but an adventure seekers heaven as well. Take a scenic bike ride, go ocean kayaking, whale watching or head to the next town over in Essex to browse some antique shops. Check out the Fish Shack Bar and Restaurant for one of the best lobster rolls in town!
Kennebunkport is a small coastal beach town in Maine that makes for the perfect family beach vacation. In addition, Kennebunkport offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy. With plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from, Kennebunkport makes a great spot to enjoy all the comforts of sun, sand and ocean. In fact, Gooch’s Beach is a favorite amongst tourists and locals alike. The Seashore Trolley Museum is another popular attraction. Make sure to enjoy some delicious lobster rolls while you’re in town- try Nunan’s Lobster Hut!
What are your favorite coastal getaways in New England? Let us know in the comments below.
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