If you think of New England, you might think of weatherboard churches, fall colors in the mountains, and lighthouses perched atop granite outcrops. There are more locals on the low-key beaches that are located on the famous shoreline.

In New England, you can find fine, sandy beaches in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Things get quieter further away from New York City and Boston. At the peak of summer, New England's beaches are a sight to behold. Here are our favorite beaches in New England.

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Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine

It's the best for a beach day.

Sand Beach is located between two pine-topped headlands and is one of the most popular spots on the island. It draws a lot of people to the beach on warm summer days, but it's a worthwhile stop at most times of the year.

The only national park in the whole of New England is on the east side of the granite mountains in Newport Cove. One of the big draws of the beach is its soft, pinkish-white sand, which is ground to powder by the pounding surf.

A trail that begins next to the beach and goes around the perimeter of the Great Head headland is one of the many hiking trails around this crescent of sand. It's a great way to add some exercise to a day on the sand.

Bradley Point Park and Beach, West Haven, Connecticut

It's the best beach to picnic on.

Bradley Point Park is located in the city of West Haven in New Haven county and was the location of the British landing in 1779. There are posts for impromptu volleyball games on the sandy shore and a 1.7 mile waterfront walkway that is perfect for taking in the sea air. The shoreline is just a short walk from the entertainment district.

One of the best places to picnic in Connecticut is Bradley Point Park, which has benches and tables looking out over the sea. There are bike trails and a 3.5 mile walkway that connect Bradley with Sandy Point and the Long Island Sound estuary to the northeast.

Sandy Neck Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Sandy Neck Beach is a great beach for hikers in Cape Cod © Luna Marina /Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sandy Neck Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

It's the best beach for camping.

One of the best beaches on Cape Cod is Sandy Neck Beach. The entire way is backed by dunes and scenic salt marshes. Sand Neck is a popular location for hiking, swimming and fishing.

The dunes are 100 feet high and provide a habitat for birds. Sandy Neck Beach Park has plenty of room for camping with dedicated sites for campers in tents and RV's. Hiking trails run inland over the dunes to a path skirting the salt marsh from four points on the beach.

Silver Sands State Park, Gold Coast, Connecticut

It's the best beach for birds.

The beach at Silver Sands State Park is a top stop for nature-lovers and bird-watchers, accessible via a long boardwalk that spans across a marshy area. The main strip is popular for sunbathing and water activities if you prefer sand and shingle to sandpipers. There is an all-weather boardwalk next to the beach.

The beach is connected to Charles Island by a sandbar that emerges from the water twice a day. You can't cross to the island from May 1 to September 9 because of the seabird population.

Beachgoers at Ogunquit behind beach grass
With its gleaming sand and abundant activities, Ogunquit is one of New England's best beach stops © Sammie Phipps / EyeEm / Getty Images

Ogunquit Beach, York County, Maine

The best beach for water sports.

A jewel on a beautiful stretch of coastline, Ogunquit Beach takes over three miles of the York County seashore. The former shipbuilding center of Ogunquit is a family friendly resort town with a thriving arts and LGBTIQ+ scene. The Abenaki people named the place "Ogunquit", meaning "the beautiful place by the sea", and it has been an inspiration for artists from all walks of life.

The warm back-cove waters make the beach an idyllic setting for sunbathers, swimmers, beachcombers and bodysurfers. You can choose to swim on the west side of the beach or on the south side of the bay. Footbridge Beach is a quieter alternative to the popular main beach.

Katama Beach, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

The best beach for people under the age of 30.

The South Beach is located on the south shore of Martha's Vineyard and is a charmer. One of the most popular beaches in the area has three miles of sand. Many swimmers and families prefer the protected salt ponds on the inland shore over the rugged surf on the Atlantic side.

Flying kites and playing beach games on the beach is popular with a younger crowd and is kept clean by beachgoers. There's plenty of free public parking around the beach and a bike path that leads to the nearby settlement of Edgartown.

People sunbathing on Hampton Beach in New Hampshire
Hampton Beach is a great place for children on the New Hampshire coast © Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

Hampton Beach, Hampton, New Hampshire

It's the best beach for kids.

The biggest and most popular of the 13 miles of coastline in New Hampshire isHampton Beach. There are arcades, entertainment venues, stores and restaurants on the boardwalk and on the beach. There is a playground for children on the beach.

Live music, public firework displays, and special events draw a lot of locals and visitors to the beach town during the prime season. The annual sand sculpting competition features masters from around the world.

Echo Lake Beach, Grafton County, New Hampshire

It's the best beach to enjoy the scenery.

One of the best lakes beaches in New England is Echo Lake Beach. It's a great place to swim, kayak or canoe in the crystal-clear waters of the White Mountain National Forest, which you can arrange at thelakside boating facility. The entry fee is worth it for the setting.

Natural scenery and spectacular views of Mount Lafayette and Cannon Mountain make for beautiful pictures, and the beach is a great place to take pictures. The Old Man of the Mountain Museum pays homage to the famous rock formation which collapsed in 2003 but remains the state's beloved symbol.

The lake at Silver Lake in Vermont
Excellent fishing opportunities draw seekers of serenity to Silver Lake in Vermont © samaro / Getty Images

Silver Lake State Park, Barnard, Vermont

The best beach for fishing is near the ocean.

Vermont is known as the Green Mountain State due to its mountains, lakes and forests, but it also has scenic beaches nestled along the shores of its many lakes, with wonderful mountain views as a backdrop.

The Silver Lake State Park is a great place to visit for swimming, picnicking, and camping.

Narragansett Town Beach, Narragansett, Rhode Island

The best beach for surfing is near the ocean.

Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State and there's lots of sand to choose from. The Native American inhabitants of this part of New England named the area after them. One of the most popular surf beaches in New England is located at the end of the 19th century.

It's an easy walk from the pier to the mile long stretch of beach. It's ideal for people who are new to the sport because of its soft, curling waves that can get tall but tend to be a bit sparse. The beach has beautiful wild flowers and is a great place to walk, bird-watch and fish.

The article was first published in May of 2021.