Although BeachBRELLA® is based out of the West Coast, we have an immense appreciation for our East Coast contingents. Having grown up in Rhode Island, I know a thing or two about the best beaches that New England has to offer. Having spent a better half of my formative years eating quahogs and finding solace in weathered-slated homes, I figured I better weigh in on the matter. Therefore, I present to you my Top 5 New England Beaches.
Moshup’s Beach is situated below a magnificent set of cascading orange clay cliffs. This beach got its name from a great Aquinnah Wampanoag sachem, Chief Moshup. Legend has it that the reddish orange hue of the cliffs was derived from the blood of whales that Moshup beat against the cliffs in order to kill them. Creepy, but also a good story to tell at cocktail parties.
The reason why I love this beach so much is because it feels as though it belongs elsewhere. The aqua tint of the water feels more tropical to the eye than most other beaches on throughout New England. Additionally, the clay cliffs and clothes-optional sections of the beach take on a more European vibe. Moshup Beach is number 1 on my Top 5 New England beaches for its breathtaking beauty and peaceful aura made possible by the native peoples’ continued commitment to preserving it in their ancestors’ likeness.
2. Gray’s Beach (Yarmouth, MA)
This gorgeous beach in the crook of the elbow of Cape Cod is a sight for sore eyes. While many people go to the beach to socialize, I mostly go to wander and relax. I love beaches with natural beauty and plenty of trails to get lost in. As a result, I could get lost in Gray’s Beach time and time again. Finding the beach is similar to an elaborate treasure hunt. In order to get to it, you must cross a long and narrow boardwalk that meanders over a large web of salt marshes. This beach is perfect for those with children, as little wading pools are formed at low-tide.
This remote beach is the perfect combination of lush forest and scenic waterfront. With evergreen trees sloping down from mountains surrounding this peninsula, Sand Beach has a Yosemite-vibe, if Yosemite happened to be coastal. As with most beaches in the North Atlantic, Sand Beach’s water temperature is not for the feint of heart. On average, the water temperature hovers around 55 degrees Fahrenheit on summer days. Sand Beach is open year-round for beach activities in the warmer months and acts as a nice respite for hikers in the cooler months.
Due to its surrounding 47,000 acres of protected land, light pollution is near-nonexistent. As a result, star parties are held during the summer and fall. Each year in late September, Acadia National Park hosts the Acadia Night Sky Festival. This festival attracts people far and wide who are eager to see the various constellations and frequent shooting stars. In addition, each festival brings new internationally-renowned speakers, hands-on activities, and workshops. To make the stars even more pronounced for onlookers, all businesses comply with a light ordinance during each year at the time of the festival.
Once again, the scenic adventure that ensues when getting to this beach is right up my alley. Long Point is located on a small island off of Provincetown, the very tip of Cape Cod. It’s connected to the mainland by a jetty made primarily of large rocks that make a perfect bridge for those that are willing and able. Long point can be reached by ferry for $15.
Once you arrive onto the little island, you feel like a castaway, save for two other people and a light house. The whale sightings, tall grass, and vacant beaches are enough to quiet one’s mind from the bustling streets of Provincetown. My family used to spend weeks at a time in Provincetown when I was growing up, so I have many fond memories of crossing the jetty and exploring. Long Point offers beautiful views of Provincetown and of the various sailboats that weave in and out of the area. Once you head back to the mainland, be sure to check out the Provincetown Inn‘s mammoth pool complete with cocktails and attractive bus boys.
Seeing as this is the second beach on Martha’s Vineyard to make my Top 5 New England Beaches List, it’s no surprise that I spent a couple of summers living and working there. The first summer I spent there, I took only a bike and used that as my primary source of transportation. My legs were very toned at the summer’s end.
For the following summer, I brought my car with me to access more parts of the island with more efficiency on my days off. I arrived in the late spring and had enough downtime before the busy season to explore the various local jaunts. One such jaunt was Lucy Vincent Beach. This beach is only accessible to beach pass holders during peak season. I luckily was able to experience Lucy in all of her splendor for free in mid-May. As with Moshup’s Beach, Lucy Vincent’s beauty is transcendent. It reminds me of Big Sur of the Pacific Coast Highway with a twinge of Arizona’s landscape. This beach is a must-see. I recommend hanging around a local jaunt (Behind the Bookstore) and making friends with the locals in order to increase your chances of gaining entry or stay at The Beach Plum Inn.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my Top 5 New England Beaches! I’m looking forward to returning to at least half of these this summer with my beachBRELLA® beach umbrella. Being cooped up from COVID has had me daydreaming of all of the adventures that are sure to come in the coming months.