We all know that Massachusetts is the place to go if you want to see spectacular fall foliage or spend a weekend exploring one of America’s most haunted historical sites, but what about if you want to have some fun in the sun?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation, as well as some of the coolest little coastal towns! Massachusetts’ seaside vibes can range from quiet and tranquil to fun and groovy, and everything in between. Whatever your preference, this list of the five best coastal towns to live in Massachusetts is sure to have it!
The 5 Best Coastal Towns to live in Massachusetts
What could be a better way to begin a list of the best coastal towns to live in Massachusetts than by starting with the beautiful Cape Cod? Wellfleet is a beautiful beach town on the Outer Cape with spectacular beaches, such as Marconi Beach, which offers classic New England beach views and is regarded as one of the Cape’s best beaches. The Wellfleet kettle ponds are lovely freshwater oases that offer a unique beach experience, but access is difficult as many are privately guarded as “locals only.”
Wellfleet is home to many excellent restaurants in addition to its beaches; for a memorable dining experience, visit the waterfront Wellfleet Bookstore & Restaurant for delectable seafood, and then peruse the second-hand book lovers’ paradise until you find that rare gem you didn’t even know you were missing.
Curiouser & Curiouser is the place to go in Wellfleet for an eclectic assortment of handcrafted local goods and ethically sourced novelty items for your souvenir collection! The Even’tide Resort Motel and Cottages, voted “Best Motel on Outer Cape Cod” for 22 years and offering well-appointed, comfortable rooms near Marconi Beach and the Wellfleet kettle ponds, is my top pick for a place to stay in Wellfleet and the surrounding area.
This North Shore beach town is renowned for its thriving artist community, lively downtown, and, of course, its spectacular beaches. There are many things to do in beautiful Gloucester, but if you’re interested in the art scene, you must visit the Rocky Neck Art Colony to explore the many shops and galleries in this artists’ village. If you’re in the mood for more historical architecture, you can visit the Hammond Castle Museum, which was constructed in the medieval style in 1926 and houses historical art and artifacts collected by the man who built this modern castle, John Hays Hammond, Jr.
The restaurants in downtown Gloucester serve the type of seafood that New England seaside towns are known for: freshly caught seafood! After enjoying some of the best seafood on the coast at Topside Grill, you can stroll over to Pavilion Beach and take in the magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. This lovely Massachusetts beach town offers a variety of lodging options, but the Ocean House Hotel is the ideal seaside lodging!
Nantucket is the place to go for that classic New England summer ambiance. The entire island exudes the quintessential beach town atmosphere, and there are so many wonderful ways to spend your time there! Nantucket has some of the most pristine and well-preserved beaches in the country, as well as ample opportunities to play in the water!
In addition to the island’s breathtaking natural beauty, there are photogenic lighthouses that beg to be photographed at sunset. The Sconset Bluff Walk is a particularly scenic stroll along the beautiful bluffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean that will lead you to Sankaty Head Lighthouse.
The Nantucket Hotel and Resort will give you a taste of the best of both Nantucket’s restaurants and lodging options (especially cool Airbnb and vacation rentals!). It is definitely the ‘treat yourself’ option, but if you can afford it, it is absolutely worth every penny! Not only are there many amenities to enjoy, but you can also hang out by the fire pits at night and admire the twinkling lights and starry sky above. What a romantic gesture! The onsite restaurant, Breeze, is a local favorite, and the nearest beach is a short walk away; Nantucket is a beach town experience that will not disappoint!
Newburyport is the place to go for a visit to a charming coastal town that nearly dominates the market for “cute beach towns in Massachusetts” This charming seaside town boasts a gorgeous downtown filled with boutique shops and fabulous restaurants, as well as Plum Island, a barrier island with breathtaking sand dunes, gorgeous beaches, and lovely lighthouse views!
Relax and unwind at the spa or take a rejuvenating stroll out to the historic Plum Island Lighthouse; beach town getaways should always leave you feeling rested, restored, and ready to go, right?
There are many cool inns, hotels, and vacation rentals in Newburyport, but if you’re looking for a charming B&B, check out the Compass Rose Inn. A stay at the lovely Compass Rose gives you easy access to Newburyport’s charming downtown area, allowing you to stroll through its historic streets. In addition, there are a number of restaurants within walking distance, including Brick & Ash, Newburyport’s tavern-style eatery with exposed brick, a fireplace, a beer garden, games, and live music. As they like to say, “Bring your Ash here to see what we’ve made for you!”
A Massachusetts beach town with the quintessential Cape Cod Charm vibe, Chatham is situated on the “elbow” of the Cape and is largely surrounded by the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in breathtaking views virtually everywhere you look! Chatham is a Cape community with plenty to see and do, such as a visit to the Atwood House Museum for historical Cape culture or Chatham Lighthouse Beach Yoga for some health and wellness amidst a breathtaking natural backdrop; how does beach yoga sound for a physical and mental refresher? For a complete dose of Vitamin Sea, you can choose from any of Chatham’s beautiful beaches, all of which feature soft, sandy shores and breathtaking vistas.
Cape Cod has some positively dreamy Airbnb options, but Chatham also has several hotels and inns; considered one of the best things to do on Cape Cod, a stay at the Chatham Bars Inn is a way to experience Old World Charm while still having access to every modern amenity imaginable. Plus, spectacular views and beach access! There are also a number of excellent restaurants in Chatham, but if you’re looking for a local favorite that serves delicious food in a cool setting (the building is an old, converted clapboard church), The Impudent Oyster is ideal!
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