New England Crushes ‘Best of’ List for Quaint Seaside Escapes, Including the #1 Spot in Maine
The United States has more than 12,000 miles of coastline, nearly 5,700 of which is in New England. So when you talk about perfectly picturesque coastal towns to escape, take a deep breath, and just be, then congratulations to New England.
While California has three, Pacific Northwest three, Mid-Atlantic two, Texas one, the South two, Florida two, the Carolinas four, and New Jersey two, New England has 11 towns on this top 30 list researched and compiled by MSN. That includes three in the top five, so according to MSN, we rule in coastal charm.
#1: Stonington is a stunning seaside town at the very tip of Deer Isle in Penobscot Bay. MSN says this coastal village is best known for its extensive lobster fleet of more than 300 boats, as well as seafood. Watching the boats come and go is part of the perfect New England charm.
#3: Old Orchard Beach has seven miles of pristine beach, so of course it's near the top of this list, according to MSN. With its beachfront amusement park and stunning New England scenery and adorable pier, it's a perfect vacation where the nighttime also comes alive with fun restaurants.
#14: Welcome to Bar Harbor, with its extremely relaxed atmosphere, according to MSN, in the most picturesque New England setting. From seaside shacks to luxurious restaurants, camping, or fine hotels and B&Bs, Bar Harbor caters to everyone with its beaches and cliffs.
#17: I love going to Ogunquit, and it's a favorite for sure, even with us New Englanders. MSN says the sandy beaches, Ogunquit Playhouse, and loads of independent restaurants and shops make this place more than a little fishing village right on Maine's southern coast.
#24: MSN calls Camden the quintessential seaside town with its charming harbor, old lighthouse, and jagged rock bays. You can also hike nearby Mount Battie and partake in the incredible culinary cuisine around town.
#5: Tiny Provincetown or "P-Town" on the very northern tip of Cape Cod is one of America's most historic destinations, as it's where the Mayflower landed in 1620. I love it here, too, with its adorable, lively downtown, as well as food and quaint shopping. MSN says it's worth the three-and-a-half-hour drive.
#13: MSN describes the cute, coastal town of Rockport as romantically quaint right on Cape Ann, surrounded by beautiful beaches. It's filled with quirky art galleries and studies, as well as delicious eats. The coastal town of Rockport in Massachusetts, located on Cape Ann, is surrounded by beautiful beaches.
#20: One of my favorite vacay spots made it, and I'm not surprised. Right on the Atlantic Ocean side of Cape Cod is Chatham. As MSN describes, it has buckets of old-school New England charm. Its endless stretch of pristine sand is to die for, along with its charming town center of boutique shopping and dining.
#19: MSN loves Rye with its charming coastal town, rugged rocky shore, peaceful beaches, and Odiorne Point State Park. It's also got cute lobster shacks and two beaches just an hour north of Boston.
#28: Beautiful Westport, with incredible restaurants and shopping, is just an hour train ride from New York City and feels a million miles away from the rest of the world. It's nestled right on the Long Island Sound, and the Saugatuck River runs through town. I used to live here, and can tell you it's dreamy and one of my most favorite places.
#6: Of course Block Island made this list, as well as the town of New Shoreham. MSN says being the smallest town in the smallest state in the country adds to its charm. The town beats out the more famous Newport and Narragansett because it's charming and quiet with lots of sandy shoreline, nature trails, and lighthouses. The only way to get here is by ferry, and I love taking it to visit friends who rent a home every summer.
I'm surprised Nantucket and towns on Martha's Vineyard weren't mentioned, as well as Kennebunkport in Maine. However, when you really look at the list, you realize it's truly about the gems that are still somewhat hidden or under the radar, at least for now.