Massachusetts is edged with beautiful beaches, and there aren’t many coastal towns left that are true local secrets. Still, there are a few places that don’t have the hustle and bustle of the most popular seaside destinations. Check out this list of Massachusetts beach towns that don’t usually make the travel guides – and that is such a great thing.
Hull is quiet densely populated, but it is actually the fourth smallest town in the state. The history of Hull is closely tied to the sea. One of the most beautiful beaches in town is Nantasket Beach, which offers white sands and a wide-open vista of blue waters. There’s also a boardwalk, if you don’t feel like getting your feet too sandy. In town, you can grab a drink or a bite to eat at Jake’s Seafood, a local favorite and highly-rated family restaurant.
This place is gaining popularity with travelers, but it’s still a town where fishermen, sailors, and local businesses are important. Cohasset offers up a lot of the scenic views and small-town New England feel without the giant price tag of more popular coastal spots. Check out the harbor plaque at the l1614 anding site of Capt. John Smith, and grab a sweet treat at the French Memories Bakery on Main Street. Their almond croissants are the perfect snack to take along with you on a visit to Sandy Beach.
This small coastal town in Essex County is well known for its charming harbor and quaint downtown, but it has its fair share of beautiful beaches as well. Visit the Plum Island Point beach for scenic views, or head to Simmons Beach for a great sunset. The town itself is full of beautiful, historic brick buildings and wonderful views of the Merrimack and Atlantic Ocean.
Marblehead is fortunate to have a plethora of beaches, public parks and conservation areas that make it the perfect place to experience a bit of coastal life, while exploring places that don’t you might not associate with a typical beach vacation. Check out Fort Sewall, a former armed military fort that was used to repel the British and is now one of the best places to view Marblehead Harbor. Spend some time on the sand at Devereaux beach, which also offers plenty of picnic tables and a restaurant.
This spot is only 10 minutes from the Bourne Bridge, but its beaches are typically less crowded than other coastal spots in the area. You don’t have to venture too far into the Cape, which means that you can avoid some summer traffic and spend more time enjoying the local offerings.
Picture Cape Cod, but without the insane crowds and unbearable traffic. Scituate has a wonderful downtown area that is filled with small shops and restaurants. Check out the Mill Wharf Restaurant for the freshest seafood fare and a great atmosphere.
Sandwich is a great beach town to visit if you want your coastal excursion to include a side of nightlife and a bit of history. Visit the Hoxie House, a classic saltbox-style home that is believed to be the oldest on Cape Cod. When you’re in the mood for a bit of sunshine and salt air, head to the Sandwich boardwalk. You'll find a beautiful wooden walking path over the tidal marsh, as well as wind surfers, herons, kayaking and food trucks.
Even though Salem is hardly “hidden” in any way, it’s included on this list because it’s often overlooked as a summer destination. Most people associate this town with the cooler months of fall and Halloween, and aren’t truly away of this town’s long history as a seafaring community and prime beach spot.
Check out Salem Willows, a beautiful oceanside park that provides dramatic views and lots of shady spots to watch the water. If you really want to visit the spookier attractions in town, summer is a great time to see them without the fall crowds. After the beach, head to the famed House of the Seven Gables or connect with the region’s nautical past at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
There are so many amazing coastal destinations in this state. Massachusetts is home to the
nation’s oldest seaport, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.