The Prettiest Beach: Good Harbor Beach
Gloucester, Massachusetts, is still very much a working Atlantic seaport, but it’s also a fine place to play on the beach. With powdery white sand and invigorating surf, Good Harbor Beach is the star among the city’s seven well-maintained beaches, and crowds cool off here on summer days. At low tide, it’s possible to venture out to Salt Island via a land bridge. Views of Gloucester’s Twin Lights add to the beach’s charm, and even in winter, it’s a gorgeous spot for a stroll by the sea. Stay at Blue Shutters Beachside Inn, and you’re steps from this pretty beach, which is perfectly framed by picture windows in the inn’s living room.
The Best Family Beach: Crane Beach
Gentle waves and miles of sugary white sand make Crane Beach on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a cherished summer escape for families. There’s more to do here than sandcastle-building and bodysurfing. Hike more than five miles of trails over dunes and along the shore. Tour the Great House at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, a 59-room mansion built in 1928. If you stay overnight at the Inn at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, you’ll get a taste of what luxury seaside living was like in the early 20th century. Follow Crane Beach on Twitter for news of parking lot closures and greenhead fly activity—these biting insects are particularly prevalent in July, and they steal the joy from a day at the beach.