About five million visitors flock to Cape Cod annually for its gorgeous beaches, fresh seafood, and scenic coastal views. But as with visiting any popular destination, a major drawback could be dealing with hours of traffic and large crowds. Here are the top seven places to visit that aren’t Cape Cod, but still have the scenic views and beaches.
Parsons Beach is an out-of-the-way, hidden find in Kennebunk, Maine. Stop by this private beach for a relaxed day at the beach. It’s a no-frills beach with minimal parking, so get there early to get a spot. The best part is that it’s often quiet and not at all like the crowded beaches you see on Cape Cod. If you can’t get a spot, there’s always Kennebunk Beach nearby. After the beach, head into town for a bite to eat or pop over to the picturesque Kennebunkport to browse the shops.
Guilford sits along the Connecticut seacoast and is home to Jacobs Public Beach, which offers a quiet getaway without crowds. This 24-acre beach has boat racks for rent, a boardwalk, and volleyball and a half basketball court – perfect for spending the whole day there. Afterwards, hit up one of the restaurants in the downtown area.
Newburyport has one of the most quintessential downtown areas in New England. Enjoy browsing through the independent shops and boutiques or grab a bite to eat at one of the town’s many restaurants. Follow up by going to Plum Island (part of which lies in Newburyport’s town borders). The 11-mile island is stunning, and it’s a perfect place to bike or relax at the beach.
Bar Harbor, Maine is home to some of the best scenic views in New England. A must-see is Acadia National Park, which has hundreds of hiking trails and beaches to enjoy. The entire park is 47,000 acres so you’ll never run out of things to do or see. Wildlife ranges from seabirds and whales, to bears and moose. Bar Harbor also has a popular downtown area with shops and restaurants – the ideal gateway to the nearby nature.
Echo Lake is located within Franconia Notch State Park in Conway, New Hampshire. Albeit a little cool, the lake is a perfect spot to swim at during the summer months. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby and it’s quite a spectacular swimming view.
Mohegan Bluffs is an area of clay cliffs that sit 150 feet high over the southern shore of Block Island. The scenic vista is perfect for photos and has a beautiful beach for swimming and wave-riding. Do be aware that a section of the beach does traditionally become clothing optional!
Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook is a popular spot to visit on Martha’s Vineyard. That said, there’s plenty of space and beach to enjoy the views so don’t worry about too many crowds. Take the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard for an overnight or weekend and take advantage of the sandy beaches and photo opportunities with the rich greenery.