The coast of Massachusetts is littered with beautiful places for swimming and sunbathing on idyllic beaches in summer. But many of its towns are just as enjoyable in the off-season – and much less crowded. We’ve rounded up the best seaside spots in the Bay State – and thrown in some top-rated Airbnbs to help you get planning.
This private, peaceful cottage in Oak Bluffs, with panoramic views over Farm Pond and Nantucket Sound, has a simple, rustic feel with original mid-century-modern features. It’s great for families or groups wanting to get away from it all. With space for up to five guests, the cottage is part of a community with two private beaches, and there’s even a kayak here for rowing on the pond.
This fully furnished apartment, which sleeps six, is just a five-minute walk from the beach, and handily central so you can easily visit the handful of museums, shops and restaurants here. The train station, boat shuttle and Man at the Wheel statue are all close, too. The apartment comes with a large kitchen, breakfast bar and dining table, and a living room with Netflix-ready TV for cosy nights in.
A stay in Provincetown is likely to be even more memorable when your accommodation is a houseboat. Docked at Flyer’s Boatyard in Provincetown Harbor, Float Inn, which sleeps four, offers amazing views from two ground-level outdoor decks and another deck up top. You can cook burgers to your heart’s content on the grill on the back deck, and relax as the boat rocks you to sleep.
Perfect for couples and solo travelers, this gorgeous loft apartment on Rockport’s Bearskin Neck overlooks a small private beach. The balcony is the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset and a glass of wine, while its close proximity to shops, restaurants and Front Beach make it a convenient location for local exploration.
If you’re looking for some Old Nantucket charm with a touch of quirkiness, this beach house, sleeping six, won’t disappoint. It was built in the early 1970s by artists and still has an artsy feel, with lots of paintings on the walls, trees in the garden, and a hammock in the backyard from where you can enjoy the sunset. Only 3mi (4.8km) from Nantucket town, this is the perfect vacation spot for families.
This one-bed cottage, which sleeps four, sits at the top of a wetland area in elegantly landscaped surroundings within walking distance of Lecount Hollow beach. It comprises a living room, kitchen, bathroom and private deck, and is a great spot for birdwatchers and nature lovers in general.
Christina Collins contributed additional reporting to this article