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As the seasons officially change, travelers and families and will no doubt be thinking about some beach time to make the most of the sunshine.
At the beginning of May, Travel + Leisure published their annual readers’ list of America’s Favorite Beach Towns, and it just so happened that three Massachusetts towns made the cut!
Of course, there are a whole lot of seaside spots worth a visit in the Commonwealth, but even those most partial to other areas would have trouble arguing with this trio. Read on to get to know them a little better.
Lauded by Travel + Leisure readers as both elegant and fun, Provincetown is both of those things and a whole lot more. First things first: given its prime location on the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is surrounded by water on three sides and has some of the country’s most spectacular beaches. Herring Cove Beach and Race Point Beach are both gorgeous and conveniently located within a mile or two of town; Long Point Beach, the third sandy bank, is another beauty that’s accessible by shuttle boat during the warmer months.
Photo: Provincetown Harbor at sunrise
While beaches are surely one of Provincetown’s best features, they’re far from the only one. The dining is excellent, with Fanizzi’s Restaurant and the Lobster Pot being just two of the standouts. Art aficionados can content themselves in the Provincetown Art Association And Museum, while adventurers might opt for a day on the dunes with Art’s Dune Buggy Tours. For students of history, Pilgrim Monument is a fun sight, and one that provides quite a view, too.
Photo: Pilgrim Monument at dusk
When it comes to getting there, ferries are a convenient option, arriving daily from both Boston and Plymouth. When it comes to staying the night, there are a variety of suitable lodgings, including The Crown & Anchor Inn and the Carriage House. And, of course, Provincetown is one of the preeminent destinations for LGBT travelers, who can find all they need to know about it here.
Just an hour’s drive south of Provincetown, you’ll find Chatham, which was picked out by Travel + Leisure community as another favorite, and it’s no mystery why. Chatham Lighthouse Beach is a true gem, while Harding’s Beach, Ridgevale Beach and Pleasant Bay are also all good options. For info on beach facilities, parking fees, friendliness towards four-legged companions and more, click here.
Photo: Chatham Light Beach by William DeSousa-Mauk
Many of Chatham’s sandy spots are located just a short walk from town, which leaves visitors with easy access to the water, as well as many of the town’s charming attractions. Chatham Light, which is open to the public during special hours, is a fun landmark to explore. To catch a flick, stop by the Chatham Orpheum Theater, where the concessions include libations as well as snacks. For walkers and anyone who appreciates wildlife, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is a great spot, as the reserve serves as home to a number of lively critters.
Photo: Seals frolicking on Monomoy Island by Suess
After all that adventuring, you’ll no doubt be hearing from your stomach. In town, Vers Restaurant offers delectable French-style cuisine and tasty traditional seafood fare awaits at the family-owned Lazy Lobster. Looking to extend your stay? Try a night at the luxurious Chatham Bars Inn or the more low-key Chatham Motel, just two of the various comfy lodgings available in the area.
Martha’s Vineyard has a long history as a vacation site for historical luminaries but it’s the picturesque scenery that did the most to win hearts among Travel + Leisure readers. After arriving, you can choose from more than a dozen beaches along the water, including the always-popular East Beach, bike-friendly Joseph Sylvia State Beach and dazzling Katama Beach.
Photo: Katama Beach at sunset
Once you’ve had your fill of beach time, it’ll be on to the rest of the island, which is equal parts scenery, history and family fun. The Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs, which were built in the late 19th-century, remain much the same today, as does the iconic flying horses carousel. History buffs can also delve into the island’s history museum in Edgartown, while inquisitive families might opt for a guided tour.
Photo: Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs
For a great deal on eats, swing by La Choza in Vineyard Haven or The Wharf in Edgartown. If you’ll be on the other side of Martha’s Vineyard and more in the mood to be treated, book a meal well in advance at The Outermost Inn. And if you’ll be staying the night, the Hob Knob is a lovely boutique inn, while the Pequot Hotel is another delightful spot.
To see more great summer activity ideas around the Commonwealth, click here. To see where you can stay before and after you enjoy them, just click here.
Where do you like to kick back by the water in Massachusetts? Let us know in the comments!