Family Vacation Ideas: Northeast Beaches

The clean, sandy beaches along New England’s 6,000 miles of coast have long provided a playground for locals and visitors from around the world. Who wouldn't enjoy the lobster shacks and the fried clams, the homemade ice cream and the long, hot summer days? Once you have experienced a New England beach summer, you’ll want to come again! City RV Rentals has put together this brief issue exploring what we believe are the best family beaches in the New England area. Old Orchard Beach, Maine This beach has been welcoming people to its seven-mile stretch of sandy beach for more than 170 years. This beach has lifeguards. Old Orchard’s Pier—which extends nearly 500 feet out over the Atlantic Ocean—is the center of the recreational offerings here. On the pier, you can shop, eat, play games of skill, enjoy the nightlife, go dancing, watch fireworks, listen to concerts, fish, or go on a whale watching or birdwatching tour. You and your kids can also enjoy many Old Orchard Beach attractions like the Beachfront Palace Playland Park, which is the only beachfront amusement park in New England. You can play 18 holes of golf near the beach at the Dunegrass Golf Club.

(Old Orchard Beach and ferris wheel, photo courtesy of captainkimo.com)

Cape Cod, Massachusetts A Cape Cod vacation is a beach vacation. Cape Cod extends 70 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Cape Cod Bay on the north, Buzzards Bay on the west, Vineyard and Nantucket sounds on the south, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. Beaches on Cape Cod Bay tend to be smooth and broad, with gentle surf, and, at low tide, hundreds of yards of tidal flats to wander and explore. These mellow Bay beaches are a favorite for kids and families. Beaches on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Cape -- including several in Cape Cod National Seashore -- may have much rougher water, including good surfing in some places. Some ocean-facing beaches lie between the water and vertical bluffs that jut high above the beach. Marvelous ocean vistas are visible from the bluffs, many of them crowned with waving dune grass and historic lighthouses.

(Cape Cod, photo courtesy of sunrise.maplogs.com)

Mystic, Connecticut Mystic was founded in 1654 and quickly rose to prominence as a shipbuilding center during the clipper ship era. Nowadays, Mystic has become known for its quintessential New England charm, as well as its two world-class museums: the Mystic Seaport, the world's largest maritime museum; and the Mystic Aquarium, featuring fascinating creatures from both sea and land, as well as the exhibits of Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic. The relaxed New England charm that has made Mystic a well-known vacation destination can be felt all through the area – from the quiet farm areas of the Northeast corner of Connecticut, to the coastal towns of Connecticut and neighboring Rhode Island. As a result, it has become known as Mystic Country.

(Mystic seaport, photo courtesy of ctvisit.com)

Ocean City, New Jersey With a population of less than 12,000, Ocean City, New Jersey is like a breath of fresh sea air, providing a welcome change of pace from those congested vacation resorts. This makes Ocean City the family beach resort of choice for people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And with nearly eight miles of pristine beachfront available, there’s plenty of room for exploring, wandering, or simply finding a peaceful spot to watch the tide roll in. It’s been that way since Ocean City’s incorporation in the late 19th century. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you’ll quickly discover that Ocean City is designed with everyone’s “inner child” in mind. You’ll find no shortage of fun family places and activities, like miniature golf courses, amusement and water parks, camps, and kid-themed programs. Since Ocean City is a true family beach resort, you’ll be pleased to discover how affordably priced an OCNJ vacation can be. A great example is our “Family Night” event held on the boardwalk every Thursday night in July and August. Family Night features lots of fun activities like face painting, karaoke, and music. Best of all, it’s all free!

(Ocean City, photo courtesy of ocnj.us)

Cape May, New Jersey Fine wines, outstanding restaurants, classic jazz festivals and special events year round. Some things just get better with age, and charming Cape May is no exception. This historic Victorian seaside gem is the oldest resort and one of the most beautiful spots in the country. The entire city is a National Historic District, with nearly 600 preserved Victorian buildings. The natural beauty of the southernmost beach in the state has been a draw for centuries. A lovely promenade runs along the sand, perfect for biking or jogging. The pedestrian friendly Washington Street Mall is a hub of shopping activity. For fresh seafood, dine at the Lobster House on Fisherman’s Wharf, overlooking Cape May Harbor.

(Cape May, photo courtesy of partiesbyme.com)

Virginia Beach, Virginia The three mile boardwalk is only part of what makes the resort area so irresistible. From Croatan Beach to the south up to the North End beaches, this is where Virginia Beach reveals its outgoing nature, with a park like atmosphere that goes on for miles. The waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay are obvious draws, but swimming and beach time is just the beginning. Virginia Beach offers a variety of music and arts venues, a dozen public golf courses, miles and miles of hiking and biking paths, and our ever-growing Town Center is a gathering place offering dining, shopping and the 1,300 seat Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. The Farm Bureau Live Amphitheater is a 20,000 seat outdoor concert venue featuring national acts. Beach Street USA is a summer-long concert along the boardwalk, while all across the city, you can enjoy relaxing outdoor dining and fresh-caught seafood.

(Virginia Beach, photo courtesy of virginiasbeach.com)

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