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Best New England Beach

Winner, Runners-up for the 2013 New England Travel Readers' Choice Award Are...

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All six New England states have beaches (yes, even land-locked Vermont!), but the finalists for Best New England Beach were all located on the seashore. It was up to readers to decide which coastal destination would win the New England Travel Readers' Choice Award.

The winner and runners-up for Best New England Beach are...

1. ***Winner*** Old Orchard Beach

Old Orchard Beach Maine
© 2004 Kim Knox Beckius
Yes, the Atlantic is awfully chilly in Maine, even on hot summer days. But that doesn't seem to put a damper on beach fun, especially in Old Orchard Beach, which has been a popular destination since travelers arrived via train at the turn of the 20th century. The Amtrak Downeaster is still an option for travelers who want to reach the beach by rail, and with seven miles of soft sand and myriad amusements along the beach and nearby (plus, delicious lobster!), Old Orchard Beach garnered 2013's Best Beach accolades.

2. 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 a gem 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.

3. Hampton Beach

Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition
© 2009 Kim Knox Beckius
New Hampshire's Hampton Beach is the Jersey Shore of New England. Families choose this rollicking beach town on the Granite State's petite seacoast not only because it offers a fine, sandy beach and perfect surf for boogie boarding but because of all of the amusements that line the beach: arcades, shops, a band shell, a concert hall... even a casino!

4. Hammonasset Beach

Hammonasset Beach Boardwalk Picture
© 2007 Kim Knox Beckius
Madison, Connecticut, is home to the state's largest swath of sand, and Hammonasset Beach State Park attracts beach lovers year-round. Pains have been taken to replace sand lost to the sea in recent storms, so beach-goers will still find room to spread out their towels during the summer of 2013. Gentle Long Island Sound surf makes Hammonasset little-kid-friendy, and a 558-site campground adds to the two-mile beach's appeal as an affordable beach escape.

5. Mohegan Bluffs Beach

Mohegan Bluffs Beach Block Island Picture Swimming in the Shadow of Mohegan Bluffs is Unforgettable
© 2007 Kim Knox Beckius
Descend the wooden staircase to the base of Mohegan Bluffs on the south side of Rhode Island's Block Island, and you'll find a beach that seems like it's on the edge of the world. It's certainly on the edge of New England, and this secluded, uncrowded ribbon of sand is worth finding. It's a magical place to take a dip in turquoise waters and sunbathe beneath magnificent clay cliffs.

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