Top Family Beaches on the North Shore+NH+Southern Maine

  1. Salisbury Beach State Reservation. 1 Beach Rd Salisbury MA 01952. This beach is hands down the best beach. Easily takes the number one spot. Since it is the State Reservation there is a small fee to get in for the day, but then parking is free. There are 3 beach parking lots and the best one is down the end. It’s the end of the beach, up against the jetty, on the mouth of the Merrimack River. The beach is very shallow for a few hundred feet so it’s safe for unsure swimmers and children. There is also a handicap ramp that leads way out into the sand. It’s perfect for strollers and beach wagons. There are clean bathrooms and changing rooms right in the parking lot and a playground. After your done on the beach you can drive out of the reservation and enjoy Salisbury Beach Center, with multiple restaurants and bars, a concert venue, a carousel, boardwalk, go karts, and of course the best pizza on the planet at Christy’s or Tripoli’s.
  2. Hampton Beach. I’ll be the first one to tell you that as a local, we do not go here. It’s a famous beach resort town that is always very crowded, not only on the street but on the sand as well. Sometimes in the summer the sand is beach blanket touching beach blanket. But if you’re here for a beach party then Hampton Beach is for you. The front strip is filled with bar after bar after bar. There’s a lot of little touristy beach shops, arcades, water slides, the Casino Ballroom concert venue, the beach stage has live music nightly, and every Wednesday for the entire summer there’s fireworks. If this is your scene I’d suggest partying at Bernie’s Beach Bar. The restaurant takes up and entire block and has a rooftop deck and concert venue that can accommodate a very large crowd. When there isn’t a concert there’s games, such as corn-hole (bean bag toss), on the deck. You can check the website for the fireworks schedule, events schedule, tide chart, and live beach cam at
  3. North Beach Hampton NH. Now this is my personal favorite beach. I almost didn’t include it as I don’t want anyone to go there and spoil it for me! Lol. North Beach is the stretch of sand along the sea wall. When high tide is at it’s highest the ocean hits the wall and the beach is gone. That lasts for only about an hour though, but you definitely need to check the tides before you head down. There’s clean bathrooms & changing rooms in the parking lot and handicap access to the sand. On the beach itself is a lot of large rocks, similar to that of a jetty, along the wall before they give way to the sand. Super fun to climb, play on, and tide pool in. The sand is also firmer because it’s underwater more often, so it’s easier to maneuver strollers and baby wagons along the shore line.
  4. Plum Island. I grew up in Newburyport and would I be exercising my hometown pride if I didn’t include this little gem on the list?? The island itself is accessed by bridge over the marsh. There’s several beaches including the state reservation, 2 restaurants, a convenience store and sandwich shop, and an ice cream stand. Other than that the island is mostly residences. Newburyport is a quintessential seaport New England town on the mouth of the Merrimack River. There’s festivals every weekend and the big week-long Yankee Homecoming at the end of July, a gorgeous+historic brick downtown area, a long beautiful boardwalk, a waterfront park, an island beach, farm stands, and a breathtaking state park. It is a huge tourist destination in the warmer months, and not just the summer. City people descend on our little town all year round. And while locals are definitely NOT a fan of their crowds or traffic jams or litter, we do appreciate their money in our economy. Please be kind and pick up your trash 😊
  5. York Beach, York Maine. Such a cute little area! Another big tourist destination, this little beach village has a beach front area that includes several restaurants and shopping, arcades, ice cream stands, and even a zoo – York’s Wild Kingdom. Although the zoo is very small and doesn’t include very many exotic animals, as it does not have big enough facilities. There’s also the Nubble Lighthouse a short drive away, which is definitely a sight to see!
  6. Old Orchard Beach Maine. One of the oldest beach resorts on the list, the Old Orchard Beach Peir has been there since the 1800s. I LOVE Old Orchard Beach. The beach itself is beautiful, miles of perfect soft white sand. The pier has a restaurants, bars, and an arcade.


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