Spending time at the beach has been really important to me. Although I’ve been fortunate enough to visit beaches in California, South Carolina, Florida, and even Jamaica, I still think our New England beaches are very beautiful and have a lot to offer.

After my family moved from Western Massachusetts to Reading, MA, my mom would take me to the North Shore beaches. Usually I’d bring a friend, and frequently, we’d get other friends and families together at the beach.

My dad taught me how to bodysurf—that’s riding a wave without a board, just your body—and I’ve been doing it ever since. Our favorite family spot was Good Harbor in Gloucester, for it’s open ocean that means consistently good waves. I remember our strategy of arriving late in the day to avoid the crowds and parking fees. I still use this strategy, as parking is free after 5pm!

After an evening at Good Harbor, there is always the opportunity to eat those sweet, Essex fried clams at the local spots. I’ve got to cut back on that! And on the way back down Rt. 128 from the North Shore beaches is an ice cream stand that my dad used to love, Cherry Hill in Danvers. He’s since cut way back on ice cream. But I rediscovered this place and now it’s always tempting to pull over and “sample” one of their many delicious flavors.

Backing up to circa 1986:
When my family moved to Norwood, we spent most of our beach time at Nantasket Beach in Hull on the South Shore. This beach used to be the spot of Paragon Park, a seaside amusement park that was open until 1984. In it’s final year of operating, my dad and I rode the “Giant Coaster.” The only surviving piece of the park is the Carousel which operates today. The wooden horses are periodically and lovingly restored in a nearby building right on the strip.

In Massachusetts, I’ve been to Crane, Wingaersheek, Nantasket, Horseneck, Salisbury, Good Harbor, Singing Beach, and others. In New Hampshire, Rye and Hampton. And in Maine, Kennebunk, Wells, and York. Which great New England beaches have I missed? Comment below so that I can check them out!

In 2006, I took up skimboarding and mailordered a large, wooden board from Victoria Skimboards. So in addition to bodysurfing and throwing the frisbee, I’ve got another beach activity that leaves me with no time for relaxing on the towel.

Roland at Good Harbor Beach

Now that I’m married, my wife and I love bringing our son to the beach and he loves his time there. Most of the time, we arrive late in the day to avoid the sun’s most dangerous rays.

Let me know what you like about New England beaches! I’d love to read your comments.

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