When it comes to a relaxing and laid-back summer vacation, there is nothing quite like heading to a quaint and quiet seaside town. From the fisherman’s island of Nantucket, to the stunning Californian coast, these seaside escapes all offer a sense of serenity that simply cannot be found at the more well-known destinations around the country.
Thirty miles out from the mainland of Massachusetts lies the tiny island of Nantucket, a place that used to have one of the busiest whaling ports in the world. Today, the island is filled with visitors wanting to explore its rich colonial heritage, with the narrow cobblestone streets a hive of activity during the summer months. The Whaling Museum is always a popular stop, as are the many lighthouses and beaches dotted around the island.
Pacific Grove, California
A coastal city in Monterey County, Pacific Grove has a classic American feel to it, and boasts one of the oldest continually operating lighthouses in the country. The city places a strong focus on nature and sustainability, and this is an important part of just about everything here, from the architecture to the food. Pacific Grove is also not short on natural beauty, with a number of stunning beaches located right on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Friday Harbor, Washington
Located on the gorgeous San Juan Island, Friday Harbor offers an authentic small town experience, right by the seaside. The town is tiny, measuring just one square mile, but this means that it is extremely walkable, and the lack of stop lights and traffic is always a pleasure. This is a great destination for those who want to be active, from taking a kayak around the water to setting off on a whale watching cruise to renting a moped to travel around town. Downtown Friday Harbor is packed with a number of different art galleries, and these are always a delight to explore, from the Waterworks Gallery, which is the oldest gallery in town, to the IMA San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Sculpture Park, ending your afternoon with a bite to eat at The Place, who cook up the most delicious roasted oysters from the nearby Orcas Island.
A vibrant seaside resort town in York County, Ogunquit is a destination that all lobster fans should definitely visit. From a morning of lobstering to an afternoon spent on the beach with a lobster quarter pounder and a bowl of clam chowder from the Lobster Shack, which is reputably one of the best in Maine, fresh and tasty seafood is always on the menu in Ogunquit. One of Ogunquit’s biggest draws is the Marginal Way trail, which runs for just over a mile on the rocky coastline, and attracts thousands of visitors each year, mostly due to its incredible beauty.
Seaside towns have an intimate appeal that larger and more populated destinations simply cannot compete with. From historic lighthouses to fresh-off-the-net seafood to peaceful beaches that you can have all to yourself, the charm and beauty of each of these destinations promises an idyllic summer escape.