Northeast

8 Romantic Getaways in New England from Maine to Massachusetts

New England writer Jen Rose Smith shares eight romantic getaways in New England from the beaches of Connecticut to a renovated brewery in New Hampshire.

As a few scattered stars emerge over the Atlantic, we slip into the cool water for the day’s final swim after a long afternoon at the beach. We’re sun-tired and shaking the sand out of our paperback books. With just a few days to ourselves, we found a quiet escape on the edge of Cape Cod Bay, looking for solitude, sea breezes, and time to connect.

It’s a recipe for switching off day-to-day stress, like pressing pause on home, work, and life so I can tune back into my relationship. Since there are destination-worthy beaches in every New England state, you won’t need a plane ticket to find a dreamy stretch of shoreline—just grab a bathing suit and hit the road. And planning a trip to the water isn’t just for the sun-worshipping beach queens; there are endless ways to unwind on the New England shore, from New Hampshire tidepools to whale watching in Maine.

So next time the temperature spikes, just take those hot afternoons as a sultry reminder that keeping romance vibrant demands the occasional vacation. Plan an escape with these eight romantic getaways in New England.

Madison, Connecticut

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You can leave the big beaches to the crowds — and kids — when you visit this breezy seaside escape, where you’ll have exclusive access to a private sandy beach just steps from the back door. A lineup of beach loungers at the Madison Beach Hotel invites lazy afternoons in the shade, or you can recharge at onsite yoga classes, book a treatment at the hotel spa, and take a spin on the hotel’s fleet of bright red beach cruiser bikes.

Since every room at the hotel has a furnished balcony overlooking the beach, dunes, and ocean, spending the day on your private porch is a serious temptation. (Bathrooms lined with Italian marble make the in-room vacation even more appealing.) When you venture outside for some sunbathing and swimming, the hotel’s private beach is stocked with elegant loungers and smart canvas umbrellas. If you’re looking to explore more of the Connecticut coast, head to nearby Hammonasset Beach State Park for a stroll between rolling dunes and the shore, or sample the best vintage bottles at Chamard Vineyards.

Madison Beach Hotel

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (159 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Bar Harbor, Maine

Photo courtesy of Frank Winkler, Pixabay

With all the old fashioned charm of a classic New England bed and breakfast, Stone Throw Cottage is an enchanting place to unwind after a day of exploring Acadia National Park. A breakfast of fresh fruits and home-made recipes is served on the Inn’s shady porch during summer months, and there are special treats (such as freshly baked cookies and whoopie pies) to greet you each afternoon.

The real draw of Mount Desert Island is the magnificent shoreline of the national park, whose pink granite cliffs give way to tide pools, booming waves, and rocky headlands. In between hikes and beach trips, however, there’s plenty to do in the quaint town of Bar Harbor itself, where you’ll find souvenir shops, waterfront paths, and restaurants serving lobster dinner with all the fixings.

To discover an uninhabited islet just off-shore, roll up your pant legs for a walk to pretty Bar Island. You can follow a slender sand bar that’s only exposed at low tide. Just make sure to return before the ocean does.

Stone Throw Cottage

Bar Harbor, 2.7 miles to Acadia National Park
9.3 Excellent (69 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.4 / 10
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Kennebunkport, Maine

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Stake out a wicker rocking chair on the wide, shady porch at Maine Stay Inn & Cottages for a laid-back afternoon scented by the blooming perennial flowers that light up the manicured gardens. Even though it’s only a block from the shops and restaurants at Dock Square, the Inn feels like a serene escape. Whether you’re tucked into the six cozy rooms in the main house or you opt for the privacy of a stand-alone cottage, you’ll find plenty of places to relax on the 19th-century property.

If you can tear yourself away, take advantage of the coveted beach parking passes that the Inn provides to guests and spend an afternoon on Gooch’s Beach. (Loaner chairs and umbrellas are available, too, so all you need is a swimsuit.) To check out Kennebunkport’s most impressive visitors, set aside some time for a whale-watching cruise to the offshore banks, where humpbacks and minke whales come to feed. And after a day at the beach—or an afternoon of whale watching—head back to the hotel to soak off the salt in a super-deep tub with room for two.

Maine Stay Inn & Cottages

Top rated
9.3 Excellent (402 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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Chatham, Massachusetts

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A rambling English garden of flowerbeds and aromatic herbs surrounds the romantic Captain’s House Inn, whose sumptuous rooms overflow with nostalgic charm. The elegant afternoon cream tea completes the old world feel, but you’ll find modern perks, too, from whirlpool tubs to a heated pool, morning coffee delivered to your door, and in-room massage services.

When you’re ready for a stroll by the water, take a walk on Coast Guard Beach in the nearby Cape Cod National Seashore. With rugged dunes that tumble down to a languid stretch of sand, it’s easily among New England’s most beautiful beaches. And after an afternoon of sun and sand, make a night of it with a double-feature at the Wellfleet Drive-In, where you can watch movies under the Cape Cod stars.

The Captain's House Inn

Top rated
9.5 Excellent (294 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.6 / 10
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Portsmouth, New Hampshire

1/4

Set in a renovated brewery warehouse with 130 years of history, the 10-room Ale House Inn blends urban style with Portsmouth heritage. A downtown location makes this the ideal spot to stay if you’re exploring Portsmouth, where you’ll find captain’s homes, a working fishing fleet, and charming boutiques.

To get your ocean time in, borrow one of the Inn’s Trek cruiser bikes and head to Odiorne State Park for an afternoon of peering into tide pools. If you’re ready for some sand and a place in the sun, make the short drive down to Hampton Beach to join the bronzed crowds on the waterfront.

For sunset, stroll down to the Portsmouth Decks — a row of waterfront restaurants with patios that jut over the water — for the evening ritual of drinks by the Piscataqua River. With plenty of rum punch and frozen cocktails, it brings a romantic, tropical vibe to the classic New England port town.

Ale House Inn

Top rated
8.7 Excellent (173 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

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Head inland from the New Hampshire coast to explore the freshwater landscape of the Lakes Region, whose forested mountains are reflected in everything from sun-warmed ponds to the vast Lake Winnipesaukee. The historic Wolfeboro Inn has a prime spot by the edge of the water, with bright guest rooms that have sweeping views across the lake.

Access to the private beach at the Wolfeboro Inn means you can soak up the summer-camp feel away from the crowds, then stroll to the town’s whitewashed bandstand to catch outdoor concerts from the grass. This is the country’s oldest summer resort, and to infuse your trip with even more of the region’s sweetly nostalgic atmosphere, save some time for a lake cruise aboard the Wolfeboro Inn’s “Winnipesaukee Belle,” a replica 19th-century paddle boat with an open-air deck.

The Wolfeboro Inn

8.2 Very good (384 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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Newport, Rhode Island

1/4

Pops of color and modern design give this boutique hotel the feel of a beach house gone chic, and The Attwater is just a quick stroll from the Newport waterfront. Luxe amenities make this a romantic spot to celebrate a special occasion; think silky-soft sheets, bath products from Lather, and bed-side docking stations so you can bring your own tunes.

It would be easy to lounge over the 17-room hotel’s signature small plates breakfast—it’s an endless lineup of petite baked goods, breakfast salads, egg dishes, and fresh juices—but a summer weekend in Newport is all about the sea. Grab a pair of the hotel’s stylish beach chairs and towels and walk to nearby Easton’s Beach, where you can while away the day in the sand, take a surfing lesson with Elemental Surf Camp, and snack on lobster rolls at Flo’s Clam Shack.

The Attwater

Top rated
Newport, 0.6 miles to Cliff Walk
8.9 Excellent (193 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Burlington, Vermont

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Take a beach vacation in land-locked Vermont? Definitely. The stylish and modern Hotel Vermont looks over the shores of Lake Champlain, and it’s a chic home base for a weekend of sun and fresh water.

Lake Champlain fills with sails and swimmers on sunny days, so you can head to the nearby waterfront for a sailing lesson, or snag a stand-up paddleboard and explore Burlington Bay. Since the Burlington Bike Path passes close to the hotel, grab one of the hotel’s fleet of bikes for a leisurely ride to North Beach to watch the sun set over the Adirondack Mountains.

The sunny rooms, outdoor fire pit, and buzzy cocktail bar make the hotel a romantic destination in itself. For some next-level pampering, though, upgrade to a Romance Package that includes house-made truffles, sparkling rosé cider, and an over-the-top brunch in the hotel restaurant.

Hotel Vermont

Top rated
9.3 Excellent (1313 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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Feature photo courtesy of the New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism