When summer heat hits, a tranquil beach getaway is just what the doctor ordered. Avoid getting someone else’s sand on your blanket and plan a visit to one of these overlooked beach towns this summer, where relaxation is high and crowds are low.
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This hidden gem is well-known by locals and art lovers alike. Gloucester calls itself the “oldest working art colony in North America” and has no shortage of artistic representation. Visit one of the beach town’s many art galleries or pop on over to the weekly Cape Ann Farmers Market for some fresh produce and live music. Home to America’s oldest seaport, the cuisine in Gloucester is a seafood lover’s dream. Summer is also the best time to spot whales on one of the many whale-watching tours that depart from the town’s port.
Jensen Beach, Florida
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Share the beach with turtles instead of tourists at Jensen Beach, Florida, where the sands every year are home to a huge number of nesting sea turtles. During the months of June and July, visitors can even go on guided sea turtle walks each night led by the Florida Oceanographic Society. Jensen Beach Causeway Park is a popular spot for a picnic or a kayak launch, and offers great fishing as well as beach access. Grab a quick drink or a vitamin-packed açai bowl at the Bunkhouse Coffee Bar and enjoy the local wildlife — which in this case means wild birds and manatees.
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Located right next to the popular Pebble Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea is much less crowded but no less beautiful than its neighbor. Enjoy the flavors of Monterey County at one of its many wine tasting rooms or take in the gorgeous views on a wildlife hike. The Carmel River State Beach has launch spots for kayaking and scuba diving and is a great location to spot various wild bird species preening by the lagoon. No matter what your style, this fairytale village has something to suit everyone — and at only one square mile, it’s easy enough to explore everything this romantic little town has to offer.
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If you’re longing for a glimpse into seacoast life, look no further than Harpswell, Maine. Situated about 45 minutes outside of bustling Portland, this historic region is made up of almost 200 tiny islands, some of which are only accessible by boat. Learn to sail, take a kayak tour or relax on a yacht as you explore the coast. With fewer attractions than other coastal towns, Harpswell is perfect for those who want to relax in solitude and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. Join in the Harpswell Hiking Challenge on the first weekend of June to hike the views of Casco Bay or simply relax and take in the calm ambience of rural Maine.