Best for car travelers
The weekend price of $30 a car ($15 on weekdays) is steep, but the white sands of Compo Beach in Westport, Conn., make it by far the best slice of paradise that’s such an easy, short hop off of Interstate 95. The long, sweeping beach has its fair share of seashells, and kids love the wooden play structures. If backed-up Vacationland traffic on Interstate 95 is getting you stressed, you’ll find the antidote in York, Maine, just off the highway. Despite the many charms of the gabled houses that have stood along its shoreline for more than a century, or the lure of taffy shops and arcades right in town, the highlight of Long Sands Beach remains that lengthy, sloping, shallow beach—and the fact that it’s easy to reach.