Beaches within reach
This venerable shore town wins the easy-rider award because the Amtrak Downeaster train platform is a two-minute walk from the beach. The Boston-to-Portland train, which began summer service here in 2003, stops at the beach May 1-Oct. 31. Passengers disembark at the First Street platform, and from there, it's just a two-block walk to the Atlantic and the impressive 7-mile beach.
How to get there: Amtrak Downeaster from Boston to First Street platform daily through October. Leaves from North Station and Woburn and Haverhill in Massachusetts; Exeter, Dover, and Durham in New Hampshire; and Wells, Saco-Biddeford, and Portland in Maine. Round trip from North Station, $46.