New England Travel

Mass. has 2 of the best coastal small towns in America, according to USA Today readers

They are full of tranquility and charm.

Provincetown on Cape Cod. David L Ryan/Globe Staff

It doesn’t get much more quaint than a small coastal town, and two of the best in the U.S. are in Massachusetts, according to USA Today readers.

The publication released a list of the best coastal small towns in America on Friday, part of its 2023 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, and Marblehead ranked No. 3 and Provincetown ranked No. 5.

Small coastal towns “offer a tranquility and charm that’s hard to find in more densely populated areas,” the publication wrote.

USA Today called Marblehead a “quaint” town.

“History buffs enjoy checking out Fort Sewall and the Jeremiah Lee Mansion, while nature lovers will be delighted with a kayaking trip to nearby Crowninshield Island,” USA Today wrote.


Provincetown offers “an eclectic mix of galleries and museums, bars and restaurants, cabarets, whale-watching opportunities, guesthouses and unique shopping experiences,” the publication.

The No. 1 coastal small town is Sandusky, Ohio.

USA Today recognized several more small towns across New England in various categories.

In the category of best small town for adventure, North Conway ranked No. 3; Stowe, Vermont ranked No. 6; and Bar Harbor, Maine ranked No. 10. The No. 1 small town for adventure is Savanna, Ill.

The publication named Wickford, R.I. No. 3 on its list of best historic small towns. San Elizario, Texas topped that list.

For best small town food scene, Ayer, Mass. ranked No. 3 and Bar Harbor, Maine ranked No. 10. The No. 1 best small town food scene is Lewisburg, W.Va.

Finally, Bath, Maine ranked the No. 8 best small town for shopping, of which Ocean Springs, Miss. ranked No. 1.

For the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards lists, USA Today travel experts select 20 nominees in topics from food to lodging, destinations to things to do. Then the publication asks readers to cast votes to determine the top 10.

Check out the list of best coastal small towns in America.


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