U.S. Cities to Explore: Do you dream of beaches and want a seaside vacation? Here are some ideas for American cities to revisit.
HAMPTON BEACH, NH
470km from Montreal (4h45 drive)
New Hampshire is best known for its imposing White Mountains, but it also offers 15 miles of coastline with beautiful soft-sand beaches. For a lively family vacation, head to Hampton Beach. You will find the typical and retro atmosphere of the East Coast: motels, souvenir shops, arcades, creameries, festivals, and fireworks. Nearby are quieter beaches (Seabrook Beach, Wallis Sands State Beach), as well as the town of Portsmouth, with its colonial remains, duty-free shops, and restaurants.
500km from Montreal (5h15 drive)
Dunes and wild rose bushes, shingle houses, and nearly 6km of beach: Ogunquit — which means “the beautiful place by the water” in Abenaki — embodies the maritime charm of New England. In addition to sublime beaches, you will find a host of small souvenir and candy shops, art galleries, restaurants, terraces and lobster “shacks”. Don’t miss Perkins Cove, a fishing village that is now touristy, but has kept a nice character, from where you can go for short hikes or sea excursions.
PROVINCETOWN, CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS
700km from Montreal (7h30 drive)
100km from the coast of Massachusetts, Provincetown is a recognized LGBTQ+ destination and one of the darlings of Cape Cod. In summer, its population increases from 3,000 inhabitants to around 60,000! In addition to its restaurants, bars, shops, festivals and lively little streets, the city offers an interesting cycling network and magnificent nature. Much of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park is located there, with dunes and sandy beaches like Herring Cove Beach or Race Point Beach. When it comes to swimming, caution is advised, since great white sharks also visit Cape Cod at certain times of the year… Be well informed!
CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY
830km from Montreal (8 hours drive)
Cape May is said to be one of the oldest seaside resorts in the United States. It has the largest concentration of Victorian architecture buildings in the country, including no fewer than 600 restored villas and mansions. In addition to its unique style and atmosphere, it is appreciated for its white and peaceful beaches which stretch over 4km, for its lighthouse, its seafood, its local wines, its golf courses and its 400 species of migratory birds. Nearby Wildwood offers roller coasters, a Ferris wheel and several other waterfront attractions.
VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA
1160km from Montreal (12 hours drive)
Virginia Beach has been frequented by Quebecers for a long time, as much for its sandy beaches as for its nearly 5km seaside promenade. It’s a big city (population 450,000) with plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes, microbreweries, shops and attractions, but you can easily escape into nature every now and then, if you feel like it. Green spaces like False Cape State Park, First Landing State Park or Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge are nearby, and water activities offered in the area range from kayaking and surfing to canoeing and paddleboarding.
AVON, OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA
1360km from Montreal (14 hours drive)
Do you know the Outer Banks? These are a series of barrier islands of approximately 320 km, off the coast of North Carolina, which offer magnificent dunes, endless beaches and a host of houses on stilts for rent at by the sea. Many go there for kitesurfing or fishing. If you’re looking for a peaceful and relatively central base camp, the village of Avon may appeal to you. There you will find a nice quay, beautiful beaches, several shops and restaurants, and you can go on excursions both to the north (hang gliding at Kitty Hawk, wild horse watching at Corolla, etc.) and to the south (Lighthouse of the Cape Hatteras, Ocracoke Island where Blackbeard once hid, etc.).