Walkable towns for young professionals...near a surf break...NE US
January 28, 2014 5:44 AM   Subscribe

So I'm looking for the perfect spot to live, based on the things I like and proximity to family. I enjoy being able to walk to the grocery store or to the coffee shop or to a bar, restaurant. Then , I want to be able to drive 30 minutes or less to a beach break with fairly consistent surf. I surf year-round. I would like this not yet know town to be somewhere between NJ and Maine. Easy access to a major metropolitan area by public transportation is a definite plus. I'm not thinking about the cost of living right now.
posted by spacefire to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Brooklyn? Easy access to Rockaway.
posted by greta simone at 5:51 AM on January 28, 2014

Way too vague! I suggest Newburyport, Massachusetts, which has almost zero in common with Brooklyn .
posted by mskyle at 6:13 AM on January 28, 2014

Narragansett RI faces the open Atlantic, and is quite close to Providence. I think the only other places in New England that get the unobstructed effects of Atlantic storms are beaches on the outer cape, and those are not 1/2 an hour from anything.
posted by mr vino at 6:20 AM on January 28, 2014

I agree you're way too vague - what's your household/family situation?

That said... I live in Newburyport MA, have neighbors who surf daily 15 minutes away in Seabrook, am a 5 minute walk from a gorgeous downtown filled with great restaurants and a 10 minute walk from the train to Boston. It's a lovely seaside resort community, but it's also a town that rolls up it's sidewalks around 9:30 pm.
posted by amelioration at 6:22 AM on January 28, 2014

Long Beach on LI would be a common answer for NYers. Not sure how walkable it really is despite having a little downtown.- but its an hour on the LIRR to Manhattan
posted by JPD at 6:33 AM on January 28, 2014

Providence was just listed as New England's coolest city (according to the Brits)
(But they're not wrong)
(It's got everything you want!)
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 6:47 AM on January 28, 2014

Providence was just listed as New England's coolest city (according to the Brits)

*spits out drink*

Moving on... Newburyport is a good option, but if you're going to surf in NH anyway why not Portsmouth? Fun little city, quick drive to surf spots along the Rye/Hampton/Seabrook coast, regular bus to Boston, no income tax.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:00 AM on January 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'd say Portsmouth is a leading contendor. You can surf in York, ME, too, from there - popular in winter. The bus goes not only to Boston but they now have a direct to NYC.

Newburyport is nice if you have a family or live a pretty quiet life. I lived there for 18 months and moved on rapidly. It was a little too shuttered-up for someone who likes an active community life. It is physically very pretty.

Providence is a good choice, and well connected. Connecticut is pretty much right out because there's no surf anywhere - it's all on LI Sound, and the water's placid. I have friends in Jamestown, RI. They love it - it's an island, with a cute, walkable, small downtown, and it's just over the bridge from Newport and near a lot of other excellent beaches.

In New Jersey, there's Asbury Park which has lately taken a turn for the wonderful, Red Bank, Long Branch, Bradley Beach, Belmar, and on down. Ocean City is nicely walkable but a dry town, if that matters, and a resort town, with a lot going on in summer but pretty sleepy in winter.
posted by Miko at 7:42 AM on January 28, 2014

New Jersey is getting some pretty consistent surf these days. Long branch, belmar...those towns are what you are looking for. Relatively easy commute to NYC.

Check the surf cams/forecasts on Surfline.com to see what they look like. It's mostly sloppy knee to waist high stuff, but storms bring occasional shoulder high sets.

Just a heads up though, aside from the jetty point breaks it's pretty much steep and fast beach break, not great for long boarding. And cold. You'll need at least a 4/3 and likely booties for 50% of the year. You can trunk it in jersey during the summer.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 7:44 AM on January 28, 2014

North of Boston you have Marblehead and Salem. ( maybe Lynn, which has a bunch of hipsters trying to remake downtown). Some surfing can be found at Nahant, and Revere, although it is mostly kite-boarding. Easy drive to Salisbury, Hampton etc.
posted by Gungho at 7:49 AM on January 28, 2014

Just a heads up regarding Long Island, Rhode Island and southern MA, the surf only fires on a south swell, as opposed to NJ and MA which can take most swell directions.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 7:52 AM on January 28, 2014

Long Beach, New York is pretty walkable, and it is very bike-friendly as well. Lots of year-round surfers here too. In the summer, there are surfing-only portions of the beach during peak hours. There's basically nowhere you can live in Long Beach where you are more than a 5 minute walk from the water.

It's less than an hour on the LIRR to Manhattan and even has it's own bus system!

I live here and love it, so feel free to memail me if you have any LB-specific questions.
posted by inertia at 8:22 AM on January 28, 2014

Red Bank, New Jersey

Movies, restaurants, bars, public transportation (NJ Transit Bus and Train, Academy Bus), supermarkets, etc. are in walking distance.

The beach is a 10 minute drive (not the "Shore"; the Shore is the place where people from up north go on the weekends in the summer; the beach is where locals go when they want to swim, surf, fish, and do other activities year round, where the ocean meets the sand.)
posted by otto42 at 8:42 AM on January 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Red Bank, Asbury Park, or Long Branch, NJ. I miss them greatly.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:02 AM on January 28, 2014

You want Portland, Maine.

About Portland

Surfrider, Maine Chapter
posted by anastasiav at 9:20 AM on January 28, 2014

Consistent surf on the east coast? Granted it's been good lately but whoever above said their neighbor surfs every day is misguided. It's not possible. Maybe they are paddle boarding? Also not sure where you are used to surfing but the only spots in New England that pick up a swell like the outer banks and NY/NJ beach breaks is outer Cape Cod. It's a swell magnet and offers some heavy beach break as well as great white sharks. The rest of the coast has a more limited swell window.

If you are young and like going out you will be bored out of your skull in Newburyport. It's not awful but it's a pretty small town.

As for locations, Newport, RI. Great town, great surf culture, great point and beach breaks, and very walkable with tons of bars, restaurants, music venues. Downside is it gets slammed with tourists in the summer. Surf gets crowded too. Surfers are fairly aggressive and some of the points in RI do have a little locals only thing going on. But it's not a big deal.

Providence is a solid 30 minute ride to Narragansett, the nearest surf spots. Sometimes a lot longer if there is traffic, but it's a great city, insanely affordable for the northeast.

Heading north, Portsmouth is a quick ride to the point and beach breaks of New Hampshire and the Southern Maine coast.

Further north, Portland is also an awesome city with easy access to some decent beach breaks that are less crowded than some of the spots further south.
posted by WickedPissah at 11:19 AM on January 28, 2014

It's not awful but it's a pretty small town.

It's not the size (Portsmouth is smaller) it's the demographics. It's a bedroom community, family-focused, affluent, daytime town.
posted by Miko at 1:42 PM on January 28, 2014

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