Discover Coastal Dream Towns

After canvassing all coasts for towns with seaside charm, a lively beach culture, and good housing, these are our top spots for planning quick trips or finding a new place to live.

Duxbury, Massachusetts

Preppy and quaint

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Dream Towns: Duxbury, Massachusetts
Photo: Michael Hanson

Duxbury, Massachusetts

Despite its beginnings as a shipbuilding town, this seaside spot (population 15,300) a half hour south of Boston is sometimes referred to as “Deluxe-bury.” Look for the old Yankee preppy factor, with lots of J. Crew and Lilly Pulitzer. But you’ll also see many just-arrived-to-town young families, with parents who either work from home or commute to Boston via train, a 35-mile drive, or a ferry. Families also are attracted by the public schools and library, which cluster together to give the feel of a small, classic New England campus.

One local business, Island Creek Oysters, put Duxbury Bay on the map as one of the nation’s go-to oyster sources almost two decades ago. With a strong emphasis on boating (the Duxbury Bay Maritime School) and the arts (the Art Complex Museum and Ellison Center for the Arts), the town feels like Cape Cod without the crowds. As one resident says, “We get busy in summer because of kids returning from college, not from tourists.”

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