“Summer time, and the livin’ is easy.”
—George Gershwin

Summer’s here, and as Gershwin famously said, the living is (or should be) easy. On these sunny and gorgeous summer weekends, what better way to relax and celebrate the true essence of Shabbat than by enjoying the gorgeous New England outdoors? From the Cape to North Shore beaches and the Vineyard to the Berkshires, there are so many fantastic and refreshing ways to celebrate Shabbat with a day (or two) away.

Laura and her husband enjoy a day at the beach!

Over the next few weeks I’ll share my best bets for beautiful beaches and art-inspired day trips, starting with these suggestions:

Beaches 1+ Hours from Boston

Drive an hour north or south and you’ll come across several pretty great beaches, loaded with wonderful food, art and shopping. I love each for a different reason!

Good Harbor Beach (Gloucester)*
This is a beautiful spot, and I’m a fan of any beach that has a mini island you can walk/swim to. Get there early to make the $25 parking worth it (trust me, it is). Bring a picnic and prepare to haul your trash; this spot is pretty au natural.

Wingaersheek Beach (Gloucester)*
This is similar to Good Harbor Beach, minus the adorable little island. If you like hunting for crabs, shells and other beach goodies, this one is a winner.

*Whether you go to Good Harbor Beach or Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester has a fantastic arts and restaurant scene. Grab some top-notch seafood and enjoy the ocean view, and make sure you leave time to check out the wide array of galleries and local candy stores.

Crane Beach (Ipswich)
Part of a nature reserve, this long and scenic beach is ideal for a nice long walk or some quality sunbathing. Hungry after a day of sunning and swimming? Woodman’s is famous for clams, but if you don’t do treif, their fried fish is top notch too. You can even see pictures of Adam Sandler filming his 2010 movie “Grown Ups!”

Revere Beach (Revere)
While Gloucester and Ipswich are peaceful and gorgeous, think more of the Jersey Shore here. It’s a much quicker trip and includes a boardwalk unlike most other area beaches. Hit it at the right time and there’s even a carnival across the street— now there’s a day of lower-brow fun!

Kittery (Maine)
Drive an hour-plus north and you’ll hit Maine, starting in Kittery. There are beautiful and historic scenic beaches and harbors, and you can also hit up the outlets if you don’t want a full beach day. Candy lovers—you must hit up Yummies Candy, the ultimate haven of snacks and candies.

Sachuest Beach (Newport)
Also known as Second Beach, this spot tends to be a little less crowded than the popular First Beach. It’s not a super wide beach, but it has a great combo of smooth water and waves.

Scusset Beach (Cape Cod, just before the Bourne Bridge)
You don’t have to delve into the depths of the Cape to enjoy this gem. You’ll hit it just before you cross the Bourne Bridge, and it’s ideal for swimming and biking, plus it has a great fishing pier.

So venture out this weekend to check out some of the natural beauty that’s all within a day’s trip of the city (you might just run into me!). Stay posted in the coming weeks for more on the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard, the Berkshires and more.