Travel

The ultimate guide to Massachusetts beaches

Going to a Mass. beach? We have the lowdown on the best beaches, amenities, and more.

Crane Beach in Ipswich. David Stone / Essex Heritage

Massachusetts has plenty of beautiful beaches, and some even rank among the best in the nation — we’re looking at you, Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, and Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Looking for the right sandy spot for your crew this season? The following guide is designed to help beachgoers get the most out of a Massachusetts beach day. Whether you’re looking for beaches with lighthouses, snack shacks, hiking trails, or gorgeous sunsets, we’ve got you covered.

Greater Boston Beaches

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
M Street Beach in Boston. – John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Carson Beach in South Boston

Take in the city’s skyline from this Carson Beach, which is accessible by the MBTA’s Red Line. The sandy spot is part of a three-mile string of parks along the Southie shoreline.

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Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free, but limited

Castle Island in Boston

Beach goers can tour historic Fort Independence and enjoy views of Boston Harbor. There are also shaded areas of grass perfect for a picnic lunch — and the famous Sullivan’s if you forgot to pack one.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free in a lot near Fort Independence; metered street parking lines the beach

Constitution Beach in East Boston

Guests can see ships sailing through Boston Harbor and planes from Logan Airport while visiting Constitution Beach in Eastie. Beach goers can also take advantage of athletic fields, basketball courts, and a playground.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free

Lovells Island, Boston Harbor Islands in Boston

Take the ferry to Lovells Island, part of the Boston Harbor Islands, which offers camping, hiking, and secluded beaches. Guests can also check out Fort Standish, a coastal fort dating back to 1907.

M Street Beach in Boston

M Street Beach is a three-mile-long beach on William J. Day Boulevard, called a “popular summertime oasis” by The Boston Globe, is where city dwellers flock to the sand on warm-weather days. There are grassy picnic spots beside the sand.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Parking lot is available

Spectacle Island in Boston

Take the ferry to Spectacle Island, part of the Boston Harbor Islands, where guests enjoy panoramic views of Boston Harbor and the city. The 114-acre island also has a visitor center with exhibits and five miles of walking trails.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms

Savin Hill Beach in Dorchester

Savin Hill Beach makes it possible to enjoy a day on the beach without leaving the city. Kids can also spend time on the playground and ball fields.

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Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free

Tenean Beach in Dorchester

Cool off with family and friends during a swim in the calm waters of the Neponset River. Tenean Beach is more than just a swimming destination, as it also includes a playground and tennis courts.

Amenities:

  • Parking is free

Beaches North of Boston

A pair of women walk the shore at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. – Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Crane Beach in Ipswich

Voted the best beach in Massachusetts by Boston.com readers, Crane Beach has more than 1,200 acres of beachfront, maritime forest, and dunes. Miles upon miles of hiking trails are located here, too. 

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $25 per car for Trustees members and $40 for nonmembers during the week, and $30 for members and $45 for nonmembers on the weekend. Advance passes are required and can be purchased here.

Dane Street Beach in Beverly

Beach goers at Dane Street Beach can also enjoy acres of open, grassy fields. Children will delight in one of the city’s most popular play structures.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free but limited; on-street parking also available

Devereux Beach in Marblehead

Devereux Beach was once the site of the home of John Devereux (1615-1695), which the beach is named after, and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The Fire of Driftwood” about his visit there. There are benches for resting and pavilions and picnic tables for gathering.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $15 (Mon.-Thu.) and $20 (Fri.-Sun.)

Fisherman’s Beach in Swampscott

There are plenty of sailing classes to choose from at Fisherman’s Beach, where the town holds its sailing programs. Or just stretch out on the sand before enjoying a swim.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Parking is available on the street

Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester

Named among the 25 best beaches in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure, Good Harbor Beach features a scenic walk out to Salt Island during low tide. It is a wide, flat beach that’s great for walking.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $30 during the week and $35 on weekends

Half Moon Beach in Gloucester

Located in historic Stage Fort Park, this small, quiet beach’s name comes from its crescent shape. There are grassy areas to enjoy a picnic or a cookout.

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Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms in the nearby Visitor Center
  • Parking is $20 during the week and $25 on weekends

Independence Park in Beverly

Independence Park has a lovely sandy beach where folks can relax and swim. Or visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch on the grassy area while gazing out at Beverly Harbor.

Amenities:

  • Parking is on-street

Long Beach in Gloucester and Rockport

Lighthouse fans, take note: Long Beach is known for the spectacular sunrise views of the twin lighthouses on Thatcher’s Island.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards on the Rockport side
  • Limited street parking is available

Lynch Beach in Beverly

Lynch Beach, with its unencumbered views of the Atlantic, is one of two beaches in Lynch Park. The other is Woodbury Beach, which is the larger of the two beaches.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Free parking for residents; parking is $15 for non residents on weekdays and $25 on weekends and holidays.

Nahant Beach Reservation in Nahant

Nahant Beach offers a paved promenade great for walking, jogging, and biking. There’s a playground near park headquarters and Tides restaurant offers beachside dining, complete with an outdoor deck.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguard
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking: Free on-street parking along Lynn Shore Drive; DCR lot is $10 for Massachusetts residents and $40 for non-Massachusetts residents

Obear Park in Beverly

At the Obear Park beach, visitors can take breaks from the sand by playing baseball, basketball, or tennis. There’s also a playground for kids.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Limited free parking

Pleasant View Beach in Beverly

Beach goers seeking privacy can head to this quaint beach, located behind a cliffside park. Pleasant View Beach lacks amenities but has serenity in spades.

Amenities:

  • Limited on-street parking

Plum Island Beach, Newbury and Newburyport

Plum Island stretches through Newbury and Newburyport, with the northernmost side in Newburyport. Plum Island also boasts the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, a favorite of birders.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Parking for non-residents is $15 on weekdays and $20 on holidays and weekends

Revere Beach in Revere

America’s first public beach has three miles of coastline and features the popular Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival every July. This beach is accessible from the MBTA Blue Line at Wonderland and Revere Beach stops.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Free four-hour parking along Revere Boulevard

Salisbury Beach in Salisbury

Overlooking where the Merrimack River feeds the Atlantic Ocean, this popular park offers swimming, boating, and a 484-site campground. Salisbury Beach Center is an amusement area with arcades, restaurants, and rides.

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Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $14 for Massachusetts residents and $40 for non-Massachusetts residents

Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea

This half-mile-wide beach is famous for its singing sand, which makes a noise when visitors walk on it. It was named one of the best beaches in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Non-resident parking is available weekdays for $30, and there’s a $10 walk-on beach fee per person. Guests 65 and older do not pay a walk-on fee.

Winthrop Shore Reservation in Winthrop

The largest beach in town, Winthrop Shore Reservation’s sand stretches almost a mile. The jetties are great for fishing and exploring, and numerous restaurants are within walking distance.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free along the beach

Woodbury Beach in Beverly

Garden lovers will enjoy Woodbury Beach at the 16-acre Lynch Park, as they can also visit the lovely Lynch Park Rose Garden. This is the larger of the two beaches in Lynch Park (the other is Lynch Beach).

Amenities:

  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Free parking for residents; parking is $15 for non-residents on weekdays and $25 on weekends and holidays.

Yirrell Beach in Winthrop

The shallow area at the base of Watertower Hill makes Yirrell Hill a popular beach for families with small children. The beach also hosts an old-fashioned Family Day every July.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free along the street and at the town’s Public Landing, a short walk away

Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester

Wingaersheek Beach, which hugs the shore of the Annisquam River and extends out toward Ipswich Bay, has plenty of tidal pools and large rocks for exploring. Low tide brings a long sandbar that’s ideal for a beach stroll.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $30 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or $20 from 3 to 5 p.m.; and $35 on weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or $25 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Beaches South of Boston

Humarock Beach in Scituate. Decaseconds / flickr

Duxbury Beach in Duxbury

This long barrier beach in Duxbury has a casual restaurant plus a bathhouse with showers and restrooms. The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association recently named Duxbury one of the nation’s best restored beaches.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $20 per day

Ellisville Harbor State Park in Plymouth

Visitors can hit the trails Ellisville Harbor Stake Park and explore the red pine forest and rolling meadows. Or, beach goers can simply lounge on the sand, watching the fishing boats and harbor seals.

Amenities:

  • Parking is free in the on-site lot

Fort Phoenix State Reservation in Fairhaven

After spending some time at the beach at Fort Phoenix State Reservation, visitors can walk along the hurricane barrier for spectacular views of the Atlantic. Visitors can also see the historic remains of Fort Phoenix, a former American Revolutionary War-era fort.

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Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free in the on-site lot

Humarock Beach in Scituate

The sand is fine and hard-packed at this Humarock Beach, which offers great views of Cape Cod Bay. Take note: The beach is in Scituate, but visitors must access it via Ferry Street in North Marshfield.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguard
  • Restrooms
  • Limited free public parking is available

Minot Beach in Scituate

Kick back on this Minot Beach and enjoy the views of Massachusetts Bay and the 1855 Minot Ledge Light. The lighthouse was named after 18th century Boston businessman George Minot, whose ship wrecked there.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Two parking lots, but a beach sticker is required

Nantasket Beach Reservation in Hull

Beach goers will discover fine, light gray sand on this peninsula beach, which stretches for a mile on the Atlantic shoreline. During the summer, there are concerts and public dance lessons.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $15 for Massachusetts residents and $40 for non-Massachusetts residents.

Nickerson Beach in Quincy

Nickerson Beach is a small neighborhood spot with big views. Guests enjoy breathtaking views of the Boston Harbor Islands and strolls along the walking path to Squaw Rock.

Amenities:

  • Limited on-street parking is available

Onset Beach in Wareham

Onset Beach’s calm waters and central location in historic Onset Village makes it popular with families. There’s also a kayak outfitter right at the beach.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguard
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking costs $1-$2 per hour at meters in pay-to-park lots

Peggoty Beach in Scituate

Peggoty Beach offers a half-mile of coarse, hard-packed sand and fairly warm water. It is within walking distance of shops and restaurants in downtown Scituate.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $20

Plymouth Long Beach in Plymouth

Located on a sandy three-mile peninsula, Plymouth Long Beach offers ample room to stretch out and splash in Plymouth Bay. Sandy’s seafood shack serves casual eats right on the beach.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking in the lot is $20

Cape Cod Beaches

Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod.
Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod. – AP Photo/Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Margo Tabb, File

Bound Brook Island Beach in Wellfleet

Bound Brook Island Beach is an isolated location down a sandy back road with towering dunes. It was named among the 20 best secret beaches in the U.S. by Southern Living magazine. There are no amenities at this secluded spot, but the peaceful retreat is worth it.

Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet

Cahoon Hollow Beach is a hot spot for young adults due “The Beachcomber,” a popular restaurant and bar. Visitors should note that the pathway to and from the beach is on an incline.

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Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $20

Coast Guard Beach in Eastham

Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Coast Guard Beach is home to the old Coast Guard Station and offers lovely views of the Nauset Spit barrier system and bay. It was named one of the top 10 beaches in America by “Dr. Beach.”

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $25

Chapoquoit Beach in Falmouth

The locals call this Chapoquoit Beach, located on a small peninsula between Buzzards Bay and West Falmouth Harbor, “Chappy.” The view of Buzzards Bay is spectacular, and on a clear day, beachgoers can see Cleveland Ledge Light, West Island, and the Elizabeth Islands.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Free street parking is available

Chatham Lighthouse Beach in Chatham

Chatham’s largest beach features Chatham Light, and beach goers can enjoy nature walks out to southern Monomoy Island. It is “magical” in the winter, according to Fodor’s Travel.

Amenities:

Corporation Beach in Dennis

Dennis has the most beaches of any Cape Cod town. Corporation Beach is great for walking at low tide, and it’s a hot spot for watching the sunset.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Daily parking stickers are $30 and must be purchased at Dennis Town Hall

Gray’s Beach in Yarmouth

Known by locals as Bass Hole, this beach features an 800-foot boardwalk that extends out over the salt marsh into Cape Cod Bay. There is also a picnic area, walking trails, a playground, and tide pools perfect for the littlest beachgoers.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Daily parking stickers are $20 and must be purchased at Yarmouth Town Hall

Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro

There’s plenty to see at Head of the Meadow Beach, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. At low tide, visitors can spy the wreck of the Frances, which sank in 1872, according to the National Park Service, as well as lounging seals.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $25

Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown

Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Herring Cove Beach offers evening concerts in July and August. Beach goers can also check out nearby Provincetown town center, Pilgrim Monument, and Provincetown Museum.

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Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $25

Old Silver Beach in Falmouth

One of Buzzards Bay’s most popular beaches, on a clear day visitors at Old Silver Beach can enjoy views of Marion, Mattapoisett, and West Island. Another landmark to look for: Cleveland Ledge Lighthouse.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $30

Marconi Beach in Wellfleet

Marconi Beach offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and “wild pristine nature in all directions,” according to the National Park Service. Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Big 7 Travel called this beach “a gorgeous slice of heaven.”

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $25

Monument Beach in Bourne

Monument Beach, a scenic town beach on Phinneys Harbor, has calm water and volleyball nets for those who enjoy working up a sweat on the sand. The boat-filled harbor is a perfect place to take in a summer day.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Free parking is available on Shore Road

Nauset Light Beach in Eastham

Part of the Cape Cod National seashore, Nauset Light Beach is named after the 1838 Nauset Light. Lighthouse-loving guests can tour the structure from late spring to early fall.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $25

Race Point Beach in Provincetown

Race Point Beach, named among the best beaches in New England by AAA, features the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, built in Chatham in 1897. During the summer, rescue re-enactments are conducted on the grounds.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $25

Scusset Beach in Sagamore

Bordering the Cape Cod Canal, the state-operated Scusset Beach has 1.5 miles of sandy beachfront. Go for the day, or stay and camp at the campsite.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $14 for MA residents, $40 for non-residents

Martha’s Vineyard &
Nantucket Beaches

Martha’s Vineyard’s Menemsha Beach at sunset. Nicole Cammorata – Nicole Cammorata

Children’s Beach on Nantucket

Families love this beach for its calm water, playground, picnic areas, and free summertime concerts, according to U.S. News & World Report, which lauded the sandy spot when it named Nantucket one of the 15 best family beach vacations in the U.S.

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Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Off-beach parking is available

Cisco Beach on Nantucket

Surfers flock to Cisco Beach due to its heavy surf. Families with young children should note that the undertow and rip currents can be strong.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Off-beach parking is available

Jetties Beach on Nantucket

This popular wedding location is known for its calm, warm water. Windsurfing, kayak, and sailboat lessons and rentals are available for those seeking more of an adventure.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Off-beach parking available

Joseph Sylvia State Beach on Martha’s Vineyard

Scenes from the 1975 movie “Jaws” were filmed here. This beach hugs the Nantucket Sound shoreline and Sengekontacket Pond, and the former is popular with families due to its gradual slope and small waves.

Amenities:

  • Free parking is available along the paved parking lane adjacent to the road 

Menemsha Public Beach on Martha’s Vineyard

Menemsha Beach in Chilmark, once named the best beach on the East Coast by Rough Guides, is great for kids due to its clear, gentle water. New York Times best selling author E. Lockhart told Boston.com: “The sun just sets straight into the sea there. It’s very magical.”

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is limited

Moshup Beach on Martha’s Vineyard

Moshup Beach, also called Aquinnah Public Beach, gets beach goers up close to what AAA calls one of the most stunning scenic locations in the Northeast: the Aquinnah Cliffs. Nude sunbathing is allowed on the far end of the beach.

Amenities:

  • Restrooms
  • Parking is $20 per day

Siasconset Beach on Nantucket

Sconset Beach, located on the easternmost tip of the island, was named one of the best beaches in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler. It features the 1850 Sankaty Head Light. Check out the Sconset Bluff Walk, a public footpath with views of the water.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Off-beach parking is available

South Beach on Martha’s Vineyard

South Beach, also called Katama Beach, is a pristine beach in the Katama section of Edgartown. There is a paved bike route from Edgartown to the sandy spot, which is also easily accessible by bus.

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Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Limited free parking on site

Surfside Beach on Nantucket

One of the most popular beaches on Nantucket, this beach is great for strolling in the morning and surfcasting in the evening. It is also easily accessible by bike path.

Amenities:

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions
  • Restrooms
  • Parking is free on an on-site lot
More Beaches:

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