From quiet dunes to surf action, Massachusetts’ best beaches have everything you could want for a summer of sun worshipping and water play. While the city is at your fingertips via a short flight to Boston, you can still dip your toes in the sand at these oceanside escapes, just a short drive (or train ride) from the city.
Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester
The Annisquam Lighthouse is seen from the calm shores of Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester © JayAlbert
The quaint North Shore city of Gloucester is big on small rocky beaches with seaside charm. Forgo the crowds and opt for something a little more relaxed at Wingaersheek Beach. Besides its gentle tide, smooth rocks, soft white sands and waters known for being warmer than most, Wingaersheek also lays claim to panoramic views of the Annisquam River, Ipswich Bay and a picturesque New England lighthouse.
South Boston Beaches, South Boston
Stay active with a bike ride along Carson Beach or lounge along its sandy shoreline © Carson Beach
Keep the city in your sights and your feet in the sand at the area’s longest stretches of uninterrupted beach – the L and M Street, Pleasure Bay and Carson Beaches. These offer family-friendly waterfront amenities, including sandcastle building, picnicking, and swimming. The HarborWalk is a great destination for jogging, roller-blading and biking, or lounging around while you await the ice cream truck. As part of the Back to the Beaches programme, enjoy refreshed sand, benches, shade shelters, and seawalls.
Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Strolling over the fine sand along the Manchester-by-the-Sea coast © Karen Cox/Flickr
One mile from Manchester-by-the-Sea’s town centre is historic Singing Beach, covered in a fine sand that squeaks out a “song” as you walk upon it. Stroll along its length collecting shells or check out “Eaglehead”, a rock composite for high-energy climbing. There are lifeguards and a bathhouse, and the Manchester commuter train station is only a five-minute walk from the beach, solving the resident-only weekend parking problem.
Katama Beach, Martha’s Vineyard
Sunset fishing on Martha’s Vineyard’s South Beach © Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
A quick ferry ride from Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard is a world of its own. All 30 miles of this affluent summer getaway’s southern rim is aptly known as South Beach. A popular section is the three-mile barrier strand Katama. Its heavy wave action takes surfers on wild rides, but wide sweeping dunes temper the excitement with a sense of calm. A local tip – families find their spots usually to the left, while the rowdy crowd of younger beachgoers head right.
Great Point and Children’s Beach, Nantucket
As an island just 14 miles long and 3.5 miles wide, it’s easy to find the perfect stretch of pristine sand on Nantucket, just a short ferry ride from Hyannis. For the utmost in privacy, try Great Point Beach on the northernmost tip. Complete with its own lighthouse and serving as part of the Coatue Wildlife Refuge, it’s as remote as it gets. For a getaway with the little ones, hit Children’s Beach. Right on the harbour and rich with parks, a playground and picnic tables, this is Nantucket’s most wave-free beach.
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Have you been to any memorable beaches in Massachusetts? Where are your favourite sandy spots near Boston? Share your tips in the comments below.