Massachusetts is full of incredible beaches, but many of them can get a bit crowded during the summer months. The solution? Head to a seashore that doesn’t get as much press. We’ve assembled a list of lesser-known beaches in Massachusetts that don’t usually show up in travel guides, so are likely to afford you a bit more breathing room.
A bit of a disclaimer: some of these beaches may be well-known to those who live in their vicinity, but totally new to people who live in another part of the state. If you already know about a certain gorgeous beach, count yourself as one of the lucky ones!
1. Wasque Beach, Chappaquiddick Island
This beach is perfect for spreading a towel or taking a dip, but it's also a favorite among anglers. Some areas are decorated by trees that fall from the cliffs as the sea erodes the beach. To reach the beach, take the Edgartown-Chappaquiddick Ferry and head east. You can find parking at the end of Wasque Road.
2. Houghton's Pond, Milton
There's no need to head to the coast in order to find a great beach spot. Just 12 miles from Boston is a great, family-friendly swimming hole with lifeguards, changing areas and lots of parking. All for free! There's also a shallow, roped-off area that's perfect for kids or those who aren't strong swimmers. Houghton's Pond is located in the Blue Hills Reservation.
3. Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester
This spot has warm, incredibly clear water and lots of sunny rocks to sit with a book or just gaze out over the surf. The beach is normally pretty quiet, even during the summer months, so if you go on off-hours you're very likely to be one of only a few people on the sand. There isn't a public restroom, but there are port-a-potties available.
4. Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester
With beautiful white sands and lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Good Harbor Beach definitely deserves a visit this summer. When the tide is low enough, visitors can even walk to Salt Island (pictured). Parking is available in the parking lot for $10 per vehicle on weekdays and $15 on weekends and holidays. There are free restrooms at the adjacent public park.
5. Old Silver Beach, Falmouth
The warm waters and white sands of this Buzzards Bay beach earn this spot high marks. Since the beach faces west, you'll be treated to spectacular sunsets. There are outdoor showers, public restrooms, and a snack bar that is open during the summer months. There are two parking lots that cater to residents and paying visitors.
6. Duxbury Beach, Duxbury
This beach is 6 miles long and important barrier against coastal erosion. There's a parking lot, a snack bar (they call it a "food pavilion") with restrooms, showers and a full restaurant. This beach actually offers awesome sunrises AND sunsets. For the sunrise, head to the ocean side of the beach. For the sunset, scoot over to the Duxbury Bay side.
7. Chapoquoit Beach, West Falmouth
This beach is definitely off the beaten path, and though it doesn't have a large sandy swathe of coast, the calm waters and warm rocks are perfectly lovely. The beach offers a large parking lot, lifeguards, and stairs down to the narrow sandy area.
8. Madaket Beach, Nantucket
Head to this beach for the best sunsets in New England. Interestingly, the sand actually fills up more during the evening hours in anticipation of the sunset, so if you're looking for a reasonably quiet place for a daytime beach trip, this could be the spot.
9. Bound Brook Island Beach, Wellfleet
This beach is definitely one of the least crowded on this list. Because the journey to the beach requires a 25 minute hike through beautiful dunes and beach grass, you're very likely to find yourself alone on the sand. Even if there are a few other visitors, there's plenty of space to find your own private stretch of seaside.
10. Cahoon Hollow Beach, Wellfleet
You can't beat the view from the top of the Cahoon Hollow Beach cliffs. If you park at the Beachcomber restaurant and bar (located at the top of the cliffs) you'll receive a food voucher for the same amount. This spot is more well-known than others on this list, but might not be on the radar of those who live further inland.
11. Crowe's Beach, South Dennis
This beach is a local secret that you should definitely take advantage of. Though you will have to brave a dirt road (with some potholes) to reach this spot, your efforts will be rewarded by the sight of a beautiful, secluded beach that is often free of other visitors. To reach the beach, go to Main Street in East Dennis (6A) and then turn onto South Street.