Massachusetts brings a pretty strong beach game. From the Cape to the North Shore and all our beautiful islands, we have no shortage of stunning ocean views and beautiful seasides. Check out this mix of classic favorites and lesser-known gems for a great summer beach hit-list and soak up the sunshine all season long.
1. Revere Beach, Revere
Do you wanna build a sandcastle? This is the place. The annual Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival brings together artists from all over the country, as well as local sculptors and amateurs, and provides the public with a chance to marvel at incredible works of art and whimsy. This is also the nation's first public beach; it was established 1896 and has been a local and state-wide attraction ever since.
2. Mayflower Beach, Dennis
This beach is HUGE. You'll have almost limitless space to fly kites, play some beach sports, or just stroll about. The sand is clean and white (almost powdery) and there are barely any rocks, seashells, or seaweed to get in your way. The water is quite warm in the summer and the snack bars serve a variety of food and beverages in case all that sun gets to your stomach. The one drawback might be the parking situation: if you arrive at 1pm on a Saturday, expect a bit of a wait for a spot. This is also not a particularly cheap beach, as it's $20 to park from Mon-Fri, and $25 to park Sat-Sun & Holidays. So bring friends and split the cost!
3. Crane Beach, Ipswich
This beach strikes the perfect balance between recreation and conservation. Crane Beach is among the world's most important nesting sites for piping plovers, an extremely endangered bird that was almost hunted to extinction in the 19th century. Besides an ecological conscience, this place offers gorgeous sands, beautiful vistas, and plenty of trails and boardwalks through a landscape of sand dunes and salt marshes. Open 8 am to sunset.
4. Aquinnah Public Beach, Martha's Vineyard
This is probably the most dramatic seaside setting in Massachusetts. The sedimentary deposit of clay that form the cliffs are layered in bright streaks of yellow, red, green, and white. The colors become doubly striking at the sun sets; you won't be able to decide between looking out over the water or gazing at the brilliant rainbow behind you. The beach is about a 10-minute walk from the parking lot, so be prepared for a quick jaunt there and back.
5. Mayo Beach, Wellfleet
This spot is perfect for grabbing a seafood platter and watching the waves roll in. Check out Mac's on the Pier for a local favorite that makes for an authentic Cape feast in an incredible setting.
6. Marconi Beach, Wellfleet
7. Houghton’s Pond, Blue Hills Reservation in Milton (This place is beautiful in all seasons!)
Just 12 miles from Boston, this family-friendly kettle pond boasts sandy shores, lifeguards, and LOTS of free parking. They even have a roped-off shallow swimming area that's perfect for younger kids and less-confident swimmers of all ages. There are changing rooms too, so no need to stay in your soggy bathing suit after the fun is through.
10. Madaket Beach, Nantucket
Catch the best sunset in New England at this stunning spot. A beach with tremendous natural beauty, Madaket is perfect for a romantic picnic, complete with wine and cheese.
11. Spectacle Island Beach, Boston Harbor Islands
You don't need to brave Cape traffic to get your beach fix this summer. This gorgeous island is just 20 minutes from downtown Boston! Set sail for Spectacle Island and have a beach day close to home (if home is the Boston area, of course). Take in panoramic views of the harbor and city from the tallest hill on the Boston Harbor Islands. The marina makes it a popular destination for boaters and there is a nearby visitors center where you can learn about the local ecology and the best places to hike, fish, and catch some rays. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer and the beach officially opens in May.
12. Chatham Lighthouse Beach, Chatham
This is one of the top-rated beaches in Massachusetts, and with good reason. Besides spectacular views of the ocean, this beach has some of the most picturesque sandbars you'll find anywhere. Go at the right time and you may catch sight of hundreds of seals swimming towards Chatham harbor or sunning themselves on the sand. Once you've had your fill of the sun and surf you can head up the beach and check out Chatham Lighthouse.
13. Coast Guard Beach, Eastham
14. Menemsha Beach, Martha's Vineyard
If you're looking for a quieter alternative to the busier beaches on Martha's Vineyard, the town beach of Menemsha is a real gem. Take in the fantastic island sunset without jostling for blanket space. Check out local Menemsha Seafood or grab a bunch of fried clams at The Bite.
We’re so lucky to have such incredible beaches right in our backyards! What’s your favorite Massachusetts beach?