15 Best Beaches in Massachusetts
Before even the Pilgrims settled, there sat Massachusetts' beautiful beaches, all waiting to be claimed and revived. Come take a journey with us as we explore Massachusetts' beautiful beaches.
Being the 7th smallest state, Massachusetts has numerous characteristic regions in the uppermost eastern corner where it sits and forms part of the United States' rugged edges.
Most notably, the large coastal plain of the Atlantic Ocean and the distinctive Cape Cod peninsula.
And yet, with so many beaches to choose from, residents and tourists alike in Massachusetts may have a hard time finding the best one.
Luckily, we're here to help you out!
In this article, we'll narrow down the 15 best beaches in Massachusetts.
From the Greater Boston area to Cape Cod to Gloucester to Falmouth, we took a look at various beaches, and added on a few of the best reasons to visit each.
Hopefully by the end, you'll find yourself caught in a tidal wave of charm from what this small but mighty state has to offer!
Best Beaches in Boston, Massachusetts
Listed below are the best Massachusetts beaches near Boston:
1. Spectacle Island Beach
#1 on our list of the best beaches in Massachusetts is Spectacle Island.
Spectacle Island is located about 20 minutes from downtown Boston and is home to a few beaches, namely Spectacle Island Beach.
A 114-acre island, this local destination makes it one of the most popular spots for various water sports and activities, such as hiking, swimming, boating, and camping.
Spectacle Island has quite a varied history, from supporting farming to eventually housing resort hotels.
Today, it mostly functions as a public park.
From atop North Drumlin, the highest point, you can even take in a glorious panoramic view of the Boston Harbor.
Most known for public jazz concerts, panoramic viewing.
2. Constitution Beach
Taking #2 on our list of the best beaches in Massachusetts is none other than Constitution Beach.
It comes as no surprise that, of course, one of the beaches in Massachusetts is named after a historic mark in time for the U.S.
Constitution Beach is a human-made, crescent-shaped beach located in East Boston and one of the top ten places for plane-watching.
Also known as "Shays Beach" among the locals, Constitution Beach is located directly across from Logan International Airport and close to downtown Boston.
Not only can you enjoy your day viewing the ocean's horizon, but also the prominent and visible airplanes taking off from the runway.
An ideal time to visit this eastern playground is sunset, when the Boston skyline becomes lit with a radiant pink and orange light.
It's worth the visit for anyone planning a small date to catch the tranquil sound of both waves and flights.
Most known for plane-watching, romantic dates.
3. Pleasure Bay Beach/Castle Island
#3 on our list of the best beaches in Massachusetts is Pleasure Bay Beach.
Looping to connect with City Point Beach and Castle Island, Pleasure Bay Beach is another local favorite, located in South Boston.
Castle Island itself is no longer an island, but serves as a recreation site.
It's also where you can tour Fort Independence, which has been around since the 1850s.
You can join plenty of other people running daily in the 2-mile loop around the bay.
What makes Pleasure Bay Beach even more pleasurable is that the waves' sound is gentle, almost non-existent.
A top recommendation to end your visit is to stop by the neighborhood star snack shack, Sullivan.
Most known for 2-mile jogging, Sullivan snack shack, Fort Independence, dog friendly (leash required).
4. Nantasket Beach
One of the busiest beaches in the Greater Boston area is Nantasket Beach.
Located in the Massachusetts town, Hull, and part of the Nantasket Beach Reservation, you may find yourself walking on fine and light grey sand while overlooking acres of flat and low tides.
This beach is considerably clean, but offers a great deal of local attractions as well.
Across the street, you'll find several restaurants, such as Weinberg's Bakery - check them out for the best pastries on the South Shore!
However, there are no public restrooms or snack shops on the beach.
If you want to catch some high tide, try to arrive earlier in the day.
Most known for plentiful parking and restaurants, large crowds, dog friendly (off season).
5. Revere Beach
Despite its deterioration in the late 70s due to a large blizzard, Revere Beach has been revived as one of Boston's well-known beaches and the first public beach in America.
It is located in Revere, Massachusetts, and north of downtown Boston.
In 2003, it even became designated as a National Historic Landmark.
One of the most common associations with Revere Beach is the New England Sand Sculpting Festival.
Each year in July, the beach is fenced off and becomes a temporary art gallery for visitors, including fireworks as a grand finale.
The younger crowds are also known to congregate here from Boston.
Three miles long and wide, you can enjoy volleyball, soccer, and international cuisine like Dryft, Valsos, Esquite - to name a few.
Most known for being a National Historic Landmark, family friendly, Sand Sculpting festival, dog friendly (off season).
6. Lovells Island Beach
Among the several islands of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area of Massachusetts, there is Lovells Island.
Most known for being a historical shipwreck site, Lovells Island also holds the historic Fort Standish.
Today, the small island is popular for camping, picnics, hiking through dunes and woods, and a non-supervised beach.
You'll find many campsites and an exciting range of habitats, from beaches to maritime forests.
The beach is relatively further out than the other island beaches nearby, making it a bit cleaner than most beaches.
We recommend setting yourself up on the shore, as it faces the city.
At night, you can see the city lights buzzing in the distance.
Most known for camping, shipwreck sight, Fort Standish.
Best Beaches in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Below are the best beaches in Cape Cod, Massachusetts:
7. Cape Cod National Seashore
The Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) includes ponds, woods, dunes, and a beachfront, including Marconi Beach.
Nearly 40 miles long, dozens of witnesses have observed frolicking seals and a vast amount of clean, beautiful sand to walk on.
You're also likely to spot a shark's fin if you bring binoculars.
Credited to President John F. Kennedy, tremendous conservation efforts have supported this national treasure to keep the beach clean.
Cape Cod National Seashore is ideal for a real naturalist.
You'll get as close as you can to viewing mother nature's true beauty in this expansive and well-preserved park.
Cape Cod National Seashore is most known for cleanliness, camping, seal-watching, and more wilderness sites.
Here's just a few of the beaches you'll find on Cape Cod National Seashore.
Bound Brook Island Beach
If hidden beaches are your thing, Bound Brook Island Beach is one of the best Cape Cod beaches.
This beach, on the Cape Cod Bay, is just a mile down a dirt road, and provides an amazing mix of seclusion and natural beauty.
Bound Brook Island Beach is most known for being a great secluded beach, and natural beauty.
Coast Guard Beach
If you're looking for a prime swimming beach, and you'd prefer to be on the Atlantic Ocean side, Coast Guard Beach is a great option.
Coast Guard Beach is a favorite for nature lovers, who can spot nesting plovers and terns during the early spring to early summer, and even seals during the winter months.
Coast Guard Beach offers all the must-have amenities to Beachgoers, including seasonal restrooms and a wheelchair-accessible ramp.
While Coast Guard Beach is a great family friendly beach, keep in mind it can get a bit crowded during the summer season.
If you're going during the busy season, you'll need to take a shuttle bus from the Little Creek parking area to get to Coast Guard Beach. More info on that here.
Coast Guard Beach is most known for swimming beaches, family friendly, great for nature lovers.
Not to be confused with Nauset Light Beach off the National Seashore, Nauset Beach is about 10 miles long and located in Orleans, Massachusetts, or near the east coast of outer Cape Cod.
It boasts relatively stronger tides, making it ideal for surfers and keen swimmers.
The sand is soft to powdery fine to walk on, without many rocky fractures.
Surfing is active between 9 AM and 6 PM, and fisherman can have a field day, with plentiful amounts of striped bass and bluefish being common.
Of note, however, is that Nauset Beach is also known for shark sightings.
Expect to see active lifeguards and shark warning signs.
The area is lined with food trucks, porta-potties, tables, and showers.
8. Mayflower Beach
Massachusetts is known for its pilgrimage landing of the Mayflower ship, which leads to the naming of one of its beaches - the Mayflower Beach.
Located on Cape Cod's north side, Mayflower Beach holds pristine sand, clear water, and usually low tides.
Mayflower Beach also offers breathtaking sunsets.
For those looking for a summertime treat, the beach has several snack bars.
Mayflower Beach provides a unique shoreline experience for sunset-chasers and photographers alike due to its vast stretch of tidal flats.
Mayflower Beach is pretty popular, so during the in-season, it can become quickly crowded. If crowds aren't your thing, another beach on this list may be a better option.
Mayflower Beach is most known for clean sand, sunset-watching, amenities.
Best Beaches in Gloucester, Massachusetts
Below are the best beaches in Gloucester, Massachusetts:
9. Half Moon Beach
If you prefer a beach with a more natural look, Half Moon Beach is a great choice.
The actual beach is located behind a huge boulder, making it a hidden gem.
Relax in the shades with a book, have a picnic, or even lie on the rocks for a nice suntan.
Half Moon Beach is a relatively small area, but ideal for rock climbing and even barbecues.
However, a heavy seaweed layer is at this beach, and while secluded, it's still a pretty popular spot that can get pretty crowded during the in season.
Bathrooms are found nearby with outdoor showers as well.
The water is shallow, and the beach is walkable from Gloucester Station.
Most known for affordable parking, secluded spot, tree shades, large rocks.
10. Wingaersheek Beach
Gloucester is also known for Wingaersheek Beach, which is situated in the western part of the town.
It runs along the Annisquam River and Ipswich Bay.
The long sandbar exposed to low tides there can make it ideal for strollers, wanderers, and lovers.
Compared to other beaches in Massachusetts, many Beachgoers claim that the water is warmer at Wingaersheek Beach.
The local residential community that naturally flock here are known to be friendly.
Family-oriented, it's also one of the best areas in the city for kids to run along and discover endless treasures - shells, hermits, jellyfish, and more.
Most known for low tides, family friendly.
11. Good Harbor Beach
Good Harbor Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Gloucester.
Good Harbor Beach looks out into the Atlantic Ocean and is cascaded with white sands.
Due to its popularity among residents, there are more amenities here, including concessions, showers, and toilets.
At the same time, however, parking fees can be relatively high.
Whether you're visiting at high or low tide, you can find tons of people bodyboarding, body surfing, playing Frisbee, digging, or throwing a football.
Located nearby is Salt Island, where you can walk to if it's at low tide.
Ideal for any crowd, we recommend early entry for available parking.
Good Harbor Beach is most known for vast space, family friendly.
12. Crane Beach
Crane Beach comes in at #12 on our list, and is one of the most popular beaches in Massachusetts.
In fact, Crane Beach is visited by more than 350,000 people annually!
If nature is what you seek, Crane Beach is an excellent option.
Crane Beach is located in Ipswich, so it's close enough to Gloucester for a day trip.
It's is one of the world's most important nesting sites for piping plovers, who, if you've been to the Outer Banks, have likely seen before.
Just be sure to stay off of the protected grounds - piping plovers need their space for nesting.
Crane Beach has a ton to offer, with over 1,200 acres of beach front.
Areas of the beach are protected by lifeguards and rangers, and there's bathhouses, picnic tables, a general store for snacks and gifts, and water fountains - all available in-season.
For hikers, Crane Beach offers 5 1/2 miles of trails in the dunes and maritime forest.
On top of all this, Crane Beach makes an excellent family friendly beach, due to having lifeguards available 8AM-5PM in season.
Crane Beach is most known for family friendly, hiking, lifeguard beaches.
Best Beaches in Falmouth, Massachusetts
13. Chapoquoit Beach
One of the best sunset spots in Falmouth is at Chapoquoit Beach, or "Chappy" and "Buzzards Bay."
The water is also clear and gorgeous, with almost no seaweed.
Children can run amok catching sand crabs and finding hidden gems in the sand.
Off the beaten path, this beach in West Falmouth makes it less known to tourists.
You can wine and dine here, sitting on rocks when it's at high tide.
Most known for small space, family friendly, low tides.
14. Old Silver Beach
There are few westward-facing beaches in Massachusetts, but Old Silver Beach is one of them.
Many people visit this beach, known for its warm, shallow water and rich sunsets.
The far end of the beach is rocky, but overall Old Silver Beach is a great spot to swim and take a few beach walks.
A beach house sits amidst the frequently busy crowds and offers changing stations.
Snack bars and large restaurant chains are found nearby.
While you're out in Cape Cod, enjoy traversing the rocks and pebbles along the fine, white sand of Old Silver Beach.
Most known for soft sand, affordable parking.
15. Wood Neck Beach
Two miles from downtown Falmouth, Wood Neck Beach is a small and narrow area with a rocky shoreline.
Some would claim this is one of the best beaches in Falmouth.
It's usually not overcrowded and noisy with music or wild events.
Grass-covered dunes are also nearby.
While considered a relatively small beach, the locals have claimed that Wood Neck is where the Cape's loveliest sunset is.
Before arriving, we recommend you to visit Surf Beach or Silver Beach nearby, where they both sell passes, as Wood Neck does not.
Most known for sunset watching, quiet beach.
As you can see, Massachusetts has tons of great beaches to offer.
Whether you're in Boston, Falmouth, Cape Cod, or even Gloucester, this coastal state has something for you.
So go out there and explore some Massachusetts beaches!