Also known as the Bay State, Massachusetts has some of the best beaches in the country, if not the world, making it one of the most popular summer vacation destinations in America.
It has approximately 200 miles of coastline dominated by the three big bays of Cape Cod, Buzzards, and Massachusetts. Some of the beaches there are serene and secluded, while others are crowded and lively.
This state borders the Gulf of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean, making it ideal for beach life.
Many people already know Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, but it doesn’t hurt to explore some other less-known, pretty, and new swathes of sand that one can find up and down the Massachusetts coastline. This article will share the ten best beaches in Massachusetts.
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Best Beaches in Massachusetts MAP
Crane Beach, Ipswich
Crane Beach makes the top of our list of the best beaches in Massachusetts. This long and narrow beach is located on the Atlantic Ocean in Ipswich.
Crane Beach is particularly famous because of its breathtaking beauty. It’s an ideal place for families, couples, and anyone who wants a romantic time.
The shorelines here remain unspoiled by developments and constructions. As a result, most of the beach is open and free of crowds, leaving one with ample space to enjoy the incredible views of nature.
Crane Beach is flanked on its north side by a large salt marsh lagoon, which offers excellent opportunities for bird watching as it attracts many species of birds during different seasons of the year.
Crane Beach is ideal for swimming and surfing due to the calm waters. The beach also features a long, sandy wetland. However, this part of the beach is restricted from the public due to wildlife preservation efforts undertaken by local wildlife biologists.
This beach consists of gently sloping dunes covered mainly by dune grass.
Crane Beach comes with free concessions and bathroom facilities.
A trip to Boston definitely doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a bit of beach vacation. Nahant Beach is just half an hour outside of the city and is a popular weekend getaway among many locals.
It’s open all year round. And even though it can get rather busy in summer, the crowds spread around this vast coastline and you will always find a spot for you.
There is a two-mile-long promenade perfect for walking, biking, or jogging and relishing the views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Boston skyline.
Thanks to the soft sand and shallow waters, Nahant Beach is also suitable for families with toddlers. What’s more, nearby, there are ballfields, racketballs, and tennis courts.
There is an ample parking lot. However, better get there early as it tends to fill fast.
Good Harbor Beach
This picturesque, curved beach with white sand and gentle surf is popular with residents and visitors.
Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, America’s oldest seaport, is not only beautiful but also peaceful and quiet.
As the name suggests, the soft sand is protected from the endless onslaught of the Atlantic Ocean by the rocky headlands and islands surrounding the beach.
This allows for some fantastic swimming and paddling in the water. There is also a small stream and a wooden boardwalk that leads across the white sand.
At low tide you can walk to nearby Salt Island and search for shells and crabs in the tide pools and marshes.
While you work on your tan, take in the breathtaking views of cliff-top homes, rock formations, and offshore islands that line the beach.
Lifeguards are on duty daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Good Harbor Beach is one of the carry-in carry-out beaches in Gloucester. Please take your trash with you when you leave the beach.
Restrooms and showers are also available daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. In the event of inclement weather, all facilities may close earlier. Parking for non-residents at the beach can be reserved online.
Mayflower Beach, Dennis
Mayflower Beach is a favorite family getaway among residents of Dennis on Cape Cod Bay. It boasts some of the best surfing spots in the country. With over 15 miles of beautiful shoreline, one is never too far from water sports.
Mayflower Beach is breathtakingly beautiful. An array of trees and low-hanging branches complement its long, golden stretch of sand. This array of trees also helps block out the sun. With the onshore breeze, it feels just like a tropical island.
In summer, crowds are pretty common, and one will want to get to Mayflower Beach by 9 AM to grab a good place along the shoreline.
The waters there are calm, the scenery is spectacular, and there are a variety of activities to enjoy. They retreat to unveil expansive tidal flats, amazing pools, and many beautiful low-lying sandbars at low tide.
In addition to exploring its sands and taking pictures of the sun rays glinting off the sand, one can picnic with friends and family, play, or even look for shells and periwinkles.
Overall, Mayflower Beach is a local favorite and a popular destination among tourists.
Madaket Beach, Nantucket
Surrealism at its finest, Madaket Beach on Nantucket is a popular gathering spot for tourists. It lies at the southwestern end of the isolated isle of Nantucket.
It is famed for its spellbinding sunsets and its soft sands. The soft sands mean one can quickly get here by bike, shuttle bus, or car.
The sand here is a gorgeous golden hue encircled by a white-sand beach, contrasting beautifully with the turquoise ocean waters.
This beach is famous for its blue holes formed when the ocean water recedes and collides with the sand. Bird watchers can also enjoy the seabirds that congregate on the beach.
The old fishing village vibe and the vibrant crowds make Madaket Beach one of the most popular beaches to visit in Massachusetts.
The beach is excellent for sunbathing, paddling, and strolling about. However, its rough surf makes all swimming activities difficult. To counter this challenge, lifeguards keep an eye on it during summer.
From here, sunsets are an incredible sight. One can sit by the fine sands or dunes and enjoy striking sunsets over the ocean and the nearby island of Tuckernuck.
In addition to swimming challenges, there is a lack of enough amenities on this beach. However, it doesn’t mean one has to walk for long distances to get some lunch. The famous Millie’s restaurant is just a short walk away. To ensure a great time, people can also bring their own packed food, drinks, and other accessories such as chairs.
Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown
Herring Cove Beach is an excellent beach for those who want to get away from the mob scenes of more crowded beaches. Located right outside the town center of Provincetown, this is a great secret that many locals keep in their back pockets.
It’s hard to imagine why people would want to come here only to escape the hectic crowds at other beaches. But a visit will make one understand that there is more to this serene beach than only a calm environment. It has a perfect combination of a beautiful beach, calm and clear ocean waters, and fun activities to enjoy.
This place is also ideal for taking pictures of the sunset. The shimmering light on the water makes for some incredible images. One can also see seals and whales offshore sometimes.
Dunes often surround this landscape. The peninsula’s long, sweeping sands and lush tidal marshes offer some fantastic views of the bay.
An additional feature of this beach is optional clothing. It means that naturists can come here, relax, and enjoy the sun. Many beachgoers also visit the nearby Pilgrim Monument.
Marconi Beach, Wellfleet
Marconi Beach is famous among locals and tourists. It is named after the famous Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. Guglielmo was the man credited with sending the first transatlantic wireless message from the very shores of this beach.
Marconi Beach is a favorite of surfers and sailors and an excellent place for families and swimmers.
Marconi Beach is located along the Cape Cod National Seashore outside of Wellfleet. It’s one of the better beaches at the Cape because it features a fun sandy beach and a gorgeous backdrop of dunes.
The water there is usually calm, but strong currents sweep across sometimes. This beach is best visited right after a storm or calm day.
One of the best things about this beach is its cleanliness. It isn’t clogged with lots of debris or plastic pieces that are so common at other famous beaches.
Steep sandy cliffs and high bluffs back the beach, enabling it to offer some breathtaking views of the Atlantic and the bay below.
The size of this fantastic beach fluctuates every year. This fluctuation results from the wild winds and waves that occasionally hit the coast. The harsh winds make Marconi an ideal place for boogie-boarding, surfing, and skimboarding.
Nauset Beach, Eastham
Nauset Beach is located just south of the famous Cape Cod town of Eastham. The beach here attracts a lot of tourists from across the country.
It’s a safe and calm spot for water activities and serves as an ideal spot for relaxing and watching the sunset over the ocean.
The beach is lined with soft dunes strewn beautifully on its edges.
Nauset Beach stretches over about ten miles along a vast part of Cape Cod’s east coast.
This ample space ensures that the beach never gets crowded. Many parts are almost deserted most of the time. It means that one can take as much space as they like while swimming and enjoying other recreational activities.
The famous widow’s walk on its headlands is this beach’s most noteworthy geological feature.
Here also, one can spot seals as they swim offshore.
Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Set just a short drive from Manchester-by-the-Sea, Singing Beach got its name from the distinctive melody you can come across there. It comes from the sand which, because of its texture, produces particular sounds when dry and walked on.
Even though it’s rather tiny – it’s just over a half mile long – it never gets too crowded. The sand is also very soft and clean and the waters are known to be spectacularly clear.
Facilities include showers, restrooms, a snack bar with great local pizza, and a parking lot. You can also leave your car in the town.
Note that in summer, you have to pay a small fee to enter the beach. But in winter, it’s free.
Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester
Wingaersheek Beach is located in Gloucester and stretches for about ten miles along the Annisquam River.
The name comes from the Dutch word for wings and refers to two sets of parallel dunes and sand flats that connect at the ends, making it an ideal place to enjoy sunbathing and swimming.
Topographies like these are limited to a few areas in Cape Cod. Wingaersheek Beach is one of the best beaches in Massachusetts, encompassing thousands of acres. Its beach fronts consist of crystal clear waters and soft sands.
Visitors can also enjoy many other activities here, such as clamming, fishing, biking, and hiking. Additionally, there are also areas available for camping and hunting. Most of the lands at Wingaersheek Beach were part of Camp Edwards – a military base built during World War II.
Availability of bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms also play a significant role in making it a convenient place to visit.
Chatham Lighthouse Beach, Chatham
Chatham Lighthouse Beach is named after the charming lighthouse that lies just to its north. Occupying the southeastern corner of Cape Cod, Chatham Bay’s perfect white sand beaches are lined with dunes, offering a pleasant environment for picnics.
The beach faces both the North Beach Island and the Nantucket Sound.
As a result of the adjacent aisle, the waters here are calm and peaceful and are suitable for families with young ones.
At low tide, one can walk out to some sandbars where they can see seals resting or on their daily migration up and down the coast.
Aside from all the sunbathing and swimming experiences, the beach’s historic old lighthouse, built back in 1877, also acts as a significant attraction.
Those are just some of the best beaches in Massachusetts, which one shouldn’t miss on their next visit. However, there are many more fantastic beaches in Massachusetts. These eight have managed to rise to the finest ranks in Massachusetts due to their perfect environment for recreational activities like swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, fishing, and clamming.
They also feature scenic beauty unmatched by other Cape Cod beaches, leaving one with a memorable experience.
Most of these beaches also come with bathrooms, changing rooms, and other facilities needed for enjoying a sunny day at the beach.
A few of these beaches have something unique to offer visitors, like historic lighthouses, wetlands providing great opportunities for bird watching, and beautiful salt marshes that help create an ideal living environment for plants and marine life.
While the beaches mentioned in our list are the best in Massachusetts, there are many more that one should include in their next visit.
Whether it’s the urge to have a chillaxing weekend or just a day at the beach, Massachusetts and its wonderful beach life have it all.