Boston is home to mouthwatering seafood, a premier aquarium and several family-friendly museums. But did you know that it’s also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation? With miles of sandy shoreline, breathtaking views and plenty of history to soak in, a day at a Boston beach is sure to be an enjoyable one for the entire family. Here’s our roundup of 17 of the best beaches near Boston.
Whether you live nearby or are just passing through, Boston, Massachusetts, packs a ton of family fun for a weekend or day trip. With an incredible aquarium, several family-friendly museums, a 43-mile harborwalk and some of the best seafood restaurants you’ll ever try, there’s certainly no shortage of things to do.
However, if you’re visiting in the summer, the list of things to do gets longer. Why? Because Boston is also home to some of the most incredible beaches on the east coast and in the U.S.! With many beaches located within an hour of the harbor, it isn’t hard to spend a day soaking up the sun and sticking your toes in the sand.
Here’s where you can find 17 of the best beaches near Boston:
Located north of Cape Ann in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Crane Beach offers four miles of sandy and spectacular beachfront. In addition to its beautiful beach, this 1,234 acre conservation and recreation property also offers dunes and a maritime forest, making for a lovely day of sun, sand and play for the entire family.
Families looking to take a dip can do so in the clean and inviting beach waters with miles of amazing waterfront views. Lifeguards are present from Memorial Day to Labor Day. While swimming and sunbathing are among the most popular activities at Crane Beach, there are also plenty of activities to enjoy year-round including taking a stroll down the boardwalk, birdwatching or hiking the 5.5 miles of winding trails and coastal dunes.
Between Memorial Day there is also a bathhouse complex with a refreshment stand, beach store, restrooms and an EMT with first aid.
Located in South Boston on the shore of Boston Harbor, Castle Island is no longer an actual island, but a peninsula that was connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land back in 1928.
Castle Island offers incredible views of the Boston Harbor and is also home to a small beach overlooking Pleasure Bay for families looking to cool off. However, just a short three-minute walk away is the larger and livelier Pleasure Bay beach for families looking to swim and sunbathe. There are also lifeguards during the summer months, a large playground and designated picnic areas.
However, Castle Island is so much more than just a day of swimming and sunbathing. It is also packed with interesting history. The biggest feature of Castle Island is the pentagon-shaped Fort Independence, a granite fort used by the military during World War I and World War II. Families who are history buffs and want to learn more can take a free tour of the Fort, which is in the National Register of Historic Places (along with the island itself).
Read More: Awesome Attractions in Massachusetts
Pleasure Bay Beach offers a half-mile of beachfront for families looking to cool off on a hot summer day. Located right next to Castle Island, it’s a good way to relax after a day touring Fort Independence.
This beach offers plenty of space to lay out and build sandcastles or take a swim in the cool waters. I know my eight-year-old son could spend hours laying out and watching the airplanes take off from the nearby Logan Airport. There is also a large playground nearby for kids who want to take a break from the beach.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to the popular Sullivan’s restaurant where they serve up a variety of food including burgers, hot dogs, clams and ice cream!
SheBuysTravel Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a beach vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
Also known as L Street Beach, Carson Beach is part of the three-mile stretch of beaches along the South Boston shoreline. If you’re looking for a fun beach day without having to leave the city, Carson Beach is the best place to go.
With incredible views, Carson Beach is usually a hotspot with familes out swimming, playing volleyball and soaking up the sun and sand. The beach also has amenities such as a mother’s rest area, courtyards, restrooms, showers and a lifeguard during the summer months.
Families looking to explore can take a waterfront walk or bike ride from Castle Island to the Kennedy Library, or stroll the nearby Boston Harborwalk. Carson Beach is both accessible by public transportation via the Red Line to JFK/UMass. If you’re driving, there’s also a limited free parking.
Also along the shoreline also is M Street Beach, a slightly rocky beach ideal for families looking to enjoy the scenery and shoreline. While not particularly known for swimming, lifeguards are present. If you have your furry family member with you, M Street Beach is a great place to take them for a walk or run along the beach.
Historically known as “the People’s Beach,” Revere Beach is the first public beach in the United States and certainly one of the best beaches near Boston. If you’re looking for a lively beach packed with plenty to do for the entire family, you’ll want to add this beach to your list!
Just five miles north of Boston, Revere Beach has all you need to enjoy a family day at the beach including athletic fields, a public bathhouse, pavilions and food vendors. It is easily accessible from Boston via the T’s Blue Line for families who don’t want to drive. Because of its three-mile long crescent shaped shoreline that gradually slopes out into the waters, it is a great beach for swimming even for the younger family members. There are also lifeguards present during the summer months.
Revere Beach is also home to the flagship Revere Beach International Sand-Sculpting Festival (ISSF), which draws thousands to the area to view amazing sand sculptures from sculptors around the world. This is right up my son’s alley, who could spend hours building sandcastles both on the beach and at home with his Kinetic Sand kit! This free and family-friendly beach festival also brings along with it live entertainment, fireworks and food vendors.
Also known as Shays Beach by the Boston locals, Constitution Beach is a man-made crescent-shaped beach with little to no waves. Not only is it one of the best beaches near Boston with amazing views of the Boston Harbor, but it is also one of the most kid-friendly beaches for a day trip with the family.
In addition to its calm, swimmable beach with attentive lifeguards, Constitution Beach also has numerous amenities to keep everyone entertained. Kids will have a blast on the large playground situated right on the beach. Nearby there are baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts and handball courts. There is also a large open field for running and playing, shaded picnic areas and a bathhouse with concessions.
A protected coastal reservation and hidden-gem of Boston’s North Shore, the Nahant Beach reservation has 67 acres of beach and recreational fun for a relaxing and enjoyable day with the family.
Located 12 miles from Boston, Nahant Beach is open year-round and offers miles of clean, quiet and sandy beaches with a picturesque view of the New England coastline. The beach is a great place to surf, take a stroll or just sit back and relax under the sun. Because of its shape and shallow waters, Nahant Beach is another one of the best beaches near Boston for families of young children. There are seasonal lifeguards on site for added safety.
In addition to the beach, there are numerous bike paths and a two-mile walkway with beautiful scenery. There’s also ramp access for boaters as well as athletic fields, a bathhouse, a restaurant and a snack bar. The only downside is that there isn’t much shade, so it may be a good idea to bring your own beach umbrella!
One of the busiest beaches in Greater Boston, Nantasket Beach is a popular summer destination for families to escape the heat. Nantasket Beach is located in Hull, Massachusetts, about an hour from Boston. Its beach has soft, light gray sands and about one mile of shoreline. During low tide, the beach also has acres of tide pools.
The beach is great for partaking in the typical beach activities such as swimming, sunbathing and sandcastles, but there are also many other ways to pass the day. There’s the 1.5 mile promenade trial, perfect for walking, biking or jogging. My son would happily take a break from the water with a ride or two on the historic Paragon Carousel. And during the summers, there are a number of public concerts to enjoy in the evening. There are also restrooms, a bathhouse and restaurants nearby.
With its beautiful soft white sands and breathtaking sunsets, Good Harbor Beach isn’t just one of the best beaches near Boston, but it is also one of the best beaches in the U.S.! Good Harbor beach is located less than an hour northeast of Boston in Gloucester and makes a wonderful day trip for soaking up the sun with the family.
If you visit during high tide, you can have some fun swimming or body surfing on boogie boards. In fact, high tide is probably the best time to go if swimming is your priority. However, if you visit at low tide, a land bridge reveals itself and you can walk out to Salt Island.
Concessions, restrooms and showers are available, as well as lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It’s important to note that surfing, inflatable objects and floatation devices (with the exception of boogie boards) are prohibited when lifeguards are on duty. Good Harbor Beach is also handicapped accessible and has beach wheelchairs available. Parking is limited, so if you visit during the busier days you’ll want to arrive early!
Just under an hour northeast of Boston in Manchester-By-The-Sea, Singing Beach is one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in New England as well as in the nation!
Just shy of a half-mile wide, Singing Beach is popular for its “singing” sands that squeak under your feet when you walk. This North Shore beach is also popular for swimming and taking in the gorgeous scenery. There’s a bathhouse with a privately run snack stand as well as restrooms with showers and changing stalls. There are also great restaurants located nearby in the downtown area.
If you’re not a Boston resident, make sure to check before heading out whether non-resident parking is available. There are certain times of year that only resident parking is available. However, the beach is also accessible via the commuter rail which isn’t far away.
One of the 34 Boston Harbor Islands and peninsulas, Spectacle Island is just a 30 minute ferry ride from Boston. With 105 acres of beach and amenities, it’s no surprise that it is among one of the best beaches near Boston!
Spectacle Beach doesn’t just offer panoramic views of the Boston Harbor, but it also offers a life-guarded swimming beach, five miles of walking trails, a marina, cafe and a visitor center with exhibits. It is an excellent way to spend a day swimming, hiking or boating with the family. If you’re up to it, hike to the top of North Drumlin, a 155-foot hill where you’ll find a gazebo with picnic tables to relax. North Drumlin is the highest point in Boston with beautiful 360-degree views.
Located in Gloucester, Long Beach has a 1.5-mile white sand coast line with incredible views of the Thatcher’s Island twin lighthouses. Just an hour north of Boston, this beautiful beach makes a great day trip from the city to enjoy a quiet day in the sun and sand.
A day at Long Beach can be spent swimming, surfing or boogie boarding in the waves. The beach is also great for taking a stroll or splashing in one of the tidal pools. In addition to the striking views of the twin lighthouses, there’s also the beautiful view of the quaint New England cottages and inns along the shoreline. On the Rockport side of the beach are lifeguards for added safety. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head into town for a delicious lobster dinner!
Located in North Quincy, Massachusetts, Wollaston Beach is the largest beach in the Boston Harbor. Part of the Quincy Shores Reservation, this beach offers plenty of activities and historical landmarks for a fun beach day with the family.
With 2.5 miles of sandy shoreline, the south end of the beach offers a play area, lookout towers and picnic tables to enjoy an afternoon picnic. During the summer, there are lifeguards on duty to keep you safe while you take a dip. On the north end of the beach is Moswetuset Hummock, a National Historic Site with a mix of woodland trails and marshland. The beach is also popular for its jogging and biking trail.
If you love seafood as much as I do, you’ll be happy to find two fried clam restaurants across the street from the beach. There are also restrooms on site as well as some free parking.
Located off the coast of Newbury and Newburyport, Plum Island is a barrier island off the North Shore of Massachusetts. The island gets its name from the wild beach plum shrubs that grow on its dunes as well as the purple sands that appear at high tide. It is a popular summer destination among families, making it one of the best beaches near Boston.
The island is approximately 11 miles in length, providing miles of sandy beaches to explore and soak up some sun and sand. Beachgoers can enjoy a day of swimming, surfing or fishing. Visitors to the island can also enjoy hiking, birdwatching or exploring more than 800 species of wildlife at the Parker River Wildlife Sanctuary. At the southern tip of the island is Sandy Point State Park, a great place to go tide pooling. In the town of Newburyport you can find restaurants to refuel after an exciting day on the island.
Located in the western part of Gloucester, Massachusetts, Wingaersheek Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area with incredible views of the Ipswich Bay and Annisquam Lighthouse. It’s an ideal beach for families because of the sandbar that appears during low tide, making it a safe place to take a walk and swim.
Low tide is also a good time to explore sea life in the tidal pools. If your child is anything like my son, they will have a ball searching for and collecting hermit crabs. On the beach is a concession stand that offers delicious food and drinks as well as beach toys for the kids. There are also restrooms with showers to rinse off after a day of playing in the sand.
Extending from south to north along the Atlantic Ocean, Salisbury Beach offers 3.8 miles of beautiful shoreline for a beach getaway with the family.
With a number of boardwalks that stretch from the parking lot, over the dunes and onto the beach, you and the kids will feel welcomed and ready to enjoy the beach as soon as you arrive. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months for your added comfort as well as restrooms, showers and changing stalls. You’ll also find a playground and carousel when the kiddos need a break from the water.
Nearby there are shops, restaurants and even arcades for video game lovers like my son. With all there is to keep the family busy, there’s no surprise that Salisbury Beach is among the best beaches near Boston!
Kimberly Miles is a mother of one and an experienced solo and single mom traveler. So far, she has traveled to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Dubai, Bahamas, Aruba, Mexico, and several places in the U.S. Kimberly was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, but in 2018 she took a leap of faith and made the beautiful beach town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico her home with her young son.
In addition to writing for SheBuysTravel, Kimberly ghostwrites blogs on a variety of topics. She also provides marketing consulting services and business guidance to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and corporations via her independent business KNM Virtual Solutions.
When she’s not traveling or writing, you can find Kimberly working out, eating tacos, dancing the night away, or spending time at the beach with her son. You can read more of her work at Travel Unapologetically.