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They offer fantastic retreats from the city without having to leave it. Boston’s North and South Shores have some most beautiful beaches, all within an hour’s drive of the city (summer traffic withstanding).
For those without easy access to a car, the Hub includes several urban sandbars where they may rest or take a refreshing plunge in the water. Warm waves, a front-row seat to giant aircraft taking to the sky, forts to explore, and, of course, easy access to some good old New England seafood are just some of the attractions offered by beaches in the Boston area.
However, with so many Beaches to select from, it can be difficult to determine which ones are best for families. So we’ve compiled a list of ten of our favorite summertime beaches, all of which are within an hour’s drive of Boston.
9 Best Beaches
1. Crane Beach
Because of its beauty and amenities, Crane Beach on the North Shore is one of the most beautiful beaches to stake out a space in the sand in the summer. The beach is part of the Crane Estate, which is owned by the Trustees of Reservations; thus, it’s in excellent condition.
It’s a perfect area to bring kids because of the soft sand, gentle waves, enormous tidepools at low tide, and large parking lot. More than five kilometers of coastal dunes pathways are available for visitors to explore—tour Castle Hill, a now-separate estate that features the exquisite Crane mansion and gardens.
2. Boston Harbor Islands: Spectacle Island
Even the rockier areas of Spectacle Island’s shoreline provide ideal sites for walking, picnicking, and shooting the stunning scenery. Lifeguards patrol the beach during the summer months, which is open from May until Columbus Day. The eco-friendly tourist center features changing displays as well as a chronicle of the island’s evolution.
The city skyline can be seen from here on a clear day. Boaters flock to the little marina. The five-mile loop around the island, which offers breathtaking views of Boston, will delight hikers. During the summer season, ferries frequently run from Long Wharf.
Spectacle Island, located just offshore from Boston and roughly 20 minutes by ferry from downtown, provides visitors with one of the few sandy beaches among the Harbor Islands.
3. Carson Beach
Carson Beach is a public beach situated in South Boston, Massachusetts.
A three-mile stretch of beach lining Dorchester Bay, immediately south of Pleasure Bay and Castle Island, includes Carson Beach and the M and L Street Beaches. The beach widens and backs into Joe Moakley Park at its southernmost point, where you can play pick-up basketball, bring the kids to the playground, or simply sprawl out on the grass to get away from the sand.
The L Street Beach is the starting point for the L Street Brownies’ annual polar plunge on New Year’s Day during the off-season. Food vendors, as well as volleyball and bocce courts, are available in Carson Beach.
The Carson beach is sandy and smooth, and the views of Boston Harbor are spectacular.
4. Dorchester Beaches – Malibu Beach and Savin Hill Beach
Though it doesn’t have the same glitzy reputation as its Californian counterpart, Malibu Beach in Dorchester is just as popular with the locals. This beachfront Dot site extends over into Savin Hill Beach and its children’s playground, making it ideal for a family day out. During the summer, lifeguards are on duty at both beaches.
The beaches are part of the Dorchester Shores Reservation, which also includes Tenean Beach, which is about a mile from Savin Hill Beach.
Because of their location in Dorchester Bay Basin, a little inlet tucked away from the main bay. They encircle much of the Neponset River’s mouth as it flows into Boston Harbor. Tennis and basketball courts, as well as a bathhouse and playgrounds, are all available.
To get to Savin Hill station, take the Red Line. Turn right into Denny Street as you walk toward your right on Savin Hill Avenue. At the end of the street, you’ll see Savin Hill Beach on the right and Malibu Beach on the left.
5. Castle Beach
Even on the hottest summer days, Castle Island provides excellent city views and a refreshing wind. Castle Island used to be a real island off the coast of Boston Harbor, facing Pleasure Bay. A narrow strip of land joined it to the mainland, and it became a peninsula in 1928.
Even though the island is now connected to the mainland by a spit of land, you will still be surrounded by water when you stroll out to the historic Fort Independence. There are tours of the Fort available, as well as further information about all of the Harbor Islands from the expert guides.
6. Revere Beach
Revere Beach is America’s oldest public beach. This 3-mile crescent in the Boston area is a popular – and very crowded – refuge, so don’t expect to find solitude here.
On hot summer days, even throughout the week, this beach will be busy with sunbathers and breeze-seekers. Walking down Revere Boulevard, which runs parallel to the shore, is an option for visitors. Between Revere Beach and downtown Boston, the T’s Blue Line provides service.
7. Wollaston Beach
Wollaston Beach, part of the Quincy Shore Reservation, dates from 1908 and is made up of three independent sand areas—Wollaston, Atlantic, and Fenno—that were linked together to create Boston Harbor’s largest beach.
Quincy, a site famed for its historical landmarks, is a 30-minute drive south of the city. Make your way to Wollaston Beach after exploring and brushing up on your presidential knowledge.
This famous site, which is located on Quincy Bay and features a two-mile continuous promenade, is ideal for individuals who prefer to work out while enjoying a view of the ocean. The crowd is diverse and welcoming to families.
Quincy Shore Drive, which has street parking, runs next to the shore. Concession stands can also be found in a variety of venues. Several well-known seafood shacks are located across the street, where you can get your fill of fresh New England fish.
From the shore, you can see Boston, the Harbor Islands, and Hull, which is close by.
8. Nantasket Beach
Nantasket Beach is on the south shore of Hull, on a peninsula that juts out from Hull and into Boston Harbor. This mile-long, one of the most beautiful beaches is the best place to enjoy a summer day and is a popular destination for sun-seeking weekenders from the large city.
The sandy shores “where tides meet” are reflected in the Wampanoag Indian name. Children of all ages enjoy exploring the shallow waters in search of sea creatures. Athletic grounds, tennis courts, volleyball courts, a playground, and restrooms can all be found here. Early evening activities include summer concerts and public dance lessons.
Parking is provided for a cost, and arriving early on busy summer weekends is highly recommended. Nearby, World’s End, a 250-acre conservation area, is a hiker’s paradise.
The Nantasket Beach Resort boasts rooms with amazing views of the sea and offers panoramic views. The Beach Shack is stocked with all of the essentials for a day of fun in the sun.
Stay outside even after the sun sets—the Bernie King Pavilion hosts a monthly summer concert series, and the restaurants and snack bars along Nantasket Avenue are all within walking distance of the shore.
9. Pleasure Bay Beach
This popular summer destination offers a variety of family-friendly attractions, including a large bathhouse. The beach along this body of water, along with Carson and M Street beaches, constitutes a three-mile stretch of parkland along Southie’s portion of Dorchester Bay.
There’s lots of space for riding, strolling, and simply relaxing on the seaside seats.
It’s hard to believe that Pleasure Bay in South Boston was originally little more than an entertainment complex featuring ballrooms, restaurants, and a beach. Grilling is permitted in the picnic area, and Sullivan’s, a famous local institution, provides fried seafood, lobster rolls, and hot dogs.
L Street, M Street, Carson beach, and Pleasure Bay Beach are all located in South Boston. South of Pleasure Bay Beach, L Street Beach, M Street Beach, and Carson Beach connect to form the longest continuous stretch of beach in the Boston area.
Take a look at other beautiful Beaches
Wingaersheek Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, offers breathtaking views of Ipswich Bay and the Annisquam Lighthouse.
The sandbar tide pools that form during low tide make this North Shore beach a great family destination—check the tide chart before you go to see if you can arrive near this point to see the hermit crabs and other sea life in the tidal pools.
With its fine sand, sapphire waters, and picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean, Singing Beach, named after the sound the sand makes when you walk on it, is another one of the best beaches in Massachusetts.
Rocky cliffs lined with elegant Victorian-style buildings descend to smooth sand that welcomes cool ocean waves at Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea.
Singing Beach is a beautiful getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is one of Massachusetts’ nicest beaches, with a lovely sandy beach, restrooms, and a nice concession stand. Check out the quaint city after you’ve gotten your fill of sun and beach; Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream is a must.
Constitution Beach in East Boston is a great place to go if you want a little entertainment with your beach day. It’s where you can see jets take off and land at Logan Airport.
Visit a neighboring playground, picnic area, or basketball court to get away from the sand. You can ride the Blue Line MBTA train to the beach if you prefer.
Getting there: To get to Orient Heights station, use the Blue Line T. To get to the beach, walk a short way along Bennington Street.
Tenean Beach, located on Conley Street in Boston, is a small, quiet beach that is considerably more popular for beach activities than swimming. All across the beach, there are signs that say “No Swimming, Swimming May Cause Illness.”
The Tenean beach, though, is wonderful for doing sports because it has a lot of sand, and there are tennis courts as well as spectacular views of the Boston skyline.
The Very Best Beaches Near Boston
Massachusetts has a wide variety of Very Best Beaches Near Boston to explore and enjoy all year long. Many beaches are within driving distance of Boston. What is the best option for you and your family?
Here’s a list of all the best beaches near Boston.
Situated in Charles River Esplanade, Boston, Massachusetts, The Esplanade is a long, wide wooden pier that stretches down the Charles River on the Boston side.
Because of the amount of waterfront property encircling much of Boston, inhabitants extend the definition of “beach” to include the lovely Esplanade, which is home to the Boston Pops during the summer.
While not officially a beach, the Esplanade is the only water-based sunbathing site within Boston city limits and is extremely popular throughout the summer.
Plum Island beach
On the North Shore, Plum Island beach is a popular summer vacation for families. There are miles of sandy beaches on Plum Island, so your beach blanket and umbrella will have plenty of room. More than 800 species of birds, plants, and animals can be found at the Parker River Wildlife Sanctuary.
The ‘Long Beach‘ in Nahant is a short drive from most parts of Boston. There is enough parking for 1300 automobiles and plenty of room on the Nahant beach. The soft sand, the water is shallow for a long distance, and there is a lifeguard and a ‘comfort station,’ among other things.
Gloucester’s Good Harbor Beach
Gloucester is essentially a coastal town with seven oceanfront locations that attract locals and tourists in the summer. The resorts are only a short distance from the city center, allowing you to enjoy a day at the beach followed by a night out.
Stage Fort Park and Good Harbor beaches offer a day-long experience with grilling spaces and picnic areas to the north and south of the city. Gloucester’s Good Harbor Beach, which faces the Atlantic, is a lovely beach with powdery white sand and big waves. A sand bar opens out to the left at low tide, allowing you to walk out to the rocky island.
Because the beach is shaped like a thin peninsula with a parking lot in the middle, it has two beaches in one.
The ‘Outer Beach’ is a fantastic location for sunbathing, walking, and swimming.
You’ll find protected clam beds, kayaking, and a boat launch at ‘Inner Beach,’ as well as some excellent bird-watching options.
Duxbury Beach in Duxbury is a great place to go kayaking and canoeing if you are interested in water-based activities.
West Yarmouth’s Seagull Beach is the largest and most popular beach for families, but it’s also the best beach among teens and college students. The beach is great for beach activities, resting, swimming, and windsurfing, with a huge attended parking area and a bike rack only a short walk from the pure white sand.
Horseneck Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the Massachusetts State Forests and Parks system, with almost 600 acres of barrier beach and salt marsh. A restroom, snack bar, picnic tables, hiking, excellent windsurfing, and a campground adjacent to the beach are all available.
Half Moon Beach
The beach is part of Stage Fort Park, which was founded in the early 1620s on the site of Gloucester’s earliest European settlement.
The park’s visitors’ center has restrooms and plenty of space for picnicking.
Lynch Park Beach
While collecting some rays or taking a wintery walk on the beautiful Lynch Park beach, you may enjoy unobstructed views of the Atlantic.
All residents with proof of residency are entitled to free parking. During the seasonal months, non-residents must pay a fee to enter. In addition, there is a seasonal food stand in the park.
Here ends our ranking of the best beaches. Please note our ranking of the greatest beaches covers those within the city borders as well as those within an hour’s drive of the city center.
Also, if you are a Bostonian and want to go on a true beach vacation, don’t directly go to the beaches. First, visit Cape Cod, which is just a short drive away.
All mentioned have their own set of amenities, depending on what you’re looking for. Some beaches have big waves for boogie boarding, while others are more protected and have minimal surf, making them ideal for families with small children.