One thing that comes to mind when I think of visiting Massachusetts is the beautiful beaches. This coastal state in the New England region is a place you can go at any time of the year and have totally different experiences. Still, one of my favorite travel experiences was driving up the coast of Massachusetts. And it surprises me how one state can have such diverse beaches. From the family-friendly coastline to secluded romantic getaways and everything in between, you can find it all here. To help you plan your next visit, I’ve compiled a list of the 15 Best Beaches in Massachusetts you can’t miss.
1. Race Point Beach, Provincetown
If you’ve ever been to Provincetown (or P-town as it’s affectionately known), then you’ll know that this is a place that’s famous for its beaches. There are seemingly endless stretches of sand to enjoy in P-town, but if I had to pick just one, it would be Race Point Beach.
Situated on the very tip of Cape Cod, Race Point Beach is one of the best places to enjoy stunning ocean views, long walks along the beach, and even some whale watching. Yes, this place is pretty well-known for being a great spot to see humpback whales as they migrate along the coast.
To get to Race Point Beach, you have to drive about 2 hours from Boston, but it’s definitely worth the drive. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a long stretch of sand that’s just begging to be explored. Although the sea can be rough here, there are shallow areas that are perfect for swimming.
In terms of facilities, there are seasonal public restrooms, showers, and Changing rooms. And, if you’re feeling adventurous, there are also some great hiking trails nearby. Oh, and there’s also The Race Point Lighthouse nearby that you can explore.
Note that Race Point Beach is situated in the Cape Cod National Seashore. This is a protected area that stretches for over 40 miles and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Massachusetts.
2. Crane Beach
Crane beach is one of the best beaches in Massachusetts that’s a bit of a drive from Boston but so worth it. It takes around an hour to get to Crane Beach from Boston, but it’s more than worth the drive. Why? Because this place is magical. I don’t use that word lightly, but Crane Beach really is something special.
Situated in Ipswich, Crane Beach is part of the Ipswich Reservation and is one of the best places to go if you want to enjoy a day by the water, go for long walks along the beach, or even do some birdwatching. It’s pretty well-known for being a great place to see migrating birds as they make their way along the Atlantic Flyway.
As for the beach itself, it’s a 4-mile-long stretch of sand that’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and just relaxing. Facilities-wise, there are public restrooms, showers, and a small refreshment stand. Oh, and there are also trails and boardwalks that take you through some of the dunes, which is just lovely.
Crane Beach is managed by The Trustees of Reservations. This is an organization that works to protect open spaces in Massachusetts, and they do an incredible job. In fact, they’re responsible for the upkeep of over 30 properties in the state which is pretty impressive.
So, if you’re looking for one of the Massachusetts beaches that’s a little bit off the beaten path, definitely check out Crane Beach. It really is a hidden gem and one of my personal favorites.
3. Spectacle Island, Boston
If you’re looking for the best beach that’s a little closer to Boston, I’d definitely recommend checking out Spectacle Island. This island is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area and is only a short ferry ride from Long Wharf in Boston. The ferry ride is only about 30 minutes, making it a great option for a day trip from Boston.
Once you’re on the island, there’s plenty to do. There are 5 miles of hiking trails that take you around the island and offer some stunning views. The beach here is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and just relaxing. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can also go kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. Or, if you’re just looking to relax, there are plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas that you can use.
And because Spectacle Island is a pretty popular spot for Bostonians, there are plenty of amenities on the island, including public restrooms, a cafe, and even a small store. So, if you forget anything, you’ll definitely be able to find it here.
I also enjoyed learning the history of Spectacle Island. In 1718, it was actually used as a quarantine station for immigrants and, later on, as a landfill. Nowadays, it’s a beautiful island that’s perfect for a day trip from Boston. And, in my opinion, it’s definitely one of the best beaches in Massachusetts.
4. Head of the Meadow, Truro
The day I spent at Head of the Meadow beach was one of those perfect summer days. You know, the kind of day where the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the temperature is just perfect. It was one of those days where you just couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Head of the Meadow is located in Truro, which is on the Outer Cape. By the way, there are two beach areas in Head of the Meadow; one is managed by the town and the other by the National Seashore. Both are pretty great, but the National Seashore is definitely the more popular.
Why? Well, for starters, it’s a lot more secluded, which is always nice. Secondly, it’s just a really beautiful beach. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, and there are public restrooms and showers available. There is also a 2-mile bicycle path that runs through the dunes, which is perfect for a leisurely bike ride.
Surfing is popular here as the waves here are pretty consistent, and there’s a good variety of breaks. There are also surf schools in the area if you’re interested in learning how to surf.
One of the things that I really loved about Head of the Meadow Beach is that it’s just so peaceful. It’s the perfect place to go if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just relax.
5. Marconi Beach, Wellfleet
Located in the town of Wellfleet on Cape Cod, Marconi Beach is another one of the beautiful beaches in Massachusetts that’s definitely worth a visit. It’s one of the best places to go if you want to enjoy some time by the water and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Marconi Beach is a part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and it’s a great place to enjoy some time in nature. There are plenty of things to do here, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, hiking, and picnicking. And, if you’re into birdwatching, this is also a great place to see some of the local birds.
What impressed me about Marconi Beach is that it’s so picturesque. It’s definitely one of those places where you can just sit back, relax, and take in the incredible views. You can rent a beach chair and umbrella for the day or bring your own. There are also public restrooms, a bathhouse, and an outdoor rinse-off shower. Bring your own packed lunch since there are no food vendors on-site.
All in all, Marconi Beach is a great place to enjoy a day by the water. It has a large parking lot that can accommodate around 500 vehicles. So, even on busy days, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a spot.
6. Madaket Beach, Nantucket
If you’re heading to the island of Nantucket (which you totally should), then you have to visit Madaket Beach. It’s definitely one of the best beaches in Massachusetts and a place that you’ll fall in love with.
Madaket Beach is located on the western side of Nantucket, and it’s a bit of a distance to get there. It’s the furthest beach from town, but it’s so worth it. The best way to get there is by bike or 4WD vehicle. I suggest having an arrangement for your own transportation because this place is pretty remote.
The beach itself is absolutely stunning. It’s a long stretch of sand that’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and just relaxing. However, the ocean can sometimes have powerful surf and an occasional undertow. So, it’s definitely not the best place for young children.
And because this beach is on the western side of the island, it’s also one of the best places to watch the sunset. I got to experience that firsthand, and it was absolutely incredible. I mean, the colors were just incredible. As for facilities, the only thing that’s available is a public restroom. So, definitely come prepared with food and drinks. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
7. Nantasket Beach, Hull
Nantasket Beach is another great option if you’re looking for popular Massachusetts beaches with plenty to do. This 3.5-mile-long beach is located in Hull and is a great place to go for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and just enjoying the incredible views. And during low tide, there are also some great tide pools that are perfect for exploring.
There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes in the area if you need to refuel after a day by the water. And, if you’re looking for some entertainment, there is a volleyball court, a playground, and a few arcade games.
What makes Nantasket Beach so popular is that it’s so easy to get to. You can drive, take public transportation, or even hop on a ferry from Boston. And, once you’re there, you’ll find plenty of things to keep you busy.
The beach is also situated next to the Hull Lifesaving Museum, which is definitely worth a visit. The museum is dedicated to the history of lifesaving in Massachusetts, and it’s actually interesting.
Remember that this beach tends to get crowded during the summer months. I was there on a Saturday in August, and it was pretty packed. So, if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, I recommend visiting during the week or early in the season. But, even with the crowds, this beach is still one of the best and definitely worth a visit.
8. Chatham Lighthouse Beach, Chatham
If you’re looking for a classic New England beach experience, definitely head to Chatham Lighthouse Beach. This is one of the best beaches in Massachusetts for families as it’s got everything you could possibly want.
First off, the beach is situated right next to the Chatham Lighthouse, which is pretty cool. The lighthouse has been in operation since 1808 and is definitely worth checking out.
As for the beach, it’s a wide and long stretch of sand that’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and just relaxing. Note that there are different swimming areas labeled with flags (red, yellow, and green) that indicate the level of currents. So, definitely make sure to pay attention to that if you’re planning on swimming. Red means no swimming, yellow means use caution, and green means it’s safe to swim.
Another great thing about Chatham Lighthouse Beach is that it’s got all the amenities you could possibly want. There are public restrooms, showers, a concession stand, and even a playground for the kids. In addition, this beach is a popular spot for the large seal population to cavort and sunbathe. So, keep your eyes open for these guys. They’re really fun to watch.
9. Old Silver Beach, Falmouth
My trip to Old Silver Beach was definitely a memorable one. I’d been wanting to go for years and finally made the trip last summer, and it did not disappoint. Situated on Cape Cod, Old Silver Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Massachusetts and definitely one of the best.
The beach is absolutely beautiful with its soft white sand and clear blue water. It’s the perfect place to relax, go for a swim, or just take in the incredible views. However, as tides come and go, it’s important to keep an eye on the water as there can be a strong undertow at times.
There are also plenty of amenities nearby if you need them. There are public restrooms, showers, and a few food vendors if you get hungry. Plus, there are plenty of hotels and rental properties if you want to extend your stay.
The highlight of my trip to Old Silver Beach was definitely watching the sunset. It was absolutely incredible and something that I’ll never forget. And since Falmouth is such a popular summer destination, there’s no shortage of things to do. In addition to spending time at the beach, you can also go hiking, biking, windsurfing, kayaking, and more. There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.
10. Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester
Next up on my list of best beaches in Massachusetts is Wingaersheek Beach, which is located in Gloucester. This beach is a pretty popular summer destination in Massachusetts, and it’s not hard to see why. With its charming downtown area, incredible seafood, and, of course, its beautiful beaches, it really does have everything you could want in a summer getaway.
As for Wingaersheek Beach, it’s one of the most popular beaches in Gloucester and definitely worth a visit. It’s a large beach with plenty of room for swimming, sunbathing, and just enjoying the incredible views.
There are also public restrooms, showers, and a small snack bar which is always handy. And best of all, this beach is pet-friendly, so you can bring your pet along on even-numbered days. Just keep them on a leash and clean up after them.
During my time in Gloucester, I also visited Good Harbor Beach, which is another great option located just a few miles from Wingaersheek Beach. It’s slightly smaller but just as beautiful and has all the same amenities.
Just keep in mind that parking can be a bit of a challenge as there are only a few spots, and they do fill up quickly on nice days. So, if you can, try to arrive early or be prepared to park off-site and walk.
11. Mayflower Beach, Dennis
I was honestly torn about whether to include Mayflower Beach on this list of Massachusetts beaches because it can get pretty crowded during the summer months. However, I decided to include it because it really is a beautiful spot and definitely one of the best beaches on Cape Cod.
Situated in Dennis, Mayflower Beach is a wide and expansive beach that offers plenty of space for swimming, sunbathing, and just enjoying the incredible views. The water here is also pretty calm, which makes it great for young children.
During low tide, you can also explore the tide pools and look for different types of sea life. It’s a great activity for kids (and adults) and is definitely something that you should try if you have the chance. And during the evening, the beach is also a great place to take a walk, relax, and watch the sunset. It’s truly one of the best ways to end a perfect day at Mayflower Beach.
The beach has a boardwalk which is great for taking a stroll, going for a run, or just enjoying the views. In terms of amenities, the beach has public restrooms, showers, and picnic areas. There’s also plenty of parking which is always a bonus.
Due to its scenic splendor, this beach can get pretty crowded during the summer months. So, if you’re looking for a more quiet and relaxing experience, I recommend visiting during the week or early in the morning.
12. Cisco Beach, Nantucket
Located on the small island of Nantucket, Cisco Beach is one of the best beaches in Massachusetts for surfing. In fact, it’s pretty well-known as a surf spot, and it’s not unusual to see people out riding the waves, even when it’s cold.
I have to admit that I’m not a good surfer, but I still had an incredible time at Cisco Beach. The beach itself is beautiful and the perfect place to relax, even if you’re not into surfing. It’s also a great place to people-watch as you’ll see all sorts of people, from experienced surfers to those just trying it out for the first time.
During summer, cyclists often use the beach as a place to take a break and enjoy the view. You’ll see most of them carrying surfboards or beach chairs as they make their way to the shore.
Lifeguards are always on duty, making this beach a great place to surf and relax with peace of mind. There is also a portable restroom on-site, which is always appreciated. In addition, there are also a few restaurants and cafes located nearby, which is great if you get hungry.
All in all, Cisco Beach is a great place to spend a day, whether you’re into surfing or not. It’s got a great vibe, beautiful scenery, and it’s just a short drive from the ferry terminal.
13. Rock Harbor Beach, Orleans
Rock Harbor Beach is situated on the outer Cape in the town of Orleans and is one of the best places to go if you’re looking for a slightly more low-key beach. This is because a lot less crowded than some of the other beaches on this list which is always a bonus in my books.
Now, Rock Harbor Beach is a bit different than your typical beach. This beach is split into two sections by a narrow inlet. The western side of the beach is the most popular, and it’s the side where the fishing and charter boats reside. The eastern side, on the other hand, is much more low-key and secluded. It’s also the side of the beach where you’ll watch the off-the-chart sunsets.
One of the best things about this beach is that it’s situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the state. In fact, the outer Cape is one of my favorite places in Massachusetts, and it’s definitely worth exploring. There are so many incredible things to see and do in this part of the state, and this beach is just one of them.
14. Kalmus Beach, Hyannis
Kalmus is a very sought-after beach to go windsurfing, kitesurfing, and paddleboarding. Located in Hyannis, this beach is one of the best beaches in Massachusetts for those looking to get active and try something new.
The best thing about Kalmus Beach is that it has a little bit of everything. White sands, crystal-clear waters, dunes, and even lifeguards. If you want to go windsurfing, there are lessons available as well as rentals. Kitesurfing is also a popular activity here, and there are lessons and rentals available for that too.
Another great thing about Kalmus Beach is that it’s within walking distance of downtown Hyannis. This is perfect if you want to take a break from the beach and explore some of the shops, restaurants, and cafes that the town has to offer.
Shellers will also love this beach as it’s a great place to find quahogs, oysters, and other shells. I recommend wearing water shoes as the shell fragments can be sharp.
In addition, numerous marinas line the shore of Kalmus Beach, so it’s also a great place to go if you want to go for a boat ride or even charter a fishing trip.
15, Nauset Beach, Orleans
Last but not least, I have to mention Nauset Beach. Situated on the outer Cape Cod in the town of Orleans, this beach is definitely one of the most popular in the state. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s one of the best beaches on the entire east coast.
Nauset Beach is a 10-mile-long beach that’s incredibly popular with both locals and visitors alike. This is a great beach for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and just relaxing. And as the beach extends endlessly, there’s plenty of space for everyone. You can take as much or as little space as you want, and there’s definitely no feeling of being crowded.
At the entrance to the beach, there’s a small parking lot and then a short walk to the beach. You can also find public restrooms and showers. And, if you’re feeling hungry, there are a few food stands where you can buy snacks and drinks.
This is a great beach to visit if you’re looking for a classic Massachusetts beach experience. It’s got everything you could possibly want and more. Plus, the sunset here is absolutely incredible. So, definitely make sure you stick around for that.
You can’t go wrong with any of the Massachusetts beaches on this list. Each beach has something unique to offer, and you’re sure to find one that you love. Just pick two or three from this list, and you’ll have a great time. And, if you’re looking for even more things to do in Massachusetts, be sure to check out my other articles. I have a few other guides that might be of interest.