13 Best Beaches in Massachusetts for Families in 2024

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Looking for the best beaches in Massachusetts for families?

Massachusetts is loaded with beautiful beaches along its eastern coast. From Crane Beach in Ipswich to the Children’s Beach in Nantucket, there are plenty of places to spend the perfect beach day.

When considering the best beaches in Massachusetts for families, some of the most important factors I think about are:

  • 🚽 Public restrooms for those urgent “I need to go potty!” moments
  • πŸš— Nearby parking or easy access via public transportation to make hauling all your beach things with kids as stress-free as possible
  • πŸŠπŸ»β€β™€οΈ Lifeguard on duty for swimming safety
  • πŸ– Soft and smooth sand for building castles and other masterpieces
  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Overall safe and family-friendly vibe
  • ♿️ Accessibility

In this post, I have compiled the 13 best beaches in Massachusetts that have all or most of the items mentioned above, so you can get to planning your next family beach day!

Note: I have been to about half of the beaches listed in this post, and the other beaches are high on my wishlist after reading rave reviews and researching more about them. I only ever recommend places I have personally visited or would visit with my own family.

13 Best Beaches in Massachusetts for Families

Below is a list of 13 of the best beaches in Massachusetts for families ordered from north to south. After this list, I have included a map with each of these beaches pinned for reference.

β˜€οΈ SHORT ON TIME? My favorite beach in Massachusetts for families is Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. β˜€οΈ

1. Crane Beach, Ipswich

Towards the top of the North Shore is the popular Crane Beach, which gets more than 350,000 visitors each year. Here you’ll find more than 4 miles of coastline, dunes and maritime forest.

Fun fact: Crane Beach has been nationally recognized for its successful protection program for piping plovers, a threatened bird that nearly went extinct in the 19th century. This beach is an important nesting site for these birds.

Why I recommend this beach

In addition to the spectacular beach, there are more than five miles of sandy trails along the dunes for families to explore.

Beach parking

The cost per car for non-members is $40 on weekdays and $45 on weekends and holidays.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Briar Bar Inn

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

2. Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester

Wingaersheek Beach, known locally as β€œWinga”, is right on the Annisquam River and in Ipswich Bay in Gloucester. This 0.6-mile beach is known for its soft white sand and crystal-clear water.

Why I recommend this beach

This family-friendly beach has sandbars that become visible during low tide and make for a fun area for kids to play. There are also plenty of tide pools to explore and rocks to climb.

Beach parking

Non-residents must reserve parking through the City of Gloucester’s Yodel website, which becomes available for the 2023 season starting in May. Parking costs around $20 per day on weekdays and $25 on weekends.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Atlantis Oceanfront Inn Gloucester

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

3. Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester

Good Harbor Beach is another popular beach in Gloucester for families. The water is clean and calm, the sand is super soft, and there is a nice concession stand where you can grab food and drinks throughout the day.

Why I recommend this beach

At low tide, large sandbars appear along the beach that become a playground for kids. You can even walk on the sandbars to nearby Salt Island.

Beach parking

There is a large parking lot by the beach that costs $35 per day on the weekend and about $30 on weekdays. Similar to Wingaersheek Beach, you’ll need to reserve parking on the City of Gloucester’s Yodel website (not available until May 2023).

πŸ› Recommended hotel: The Vista

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

Best beaches in Massachusetts for families: Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester

4. Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea

For another great North Shore beach for families, try Singing Beach in the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea. The beach gets its name from the unique “singing” sound the sand makes when you walk on it.

Why I recommend this beach

Visitors have commented that this beach doesn’t get overly crowded, even though it’s one of Massachusetts’ most beautiful beaches with great sand for playing. The water itself stays pretty chilly even in the summer, but you might find it “refreshing.” πŸ˜‰

Beach parking

Parking in the nearby lots is $30 for non-residents. If you park farther away, walk-in tickets are $10 per person. You can also get there via the MBTA purple line by stopping at the Manchester station.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Beauport Hotel Gloucester

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

Singing Beach

“Singing Beach, Manchester” by Pi.1415926535 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

5. Dane Street Beach, Beverly

This is a low-key beach in the town of Beverly that is very kid-friendly. This beach doesn’t get as crowded as places like Good Harbor Beach or Wingaersheek Beach, so it’s a nice place to pitch your chairs if you’re looking for a more peaceful beach day.

Why I recommend this beach

The water stays pretty shallow for several hundred feet out, especially during low tide, so it’s a safe place for younger kids to swim.

Beach parking

There is free street parking near Dane Street Beach.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: The Cabot Lodge

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

6. Revere Beach, Revere

Revere Beach is known as America’s first public beach, established in 1896. This historic beach is over three miles long and is home to the International Sand Sculpting Festival that takes place every summer.

Why I recommend this beach

Revere Beach is within close proximity to Boston so it’s an easy place for a beach getaway if you’re living or staying in the city. You can even get there on the T if you don’t want to worry about parking. (It’s the Revere Beach stop on the Blue line.)

Beach parking

Parking is free for up to four hours along most of Revere Beach Blvd (the road that goes right along the ocean). However, note the posted signs for time intervals when parking is not allowed.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Holiday Inn Express

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

Best beaches in Massachusetts for families: Revere Beach

7. Constitution Beach, East Boston

This is another favorite beach for families who don’t want to venture outside of Boston. It’s not an open-ocean beach so you won’t get those beautiful horizon views, but because of this, the water is also very calm and perfect for little kids. There is also a nice playground nearby.

The sand isn’t as soft as other Massachusetts beaches but that didn’t stop my toddler from wanting to build sand castles!

The only downside to this beach is that there aren’t public restrooms on site, but there are some restaurants within a five-minute walk if you have a really urgent moment.

Why I recommend this beach

The beach sits near the runways of Boston Logan airport, giving you a front-row seat to watch the planes coming in and taking off β€” entertaining for both kids and adults!

Beach parking

There is free parking in the lot near the beach, but it fills up quickly in the summertime. Constitution Beach is a quick walk from the Orient Heights T stop on the Blue line if you don’t want to worry about parking.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Holiday Inn Express

❌ Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard ❌ Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

Best beaches in Massachusetts for families: Constitution Beach

8. Winthrop Beach, Winthrop

Winthrop Beach is another great beach just outside of Boston. It’s one of our favorite places to take our daughter when we don’t want to drive far but still want to see the open ocean.

The beach is really long, with some parts of the sand more rocky than others. Part of the beach also has large stone jetties separating the shore from the sea. It’s near this part of the beach where lifeguards are on duty in the summer.

Note that there aren’t public restrooms at this beach but there are some cafes and restaurants within a five to 10-minute walk, and Revere Beach is a short drive away where you could access the restrooms.

Why I recommend this beach

I love how big this beach is and how it never gets overly crowded. It’s easy to get to from Boston and its surrounding towns, making it one of the more accessible, family-friendly beaches in the metro area.

Beach parking

There is plenty of free street parking along the beach.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Holiday Inn Express

❌ Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard ❌ Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

Best beaches in Massachusetts for families: Winthrop Beach

9. Nantasket Beach, Hull

Nantasket Beach sits on a small peninsula jutting into Massachusetts Bay. It’s about 22 miles southeast of Boston, so it’s a nice family beach day option on the southern coast of the state.

Why I recommend this beach

While visitors say the water is cold year-round, there aren’t many waves which is nice for younger kids. Tide pools often form during low tide and can be fun for kids to explore.

Beach parking

There are various parking lots near the beach that range from $15 to $20 per day. Some say there is free parking available as well but it’s likely hard to find on a busy summer day.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Nantasket Beach Hotel

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

10. Keyes Memorial Beach, Barnstable

When we visited Cape Cod for the first time, we enjoyed spending some time at Keyes Memorial Beach (also called Sea Street Beach), which you’ll come across not too far into the Cape.

It’s one of the lesser known beaches on Cape Cod, so it’s a great choice if you’re hoping to escape the big crowds of places like Coast Guard Beach.

Why I recommend this beach

There is a nice grassy hill near the beach with picnic tables and beautiful ocean views β€” a perfect place for a family lunch. There are also lots of seashells at this beach that can be fun for kids to collect. 🐚

Beach parking

A small parking lot next to the beach costs $15 to $20 dollars during the summer. We visited in the evening so there was no parking attendant on duty. If you plan to visit later in the day, you can likely avoid paying for parking!

πŸ› Recommended hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton Cape Cod

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe ❌ Accessible

Keyes Memorial Beach, Cape Cod

11. Children’s Beach, Nantucket

Children’s Beach is located within town, and it’s perfect for swimming because of its calm location within the Nantucket Harbor. There is also a playground near the beach that’s geared toward small children.

Why I recommend this beach

With its close proximity to downtown Nantucket and the harbor where the ferry arrives, Children’s Beach is a great place to escape with younger kids during your visit to the island.

Beach parking

The beach is within easy walking distance of downtown Nantucket, but if you want to drive there from elsewhere on the island, there is parking available near the beach.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Nantucket Inn

βœ… Public restrooms βœ… Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

12. Lighthouse Beach, Chatham

This beautiful stretch of sand near the town of Chatham on Cape Cod is known for its seal activity. While the water is cooler and not safe for swimming in some areas, Chatham Beach has great sand and is within close proximity to Chatham Lighthouse.

The beach is also a close walk from downtown Chatham and could be an easy add-on while visiting this part of the Cape.

Why I recommend this beach

Lighthouse Beach is a scenic place to walk or relax on the sand and take in the stunning views of Cape Cod. I also love that there is potential for seeing seals and other sea life here.

Note that while swimming is allowed at this beach, there are no lifeguards on duty and there are signs and flags warning of where it is not safe to swim due to the strong wind and currents.

Beach parking

To park along Bridge Street near Lighthouse Beach, you will need to purchase a Chatham Beach pass for $20. If you’re already staying in Chatham, you could walk to the beach as it’s only a half mile away.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: The Chatham Motel

❌ Public restrooms βœ… Parking ❌ Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe* βœ… Accessible

*The beach itself is safe but there are several places where swimming is not allowed due to the strong currents.
Please take note of the posted signs and flags.

13. Coast Guard Beach, Eastham

Coast Guard Beach is the southernmost beach that makes up Cape Cod National Seashore, and it’s one of the most popular beaches on Cape Cod for families. It was jam-packed when we visited, but we still found a nice place to camp out for a couple hours.

Why I recommend this beach

The sand is white and super soft, the waves are huge, and the water is crystal clear. It can’t get much more perfect than that!

Beach parking

Parking right by Coast Guard Beach is limited to residents only during peak season, but you can park at the Little Creek parking lot on Doane Road about 1.5 miles away and take a free shuttle to the beach. The shuttle runs every 5-10 minutes.

πŸ› Recommended hotel: Olde Tavern Motel and Inn

βœ… Public restrooms ❌ Parking βœ… Lifeguard βœ… Soft sand βœ… Safe βœ… Accessible

Best beaches in Massachusetts for families: Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod

Map of best beaches in Massachusetts

All of the beaches recommended in this post are highlighted on the map below. Click the expand icon in the top right corner to open and edit the map in Google.

Other great New England beaches for families

If you’d like to venture outside of Massachusetts for a family beach day, there are endless options. Below are some of the top places I would recommend:

Connecticut

  • Silver Sands State Park: This is a calm beach with a unique feature β€” a “tombolo” or sandbar that is only visible during low tide. You can walk across the tombolo to Charles Island. Just keep your eyes on the clock to make sure you walk back to the mainland before high tide!

  • Hammonasset Beach State Park: This beautiful and expansive state park has a large, sandy beach and plenty of paved trails for walking and biking. There are also lots of picnic tables and nice public restrooms, making it a great place to camp out for a long beach day.

Rhode Island

  • Narragansett Town Beach: This classic New England beach has some of the cleanest and most accessible beach conditions in the region.

  • Easton’s Beach (First Beach): This is Newport’s largest ocean beach and it’s adjacent to the start of the famous Cliff Walk. In July and August, there is Family Night with a live band every Tuesday and Children’s Night with entertainment every Thursday.

  • Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island: People say the beach beneath the 200-foot-tall Mohegan Bluffs is one of the most beautiful on Block Island, with a secluded place to swim. You have to climb down 141 steps to get there, but it seems to be well worth it.

New Hampshire

  • Hampton Beach: This beach is a favorite for families not only because of the beach but also because of the boardwalk with its shops, pizzerias, ice cream parlors and arcades.

  • Jenness State Beach: This family-friendly beach located in Rye is smaller and less crowded than Hampton Beach.

Maine

  • Ogunquit Beach: This large beach is a short walk from downtown Ogunquit, a favorite summer beach town on the southern part of Maine.

  • Sand Beach: This is the only sandy beach in Acadia National Park and one of the few sandy beaches in all of Maine. It’s a beautiful place to relax and play during your Acadia adventure.

Wrap-up: Best beaches in Massachusetts for families

Here’s a quick recap of the 13 best Massachusetts beaches for families:

  • Crane Beach, Ipswich
  • Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester
  • Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester
  • Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea
  • Dane Street Beach, Beverly
  • Revere Beach, Revere
  • Constitution Beach, East Boston
  • Winthrop Beach, Winthrop
  • Nantasket Beach, Hull
  • Keyes Memorial Beach, Barnstable
  • Children’s Beach, Nantucket
  • Lighthouse Beach, Chatham
  • Coast Guard Beach, Eastham

Hopefully this post has given you a few ideas on where to spend your next family beach day. There are lots of great options to choose from, so you can’t really go wrong. Happy planning!

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