Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA: All You Need to Know

When I first moved to Massachusetts, I remember hearing that one of the best beaches on the North Shore is Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea. 

It took me almost three years to make it here, but I’m so glad I finally did. It definitely ranks on my list of favorite beaches in Massachusetts.

If you’re looking to experience the best beaches in New England, be sure to add this one to your list!

Keep reading for all the tips and information you need to know to make for the perfect beach day at Singing Beach.

Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea

About Singing Beach

Singing Beach is in a small coastal town called Manchester-by-the-Sea (isn’t that the best name?), located on the North Shore of Massachusetts

It’s about 34 miles north of Boston, making it an easy day trip from there or other parts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The beach is about a half mile long, nestled between rocky outcroppings typical of the Massachusetts coast. 

What I really liked about this beach is that it’s located in a quiet, residential area, so it felt a bit more low-key than other popular Massachusetts beaches. 

Don’t get me wrong; you’ll still find a lot of people here. But because of the beach’s limited onsite parking, I think that makes it feel less crowded overall.

Note: If you’ve ever visited Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester (a short drive from Singing Beach), I think these two beaches are similar but Good Harbor gets much more crowded because it has more accessible parking.

Why is it called Singing Beach?

Apparently, the name is the result of an unusual sound people claim to have heard when walking on the dry sand, which made it seem like “singing sand.” I personally never heard anything like this when I was there, but I do love the thought of that. 🙂

Where to Park

There is a small parking lot right by Singing Beach with limited spots available to non-residents. The non-resident parking is only available on weekdays from June 14 until Labor Day (except holidays and July 5), and it costs $25 for the day. Note only cash and checks are accepted as payment. 

There is another lot at Masconomo Park in downtown Manchester-by-the-Sea, about a half-mile from the beach, with limited two-hour parking spaces available to non-residents.

Your best bet for parking will likely be in the lot behind the Manchester train station, not far from Masconomo Park and a similar walking distance to the beach. The local Boy Scouts sell parking spaces here for $25 per day (cash only) during the summer. Note that if you park here, you will still need to pay the walk-on fee to enter Singing Beach. (See the next section below!)

Walk-on Fee

To enter Singing Beach, everyone over age 12 or under age 65 needs to pay $10 cash from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day when staff is on duty through Labor Day.

If you plan to visit the beach multiple times in the summer, you can also purchase a season walk-on pass for $35. Cash and checks are both accepted to pay this fee.

Beautiful day on Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea

Beach Rules

Here are few general rules to keep in mind when visiting Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea:

  • There are no alcoholic beverages allowed on the beach.
  • Ball playing is only allowed at the right end of the beach in the marked recreation area.
  • You may not use rubber rafts, wind surfers, kayaks, artificial floats, skim boards or boogie boards on Singing Beach.
  • Dogs are allowed on the beach only from October 15-April 14 (prohibited from April 15-October 14).
  • Lifeguards have jurisdiction of the beach and swimming area when they are on duty.
  • No climbing or diving off rocks or island swimming.
  • Boats need to be at least 100 feet away from the swim area.
  • No nudity, open fires or littering.


There is a bathhouse with public restrooms and showers at the beach that’s open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Note that from Memorial Day until mid-June, the bathhouse is only open on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. From mid-June until Labor Day, it’s open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There is also a small snack stand at the bathhouse with a selection of drinks and food for purchase.

Beautiful kid-friendly beach, Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea

How to get to Singing Beach

The best ways to get to Singing Beach are by car or by train.

By car

From Boston, MA (south of the beach): Take I-93 North out of Boston. Merge onto MA-128 North (also known as I-95 North) towards Gloucester. Continue on MA-128 North until you reach exit 20A for MA-1A South towards Hamilton. Follow MA-1A South into Manchester-by-the-Sea. This drive takes about an hour.

From Portland, ME (north of the beach): Take I-95 South to MA-128 South (which is really still I-95 South) towards Gloucester. Take exit 20A for MA-1A South towards Hamilton. Follow MA-1A South into Manchester-by-the-Sea. This drive takes about 2 hours.

From Worcester, MA (west of the beach): Take I-290 East to I-495 North. Merge onto MA-128 North/I-95 North towards Gloucester. Take exit 20A for MA-1A South towards Hamilton. Follow MA-1A South into Manchester-by-the-Sea. This drive takes about 2 hours.

By train

It’s also easy to get to Singing Beach via the MBTA commuter rail. The Manchester station is only about a half-mile from the beach.

Where to stay near Singing Beach

The best place to stay within a 15 to 20-minute drive of Manchester-by-the-Sea is Gloucester. Here are two highly-rated hotels that would be excellent picks:

📍Beauport Hotel Gloucester (luxury): This stunning hotel is right on the Atlantic Ocean with lots of amenities.

📍Sea Lion Motel (mid-range): This hotel is a short walk from Good Harbor Beach, so you could plan to visit there and Singing Beach during your trip!

Coastal beauty at Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea

Other FAQs

Here are answers to other questions people commonly ask about Singing Beach:

Do you have to pay to go to Singing Beach?

Yes, if you plan to visit during the high season from April to September, you can expect to pay about $25 for parking and another $10 per person over age 12 and under age 65 for the walk-on fee. During the off-season when no staff is on duty, you can visit for free.

Are dogs allowed on Singing Beach?

Dogs are permitted on Singing Beach from October 15-April 14, but not during the high season. The dogs have to wear a collar with identification and be licensed and vaccinated, and each person is limited to a maximum of two dogs.

Is Manchester-by-the-Sea worth visiting?

Yes, I think Manchester-by-the-Sea is worth a visit, especially for Singing Beach. Downtown Manchester-by-the-Sea is also pretty and wouldn’t take too long to walk through. I enjoyed stopping with my daughter for some ice cream at Captain Dusty’s after a great day at the beach.

🐳 If in the area, consider a whale-watching tour!
I loved whale watching with my family and would gladly do another tour one day. Cape Ann Whale Watch in Gloucester is only about a 15-minute drive from Manchester-by-the-Sea and would make for the best on-sea adventure!

Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea

How long is Singing Beach?

Singing Beach is about a half-mile long – it’s not the largest beach in Massachusetts but still has ample space for the perfect beach day!

Is Singing Beach crowded?

I visited Singing Beach in early June and it wasn’t overly crowded at that time.

I’d imagine it gets more crowded at the end of June through August when the weather and water are warmest, but I don’t think it gets as crowded as other Massachusetts beaches due to the limited onsite parking.

You have to work a bit harder to get to this beach, but it’s worth it once you put in the effort. 🙂

Are lifeguards on duty?

Lifeguards are on duty during the high season from June 14 until Labor Day.

When is Singing Beach open?

Singing Beach typically opens on Memorial Day weekend, and the bathhouse opens and lifeguards are on duty from June 14 until Labor Day. You can also go to the beach during the off-season; just note there won’t be public restrooms or lifeguards.


What I loved most about Singing Beach was how pristine and peaceful it was. Even though there were still quite a few people on the beach, it didn’t feel rowdy or overcrowded.

Singing Beach is one of those quintessential New England beaches I typically have in my head, with rugged, rocky terrain and clear, blue water, and framed by gorgeous coastal homes.

It’s definitely on my list of favorite beaches in Massachusetts (and all of New England, really), and I hope you get the chance to visit, too!

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