15 Best Beaches In Massachusetts

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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From the white sandy coast of Cape Cod Bay to the bluffs of Martha’s Vineyard, the beaches in Massachusetts are nothing less than astonishing.

There are beaches suited to the experience you enjoy best; some are lined with restaurants and bars, others are more secluded and natural, with towering sand dunes to explore.

The beaches are the main attraction in Massachusetts during the summer months, therefore they tend to get rather busy.

Bonfires on the beach are an evening favorite in Boston.

Our list of 15 best beaches in Massachusetts includes a variety of options.

From dog-friendly beaches to beaches good for surfing and water sports that are easily accessible by public transit.

1. Chatham Lighthouse Beach

Chatham Lighthouse Beach, MassachusettsSource: Adventures On Wheels / shutterstock
Chatham Lighthouse Beach

This is the largest beach located in Chatham, just below the Chatham Light, which is an operational lighthouse situated at the coast guard station.

The town itself is only half a mile from the beach.

One of the main attractions on Chatham Lighthouse Beach is hiking and taking scenic nature walks to Monomoy Island.

This area is great for fishing and watching the seals migrate every day.

You should not attempt to swim at the southern point of the beach, as the currents are very strong.

Swim only in the marked swimming area for your own safety.

2. Crane Beach, Ipswich

Crane Beach, Ipswich, MassachusettsSource: Melody Mulligan / shutterstock
Crane Beach, Ipswich

One of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast, covering around 1,234-acres, is Crane Beach.

It is known for the clean, soft sand, calm water, and miles upon miles of mind-blowing views.

You will notice many locals enjoying this beach on weekends and holidays.

Children enjoy playing volleyball on the sand and swimming.

The beach is bordered by sand dunes, which help keep it sheltered from storms.

For those who enjoy hiking, you can explore the five-mile trail that crosses the dunes and salt marshes and passes through the pitch pine forests on the North Shore.

3. Joseph Sylvia State Beach

Joseph Sylvia State Beach, MassachusettsSource: JyNsH / Flickr
Joseph Sylvia State Beach

Joseph Sylvia State Beach is popular amongst families because of the warm water and many swimming opportunities.

The beach is shallow off the shore, but drops down with a gradual slope and becomes deeper.

This beach stretches out along the Nantucket Sound shoreline and runs between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.

If you head towards Edgartown, you will find numerous concession stands.

If you want to hike or bike, you need to visit the Sengekontacket Pond – a 750-acre tidal lagoon.

The beach offers visitors the opportunity to see rare bird species, which are protected in a refuge between the beach and the pond.

4. Madaket Beach, Nantucket

Madaket Beach, Nantucket, MassachusettsSource: Arthur Greenberg / shutterstock
Madaket Beach

A relaxing, family-friendly atmosphere permeates this beach on the west coast, which is one of the islands most stunning beaches.

Mr. Rodgers once called this place home.

This beach is famous for amazing sunsets, and many locals and visitors gather here to enjoy the afternoon together.

Travelers enjoy renting bikes and following the Madaket Road for six miles until they reach the Atlantic Ocean.

You can also access this beach by car.

If you decide to bike and want to stay until sunset, Nantucket’s bus service allows people to bring their bikes on the bus back to town.

Make sure you hit up Madaket Millie’s take-out stand for some delicious tacos before making your way to the beach.

5. Horseneck Beach State Reservation

Horseneck Beach State ReservationSource: LEONARDO DASILVA / Wikimedia
Horseneck Beach State Reservation

Horseneck Beach State Reservation is the beach to head to for activities.

From sailing, boating, and fishing to biking, bird watching, and camping, you can spend days enjoying this hot spot.

There are many picnic areas to enjoy on this two-mile beach.

Since it’s located at the western end of Buzzard’s Bay, it is one of the most popular beach destinations.

Horseneck beach is open from sunrise to sunset; it costs $20.00 for non-residents and $13.00 for MA residents for parking.

This beach is not pet-friendly from April 1st- September 15th.

Restroom facilities are available for public use.

6. Mayo Beach

Mayo Beach, WellfleetSource: DeltaBrav / shutterstock
Mayo Beach, Wellfleet

Mayo beach overlooks Wellfleet Harbor and Breakwater Light.

Although it is considered a long beach, once high tide comes, the beach loses a lot of space.

When the tide is low, there is not much water to swim in, so timing is key when visiting Mayo Beach.

Mayo Beach is surrounded by beach grass, which gives you a more authentic and natural experience.

The view is incredible, with all the boats in the harbor and the island dunes off in the distance – it’s a place that’s hard to beat.

Once the kids get bored of the beach (if that’s even possible) you can take them to the playground located across the street.

Grab some food in the harbor area and enjoy a picnic on the beach with free parking.

7. Mayflower Beach

Mayflower Beach, MassachusettsSource: Leo F Brady / shutterstock
Mayflower Beach

Take a stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy the picturesque views of the water and shallow pools at low tide.

Mayflower Beach attaches to Bayview Beach, which is great for all ages.

Located on Cape Cod Bay, there are many things to do in the area.

With restrooms available and food stands, there is no need to leave the beach – enjoy a day of serenity and relaxation.

There are handicap chairs available for those in need.

Mayflower beach is a great spot for photographers and sunset chasers.

Bring a Frisbee and enjoy some light workouts while spending a blissful day on the beach.

8. Marconi Beach

Marconi BeachSource: Ritu Manoj Jethani / shutterstock
Marconi Beach

Marconi Beach obtained its name from the Italian inventor Marconi, who is known for successfully completing the first transatlantic wireless communication between the USA and England in the year of 1903. The hills of the beach deliver incredible panoramic views of the bay and the horizons, making for unbelievable pictures.

This beach has restrooms and showers open during the summer season.

Take a stroll along the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail for two miles – you will be impressed with the different varieties of trees.

9. Revere Beach

Revere Beach, MassachusettsSource: Jana Groh / shutterstock
Revere Beach

Have you heard of America’s first public beach? It was established in Revere, MA in 1896 and is known as Revere Beach.

We wouldn’t consider the beach a ‘Zen’ spot or a place to get away from crowds – it is a favorite for too many.

The food is incredible at Kelly’s, where you can enjoy the local fish and chips or roast beef on a bun.

Since the airport is nearby, you can enjoy watching planes take off and land.

There is metered parking, or take public transport and get off at Wonderland MBTA station.

10. Menemsha Beach

Menemsha BeachSource: Sara Kendall / shutterstock
Menemsha Beach

Situated in the town of Chilmark, Menemsha Beach is one of the island’s last operating fishing villages.

The beach is accessible by bike or bus and is open to the public.

Lifeguards are on duty and the water is great for swimming, thanks to the warmer temperatures.

Menemsha Beach is ripe for shell searching and for joggers to head down to the dock, where you can watch the boats and yachts come and go.

The town of Menemsha is close, so you can spend a few days enjoying the sights with plenty of shops and restaurants to appreciate.

11. Singing Beach

Singing Beach, MassachusettsSource: CO Leong / shutterstock
Singing Beach

If you are spending extra time in Massachusetts, take advantage of the seasonal walk-on-pass and enjoy this beach all summer long.

Singing Beach is said to cause people to sing once they see the crystal-clear water because it’s that amazing.

The snack bar on site offers slurpies for those hot beach days, as well as other beach snacks.

Singing Beach is a picture-perfect spot which is great for relaxing, snorkeling, and floating on a tube.

The sand is very soft and white and is great for strolling along, especially during sunset.

Singing Beach is not only great for swimming – photographers adore this beach and can get many unique shots.

12. Spectacle Island Beach

Spectacle Island, MassachusettsSource: chrisukphoto / shutterstock
Spectacle Island, Massachusetts

Spectacle Island is a 105-acre island in Boston Harbor, only four miles from downtown Boston.

The area is built up with many cafes, restaurants, walking and biking trails.

There is a visitor’s center, lifeguards, and a public park with a marina.

With ferries visiting nearby islands, you will have plenty of places to see and explore.

Island beaches are always picturesque, with luscious surroundings and newly-planted vegetation.

Spectacle Island was initially popular because of its relative detachment from Boston.

You will need to take a ferry to Spectacle Island Beach from Long Wharf or the marina.

It’s definitely a place you won’t want to miss while visiting Massachusetts.

13. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod

Coast Guard Beach, Cape CodSource: Jay Petersen / shutterstock
Coast Guard Beach

Rated as one of the top ten best beaches in the country, make sure you spend some time on Coast Guard Beach.

Seal watching, volleyball, surfing and boogie boarding are very popular attractions here.

The boardwalk makes for a lovely time strolling and people watching.

Because the beach is part of the National Seashore, marshlands and ancient dunes surround it.

The summer months attract visitors from all over and it tends to fill up fast.

Just walk down the beach a little and you will be able to find your own space.

This beach is great for watching the pros surf the waves.

If you are feeling adventurous, rent a board and give it a shot.

14. Aquinnah Public Beach

Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard, MassachusettsSource: Brian W. Schaller / Wikimedia
Aquinnah Public Beach

Just off the Moshup Trail on Martha’s Vineyard, you will arrive at Aquinnah Public Beach.

It’s in a more isolated part of the island to the west.

A lighthouse built in 1799 – standing 51 feet tall – is known as the red brick Gay Head Lighthouse.

This lighthouse was built to alert sailors that they are approaching the island.

Part of Aquinnah Public Beach has a clothing optional section, for the more daring beach-goer.

Since the undertow is rather rough, swimmers do not crowd this beach – people would rather come for a picnic and enjoy the views.

15. Craigville Beach

Craigville Beach, MassachusettsSource: Tono Balaguer / shutterstock
Craigville Beach

Craigville Beach is located on Nantucket Sound and is one of the best beaches in Barnstable.

No matter when you go to Craigville beach, you will notice many volleyball games happening on the sands.

The shore is long and wide enough for walking and it’s easy to find your own space.

Sunbathers frequent this beach and the swimming is great too – you can tan in the sun and cool off in the water.

Lifeguards protect the beach during the summer months.

You can rent umbrellas and chairs across the street and dine in the restaurant.

15 Best Beaches In Massachusetts:

  • Chatham Lighthouse Beach
  • Crane Beach, Ipswich
  • Joseph Sylvia State Beach
  • Madaket Beach, Nantucket
  • Horseneck Beach State Reservation
  • Mayo Beach
  • Mayflower Beach
  • Marconi Beach
  • Revere Beach
  • Menemsha Beach
  • Singing Beach
  • Spectacle Island Beach
  • Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod
  • Aquinnah Public Beach
  • Craigville Beach