15 Best Things to Do in Marshfield (MA)

With centuries of history, beautiful seascapes and seafood fresh from the ocean, Marshfield is a quintessential South Shore town.

You have a choice of public beaches here, including two long, dune-lined barrier beaches that push out for miles.

You can also visit the home of the Winslows, a family prominent in Colonial Massachusetts for most of the 17th and 18th centuries.

One noteworthy resident in the 19th century was the statesman Daniel Webster, known as the Farmer of Marshfield for his keen interest in agriculture.

A big portion of Webster’s land is now a Mass Audubon sanctuary, while the house is a venue for seasonal events including a fine Christmas display.

1. Rexhame Beach

Rexhame BeachSource: Allan Woolwine / shutterstock
Rexhame Beach

At the head of a long peninsula in the north of Marshfield, Rexhame Beach is a marvelous swath of sand and pebbles, backed by dunes.

You’ve got the raw beauty of the Atlantic in the east, while the South River is just behind the beach to the west, flowing northwards to its mouth, three miles up the coast at the tip of the peninsula.

As a village, Rexhame has a history that can be traced back to the 1630s, and this big patch of shoreline was sold to the town in 1950.

Rexhame Beach has lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, while the South River here is a favorite place to launch kayaks (be sure to plan your trip around the tides).

2. 1699 Historic Winslow House & Cultural Center

1699 Historic Winslow House & Cultural CenterSource: John Phelan / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
1699 Historic Winslow House & Cultural Center

A place of real historical interest, this house is on land that was granted to Mayflower passenger and Governor of the Plymouth Colony, Edward Winslow (1595-1655).

The house standing here now was built by Edward’s grandson, Isaac Winslow (1671-1738) and remained in the staunchly Loyalist family until as late as 1822.

One notable resident was John Winslow (1703-1774), remembered for removing the Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755. The house is unique for its complete absence of modernizations, and has served as a museum since 1920.

Tours take place in the summer months, and there’s a schedule of special events throughout the season.

3. Duxbury Beach

Duxbury BeachSource: Michael Sean OLeary / shutterstock
Duxbury Beach

On the shore north and south of Marshfield are long barrier beaches that are part of neighboring communities, but by a quirk of geography can only be reached from this town.

To the south you’ve got Duxbury Beach, which arcs out into Cape Cod Bay for six miles. Not only is this one of the best beaches in the state, it’s also one of the most accessible.

There’s a guarded swimming area towards the beach’s north end at Duxbury Beach Park, a pristine family destination for swimming, paddling, sunbathing and simply basking in the breathtaking natural beauty.

All facilities at the park are ADA accessible, and there’s also a snack shack and restaurant.

4. Daniel Webster Estate and Heritage Center

Daniel Webster Estate and Heritage CenterSource: Daniel Webster Estate / Facebook
Daniel Webster Estate and Heritage Center

Secretary of State to three presidents, and renowned orator, Daniel Webster (1782-1852) purchased this estate in 1831 and poured money into various improvements over the years.

Webster had a particular interest in agricultural science, and in his time the farm here became one of the most productive in the area.

The Queen Anne-style house standing here now actually postdates Webster, and was raised after a fire destroyed the previous house in 1878. In 14 acres of lawns and lush woodlands, the Daniel Webster Estate is now owned by the town and overseen by a preservation trust.

You can take a tour in the summer, and there’s a variety of seasonal events, from Victorian teas to a sparkling showcase for holiday decoration in early December.

5. Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary

Purple MartinSource: Agami Photo Agency / shutterstock
Purple Martin

Almost 600 acres of Daniel Webster’s estate is now a sanctuary run by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. This land is on the Green Harbor River, which eventually has a natural harbor at its mouth, home to the town’s marina.

An interesting detail about the former farmland on the estate is that it’s a polder, reclaimed from the estuary by a dike that was constructed downriver in 1872.

This led to a long-term feud between local farmers, in favor of the change, and fishermen, opposed to it.

There’s a patchwork of habitats to discover in the sanctuary, from upland forest to marsh, grasslands and red cedar swamp, with several boardwalks to help you navigate the damper areas.

A platform on Fox Hill offers a panoramic vista of the grasslands, and white nesting gourds by Webster Pond provide a home for a colony of purple martins.

6. Brant Rock Beach

Brant Rock BeachSource: dcjohnson86 / Flickr | CC BY
Brant Rock Beach

If you come at low tide there’s a beautiful beach at the intersection of Ocean St and Dyke Rd in Brant Rock.

This is patrolled by lifeguards during the season, and is framed by an esplanade along Ocean St with sublime views as the sun goes down.

When the tide comes in, the beach can taper to just a sliver. The namesake rocky outcropping can be accessed via a jetty, even at high tide.

There’s also a spur, cutting inland and connecting the Brant Rock Esplanade to the Harbor Walk, which leads you along the final stretch of the Green Harbor River to the marina.

At the Marshfield Town Landing here you can watch a busy commercial harbor in action, with fishing boats shuttling to and fro.

7. Two Mile Farm

HikingSource: avtk / shutterstock
Hiking

Twelve miles long, the tidal North River forms the boundary between Marshfield and Scituate to the north, and has been designated a National Natural Landmark by the DOI, and a Scenic River by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In the west of Marshfield, Two Mile is one of several reservations on the banks, covering almost 70 acres and managed by the Trustees of Reservations.

Remarkably, the name of this reservation goes all the way back to the original grant, to harvest salt hay for “two miles along the river, and half a mile inland on each side.”

The trails at Two Mile Farm lead along old cart paths, past stone walls and through stands of white pine, down to the edge of the mashes.

8. Mass Audubon’s North River Wildlife Sanctuary

Mass Audubon's North River Wildlife SanctuarySource: John Phelan / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
Mass Audubon’s North River Wildlife Sanctuary

Downstream you can see more of the salt marsh on the North River at this stunning wildlife sanctuary, managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

There are 2.5 miles of trails on this 225-acre property, beckoning you through grasslands and oak-pine woodland.

A standout is the River Loop, which takes you into the river valley and leads to an extension where you can walk out over the water to an observation platform.

From here you might catch sight of seals in the water or on the river banks, as well as a diversity of birdlife. Mass Audubon organizes numerous nature-based programs, from guided seasonal walks to in-depth lectures about the region’s enthralling natural history.

9. Green Harbor Lobster Pound

Lobster RollSource: Brannon_Naito / shutterstock
Lobster Roll

There are many places to go in Marshfield for seafood straight out of the ocean and famous New England bites. One spot with a lot of character is this seasonal lobster shack in Green Harbor, open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

As you can guess, the stars of the show are the lobster rolls, served in regular and jumbo sizes, but there’s also a slew of fried specialties like whole clams, clam strips, scallops, shrimp and haddock. On the side try the homemade onion rings and the sweet potato fries.

10. Green Harbor Golf Club

GolfSource: Kati Finell / shutterstock
Golf

This public 18-hole course has been family owned and managed since it opened in 1971. Green Harbor Golf Club is now in its third generation, and is celebrated for its greens, composed of Vesper Velvet bent grass.

The course has been designed to accommodate beginner golfers with its wide fairways, while also testing more experienced players with interesting pin placements, bunkers and water hazards on as many as seven holes.

Attached to the course is Winslow’s, an entertainment facility with a kitchen, bar and driving range. This has 16 covered hitting bays, equipped with Power Tee for automatic loading, and TopTracer Range technology for ball tracking and games.

11. Haddad’s Ocean Cafe

Haddad’s Ocean CafeSource: Haddad's Ocean Cafe / Facebook
Haddad’s Ocean Cafe

Blessed with a view of the ocean at Brant Rock, this family owned and operated seafood restaurant has been open since 1937.

After four generations, Haddad’s Ocean Cafe continues to pride itself on its super-fresh seafood, caught daily by local fishermen.

The lunch and dinner menus are extensive, but for a couple of pointers there’s the raw bar with oysters sourced locally from Duxbury, and a range of lobster specialties, including twin boiled lobster, fried lobster, lobster casserole, baked stuffed lobster and lobster rolls.

There’s a host of other regional favorites like fried haddock, clam strips, fried scallops and clam chowder, as well as plenty of non-seafood options.

12. Humarock Beach

Humarock BeachSource: Danita Delimont / shutterstock
Humarock Beach

Running north along the peninsula from Rexhame Beach for more than three miles, Humarock Beach belongs to the neighboring town of Scituate.

This is a barrier beach, with extraordinary sunrises over the Atlantic to the east and the wide open lower reaches of the South River to the west.

The easiest way to get to the beach is by walking from Rexhame Beach, especially as a beach sticker is required for the town parking lot. There’s a fascinating reason for why Humarock Beach is part of Scituate, despite only being accessible from Marshfield.

This is to do with a devastating storm surge during the Portland Gale of 1898, altering the course of the South River by moving the mouth three miles to the north at a new, gaping cut in the beachfront.

13. Levitate Music and Arts Festival

FestivalSource: Melinda Nagy / shutterstock
Festival

Founded in 2003 as a community-focussed surf store in Marshfield, Levitate has evolved into a brand of its own, with a line of apparel, pop-ups, camps, three permanent retail locations, and a summer festival.

The latter was launched in 2013 on the tenth anniversary of Levitate’s foundation, and is now bigger than ever, taking place at the fairgrounds across three days on the first weekend in July.

The Levitate Music and Arts Festival welcomes world-renowned musicians and artists, but, in the inclusive spirit of the brand, also nurtures grassroots talent.

A few big names from recent editions include Vulfpeck, Jack Jonhson, Phil Lesh, Damian Marley, Stick Figure and Tedeschi Trucks Band.

14. Marshfield Fair

FairSource: zzphoto.ru / shutterstock
Fair

One of the top events in southeastern Massachusetts, the Marshfield Fair has taken place every August—bar a handful of exceptions—since 1867.

This is a ten-day celebration of rural life, with 4-H shows and competitions, demonstrations, carnival rides and games, tons of live music, magic shows, and plenty of high-octane entertainment including demolition derbies and tractor pulls.

It wouldn’t be a fair without indulgent eats, while kids will be entertained with a craft corner, petting zoo, model railroad and more.

The fairgrounds in Marshfield host a range of events throughout the year, among them the Marshfield Farmers’ Market, on Friday afternoons, June through September.

15. Fishing Charters

Fishing CharterSource: Neophuket / shutterstock
Fishing Charter

Marshfield is a center for sport fishing, and there’s a number of fishing charter companies based out of the marina at Green Harbor.

A few local operators are Black Rose Fishing Charters, Big Fish Charters, Cathy Ann Sport Fishing and Crimson Tide Fishing Charter.

If you’re here to catch cod or bluefin tuna, the high season is a small window in September, and the closed season lasts for the rest of the year for cod.

For striped bass and haddock, come a little earlier in the year, as the high season for these fish is normally around May and June.

 

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Marshfield, Massachusetts (MA)
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15 Best Things to Do in Marshfield (MA):

  • Rexhame Beach
  • 1699 Historic Winslow House & Cultural Center
  • Duxbury Beach
  • Daniel Webster Estate and Heritage Center
  • Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Brant Rock Beach
  • Two Mile Farm
  • Mass Audubon's North River Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Green Harbor Lobster Pound
  • Green Harbor Golf Club
  • Haddad’s Ocean Cafe
  • Humarock Beach
  • Levitate Music and Arts Festival
  • Marshfield Fair
  • Fishing Charters