Five Massachusetts Beaches for Five Occasions

These stretches of sand have all of your shoreline needs covered.

Duxbury Beach provides a picture-perfect backdrop for summer romance. / Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

When the weather heats up, beach lovers are faced with a scorching problem: which stretch of the state’s 1,500-mile shoreline to head for? With so many spots to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones deliver, whether you’re looking for water sports, romance, or just a little peace and quiet. Thankfully, we’ve done the research for you, with a guide to picturesque beaches for every kind of summer trip.

If You Have Kids
Boston Harbor Islands

Skip the long, boring car ride in favor of an entertaining ferry expedition that lasts 30 to 60 minutes. Catch the boat downtown at Long Wharf, and then begin your adventure with potential stops at eight accessible islands. All have plenty to explore, plus calm waters for swimming. Spectacle Island even offers a lifeguarded beach for an extra set of eyes on the little ones.

Long Wharf, Boston.

If Rover Wants to Come
Sandy Neck Beach

Not only is Sandy Neck Beach dog-friendly, it also boasts 4,700 acres of dunes, maritime forests, and marshes, as well as the longest shoreline in the area. Take your furry friend for a walk on designated trails that overlook the ocean before settling down together in the sand for an afternoon nap.

Sandy Neck Road, Barnstable.

If You Want a Romantic Evening
Duxbury Beach

Head to Duxbury Beach during the golden hour and watch the sun slip from view over Duxbury Bay. The centerpiece of this romantic destination is the Powder Point Bridge, which leads straight to several secluded spots. Strolling across it hand in hand in the early evening is almost as fun as a day spent sunbathing.

Gurnet Road, Duxbury.

If You Want to Sunbathe
Good Harbor Beach

Get there early and claim a spot along a wide, flat beach seemingly made for spreading out your towel and soaking up some rays. As the afternoon approaches and the tides come in, much of the beach turns into an estuary, perfect for cooling off.

Thatcher Road, Gloucester.

If You Can’t Sit Still
Ridgevale Beach

If working on your tan sounds boring, plan a day at Ridgevale Beach, where there is plenty to keep you busy. Comb the sand for shells; take out a boat, paddleboard, or kayak from nearby Nauti Jane’s Boat Rentals; or spend the afternoon swimming in the surf.

Ridgevale Road, Chatham.


Need even more recommendations to plan a perfect beach day? Check out our guide to 100 Massachusetts beaches: