Our Favorite Boston Area Beaches for Families

Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester.

We are fortunate here in the Boston area to have access to some wonderful public beaches. Clean and accessible ponds, lakes and of course, the ocean are fantastic places to cool off on a hot summer day.

We asked around to learn about some favorite family-friendly beaches within an hour’s drive from Boston. The responses include some popular favorites and some hidden gems. Read on:

Crane Beach in Ipswich


Crane Beach
is by far the best beach around based on our experience. It’s in Ipswich and the drive through Hamilton and Beverly is almost as wonderful as the beach itself. It’s part of the Trustees of Reservations and they offer an annual pass to all of their sites throughout MA. On the way there or back, you can stop at Russell Orchards and pick strawberries in the summer and apples in the fall. It’s completely family oriented. The beach is clean and rustic and is so spacious at low tide. We only go here and recommend that people invest in the family annual pass. It pays for itself after five visits to the beach, plus any other Reservations. -Ian M., Isis Dad

We live in Arlington so the Arlington Reservoir is our main beach — very family friendly with shallow (and cleaned) water, bathroom facilities and a playground. -Liz K., Early Parenting Instructor

Walden Pond in Concord

Walden Pond is short on sand but long on fun. Just off Rte 2 in Concord, only minutes from Route 128, Walden Pond has a great trail, ample picnic tables and beach seating and a roped off area for swimming and playing. While modern day conveniences are near you’ll understand why Henry David Thoreau loved this place so much. -Heather C., CEO

We have been frequenting Houghton’s Pond in Milton. It is a bit crazy on the weekends, so I would recommend weekdays. Great playground in the shade and water is nice and refreshing very shallow for my 5-year-old son to gain confidence in the water. Also 15 mins from our house and it is free! -Ann R., Center Manager, Isis Needham

Nantasket Beach in Hull- there’s a famous carousel, mini golf, and an arcade right there too! -Rebecca G., Child Development Instructor

The tidal pools, snack bar and rocks for climbing made Wingaersheek in Gloucester a favorite public beach for my gang. I was there over Memorial Day and the beach was full of sun cabanas and lots of new families who have more recently discovered this beautiful gem. -Marena B., Early Parenting Program Manager

If you’re planning to visit the beach with your baby or toddler, don’t forget these essentials: sunscreen, swimwear and swim diapers, sunglasses and sun hats and of course, beach toys.

This is an update of a post that first appeared on our blog last July. Happy beach-going!

What is your favorite family-friendly beach in greater Boston?

About Isis Parenting

Isis Parenting has a diverse team of staff experts in pregnancy, newborn care, safety, child development, breastfeeding, fitness and nutrition and more.

2 Responses to Our Favorite Boston Area Beaches for Families
  1. C
    July 19, 2011 | 3:37 pm

    Wingaersheek is gorgeous, but parking is so difficult and expensive there! When we go there, we go in the evening – the parking is free after 5 and a picnic dinner on the beach is always fun.

    We like Preston beach in Marblehead, Natasket beach, and Narragansett beach in Rhode Island.

  2. LeeAnn
    July 19, 2011 | 4:45 pm

    We like the Lexington Old Reservoir. The “Old Res” is small but usually not very busy, and it’s almost a little well-kept secret spot. There is enough beach to dig and build sand castles. The swimming area is roped off and has a long shallow section so you can sit your baby in the water up to his waist safely. At the deepest part of the swimming area, it’s only about four feet deep, so it’s great for kids and younger swimmers.

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