The Best Boston-Area Beaches to Visit This Summer

Sandy shores and idyllic beach towns are just a quick T ride or drive from Boston.

While no summer is complete without heading out to the Cape, the beloved tradition can require quite the hike. And sometimes when the summer air gets stifling, you need to cool off by the ocean—and fast. Luckily, our coastal city has several seaside destinations nearby that offer a respite from city living for a quick trip or weekend getaway.

Even if you don’t have access to a vehicle, there are several Boston beaches that are accessible thanks to the MBTA. So no matter where you live in the city and what set of wheels you can secure, there’s a beach near Boston you can visit this summer. So get your beach bag and cooler ready, and check out this list of the best beaches near Boston.

Revere Beach
Revere Beach

Only a short walk from the Revere Beach T stop, Revere Beach is a go-to for those looking to escape the city without enduring pesky traffic or dealing with a rental car. It’s well-known to be one of the most convenient spots for prime ocean access, and Revere Beach also happens to be the first public beach in the US. Aside from sprawling out on the sand, you’ll find the city’s popular Kelly’s Roast Beef, family-friendly movie nights at no cost, and an annual Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival hosted this year from July 22-24.
Distance from Boston: 15 minutes
How to get there: By car or take the blue line to Revere Beach

Carson Beach
Carson Beach | Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

Yet another conveniently close beach, hop off the T at JFK/UMass for a quick stroll over to Carson Beach. Along South Boston’s shoreline, Carson Beach is a happening spot for local Dorchester and South Boston residents. And by happening, we mean it can be a tad on the rowdier side come weekends and holidays. But overall, the beach has everything you could ask for when looking to enjoy a day in the sun. Plus, if you’re up for a cocktail or two afterward, you’re only a mile away from some of the best bars around Boston including L Street Tavern, Loco, and Lincoln.
Distance from Boston: 20 minutes
How to get there: By car or take the red line to JFK/UMass

Wollaston Beach
Wollaston Beach | Yingna Cai/Shutterstock

For those that spend most of their days on the red line, try taking the T to the Wollaston stop for a much-needed field trip. Wollaston Beach, along the two-mile stretch of Quincy Shore Drive, is not only easy to get to, but it’s a solid way to spend a relaxing morning or afternoon. Maybe you’re not looking to sunbathe, but the beach’s walking and bike trails are enough to help switch up your normal weekend routine. On the southern end of the beach, you can also find Caddy Park, featuring a lookout tower, play area for the kids, and picnic tables.
Distance from Boston: 30 minutes
How to get there: By car or take the red line to Wollaston stop

Nahant Beach Reservation
Nahant Beach Reservation | Domenico Convertini/Flickr

Open year-round, the beach reservation stretches across 67 acres of the coastal town of Nahant and is perfect for those looking for scenic, panoramic views. Plus, the two-mile long promenade welcomes leisurely walkers, joggers, cyclers, and the occasional rollerbladers. And if you’re looking for a bite, Tides Nahant Beach, which overlooks the beach, has everything from burgers to salads to fried pickles.
Distance from Boston: 30 minutes
How to get there: By car

Spectacle Island
Spectacle Island | Lua Carlos Martins/Shutterstock

Boston Harbor Islands
Accessible via the ferry, this 114-acre island is part of the famed Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park—and once you arrive, you can choose your own adventure. Whether you set out to hike along the shore or lounge by the ocean, Spectacle Island will provide an idyllic summer day. The island is also home to North Drumlin, the tallest point in Boston at 155 feet above sea level.
Distance from Boston: 40 minutes
How to get there: By car or take the ferry at Long Wharf

Singing Beach
Singing Beach | Scott Terrasi/Shutterstock

The North Shore’s famous Singing Beach is known for its fine white sand and of course, a certain sound (some say it sounds like more of a squeak) that can be heard during visits, which is explained by the sand’s unique size, shape, and makeup that makes a sound when wind passes over the dunes. Aside from its “singing,” the beach makes for a tranquil stop for those looking to wind down. But if there’s room for some adventuring, head into the seaside town of Manchester-by-the-Sea for casual dining at Cala's Restaurant, Allie's Beach Street Cafe, and wood-fired pizza at Bravo.
Distance from Boston: About an hour
How to get there: By car or take the commuter rail to Manchester stop

Wingaersheek Beach
Wingaersheek Beach | Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

Dip your toes in the crystal clear waters of Wingaersheek Beach, part of Gloucester’s trio of beaches (also includes Good Harbor Beach and Stage Fort Park). Not only one of the most scenic nearby beaches, Wingaersheek is also about a 15-minute drive to waterfront dining options like Yella On The Water, Gloucester House, and Minglewood Harborside. Heads up for non-residents: If you’re planning on parking at the beach, you’ll have to make a reservation online—this also applies to nearby Good Harbor Beach and Stage Forge Park.
Distance from Boston: About an hour
How to get there: By car

Front Beach
Front Beach | Scott Huntington/Shutterstock

The town of Rockport is a can’t miss. Not only is it a doable drive from Boston, but it’s exactly what you’d expect from a seaside New England town: harbor views, colorful colonial buildings, and no shortage of small businesses from ice cream parlors to general stores and gift shops. And while the town’s Front Beach might be small, it's a perfect spot to relax before or after exploring the area.
Distance from Boston: About an hour
How to get there: By car

The Trustees
Crane Beach | The Trustees

The boardwalk to Crane Beach, surrounded by lush grass and shrubbery, welcomes you to this seaside oasis. While it’s worth spending all day on the ocean, you might also want to check out Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, an over 56,000-square-foot Tudor Revival mansion available for guided tours, and hikes, where you’re able to take in the panoramic views of the ocean atop Castle Hill.
Distance from Boston: About an hour and 10 minutes
How to get there: By car

Plum Island Beach
Plum Island Beach | Michael Sean OLeary/Shutterstock

This list would not be complete without Newburyport (or Rockport, for that matter). Newburyport’s Plum Island Beach looks straight out of a Cape Cod postcard with its scenic shoreline—not to mention the gorgeous waterfront architecture. It’s a rather small beach with a parking lot that can only accommodate about 150 vehicles, so you might need to get creative or get there early to secure a spot. But once you’re there, you can also enjoy the beautiful town of Newburyport, hitting up the local shops and restaurants after a day out on the sand.
Distance from Boston: About an hour and 10 minutes
How to get there: By car

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Jillian Hammell is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.