How to Escape Boston and Head to the Beach Using Public Transport

The best beaches near Boston are all accessible by the T or a quick drive.

Wingaersheek Beach
Wingaersheek Beach | Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock
Wingaersheek Beach | Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

In a coastal city like Boston, there are plenty of seaside destinations to spend the day exploring or soaking up the much-needed sun. And while your first thought might be to head toward the beautiful beaches along Cape Cod, there are quite a few spots not far from the city worth considering—several you can even access via public transportation.

For your next easy city escape this summer, here are the 12 best beaches near Boston with or without a car.

Revere Beach
Revere Beach

Only a short walk from the Revere Beach T stop, this destination is a go-to for those looking to escape the city without enduring pesky traffic or dealing with a rental car. Recognized as the first public beach in America, it’s also well known as one of the most convenient spots for prime ocean access. In addition to sprawling out on the sand, you can experience live music and entertainment, the city’s popular Kelly’s Roast Beef, and the annual Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival, hosted this year from Friday, July 28, through Sunday, July 30.
Distance from Boston: 15 minutes
How to get there: By car, or take the Blue Line to Revere Beach

East Boston
About a 10-minute walk from the Blue Line, Constitution Beach Park has everything you need for a perfect summer day—from its sandy shore to its open green space for Frisbee, football, and more. There’s also a nearby playground, baseball field, and basketball and tennis courts to ensure everyone participating in beach day is content. But if you’re looking to take it easy, opt for entertainment from the comfort of your beach towel as you watch the planes travel to and from nearby Logan International Airport.
Distance from Boston: 15 minutes
How to get there: By car, or take the Blue Line to Orient Heights

Carson Beach
Carson Beach | Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

South Boston
Along South Boston’s shoreline, Carson Beach is a happening spot for local Dorchester and South Boston residents, and it’s conveniently close to Boston—just a quick stroll from the JFK/UMass station. While Carson Beach can be a tad on the rowdier side come weekends and holidays, overall, it has everything you could ask for 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 such nightlife favorites as Loco, Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant, and, for something super casual, the famous L Street Tavern.
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 who 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. If you’re not looking to sunbathe, the beach’s walking and bike trails are enough to help switch up your normal weekend routine. On the southern end of the beach, Caddy Park features 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

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, which overlooks the beach, has everything from burgers to salads and 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 offers 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

With more than five acres of beach to explore, Devereux Beach in Marblehead is a destination filled with sand, surf, and plenty to do on a beautiful summer day. Once you’ve soaked up all the sun, choose from places like Maddie's Sail Loft or The Landing Restaurant to grab lunch and a cold one. Or, if you venture out just a little farther, you’re only a 15-minute drive from all the history and action Salem has to offer.
Distance from Boston: 40 minutes
How to get there: By car, or take the commuter rail to Swampscott and then either MBTA Bus lines 441 or 442

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 noise (some say it sounds like more of a squeak) that can be heard during visits. The phenomenon is explained by the sand’s unique size, shape, and makeup, which make 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 town of Manchester-by-the-Sea for casual dining at Cala's, wood-fired pizza at Bravo by the Sea, or frozen treats at Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream.
Distance from Boston: About an hour
How to get there: By car, or take the commuter rail to the Manchester stop

Dip your toes into the crystal-clear waters off Wingaersheek Beach, part of Gloucester’s trio of beaches (which also includes Good Harbor Beach and Stage Fort Park). Not only is it one of the most scenic beaches nearby, Wingaersheek is also about a 15-minute drive to waterfront dining options like Yella on the Water, The Gloucester House, and Minglewood Harborside. Heads up for nonresidents: If you’re planning on parking at the beach, you’ll have to make a reservation online—this also applies to Good Harbor Beach and Stage Fort 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 road trip destination. 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 is 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, the 56,000-square-foot Tudor Revival mansion available for guided tours as well as 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. The city’s Plum Island Beach looks straight out of a Cape Cod postcard with its scenic shoreline—not to mention its gorgeous waterfront architecture. It’s a rather small beach with a parking lot that can accommodate only 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 city, 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 Instagram.