The Massachusetts coastline is a magnificent part of the United States, with a diverse geography worth visiting. Stretching from the border of New Hampshire to the border of Connecticut, you’ll find rocky cliffs, offshore islands, sandy beaches, and even salt marshes. The coastline of the state has a history as diverse as its geography, and even played a significant role in the American Revolution, with battles taking place off and along its shores.

Today, the beaches of Massachusetts are a popular destination for visitors looking to experience the New England coast. From the secluded coves off of Cape Cod to the bustling shores of Boston, we recommend visiting someday. When you do, check out HomeExchange for local accommodations near the best beaches in Massachusetts.

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Boston: Some of the Best Beaches in Massachusetts Are Right in Beantown

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Before branching out, let us begin with the historical state capital: Boston. With so much to love including an abundance of American History, Boston in itself is a must-visit destination. But it’s also home to a few of its own beautiful beaches. Even if you never make it further than Beantown, you can still see a handful of the best beaches in Massachusetts by heading to the coast to check out these.

  • Boston Harbor Beach: Situated in the Charlestown Navy Yard, just a short distance from the city's historic Freedom Trail, this beach is a peaceful haven away from the bustle of Boston. It’s relatively small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. Visitors can relax on the sandy shores and take in the stunning views of the Boston skyline and harbor. It’s a perfect spot for a family picnic!
  • Spectacle Island: Also located on the Boston Harbor, this hidden gem is easily accessible by ferry from the city. What makes the beach at Spectacle Island great is its pristine sandy shores and crystal-clear waters. In addition to the usual beach activities, visitors can also enjoy hiking on the island's trails or take a guided tour to learn about the island’s history and ecology.
  • Lovells Island: The beach at Lovells Island is also just a short ferry ride from the city, and located in the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. The island is relatively undeveloped, with unspoiled sandy beaches and clear waters perfect for swimming and sunbathing. It’s an ideal beach for nature lover’s without going far from the city.
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Cape Cod: Sandy & Secluded Shores Make Many of the Best Beaches in Massachusetts

cape cod best beaches in Massachusetts photo by Kelly Sikkema

Cape Cod is a highly sought-after destination situated on the eastern coast of Massachusetts and home to many of the best beaches in Massachusetts. It is a narrow strip of land extending into the Atlantic Ocean, with an extensive shoreline that boasts long stretches of sandy beaches, dunes, and salt marshes. Along Cape Cod's coastline, visitors will find charming villages and historic landmarks, such as the iconic lighthouses that adorn the shores.

  • Marconi Beach, Wellfleet: This stunning beach is located on the outer peninsula. Secluded and relatively undeveloped, it has unspoiled dunes and clear, clean waters. Visitors can also explore the trails, which wind their way through the sand dunes to breathtaking views of the Atlantic. The beach is named after the Italian inventor and radio pioneer who conducted his early wireless communication experiments on the dunes of the Cape Cod peninsula.
  • Bound Brook Island Beach, Wellfleet: This beach is part of the Bound Brook Island Preserve, a protected area that covers 200 acres of salt marshes, dunes, and woodland. With no amenities available at this beach, visitors should bring their own supplies, including food, water, and sunscreen. This makes it ideal however for those searching for quiet and seclusion. The beach is also a popular spot for fishing to catch striped bass and bluefish.
  • Lighthouse Beach, Chatham: Located on the southeastern tip of Cape Cod, Lighthouse Beach is ideal for visitors seeking a beach with a combination of natural beauty and historical significance. Families with children will appreciate the calm waters and sandy shores, while history buffs will enjoy learning about the lighthouse and its role in the area's maritime history.
  • Coast Guard Beach, Eastham: Coast Guard Beach is named after the nearby Coast Guard station, which helps to protect the area's shipping lanes and recreational boaters. The beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, a protected area that covers 40 miles of shoreline. Surfing is a popular activity here, with waves ideal for both beginners and experienced surfers. The beach is also a popular spot for fishing, with surfcasting opportunities for striped bass and bluefish.
  • Mayflower Beach, Dennis: The beach is named after the nearby Mayflower, the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America in 1620. The beach is relatively flat, with calm waters and a gentle slope, making it an ideal spot for families with young children. Visitors can also explore the nearby tidal pools and sandbars, which provide opportunities for beachcombing and observing local marine life.
  • Sandy Neck Beach, Barnstable: Located on the northern coast of Cape Cod, Sandy Neck Beach is ideal for visitors seeking a unique and adventurous beach experience. Outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and families with older children will enjoy the variety of activities available, from hiking and beachcombing to off-road vehicle tours and birdwatching.
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Martha’s Vineyard: A Chic Island Many of Massachusetts’s Best Beaches Call Home

martha's vineyard by aubrey odom best beaches in Massachusetts

Martha's Vineyard is a quaint and chic island off the coast of Cap Cod accessible by boat or plane. It’s also home to a stunning collection of the best beaches in Massachusetts, each offering a unique experience for visitors. Whether seeking a lively and social atmosphere or a quiet and secluded retreat, there is a beach on Martha's Vineyard to suit every taste and preference.

  • Aquinnah Public Beach: Also known as Moshup Beach, this beach known for its striking red cliffs can be found on the westernmost tip of Martha's Vineyard. Named after the nearby Aquinnah Cliffs, these geological formations owe their vibrant red and orange coloration to the presence of iron oxide. Pristine, and calm, the beach is ideal for beachcombers looking to experience the quieter side of Martha's Vineyard.
  • Lighthouse Beach: Named for the nearby Edgartown Lighthouse, this beach is located on the eastern end of Martha's Vineyard. The lighthouse is open to tour in summer, offering a glimpse into local history and panoramic views. With no hotels or resorts nearby, the beach itself is undeveloped and secluded but does have an open snack bar for when you get hungry.
  • South Beach: Also located in Edgartown on the southeast tip of Martha’s Vineyard, this beach offers a lively array of activities from games and picnics to surfing and boogie boarding. It’s a great beach for families and is watched over by lifeguards during the peak season, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.
  • Menemsha Beach: Located on the western end of Martha's Vineyard in Chilmark, the beach is known for its rocky coastline, calm waters, and stunning sunsets. Visitors can enjoy swimming, beach-combing, and picnicking, or simply relax and take in the natural beauty. It’s great for visitors looking for a quieter and more secluded beach experience.
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Nantucket: Beauty & History On An Island of the Best Beaches in Massachusetts

nantucket by rusty watson best beaches in Massachusetts

Located just 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, this small island’s popularity as a beach destination began in the 19th century when wealthy families from the mainland began building grand homes and summer cottages here. They were on to something, as almost all of its coastline is covered by the best beaches in Massachusetts. Nantucket is a must-visit destination for those seeking a beautiful and historic beach experience.

  • Cisco Beach: Cisco Beach is located on the southern coast of Nantucket Island.  The beach is known for its consistent surf and is a popular spot for experienced surfers. There’s something for everyone though with the usual water sports, soft sand, and plenty of place to lounge. After the beach head down to the nearby Cisco Brewery for tours and tastings of their locally brewed beer.
  • Madaket Beach: This beach is located on the western end of Nantucket and is ideal for those seeking a quiet escape from the busy tourist areas will appreciate the tranquil atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings. If you get hungry pop over to Madaket Millie’s, which serves delicious seafood just a short distance away.
  • Jetties Beach: If you find yourself on the northern coast of Nantucket, this is the beach to visit. Lounge on the soft white sound, or get in the water for some kayaking and paddle boarding. It’s also close to the Boat Basin, where you can spot luxury yachts. Take a stroll along the docks and enjoy the picturesque views of the harbor from there.
  • Ladies Beach: Ladies Beach in Nantucket is a must-visit destination for those seeking a peaceful and secluded beach experience. From here, you can spy another one of the island’s iconic lighthouses. Tour the Sankaty Head Lighthouse for amazing views and local history.
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Essex County: Enjoy Massachusetts’s Best Beaches Along the Coast of Cape Ann

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Essex County is a part of Massachusetts's North Shore and sits on Cape Ann, with notable cities like Ipswich and Gloucester. Its history is deeply rooted in fishing and maritime trade, dating back to the early 17th century when the first European settlers arrived in the area. Today the area’s stunning coastline is still one of its main draws, characterized by rocky enclaves, soft white sandy beaches, and picturesque harbors. It’s another part of the state that is home to some of the best beaches in Massachusetts.

  • Gold Harbor Beach: You’ll find this beach conveniently located close to downtown Gloucester, which is home to several historic landmarks, art galleries, and restaurants. Head to this nearby beach to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, fishing, water sports, and exploring the nearby tidal pools.
  • Wingaersheek Beach: Also located in Gloucester,  this beach is known for its natural beauty, clear blue waters, and soft white sand.  It’s also close to the Annisquam River, where visitors can enjoy fishing and boating. For a bit of action, you can also stop at nearby Rockport which is also a popular destination for visitors, offering a variety of restaurants, shops, and galleries.
  • Crane Beach: Located just north in Ipswich, this beach also boasts the expansive soft white sands that characterise the coast of the region. Crane Beach is worth visiting year round. Even if your not swimming in the summer, head here to take a stroll on the shore and then stop into the nearby Crane Estate, a historic mansion and garden that visitors can explore with year round tours.
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Begin Exploring the Best Beaches in Massachussets With HomeExchange

best beaches in Massachusetts photo by Cam Fattahi

Ready to make yourself at home in Massachusetts for a while to explore the best beaches? HomeExchange is the #1 home exchange network in the world, and an affordable, authentic, and safe way to travel. With over 400 miles of coastline, you’ll need time to explore the best beaches in Massachusetts, so suggest a home exchange in our community for a slow travel experience that lets you savor the state’s spectacular shores.