June 20, 2019
Now that you’ve survived another winter and record-breaking rainy spring in New England, it’s time to dust off your mirrored shades, your floppy hat, your favorite insulated beverage cups, additional 1,000 pounds of beach gear and put on your best RBF (resting beach face, obviously)! Here’s the skinny on the best local beaches and what you’ll need to know before your visit:
Hingham, Hingham Harbor Bathing Beach
What you need: Just your fabulous self and the 600+ pounds of beach gear you lug around all summer
Where to buy: It’s free!
Bathing Beach is a great, family-friendly beach and it’s hard to beat the proximity to home. There’s ample parking and the beach is truly public (read: free). Be sure to plan your visit for high tide – mud flats at low tide mean that the beach is good for picnicking but little else. Use the money you’d spend on a beach sticker to keep yourself surrounded by fancy snacks from the Fruit Center and Red Eye Roasters coffee (a snack bar is planned but construction will not be completed until September(ish). If you’re beach-bound on a Saturday, keep in mind that much of the parking lot adjacent to Bathing Beach is home to the Hingham Farmer’s Market from 9AM-1PM (from May until November). If water sports are more your thing, Hingham Recreation rents kayaks and stand-up paddleboards ($30 for a two-hours rental) on Wednesday mornings from 7AM – 11AM and on weekends on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7AM-7PM. SUP YO has also set up shop in Hingham Harbor and leads yoga classes on SUP boards throughout the summer so check out their schedule online.
Hullwaii (aka Hull, MA), Nantasket Beach
What you need: You can pay daily to park at Nantasket Beach for $15 (MA-resident) OR you can buy an annual DCR parking pass online for $60. Note, not all of the parking lots at Nantasket Beach are run by the DCR but it’s still a pretty good deal to buy the pass even if you go a handful of times. While you’re there you can hit up Paragon Boardwalk for arcade games, live music, craft beer, mini golf and more. There’s also a great playground and Levitate offers surf camps and surf lessons.
Where to buy: You can buy the DCR parking pass online
Duxbury, Duxbury Beach
What you need: Non-resident Oversand permit ($350 for non-resident pass after May 1)
Where to buy: You can buy an oversand non-resident pass online
Available for 1 4WD vehicle per household. The early bird gets the worm in Duxbury, where the oversand section of the beach often fills up by 8AM on nice weekends. If, like me, it takes you at least an hour to get out of the house in the morning, don’t fret- the beach parking situation typically opens up again in the early afternoon. Duxbury is an absolute dream of a beach and let’s be real, it is worth nearly any amount of money to not have to schlep everything you own from a parking lot to the beach. With an oversand permit, you can roll up onto the beach with your cooler nearby and a tiny car potty handy for your littlest littles. Plus, when things go south (inevitable after a few hours in the sun), you can quickly corral everyone/everything and get right outta Dodge. However, be warned that it is easy to get stuck in the sand (speaking from first-hand experience) so be sure to keep a shovel, rope and some plywood in your trunk just in case you need some help. Thankfully everyone on Duxbury beach is always willing to lend a helping hand to those who get stuck and when in doubt let air out of all four tires and you should be good to go (again). There is a tire pump on your way out of Duxbury near Far Far’s ice cream (convenient) but be sure to have quarters on hand or there will be no dice for air (again, speaking from experience).
Scituate, Humarock, Egypt, Minot, Sand Hills and Peggotty Beaches
What you need: Non-resident all access season pass ($200), Humarock Beach-only sticker ($75)
Where to buy: Online or in-person at Town Hall (600 Chief Justice Cushing Highway)
Each year, the town sells 200 non-resident stickers which provide access to all beaches in Scituate (Humarock, Egypt, Minot, Sand Hills and Peggotty). Buzz-kill – they are sold out for this year but good to have the information so you can mark your calendar for next year. They typically go on sale in February and are sold out by March/April. If you don’t have a permit, you can roll the dice and try for one of four visitors’ parking spots at Peggotty Beach (the only beach in town with designated free spots for visitors) in Scituate’s Inner Harbor. If that fails, go for anything on the menu at Trident’s sister restaurant, Galley or a cocktail that will take you back to your college days on the deck at TK O’Malley’s (a Scituate harbor mainstay).
Cohasset, Sandy Beach
Sorry, Charlie: Pretty much Resident-only (womp womp)
Unfortunately, Cohasset beaches require a permit and getting one if you’re not a resident is quite difficult (I’ve been on the “waitlist” since 2013 and we’ve heard they are no longer accepting names for the waitlist as it’s still many years long). However, if you can’t live without Sandy Beach in your life, check out Cohasset Beach Yoga on Facebook. They run periodic beach yoga classes during the summer and provide parking passes for visiting yogi and yogini.
Marshfield, Rexhame, Brant Rock and Green Harbor
Bad news: Beach stickers are only for residents… BUT good news: daily paid parking is available to non-residents.
Beach permit stickers are only available to Marshfield residents, but the town boasts several beaches (Rexhame, Brant Rock and Green Harbor) where non-residents can pay upon arrival to park and most are $10 to park during the week and $15 to park on holidays and weekends.
Did we forget your favorite beach spot? Leave your beach tips in the comments below!