Beyond Somerville: Snag a Spot in the Sand at Crane Beach

I’m almost ashamed to admit how long I’ve lived in New England without visiting Crane Beach. But a few weeks ago it finally happened and I’m so glad it did because Crane Beach was awesome. For those of you like me who haven’t ventured to that area of the North Shore yet, here’s a quick guide on what to expect.

Crane Beach is located in Ipswich and it took us about an hour to get there when we went. There wasn’t any traffic and the drive itself was actually really pleasant, especially the last few miles off the highway. You’re surrounded by beautiful farms and travel through several quintessential New England towns before arriving at the beach. It’s a great break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Crane Beach Inside

The fee to park at Crane Beach is a bit steep ($25 per car on the weekends), but I felt like it was worth it. The parking itself is very organized and reminded me going to a ski mountain. And the facilities at Crane were awesome. There were clean bathrooms with real toilets, changing areas and mirrors–a major plus in my book! And though we didn’t utilize it, there’s a decent-looking snack bar with a lot more than just the usual greasy fare. (Pro tip: Don’t like getting up early to snag a spot in the sand? Come after 3 p.m. and the fee is reduced by 50%.)

The beach was crowded, but it didn’t feel as crammed as others that I’ve visited. We were never bothered by anyone around us–except when an umbrella went flying and nearly impaled someone!–a real rarity at the beach in the summer. For those with kids, Crane has a lot of shallow tide pools that are perfect for little swimmers. And for anyone looking for a some adventure while at the beach, there are five-and-a-half miles of dune hiking trails (Updated 5/20/15: The dune trails are awesome!) and of course, you can visit Castle Hill on the Crane Estate.

Crane Beach is absolutely beautiful, with stunning views of the ocean and surrounding areas on a clear day. I’m so glad I finally discovered it and have lots of summer weekends to go back!

What’s your favorite beach to head to in the summer?

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