Crane Beach
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:290 Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA
Hours:8 a.m. to sunset daily
Fee: Admission fees vary depending on vehicle and time of day; Trustees of Reservations members receive a discount
Contact:; 978-356-4354

Bathrooms: At the bathhouse
Water/Snacks: Water fountain near the bathhouse; snack bar open seasonally

White sand beaches, gorgeous views, and trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and crosscountry skiing make Crane Beach a family favorite.

A seaside scavenger hunt at Crane Beach is an exciting way to spend the afternoon.
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

Crane Beach is well known as one of the most gorgeous beaches on the East Coast. It lives up to its reputation, but it’s more than just a beach. The property is part of the Crane Estate, a complex of more than 2,000 acres comprising the beach, the dunes, Castle Hill, a wildlife refuge, and the 59-room Stuart-style mansion called the Great House on Castle Hill, all owned by The Trustees of Reservations.

More than 5 miles of trails lead through the protected coastal dunes, which are part of the Bay Circuit Trail. Kids, however, will most likely want to stay by the water. Pick up a scavenger hunt from the visitor center— the laminated sheets are attached to a bucket—and explore the water’s edge, looking for razor clam shells, sand dollars, crab shells, and other evidence of sea creatures. Trustees employees often have special family-friendly programs running in summer, so be sure to check their schedule.

Remember: Flotation devices are not allowed. You can bring a dog October 1 through March 30 if you have registered for the Trustees’ Green Dogs program, which is free for members.

Plan B:

Nearby Appleton Farms and Grass Rides (Trip 77) is a charming seventeenth-century farm still in operation, also run by the Trustees.

Where to Eat Nearby:

You can eat at the snack bar or head back to MA 133 for clam shacks and ice cream spots.



By: Guest
Posted: 04/10/2017 02:45

    Great idea to engage kids. I would love to try this out.

  Research paper online about nursing.

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By: Chalu4
Posted: 05/31/2012 16:08
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By: Diana
Posted: 05/29/2012 14:00

This beach also offers the opportunity for longer walks along the water where kids can find shells, small ship wrecks, drift wood and birds flying in and out of the habitat that's right before the beach. Some of the habitat can be accessed via boardwalks, which are great to spot some interesting birds! During the first 2 weeks in June be sure to get the lotion that keeps away the greenhead flies, as they nest in the habitat near the beach and can get pretty annoying. A stand usually sells the lotion bottles right at the beach.

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By: kellyspowers
Posted: 05/22/2012 10:56

One of the top beaches in Massachusetts, if not New England. This is a beautiful place to spend the day, but be sure to arrive very early as the parking lot can fill up pretty quickly on a summer weekend. Good snack options and plenty of place to spread out and set up camp for a day at the beach with your kids!

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