On a hot summer day, it doesn’t get any better than flocking to a local beach near Boston with the kids. But if you’re looking for an interesting twist to your typical sand toys and beach blanket adventure, we’ve got ideas. Whether you want to dig for clams, explore sand dunes or find a secret beach nearby, we’ve got just the spot. Here’s where plan your next summer adventure!

Explore Sand Dunes at Crane Beach

Boston families know they can find the quintessential beach experience at Crane Beach. With miles or white sandy beaches, kids can dig, build and splash while parents lounge under the sun tent in an effort to stay cool. Trips to the refreshment stand keep everyone happy and taking the time to explore the sand dune trails gives this typical beach trip an exciting twist for kids. Just remember to grab your advance passes before visiting this popular beach.

310 Argilla Rd.
Ipswich, MA
Online: thetrustees.org

Find a Secret Beach in Gloucester

Families with tots will appreciate this quiet little beach with its crescent shape. Half Moon Beach’ sandy shores are bookended by large boulders, so tiny beach bums can’t wander too far and are always easy to spot. Remember to pack cash to pay for parking, and hit the nearby family-owned snack shack, The Cupboard, when hunger strikes. Lifeguards are on duty through Labor Day.

Half Moon Beach
107 Western Ave.
Gloucester, MA
Online: gloucester-ma.gov

Take a Ferry to Spectacle Island

Because riding the ferry is always an adventure, take the kids for a nature-filled day on Spectacle Island. Spend time swimming in the shallow waters next to the dock, or just bring your blanket to enjoy a family picnic with a spectacular view of the city. Lifeguards are on duty through Labor Day if your kids want to brave the cool water. And if not, searching for seaglass (remember to leave it there) is always a great second option, as is hiking the trails that weave around the island.

 
Spectacle Island
Boston, MA
Online: bostonharborislands.org/spectacle-island

Build Sandcastles at Revere Beach

When it comes to easy beach trips just outside the city, it doesn’t get easier than America’s first public beach, Revere Beach. Whether you take the T or load the kids into the car to head up the coast, you’ll find miles of sandy beach to explore. We love the free educational programming and Piping Plover Summer StoryWalk families can enjoy when they visit. Plan your trip the first weekend in August to marvel at the International Sand Sculpture Festival entries. It’s sure to inspire your mini builders to be like Olivia.

Revere Beach Blvd.
Revere, MA
Online: revere.org/revere-beach

Watch Fireworks at Hampton Beach

Calling all day-trippers! If you’re looking for a beach that’s got it all, plus fireworks, look no further than Hampton Beach. Head south to get your fill of sandy shores, a busy boardwalk and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Add in fireworks every Wednesday night this summer and you’ve got a reason to pack the kids into the car and head south. Psst.. the Blue Ocean Discovery Center makes a perfect sun break for kids.

160 Ocean Blvd.
Hampton Beach, NH
Online: hamptonbeach.org

Explore a Fort at Castle Island Beach

Boston is steeped in history, so why shouldn’t your beach adventure be too? Bring the kids to swim at Castle Island Beach and take a tour of Fort Independence while you’re there. Bikes and scooters should also be on your packing list. The miles of paved walkways make this a great spot for wheels of any kind. When the day is done, stop by Sullivan’s for a soft serve.

2010 Day Blvd.
Boston, MA
Online: mass.gov

Go Clamming at Duxbury Beach

Sometimes beaches are made for relaxing. And sometimes they’re made for finding your dinner. At Duxbury, families can do both. Get a shellfish permit and then grab your clam shovel and bucket to hunt for these elusive beach dwellers with the kids. Remember to pack cash for parking here.

260 Gurnet Rd.
Duxbury, MA
Online: duxburybeachpark.com

Bring your Bikes to Nahant Beach

If spending the day at a sandy beach that goes for miles is on your summer to-do list, Nahant is here for you. So pack your beach blankets, picnic basket, sand toys and sunshade, you’ve got to visit this spot at least once on a hot summer day. When you’re ready to change up your typical beach bum vibe, grab your bikes or scooters and hit the promenade. It’s just the right distance for little riders and the ocean will be waiting so you can take another dip when you’ve finished the ride.

1 Nahant Rd.
Nahant, MA
Online: mass.gov

—Allison Sutcliffe

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