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Top 10 Nearby Beach Trips | A Day Away

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

By 4Squares Residential Group in Partnership with Judi 411

Sun worshipers, ocean swimmers, and beach bums unite! School's out, summer has arrived, and the 4Squares Residential Team is ready for some epic beach day trips in MA!

As a wise woman once said, "We don't plan to fail...we only fail to plan." Read on for our tips on what to do, what to bring, and most importantly, where to go to enjoy fun in the sun.

Ready to make some memories? Let's go!

Before You Go: Hot Tips for Foolproof Beach Day Trips in MA

1. Find shade or DIY your own: While some beaches offer some shade, you can't go wrong by bringing at least a beach umbrella. For an extended time in the sun, a pop-up tent with mesh-screen ventilation is a better bet. You'll feel calmer, and the mesh fends off black flies and the dreaded greenheads common on North Shore Massachusetts beaches.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Caffeine may be the elixir of life, but not for a day at the beach. Opt for a smaller iced coffee or a half-caf on your pre-beach Starbucks run. Freeze water bottles the night before to feel refreshed and stay cool while enjoying the summer breeze by the bay. Snack on fruits and veggies with high water content like watermelon, grapes, celery sticks, and cucumbers to mix it up a bit!

3. Pack more towels than you think you need: The general rule is two towels per person. One towel for drying off, and the other for sitting on the sand or in your folding chair. It is better to have an extra towel and not need it than to need (an extra) one and not have it!

4. Apply sunscreen like it's your job: Nothing ruins beach day trips in MA (or anywhere!) like coming home as Larry the Lobster. Even on an overcast day, UV rays are surprisingly strong. Slather on sunscreen before you leave the house, then re-apply at least once an hour (or more if you are on the fair-skinned side). For a complete list of sun safety tips, click here.

Where to Go: 4Squares Favorites from Shore to Shore in MA

A day at the beach means different things for different folks. Some of us enjoy a spur-of-the-moment trip at the start or end of the day. Others only consider their beach day trips in MA a success if they've set up day camp and brought along a never-ending buffet of food. Then there are the folks who crave a week-long stay by the beach. They want to come and go as they please while touring about in neighboring towns.

Depending on the mood that strikes you, here are our suggestions for short, medium, and long beach day trips in MA.

Quick Trip: Nahant Reservation, Nahant, MA

Beach day trips in MA need not be a full day's adventure. Be spontaneous! Zip up Route 1A to the nearby Nahant Reservation for an early morning beach trip to beat the heat of the day. Take a stroll along the promenade overlooking Nahant Bay, or let your little ones build castles by the seashore and be home by lunchtime!

A half-hour drive from Medford, "Nahant," as the locals call it, offers parking, but you'll need to plan an early start. On weekends, the parking lot is full as early as 8:00 am.

Maybe you prefer the beach in the late afternoon or early evening? Grab a bite at Tides Restaurant & Pub and enjoy the sunset from the Oceanside deck while sipping one of their signature cocktails or mocktails.

For more information on restrictions, what facilities are available, and parking costs, check out the Department of Conservation & Reservation's website.

Fun-Filled Family Beach Day: Half Moon Beach, Gloucester, MA

For families planning beach day trips in MA from sun-up to sundown, head northbound to Gloucester, located on "The Other Cape" --- Cape Ann!

Many Medford locals opt for Good Harbor Beach or Wingaersheek for a family beach day. But the 4Squares Team? We prefer to head off the beaten path. We put our chairs in the sand at the seaside sanctuary at Half Moon Beach at Stage Fort Park.

Named for its crescent shape, Half Moon is a small, quiet beach that makes beach day trips in MA feel like an island getaway. Restrooms at the nearby Visitors Center and cookout/picnic areas make setting up beach camp easy. The concrete access ramp enables accessibility for beach goers of all abilities, and there's enough shade for fairer-skinned family members to seek solar solace.

Beach Blanket Bonus: The Bandstand Concerts are back, which is a perfect way to end a spectacular day by the water.

Beach MA Vacation Getaway: Mayflower Beach, Dennis, MA

Of course, no beach blog is complete without mentioning Cape Cod! If your post-pandemic vacation plans include a pilgrimage to Barnstable County, a stop at Mayflower Beach in Dennis is a must.

Tucked between Chapin Beach and Bayview Beach, Mayflower's pristine, soft-sand beaches are a photographer's dream. Tidal flats at low tide span for hundreds of feet, making for excellent walking space and perfect for catching a spectacular mid-summer sunset. Kiddos can splash around in the smaller waves and explore the tidal pools as the waters recede.

And what summer vacation is complete without ice cream (especially after a long walk on the beach)? Hit up The Ice Cream Smuggler and enjoy homemade ice cream that The Food Network declares as "The Best Thing I Ever Ate"!

Extra (4Squares) Scoop: Do you run with your feet or run on Dunkin'? Check out Airbnb rentals in Dennis, near resident-only Bayview Beach, and enjoy an early morning jog before your crowd's feet hit the floor!

Beyond the MA Border: Beach Day Trips in NH and Maine

Now that COVID restrictions are primarily past us venturing beyond MA is a welcome option for many. Here's our shortlist of beaches within a 60-90 minute drive of Medford.

New Hampshire:

Hampton Beach: A great spontaneous getaway, Hampton Beach is best known for its two epic arcades: Funarama and Playland Arcade. Big kids (aka parents) can enjoy a date night at the Sea Shell Stage, which features bands playing music from all generations.

Wallis Sands State Park, Rye, NH: For a quieter, longer stay away from home, consider Rye, NH, not far from Hampton. Ocean lovers can swim, then head to the nearby grassy area for a game of frisbee, or sit and admire the Isles of Shoals.

Weirs Beach: More of a full-day trip at minimum, Weirs Beach in Laconia, NH, sits on Lake Winnipesaukee, a must-see for all New Englanders. Stroll along Winnipesaukee Pier and indulge in fried dough, play a round of mini-golf, or rent a boat and sail "Lake Winnie."


The days of "you can't get there from here" are behind us! So why not hop in the car and drive 90 minutes to Maine? Our two favorite spots, York and Ogunquit, make great day trips and extended vacation stays for the whole family.

York, Maine

York Beaches: Choose among three stellar beaches on the Maine coastline for your day of fun in the sun.

Everything you've ever wanted for a vacation spot, Long Sands Beach is a beautiful 2-mile stretch of white sand and good surf. Located directly on scenic route 1A, Long Sands Beach is within walking distance of many hotels, cottages, inns, resorts, shops, and restaurants.

Short Sands is precisely as the name implies, which makes it a perfect beach for small children. Bring the little ones to the sand playground to burn off some energy. Teens will love to search along the shoreline for beach sea glass and sand dollars.

York Harbor, the smallest of the three beaches, features Wiggly Bridge on York River and the Cliff Walk. Take either to the waterfront and coastline and watch boats coming in and out of the harbor.

Bonus: Surprise the whole family with a side-trip to York's Wild Kingdom, an all-in-one zoo and an amusement park!

Ogunquit, Maine

Ogunquit Beach: "Ogunquit" means "beautiful place by the sea," and once you arrive, it's easy to how the town lives up to its name. The 3-mile stretch of white, soft sands comes alive with multi-colors of beach umbrellas, funky beach blankets, and the like. Add to that the ever-changing tidal river and the beautiful dunes in between, and you have a postcard-worthy memory to capture on film.

Feeling like an indoor seaside view is more your style? Then pop in for a burger and a cocktail at Splash. Located inside The Norseman Resort, you'll find yourself convenient to Ogunquit Village and the beach. You'll also be steps away from the scenic Marginal Way walking path, a prime location for an after-lunch or pre-dinner stroll.

Shopping in Ogunquit Village

Is a vacation really a vacation if you don't come back with souvenirs? Check out On the Main gift shop in Ogunquit Village for colorful tableware, wall art, and jewelry to commemorate your summer adventure. Want something quintessentially Maine for your outdoor patio? Check out the patriotic buoys, birdhouses, and lighthouses at The Ogunquit Trading Post. Or indulge in a pair of moccasins to bring some indulgent comfort after a day on your feet.

Top off your trip with a stop-in at Sweet Pea's Ice Cream Shop. Choose from the long list of flavors, including the decadent Totally Turtle, or 4Squares Favorite, Blueberry Pie!

What's your perfect Beach Day Away in MA (or in New England)? At 4Squares, knowing the area's hidden gems is one way we help homeowners love the way they live in Medford and beyond. Feel free to reach out and share your inside scoop!

The 4Squares Residential Group would like to wish all of our readers continued good health as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. We also recognize that comfort and personal preferences will vary in terms of travel within and outside of MA. We encourage you to review the website links above as you plan your summer activities, especially for trips outside of Massachusetts.

Photos: Nubble Light in York, ME; The Ice Cream Smuggler; Wingaersheek Beach at Sunset

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