Beaches to Explore on the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

May 20, 2022

When you drive the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, you are guaranteed to pass some of Massachusetts’s best beaches. Each of these beaches has its own unique qualities, including scenic views, swimming, and walking the sandy shores. 

And for the photographers and social influencers out there, all these locations offer epic photo spots – so bring your selfie stick! 


Lynn/Nahant Beach Reservation (Lynn, MA)

The view from Nahant Beach

The Lynn/Nahant Beach Reservation is at the very beginning of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway (if traveling from the south). The popular beach reservation features long stretches of sandy beach, perfect for walking, jogging, swimming, and relaxing.

Parking: DCR public parking is available. $10 for MA residents and $40 for non-MA residents. There is also limited street parking available on Lynn Shore Drive.

Devereux Beach (Marblehead, MA)

Aerial view of Devereux Beach in Marblehead

This beach contains 5-acres of peaceful sandy shores to explore. The beach is perfect for families as there are typically lifeguards on duty, smaller waves, and a nearby playground. The beach also has its own volleyball net for extra fun!

Parking: Non-resident parking is available in the main Devereux parking lot and the Riverhead Lot. Keep in mind that these lots are cash only. For more information, visit

Singing Beach (Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA)

singing beach in manchester-by-the-sea

Singing Beach is a peaceful and scenic half-mile stretch of beach on the quiet Manchester-by-the-Sea shores. Besides the stunning views, the beach is most known for its singing sands – which squeak when walked across or blow in the wind.

Parking: There are various parking options, regulations, and restrictions when it comes to parking at Singing Beach. For a comprehensive breakdown of parking options, please visit the Manchester-by-the-Sea town website.

Good Harbor Beach (Gloucester, MA)

Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester MA

Good Harbor Beach is a great spot for white sands, amazing views, and seaside relaxation. The beach is also perfect for boogie boarding and body surfing at high tide. And at low tide, visitors can even walk out to Salt Island!

Plum Cove Beach (Gloucester, MA)

Plum Cove Beach offers visitors a fabulous view of Plum Cove. The small beach is a great spot for kids to run and explore. And the beach is also a favorite among locals.

Wingaersheek Beach (Gloucester, MA)

Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts, USA.

Wingaersheek Beach sits along the Annisquam River and Ipswich Bay, offering great views of both. The white sands and clear waters create a fantastic New England beach aesthetic to enjoy. And low tide presents a unique opportunity for families to explore tide pools and all the sea critters that can be found within – such as snails, hermit crabs, tiny fish, and shrimp.

Non-Resident Parking At Gloucester Beaches

In recognition of its very popular beaches, the city of Gloucester has launched a new online parking reservation system for non-residents. For more information and to reserve your spots, please visit the City of Gloucester’s Beach Information page.

Pebble Beach (Rockport, MA)

Pebble Beach in Rockport, MA

As its name suggests, Pebble Beach is a rocky, scenic beach at the end of South Street in Rockport. Due to the movement of the tidal waters, the rocks are smooth and easy to walk across, making the beach perfect for exploration.

Parking: There is limited parking on Penzance Road across from the beach. 

Front & Back Beaches (Rockport, MA)

Front Beach on Sandy Bay is a beautiful sandy beach that’s within walking distance of Rockport’s many shops and restaurants – making it a brisk walk from Downtown Rockport.

Parking: There is metered parking along the beach and a private lot across Beach Street. Free parking is also available at the Blue Gate Parking Lot with shuttle services to the beach.

Back Beach

Back Beach is only a 5-minute walk from Front Beach yet offers a different beachgoing experience for coastal byway travelers. The beach is a popular diving area for local scuba divers and offers plenty of nature exploration through its rocky and sandy terrain. 

Parking: There is parking available for seasonal sticker holders. But visitors can also utilize the parking options for Front Street and make the 5-minute walk over to Back Beach.

Long Beach (Rockport, MA) 

View of the twin lighthouses from Long Beach Rockport

Backed by a cement wall, Long Beach is Rockport features a long stretch of gorgeous white sands and clear waters to enjoy. Long Beach also offers views of Thatcher Island’s twin lighthouses. 

Parking: Parking at Long Beach can be tricky but there are a few private lots a short distance from the beach. Also, be sure that you avoid resident or non-resident sticker parking (unless you have purchased a seasonal sticker from the Town of Rockport) to prevent any tickets/fees.

Crane Beach (Ipswich, MA)

children playing on crane beach

Crane Beach on Crane Estate is a gorgeous beach that offers plenty of incredible sights and nature adventures. The beach’s focus on conservation and recreation makes it a great place to catch a glimpse of local wildlife, explore coastal environments, and relax on the peaceful beach.

Parking: Parking is available at 310 Argilla Road.

Plum Island Beach (Newburyport, MA)

plum island beach

Plum Island Beach is only a 2-mile drive from downtown Newburyport. The island offers an incredible beachgoing experience on one of Massachusetts’s most popular beach destinations. This very large beach is 11-miles in length and you’ll find plenty of seaside activities to experience. These include swimming, relaxing, kayaking, fishing, and bird watching, just to name a few.

Parking: According to, each area of Plum Island has its own parking lot complete with public restrooms. 

Salisbury Beach State Reservation (Salisbury, MA)

the sandy shoreline of salisbury beach state reservation

At the northern end of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, travelers can find the Salisbury Beach State Reservation. The reservation offers plenty of chances to get onto the white sands of Salisbury Beach. The beach is also near popular local and tourist attractions, such as arcades, quick service restaurants, nightlife, and music halls.

Parking: Metered parking and paid lots are available throughout the area.