Crane Beach

Ipswich, Massachusetts
Crane Beach in the charming town of Ipswich, Massachusetts is a magnificent coastal conservation and recreation area that spans 1,234 acres.
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About This Location

Crane Beach, located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, is a magnificent coastal conservation and recreation area that spans 1,234 acres. Situated just north of Cape Ann, this stunning natural treasure encompasses a four-mile-long sandy beachfront, breathtaking dunes, boardwalks, and a maritime pitch pine forest. The property also boasts an extensive network of hiking trails, totaling five and a half miles, meandering through the dunes and forested areas, providing visitors with diverse opportunities for exploration and outdoor activities. Annually, more than 350,000 people flock to Crane Beach to immerse themselves in its scenic beauty and recreational offerings.

At low tide, the beach often reveals sandbars that adventurous visitors can wade out to, and during the warmer months, small boats frequently dock at these sandbars, enhancing the maritime experience. Gazing across the water, you can admire the picturesque Plum Island and its sandy beaches.

The origin of Crane Beach dates back to 1945 when it was generously gifted by Richard T. Crane Jr., the son of Richard T. Crane, and his family. Together with Castle Hill and the Crane Wildlife Refuge, Crane Beach is owned and meticulously maintained by The Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving natural and historic places in Massachusetts.

One of the unique aspects of Crane Beach is its significance as a nesting site for the threatened piping plover. The International Piping Plover Breeding Census conducted in 2006 estimated that only 3,884 of these birds remained. Within this census, Crane Beach was identified as home to 19 breeding pairs and 40 adult piping plovers, underscoring its critical role in the preservation of this species. Visitors should be aware that during the months of July and early August, the area is frequented by the Greenhead fly. On calm days, it is wise to have some bug spray to avoid the flys.

To facilitate access to Crane Beach, the Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA) provides summer weekend bus service between the Ipswich MBTA train station and the beach. This offers a great opportunity for people from all over to access the beach. It’s a loved route by Bostonians.

Crane Beach is open year-round and offers free admission to Ipswich residents who have purchased a yearly beach parking sticker. Additionally, members of The Trustees of Reservations are eligible for discounted yearly passes. Non-members can access the beach for $40 on weekdays and $45 on weekends and holidays during the in-season period from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. For non-members visiting during the off-season, parking is $10. Amenities at Crane Beach include a refreshment bar during the summer months, year-round restrooms, showers, and changing facilities.

This pristine beach is a haven for various recreational activities. Swimming in its crystal-clear waters, particularly during the summer when the water is pleasantly warm, is a popular choice. Birdwatching enthusiasts will find Crane Beach an ideal spot for observing avian species. Runners and walkers can revel in the beach’s vast expanse and sweeping views. For photographers, the scenic beauty of the beach, complemented by captivating sunrises and sunsets, offers endless opportunities to capture memorable moments.

Visitors with dogs can enjoy the beach between October 1 and March 31, making it a pet-friendly destination during the off-season. Furthermore, horseback riding is permitted from October 1 through March 31, and riders must arrive with their horses in a trailer, along with a current Crane Beach Horse Permit.

Crane Beach is a cherished gem of natural beauty and outdoor enjoyment, beckoning visitors year-round to bask in its serene ambiance and explore the wonders of this coastal paradise.

Location

Address: Argilla Road, Ipswich, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.686306, -70.765194
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.686306, -70.765194
Parking Notes: There is an extremely large parking lot for the beach. It holds over 1,000 cars and is mostly unpaved. The beach is operated by the non-profit, The Trustees. There is a fee charged to park at the beach during the summer months.

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