Sandy Point State Reservation is a lovely coastal Massachusetts state park on the southern tip of Plum Island, in the town of Ipswich. The Department of Conservation and Recreation manages the 77-acre reservation, which is an important nesting habitat for the piping plover and the least tern. The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, which is next to the reservation, provides access. Be aware that it is a long dirt road to Sandy Point from the Park River Refuge. Most cars can easily make the journey, but they will be bumping around and get sandy.
The beach at Sandy Point State Reservation is a hidden gem where you can relax and explore the wonderful New England seascape for many hours. There is also a wonderful boardwalk which has plenty of benches for relaxing at. There are typically no crowds at this beach due to its isolated location and restricted parking. If at all possible, come on a day when the tide is about to go out. The length of sand that runs almost to Castle Hill across the inlet will astound you. At low tide, you can go out almost to the inner coast. But don’t stay too long when the tide begins to come in! It comes in quickly, and the sand can make walking difficult.
Although beautiful, Sandy Point (originally known as Ipswich Bar) has a long history of tragedy. The point boasts swift currents and shallow seas are hazardous at any time of year, but they are more perilous in the winter and after a storm. Sailing vessels in past have been driven aground on the bar. Despite being within 1/4 mile or less of shore, the victims were unable to reach it due to the cold waters and breaking waves, and if they did, they were stranded far from help.
One of the largest disasters occurred on December 15, 1847 when a 300 foot long and 60 ton brig named the Falconer of Belfast got stuck on the sandy reef off Sandy Point. The ship was carrying 53 people and 360 tons of coal from Sydney, N.S to Boston. Thick snow made the boat impossible to see from the shore for many hours and the sea continued to crash against the ship. Brave men of Ipswich decided to row out in the hazardous conditions to attempt to save the crew of the Falconer. Ultimately, 36 people were saved and 17 died.
- Address: 37-39 Refuge Rd
- Town: Ipswich
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: Lat 42.70350 Lng -70.78017
- Parking notes: The are about 20 parking spots in the lot located at the end of Refuge Rd. The parking is free and leads directly to the Sandy Point Boardwalk and the beach.
- Parking directions: HERE
- Location directions: HERE