Take a Trip to the Beach on the MBTA (2024)

Take a Trip to the Beach on the MBTA (1)

Visitors crowd Nantasket Beach in Hull, Mass. Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Things-to-do

Beat the heat with an ocean breeze at these Greater Boston beaches

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  • BU Today staff

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  • BU Today staff

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If you’ve been longing to head to a beach this summer, but don’t have a car, you’re in luck—you can easily reach over a dozen beaches by MBTA trains and buses, all without breaking the bank. Check out our list of Greater Boston beaches (from north to south) just a hop, skip, or jump away on the T. As noted, a few are available only by commuter rail, and getting to some requires additional bus connections and a bit of a walk.

One last thing—be sure to check on the state’s water quality dashboard whether the beach you’re thinking about is open.

The Blue Line:

Nahant, Lynn, and King’s Beaches

Among the northernmost beaches accessible by T are the Nahant, Lynn, and King’s Beaches—all part of the Lynn Shore & Nahant Beach Reservation. More than four miles of public waterfront provide a welcome escape from the city’s heat. You’ll find ball fields and racquetball and tennis courts near the Lynnway Rotary and a tot lot at Ward Bathhouse. Find a map of the beaches here.

By the T: To reach Nahant Beach, take the Blue Line to Wonderland, then a Route 439 bus to Nahant Rd,, opposite Wilson Rd. For Lynn Beach and King’s Beach, take the Blue Line to Wonderland, then a Route 441 or 442 bus to Broad St. @ Nahant St. and walk for about eight minutes.

Revere Beach, Revere

Established in 1896, Revere Beach is the oldest public beach in America. It’s also one of the most popular in the Boston area, so expect the crowds to swell as the summer gets hotter. There are oodles of restaurants nearby for when you get hungry: try the justly famous Kelly’s Roast Beef or Antonia’s at the Beach.

By the T: Take the Blue Line to Wonderland, then walk a short distance.

Constitution Beach, East Boston

The family-friendly Constitution Beach, in Orient Heights, offers a bathhouse, a playground, tennis and basketball courts, picnic areas, shade shelters, and on-duty lifeguards during the summer. It’s also an excellent vantage point for watching planes land and depart from Logan Airport.

By the T: Take the Blue Line to Orient Heights, walk down Bennington Street to Trident Street, then take a left.

Winthrop Beach, Winthrop

From the 1600s to the 1800s, Winthrop Beach was primarily used for clam digging, lobster fishing, and kelp and rock harvesting, but a commuter rail extension in the late 1800s made the beach popular with city dwellers and tourists. Often overshadowed by larger, more touristy Revere Beach, Winthrop Beach is considered by many a hidden gem. At low tide, you can walk out to the “Five Sisters,” five wave breakers completed in 1935. The beach is open year-round from dawn to dusk.

By the T: Take the Blue Line to Orient Heights, then a Route 712 bus to Shirley St. @ Cutler St., or a Route 713 bus to Veterans Rd. @ Cutler St., and then walk east a short distance to Winthrop Shore Drive.

The Red Line:

Castle Island/Pleasure Bay, South Boston

If Gilligan had gotten shipwrecked on Castle Island, he could have easily escaped—it has been connected to the mainland since the 1930s. The island is home to Fort Independence, a breathtaking pentagonal fort, built between 1834 and 1851, that today shares island space with grassy areas ideal for family picnicking. The eighth fort to occupy the site, Fort Independence has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is the oldest continuously fortified fort in British North America. There’s a small beach—which has some slightly rocky spots along Pleasure Bay—that’s one of the city’s most popular swimming destinations. There is also a fishing pier along the Harborwalk. Bring comfortable footwear because you’ll have to walk nearly a mile to Castle Island.

By the T: Take the Red Line to Broadway, get a Route 9 bus to Farragut Rd. opp E. 2nd St., then walk down Head Island Causeway to the beach.

L and M Street Beaches, South Boston

The side-by-side L Street and M Street Beaches connect the beach at Pleasure Bay with Carson Beach. Featuring spots to walk, jog, skate, or bike along the Harborwalk, they are two of the longest stretches of uninterrupted beach in Boston. If you can’t get enough of swimming, consider joining the famous L Street Brownies, a group of local swimmers who take to the ocean year-round in a tradition dating to the late 1800s. They are famous for their annual New Year’s Day plunge, first held in 1904.

By the T: Take the Red Line to Broadway to get a Route 11 bus to E. 8th St. @ L St., then walk down L Street.

Click on the icons on the map above for more information about beaches accessible by the T.

Carson Beach, South Boston

Another seaside destination on the Harborwalk, Carson Beach offers excellent swimming, along with plenty of areas for strolling and biking; there are also chess tables and bocce courts. The bathhouse has restrooms, changing rooms, and showers. Carson Beach also has a fishing pier and great views of Boston Harbor and Logan Airport.

By the T: Take the Red Line to JFK/UMass, then walk down William J. Day Boulevard.

Savin Hill and Malibu Beaches, Dorchester

They may not be in California, but just the same, Malibu and Savin Hill Beaches are great places for sunbathing. Both have protected swimming areas, and Savin Hill Beach also has a tot lot and baseball fields. Both beaches offer stunning views of one of Boston’s best-known landmarks and the world’s largest copyrighted artwork, the “Rainbow Swash,” painted by Corita Kent on a National Grid gas tank. Take a close look at the colorful design—it’s alleged that Kent painted the profile of former Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh onto the side of the blue stripe.

By the T: Take the Red Line to Savin Hill, then walk down Savin Hill Avenue to Denny Street.

Tenean Beach, Dorchester

If you’re more interested in catching an ocean breeze and great views of downtown Boston than in swimming, consider heading to this often sparsely populated beach. Tenean Beach also has tennis courts. Note: basketball courts and restrooms are currently closed.

By the T: Take the Red Line to North Quincy, then a Route 210 bus to Neponset Ave. @ Ashmont St., and walk for about 10 minutes.

Quincy Shores Reservation

If you’re looking for a beach that offers more than swimming, Quincy Shores Reservation may be the place for you. The area is equally popular for its jogging and bicycling trail. At one end of the 2.3-mile beach is Caddy Memorial Park, a recreational area with over 15 acres of fields equipped with a play area, a lookout tower, and picnic tables. At the other end is Moswetuset Hummock, a mix of trails and marshland that was a summer campsite of Native Americans in the 1600s and is today a National Historic Site. Visitors will have about a mile walk to the beach.

By the T: Take the Red Line to North Quincy, then a Route 217 bus to Billings Rd. @ W. Elm Ave., and walk about three minutes to Quincy Shore Drive.

Nantasket Beach, Hull

Nantasket Beach, which bills itself as “just one wave from Boston,” is in the seaside peninsula town of Hull and can be reached by commuter rail, as long as you don’t mind a 2.5-mile walk. But it’s well worth the effort: Nantasket is one of the most fun-filled summer destinations you’re likely to find. The beach is part of Nantasket Reservation, 26 acres spread out over nearly a mile and a half of oceanfront. Take a ride on the historic Paragon Carousel, one of the nation’s few remaining grand carousels and one of the last vestiges of the now-defunct Paragon Park, an amusem*nt park that once drew thousands of tourists daily. Band concerts are a summer staple here, as well.

By the T: Take the Red Line to Quincy Center, then get a Route 220 bus to Station St.–Hingham Depot; switch to a Route 714 bus to Nantasket Ave. from Kenburma St. to A St., then walk about eight minutes.

The MBTA Commuter Rail:

Front Beach and Back Beach, Rockport

Front Beach and Back Beach, nearly adjacent to Rockport’s Sandy Bay, offer varied experiences. Front Beach, a quiet respite from the bustling downtown scene, has lifeguards in season, public restrooms, and a swim platform 30 feet out from shore. Its proximity to town makes it easy to get to many of Rockport’s restaurants and shops. Back Beach is best known for its rocky shoreline and offers one of the North Shore’s most protected dive sites, making it a favorite of scuba divers. It’s also notable for great views and surf.

By the T: From North Station, take the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail to Rockport, then walk about 10 minutes to reach the beaches.

Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea

True to its name, the popular Singing Beach has sand that “sings” if you scuff or shuffle your bare feet forcefully enough through the sand when it’s dry. And if you find yourself in need of refreshment, stop for an ice cream cone at Captain Dusty’s. The beach also has a bathhouse, open daily from 9 am to 7 pm from mid-June until Labor Day, which features a small canteen/snack bar. The beach has a $10 walk-on fee during the summer season, but there is a $35 walk-on pass good for the season. Admission to the beach is free for people 65 and older.

By the T: From North Station, take the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail to Manchester-by-the-Sea, then walk up Beach Street (away from downtown) for approximately 12 minutes.

If you’re not an ocean person or your preferred swimming spot is closed, check out our updated list of public pools in the area.

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Take a Trip to the Beach on the MBTA (2024)

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