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Crane Beach FAQs


If I have a Crane Beach Parking Permit, why do I have to book a Timed Entry Pass? 

In order to manage crowd size and visitor expectations, we are requiring that ALL entrants to Crane Beach reserve a Timed Entry Pass online in advance. This includes Crane Beach Permit holders. Because we are reducing our overall beach capacity to keep visitors and staff safe, we feel this is the best way to plan for and manage beach traffic. Permit holders will continue to be granted free entry to Crane Beach, but the additional timed entry pass will still be required at this time.

Do permit holders receive refunds when purchasing Non-Permit Holder tickets?

To remain true to our founding mission of making our special places accessible to all, each week a small percentage of tickets are reserved for purchase by visitors that do not own Crane Beach permits. To maintain general public access to this small batch of tickets, refunds will not be given to permit holders that purchase these tickets.

How long will it take for me to get my Parking Permit? I renewed my Membership about 5 weeks ago.

Because of the pandemic, our offices have been closed and we are experiencing significant delays in processing Membership and Permits. Our offices are now open on a limited basis and our Membership team is working diligently to process Memberships and Permits and mail out materials as quickly as possible – including Membership cards and Permits. If you purchased your Membership and Permit online, you may use the confirmation email you received as proof of purchase.

I don’t have my permanent Member # yet, how do I reserve a Timed Entry Pass?

Currently, you do not need your Member # to reserve a Permit holder timed entry pass for Crane Beach. However, when you arrive at Crane Beach, you will need to have your Crane Beach Parking Permit affixed to your vehicle or you may show your email confirmation for the recent purchase of your Crane Beach Parking Permit. If you do not have your Permit or confirmation email, you may be denied access.

Will Permit Holders be notified in advance each time there is a new release?

Because we now have a regular, twice-weekly release of Passes, we will no longer be emailing Permit holders about access to passes. Instead, through our ticketing platform, only Permit holders can reserve the vast majority of Timed Entry Passes, and Permit holders also have access to additional time blocks (8-10AM, 4-6PM) that are not available to anyone else. It is in this way that we are prioritizing the needs and interests of Permit holders while staying true to our mission of being open – in some capacity – to all.


How many tickets or passes are you releasing?

We are allowed to operate at 50% of capacity at any given time, and the new timing of Timed Entry Passes will hopefully help us to maximize our ability to have our parking lot half full throughout the day.

Can I bike or walk to the beach?

Visitors on foot or bicycles do not need a parking pass and can simply walk up to the gate. Member pedestrians and cyclists who show a valid membership card may enter for free. There will be a dedicated machine where Non-member pedestrians and bicyclists must pay a $3 fee by credit card only, with no receipt. Those riding bicycles can use the bike rack near the bath house behind the Exit Garage. No more than 100 bicyclists and pedestrians will be allowed to enter on a daily basis.

I’m an Ipswich resident. Do I need a pass? Will you run out of room for Ipswich residents?

Ipswich residents do not need to book a parking pass, and we will accommodate them in our main lot if the Ipswich lot fills. Residents need to display a 2020 resident sticker, which is available through Town Hall. Our hours are now 8am – 6pm.

If my ticket says 8AM-1PM, does that mean I just need to arrive by 1PM?

Visitors will be admitted anytime between the start and end times listed on their Timed Entry Pass, however they need to leave by the end time on the Pass.

Will I be able to get a refund if there’s bad weather?

Parking passes are nonrefundable, and Crane Beach is open rain or shine. The only exception to this weather-wise is if lightning is present. When this happens, we clear the beach entirely. As lightning storms don’t generally last too long, visitors are welcome to remain in their cars until the weather has passed. If there’s any question about this on a day when you are at the beach, we will keep Twitter (@cranebeachmass) updated with the status and options open to that day’s parking passholders.

Does my Timed Entry Pass for Crane Beach allow me to also visit Castle Hill and vice versa?

At this time, separate Timed Entry Permits are required to visit both Crane Beach and Castle Hill (Members and Permit holders included).

I just reserved a spot using the new system/ website, but my ticket wasn’t emailed to me.

Thank you for reaching out! Please check your spam/junk folder in your email, as tickets can land there sometimes. If you still don’t see it, please email with your first name, last name and reservation date to confirm.

I am a Permit holder and made a reservation but can no longer come. How do I cancel?

Thank you for reaching out! Please email with your order number at least 24 hours in advance to cancel your booking so that others may be able to enjoy visiting Crane Beach instead.

How many days of parking passes can I reserve at once? 

We are requesting that visitors only book one visit per release period. We are limiting the number of available tickets, if you don’t use your ticket, we lose the opportunity to offer it to another visitor, and we know that so many people want to visit Crane Beach this summer. Please don’t book tickets that you can’t use, and if you know you can’t make it, please return your ticket as soon as possible so that we can offer it to another visitor.


What happens when I arrive at the Crane Beach gate?

Everyone will be asked to stop and check in with a gate attendant, showing either a printed copy of the parking pass (preferred) or showing the emailed receipt via a cell phone or other device. Names will be checked against a master list. Parties will be allowed one entry per day per pass at this time. For Ipswich residents, staff will check for a valid resident sticker before those vehicles can proceed to the Town parking lot.

Can I leave and re-enter on the same pass?

At this time, we do not allow re-entry on a Timed Entry Pass.

Can I park at Castle Hill / Argilla Road to access the beach?

There is no parking on the public road, and Ipswich Police does frequently ticket cars parked there. Parking at Castle Hill is reserved for those visiting the historic gardens and grounds.

Is Steep Hill Beach open? Or If Crane Beach is closed, can I visit Steep Hill Beach instead?

Parking at Castle Hill is reserved for people visiting the historic gardens and grounds. The only parking at this time at Castle Hill is in the Main Lot and Barn Lot, and these spaces are limited. Thus, there is NO BEACH PARKING at Castle Hill. Visitors on foot (hikers, walkers) may pass through the Steep Hill area, but we are asking that beachgoers please respect this rule and only use the Crane Beach parking lot for beach visits. Rangers will be patrolling at Castle Hill to ensure compliance.

Can cars remain in the parking lot for Crane Beach past 6PM?

Yes, Crane Beach is open until Sunset, at which time the gates will be locked. The front gate will close 30 minutes before Sunset.

Q: Do I and/or my family need to wear face coverings even if we can stay six feet away from others?

A: Yes, in keeping with the Governor’s order, all visitors over the age of two (with exceptions for medical reasons) are required to bring and wear a face covering at all Trustees properties. The only exceptions at Crane Beach will be for visitors who are swimming or settled on their spot at the beach (i.e., “toweling”).

We’re trying to make our properties as safe as possible for our visitors and staff. While you may be able to social distance – and we’re doing everything possible to create that environment for you – we cannot guarantee that someone won’t get closer to you than 6 feet. Since we now know that even asymptomatic people can transmit COVID-19, we are doing our best to be thoughtful about reducing the spread of this virus. We aren’t in a position to enforce this but would ask that you respect and abide by these rules for these reasons.

Q: Are there any other social distancing requirements at Crane Beach I should be aware of?

A: Per the Governor’s orders, there can be no more than 10 people convening in a group at any time. This includes people “toweling” together or settled in their spot on the beachfront. “Toweling” groups must set up at least 12 feet from other groups.

In addition, our two wooden boardwalks will be one-way only. The eastern boardwalk (all the way to the right when you drive in) will be one way going from the parking lot towards the beach. The central boardwalk (between the east boardwalk and the vehicle access road) will be one way going from the beach back to the parking lot. The benches along the boardwalk will not be available as visitors are asked not to loiter. Likewise, there will be no picnic tables or chairs set up in the vicinity of the bathhouse. The vehicle access ramp, which is the pathway with the blue Mobi-mat, will be two-way, but we will ask visitors to walk single file on either side to allow for 6 feet of distance between streams of traffic.

How will I get safely from the parking lot to the beachfront?

Our two wooden boardwalks will be one-way only. The eastern boardwalk (to the right when you drive in) will be one way going from the parking lot towards the beach. The central boardwalk (between the east boardwalk and the vehicle access road) will be one way going from the beach back to the parking lot. The vehicle access road (with blue Mobi-mat) will be two-way, allowing for foot traffic in both directions.

Can we sit on the beach as normal?

You must set up your blankets/chairs at least 12’ from any other party. People may gather in a group of no more than 10 people per cluster. Although masks will be required while walking around the property, you are not required to wear them while swimming or “toweling” (settled on your chair/blanket on the beach front).

How will the rules be enforced? I see people not social distancing and not wearing masks.

We’re trying to make our properties as safe as possible for our visitors and staff. While you may be able to social distance – and we’re doing everything possible to create that environment for you – we cannot guarantee that someone won’t get closer than 6 feet. We are not in the position nor do we have the resources to enforce the rules every time in every place and ask that all visitors respect and abide by social distancing and wearing masks when not able to social distance, as indicated in the Governor’s guidelines. Visitors concerned about behaviors on the beachfront may report to a lifeguard. Lifeguard will notify a Ranger assigned daily to the swim area for enforcement.

Can I bring my dog to Crane Beach?

Dogs are  at Crane Beach between October 1 and March 31. Changes to dog regulations for 2020-21 that factor in COVID and visitor/staff safety are forthcoming and will be posted on the Crane Beach page before the start of the dog season.

How are Crane Beach admission fees used?

Admission fees help to pay the annual costs to maintain the beach and facilities, protect public safety, carry out dune and wildlife protection programs, and maintain historic buildings and structures. When you go to Crane Beach, you are directly helping The Trustees of Reservations protect and care for this important landscape and landmark.


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