CORONAVIRUS update from The Trustees. Learn More
Northeast

Crane Beach on the Crane Estate

Ipswich

1,234 acres

Soak up the seaside fun at one of the Northeast's most spectacular beaches, and follow trails and boardwalks through a spellbinding landscape of sand dunes and salt marsh.

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Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions
  • What You'll Find
  • Facilities
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories

Overview

Visited by more than 350,000 people annually, Crane Beach remains a national model for balancing conservation of diverse natural habitats and wildlife—more than 1,200 acres of beachfront, dunes, and maritime forest grace the property—with the management of active public recreation. Whether you want to take a refreshing plunge, play in the sand, or bask in the sun, this unparalleled seaside experience has provided fun and lasting memories for generations.

Crane Beach is among the world’s most important nesting sites for piping plovers—a threatened bird that was nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century for its eggs and feathers—and has been nationally recognized for its successful shorebird protection program. To protect threatened shorebirds during your visit, we ask that you avoid the fenced nesting areas and the wrack, the line of washed-up organic debris where the birds feed and hide.

Parking Passes are currently available for Members, including Crane Beach Permit Holders. All Members, including Permit Holders, must obtain a parking pass prior to arrival at Crane Beach.

Ideas for Your Visit

While swimming and sunbathing are the main draws, Crane Beach is a four-season playground where walkers, hikers, birdwatchers, citizen scientists,students, and more come to enjoy the great outdoors. Don’t miss more than five miles of trails that wind through coastal dunes and shield the inland areas from storm waves and flooding. The interior of Castle Neck is home to the North Shore’s largest pitch pine forest, and exquisite hiking awaits. From October 1 to March 31, dogs and horses are allowed (see Regulations & Advisories.) Learn more about bringing horses to Crane Beach.

Beachfront
Ranger coverage year-round and daily during open hours. Lifeguard coverage 8AM-5PM daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Bathhouse Complex
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, an EMT is on duty until 5PM daily. Additionally, the Snack Shack is open from 11AM-5PM and the Beach Store from 9AM-5PM daily. Restrooms are available during open hours. At this time and due to COVID, showers and water fountains are not available.

Trails
Experience 5.5 miles of trails, traversing the dunes, maritime scrub forest, and beachfront on both the Ipswich Bay and Essex River estuary sides of the Castle Neck peninsula. Due to soft sand and many hilly dunes,trail difficulty is Moderate. These trails are a spurof the Bay Circuit Trail. Bring plenty of water, a hat, sunscreen, and a cell phone for safety!

Admission & Hours

Hours and fees

New for 2020: Timed Entry Passes

  • As part of our response to COVID19, everyone needs a Timed Entry Pass to enter Crane Beach this summer, even our Permit holders. Learn why and answers to other Frequently Asked Questions here.
  • Passes are released at Noon on Mondays (for Tu/We/Th/Fr) and Thursdays (for Sa/Su/Mo).
  • GET PASSES

Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is permitted on Crane Beach from 10/1-3/31. The Crane Beach Horse Trailer Permit Program is a Trustees Members only program. Questions? Email cranebeach@thetrustees.org.
Learn more and apply for a Horse Trailer Permit now.

Directions

310 Argilla Road
Ipswich, MA 01938
Telephone: 978.356.4354
E-mail: cranebeach@thetrustees.org

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Rt. 128 North Exit 20A, take Rt. 1A north for 8 mi. to Ipswich. Turn right onto Rt. 133 East and follow for 1.5 mi. Turn left onto Northgate Rd. and follow for 0.5 mi. Turn right onto Argilla Rd. and follow for 2.5 mi. to entrance and parking (1,300 cars) at end of road.

What You'll Find

All Members, including Permit Holders, must obtain a timed pass prior to arrival at Crane Beach. Click here for more information and to get passes.

Every car receives a free introductory pamphlet to Crane Beach.

Literature about events at the Crane Estate, other Trustees properties in the region, and Membership in The Trustees is available from the bulletin board and the beach office.

We recommend that you download a trail map before your visit.

Facilities

In-season: Lifeguards and rangers, bike rack, bathhouses (with toilets and changing area), outside showers, picnic tables, Crane Beach Store (refreshments and merchandise), drinking water fountains (located outside the bathhouses), information kiosk, transportation for mobility-impaired and challenged visitors.

Off-season: Family restrooms and visitor access to floating beach wheelchairs

Property Map

Every car receives a free introductory pamphlet to Crane Beach.

Literature about events at the Crane Estate, other Trustees properties in the region, and Membership in The Trustees is available from the bulletin board and the beach office.

We recommend that you download a trail map before your visit.

Regulations & Advisories

Rules & Regulations for Crane Beach (PDF).

Horse Trailer Permits – Horseback riding is permitted on Crane Beach from October 1 – March 31

DOG REGULATIONS: Dogs are allowed at Crane Beach between October 1 and March 31 (free for Member dogs and $5/dog for Nonmember dogs.) Because dogs are not generally able to adhere to a 6-foot rule when off leash, and because we want to minimize dog/dog and dog/human contact, there will be no off-leash dog area for the start of the 2020-21 season. We will reassess as public health and other information as it becomes available. Dog regulations will be shared with dog walkers at the beach gate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use a boogie board at Crane Beach?
Boogie boards are allowed in the short surf, with the discretion of the lifeguard. Boogie boards can not be used as floatation devices (patrons floating on board). View regulations for all other floatation devices.

Q: Can I use a mask and snorkel at Crane Beach?
No, visitors using snorkels and masks are unable to hear the commands of lifeguards, thus posing a risk to themselves and others.

Q: Can I use a skim board at Crane Beach?
At the discretion of the lifeguard and in an area away from other people, skim boards are sometimes permitted.

Q: Can I launch a water craft from Crane Beach or the Crane Wildlife Refuge?
Water craft may not be launched from Crane Beach or Crane Wildlife Refuge. This includes canoes, kayaks, and sailboards.

Q: Can I fish at Crane Beach?
Fishing is permitted outside the designated swim areas and away from any and all swimmers.

Q: Can I metal detect at Crane Beach?
No. Metal detecting is prohibited on Crane Beach and everywhere on the Crane Estate.

For frequently asked questions regarding the ticketing system for summer 2020, please click here.

Hunting Advisory
Authorized bow hunting, only with written permission, is allowed on this reservation for a limited number of hunters, according to MasssWildlife regulations from mid October through December each year, from ½ hour before sunrise all day until ½ hour after sunset, Monday through Saturday. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Signage is posted at the property listing safety precautions, requirements, and rules for the benefit of all visitors. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties.

The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.

Before Setting Out
More to Explore

Passes | COVID-19

To provide safe access to our most popular properties, advance passes are required for all, including members, non-members, and permit holders.
Passes
Upcoming Events

History

In 1910, Richard T. Crane, Jr., purchased 800 acres on and around Castle Hill – the first of many family land acquisitions that eventually formed the 2,100-acre Crane Estate. Following Mr. Crane’s death in 1945, the family gave 1,000 acres, comprising most of Crane Beach and the dunes of Castle Neck, to The Trustees. When Richard’s wife Florence died in 1949, her bequest added another 350 acres, the Great House, and most of Castle Hill. A quarter-century later, her daughter-in-law, Miné S. Crane, added the 680-acre Crane Wildlife Refuge.

The View From Here
See What People Say

Still pristine and beautiful after all those years.... Beautiful white sand beach with ever changing seascape, pristine and away from everything. Just the beach, birds and the ocean. I am still visiting this beach since my first time in 1975 and every time I stand on the top of the boardwalk I think, WOW this is really beautiful place and I want to come back here again and again.....

Michaela R, TripAdvisor Review

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