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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.

Advance passes for Crane Beach are suggested but not required. However, if you have an advance pass, you are guaranteed admission for the day of your visit, even if passes sell out.

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, the bathhouse is host to our first aid and EMT office, a bustling refreshment stand, and our beach store. During other times of the year, these amenities are closed. Restrooms are available during open hours.

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 

  • 8AM-Sunset daily through March 2021. Note that the beach entry gate closes 20 minutes before Sunset.
  • 2020 Admission Fees
  • Advance passes for Crane Beach are suggested but not required. However, if you have an advance pass, you are guaranteed admission for the day of your visit, even if passes sell out. Admission fees may be paid at the Crane Beach gate via credit card only (no cash sales).
  • Any time the beach reaches its safe operating capacity, ALL visitors and Permit Holders except those with a Timed Entry Pass will be turned away until more space becomes available.
  • Click here to reserve a Timed Entry Pass.

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

At Crane Beach, you will find a spectacular stretch of white sand along the Atlantic coast, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, walking, and more. On your way out to the beachfront, stop by the bathhouse complex to use the restroom or visit our seasonal refreshment stand and beach store. Looking for something more active? Explore miles of hiking trails in the dune and maritime scrub forest.

Regular hikes and paddling trips are offered out of the Crane Estate, and the Barn at Castle Hill hosts our popular summer camp each year. Information about events, programs, other Trustees properties in the region, and Membership in The Trustees is available in the beach store or online.

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

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 map before your visit.

Regulations & Advisories

Rules & Regulations for Crane Beach (PDF).

Please also note the following additional waterfront rules:

  • No watercraft of any kind can be launched from anywhere on the Crane Estate. This includes canoes, kayaks, and sailboards.
  • Fishing is allowed outside of the swim area and away from any/all swimmers.
  • Masks and snorkels are not allowed as they make it difficult to hear a lifeguard’s command.
  • Boogie boards are allowed in short surf and with lifeguard discretion.
    Skim boards may be allowed with lifeguard discretion if conditions permit.

Horses at Crane Beach – Horseback riding is permitted on Crane Beach from October 1 – March 31

Dogs at Crane Beach: Dogs are allowed at Crane Beach between October 1 and March 31 (free for Member dogs and $5/dog for Nonmember dogs.) Dog regulations will be shared with dog walkers at the beach gate.

Hunting
Authorized seasonal bow hunting, is allowed on this reservation for a limited number of hunters through a deer management program administered by The Trustees. Per MassWildlife regulations, hunting is permitted from the first Monday in 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 and requirements. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties. Any questions may be directed to The Trustees coastal ecologist via castlehill@thetrustees.org.

Photography 

  • Drone photography is not permitted except in rare circumstances and only with the authorization of the Director of the Crane Estate.
  • All portrait and commercial photography must be approved in advance.
  • For commercial interests, please email castlehill@thetrustees.org.
  • For outdoor portrait shoots, please view our Portrait Photo Agreement for rules, restrictions, and instructions for how to apply for a permit.
  • 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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