Boston - North Shore

Best North Shore Running Beaches

Running on a beach is one of life’s great pleasures. For runners, there’s nothing like the feeling of firm sand underfoot, the splash of water kicking back, and that open, free feeling of a seemingly unlimited horizon. We’ve put together this admittedly subjective guide to the best beaches for running on Boston’s north shore that meet our criteria of fairly flat, firm sand, and at least 1 continuous mile. Beach running conditions are always situational, and are best near low tide. See the tide table.

Revere Beach
1.5 miles one-way. Boardwalk option. MAP
Access: Blue Line to Revere Beach or Wonderland

Along with Swampscott-Nahant, this is the best seamless beach run within proximity to Boston and is accessible via public transport. The beach and facilities have been restored in recent years. It’s a great, flat run of about 1.5 miles. There is also a paved walkway along most of the stretch. It’s great people watching, there are famous snack joints such as Kelly’s Road Beef, and a famous sandcastle competition in summer.

Nahant-Swampscott: Kings Beach, Nahant Beach, Lynn Shore Dr.
3 miles one-way. Boardwalk option. MAP
Access: Parking along the beach; Commuter Rail stop at Swampscott

This is a great beach/boardwalk run 1/2 hr. north of Boston and 20 minutes from Logan Airport. There is a wide paved boardwalk paralleling Nahant Rd. and Lynn Shore Drive, for nearly 3 miles. Nahant Beach and Kings Beach are wide and feature great firm, packed sand, perfect for running at most times. Red Rock Park juts out above Kings Beach. I love this area because of the combination of beach and boardwalk. There are a couple of beach breaks where one has to hop up on the sidewalk. There are wonderful, open views the whole way, and facilities in season. At the Nahant end, Tides Restaurant is a New England classic. At the northern end, Swampscott Center is lovely, with good restaurant and shopping options.

Crane’s Beach
2.5–3.0 miles, one-way
Access: Big Parking Lot (expensive in season). Commuter Rail to Ipswich with seasonal beach shuttle.

Crane’s Beach in Ipswich is one of the most popular beaches within proximity to Boston. Watch out on a hot weekend day for crowds and expensive parking. BUT, this is one of the great New England beaches for running. So great, in fact, that there’s an annual Sand Stride 5-mile beach race in August. The running here is wonderful, particularly as the tide goes out. There are great views out to Plum Island to the north and Rockport to the southeast. It’s possible to do about 3 miles from one far end to the other, though this can vary due to tides and other conditions. During a two-week period, usually toward the end of July, Crane’s is bombarded by greenheads, a particularly nasty form of biting insect. The positive side: they don’t bother you while you’re running…just don’t stop.

Salisbury Beach
3.8 miles one-way
Access: Car Needed. Ample Parking.
Just north of Newburyport and south of the New Hampshire Boarder, Salisbury Beach State Reservation is one of the best beaches for running north of Boston. There are 3.8 miles of continuous beach, quite wide and flat, and fairly compact sand. There’s a boardwalk, and a 1 mile nature trail that are also pleasant for running. Along the beach, in season, there are bars, restaurants, and other amusements.



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