|Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester MA|
|Wingaersheek Beach, 5 miles (8 km) northwest of the center of Gloucester, is a favorite with families because of its warm water, gentle seaward slope, and varied terrain. It's a good first choice for a day-at-the-beach out of Boston.|
Wingaersheek Beach, 5 miles (8 km) north of the center of Gloucester, Massachusetts off MA Route 128, is a good first choice for a day-at-the-beach out of Boston because the beach is wide and deep, and the water is shallow and warm a long way out into chilly Ipswich Bay (map).
Check the tides before planning your arrival at the beach. Wingaersheek and adjoining Coffin's Beach usually have lots of space for everyone, even on a fine Fourth of July holiday, but there's more than twice as much space when the tide is low. More...
Families love Wingaersheek because most of it is safe for children and the shallow water is usually warm. The tide pools near the prominent rocks by the Annisquam River are populated by mussels, crabs, snails, clams and other small sea creatures kids like to see.
Boaters love Wingaersheek because they can approach it via the Annisquam River and moor just out of the channel's deeper water.
To the north of Wingaersheek Beach lie the chilly waters of Ipswich Bay, but you must walk quite a distance (depending on the tide) through warm water to reach the choppy over-your-head cold water of the bay.
To the east lies the Annisquam River, a salt-water channel that connects Ipswich Bay with the Atlantic Ocean and making Cape Ann technically an island.
At low tide, the l-o-n-g sandbar that forms the western boundary of the Annisquam River channel is revealed, and you can walk for nearly a quarter mile (400 meters) out into the bay toward the Annisquam lighthouse. The sandbar is a natural causeway far out into the bay...until the tide comes in again and it disappears, only to re-appear in another 12 hours.
Salt water pools, deep or shallow depending on the tide, are usually warm as baths on a hot summer afternoon, and provide perfect placid places for all but the littlest kids to splash and play.
There is an admission fee of $20 per car on weekdays, $25 on weekends. The large parking lots have space for hundreds of cars, and the wide expanses of beach provide beach-blanket room for hundreds of families. The beach always has room for all, but the parking lot may fill up by mid-morning on any summer weekend day.
A few of the private houses along the narrow road into the beach from MA Route 128 rent parking space, but when the main lot and these few private spaces are filled, you're out of luck. The nearest alternative parking is several miles away, and walking along the narrow access road is dangerous.
Wingaersheek Beach has sufficient, if minimal, facilities—toilets, showers and a snack stand—but there is no shade on the beach, so be sure to bring your own, or at least lots of sunblock cream.
How to Get to Wingaersheek
Warning: GPS systems, particularly MapQuest, may send you to completely the wrong place if you input "Wingaersheek Beach."
Double-check your GPS! Driving from Boston, take MA Route 128 to Exit 13—before you cross the high bridge over the Annisquam River—then follow Concord Street to Atlantic Street and the beach. From the center of Gloucester, follow MA Route 128 south to Exit 13, turn right at the end of the exit ramp, then follow Concord Street to Atlantic Avenue. Here's a map. This is the only road to the beach!
If you miss Exit 13, cross the high bridge over the Annisquam River and come to a rotary (traffic circle, roundabout), you've gone too far. Go all the way around the rotary and return on MA Route 128 south to Exit 13.
Although Gloucester has MBTA Commuter Rail train service from Boston, the nearest station, West Gloucester, is 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the beach, and there are no services whatsoever at the station, and no public transportation to the beach. More...
Taxi: If you arrange in advance for a taxi to meet you at the train station (either Gloucester or West Gloucester), the taxi can drop you outside the beach parking lot entrance and you won't have to pay the per-car beach admission fee.
—by Tom Brosnahan