I've always loved the beach. The sun, the salt water, the waves. But I could do without the traffic and hoards of people. I grew up on Long Island, where we had pebbly beaches on the north shore and sandy beaches on the south shore but with fierce waves. In Massachusetts, I have enjoyed Horseneck beach in Westport for many years, but it is a 2+ hour drive from where I live near the New Hampshire border. We've also gone to the beaches in York, Maine while visiting my in-laws. The water is always freezing cold and there is the dreaded Hampton toll to get through (although now with the high speed EZ-Pass lanes, traffic has been much better this year).
A couple years ago, I went on a quest with Dova to find a closer beach with less traffic and crowds. I headed north on 495 and got off as soon as I saw a sign for "Beaches". I ended up on Rt. 286 and turned right when I hit the shore. I discovered beach heaven.
View Larger Map
The beach is in Salisbury MA, but further north from the official beach. I've always been able to find a parking spot along the road, near a public beach access walkway. There are no lifeguards or facilities, but miles of pristine sand, clear waters and perfect-sized waves. The water is so clear that I've often seen schools of shiny green minnows swim around my feet when I'm waist deep (the one thing that I've never been able to successfully photograph). Most of all, the kids love it. We've had many beach fiasco days, but never when we go to this beach. Here are photos from the Fourth of July, a perfect holiday activity.