Ziptivity’s Favorite South Shore Beaches

Posted by Karly, Ziptivity’s South Shore Community Ambassador

Awww, breathe in that hot, humid, sticky-thick air!  I don’t know about you, but I just LOVE this weather… only if I’m on a beach that is!!  Memorial Day weekend sure did throw us right into beach “daze”… and here are a few of my favorite places to keep cool along with some tips and ideas to make your venture out to the water fun and manageable!  Lucky for me, I know several people with private beaches, so if anyone has other great public beaches to recommend, please let me know (karly@ziptivity.com) or comment on this blog!   Bottom line: Get there early and for many of these, get a “well-worth-the-$35” DCR pass!

Top 10 Swimming Holes on the South Shore and beyond:

1. DCR Freetown-Fall River State Forest: Wading Pool – This is great for little ones who can’t “swim” yet.  At most it’s 2 feet deep.  We found this last year at the end of the summer and my 1- and 3-year olds loved it!  Best time to go is at the end of the day… less busy and chaotic.

2. Duxbury Beach – The public side is the beach my family used to go to when I was really little.  It has a snack shack and it costs $20 to park and get on the beach plus a secret FREE parking lot in the private section of this beach.  If you are willing to get an early start to the day, you can head to the more private area.  On the opposite end of the public beach, you’ll find a small parking lot located at the Powder Point Avenue and King Caesar Road.  There is about a .5 mile bridge, Powder Point Bridge, you walk over to reach the beach area from the lot.  I pack my double stroller and load the kids up along with our chairs and lunch, making this adventure totally free!

3. DCR Watson Pond in Taunton – my mother-in-law introduced this one to me.  It’s $5 to park or free if you park on the street.  The on-street parking fills up fast though.  It has a playground too!  And although I love the playground, the swimming area is quite small.  However, this place really is a great little spot to stick your toes in to cool off – especially with little kidsones.  There are charcoal grills here where you can do a little cookout… we haven’t done this but it sure smelled good when others were cooking out!

4. Old Silver Beach in N. Falmouth – This beach isn’t far over the Bourne Bridge.  My family has a house in West Falmouth so we visit this beach when we don’t go to the private beach.  There are both residential and non-residential parking lots.  If you aren’t from Falmouth, it’s $20 to park.  What’s fun about this beach is the kids love to play in the tidal pools across the street to look for sea creatures.  The beach itself is great for kids because there’s no undercurrent, no rocks, little-to-no waves because it’s not open ocean – it’s more like a cove.  Gotta get here by 9am… the line of cars goes down the street and around the corner.  But it’s worth the wait.

5. DCR: Houghton’s Pond Recreation Area in Milton – This was a pick for my favorite playgrounds too.  It’s such a beautiful area with the mountains overlooking the pond.  The beach is quite big and they have decent bathrooms and a snack bar.

6. DCR: Nantasket Beach Reservation in Hull – This is a very family-friendly beach with a nice playground and carousel across the street.  It’s $7 to park and it’s $2.50 to ride the merry-go-round (only $20 for 10 rides – worth it because my kids are obsessed with it).  This is the beach I went to as a teenager (and loved every minute of it), but now as a mom, I love it even more.  There are places to eat up and down the strip.  My very favorite family restaurant is Jake’s.  It’s not on the strip so you would need to jump in the car to get there, but it’s literally right around the corner.  You can get amazing fried clams here and of course all the kid favorites.  Get there early because there is usually a little wait after a sunny beach day!

7. Narragansett Town Beach, Rhode Island – This is my husband’s territory.  It’s on the more expensive side, but it’s very nice.  You have to get there early to get prime real estate.  Parking is $10 per vehicle Monday through Friday and $15 per vehicle on weekends and holidays. Beach parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Daily admission onto the Town Beach is $6 per day and is not transferable. Children under the age of 12 are free.  If you are here you, just have to get clamcakes and chowda!  You can hit any place really, RI is the best place for this local dish!

[Editor’s Note:  I also grew up here and this beach is fabulous! Beautiful sand, just the right amount of waves (though the waves can get large for the wee ones), and a large clean pavilion.  Once you’ve had enough sun, walk over to the roofdeck of the Coast Guard House, just past the Casino Towers (where I had my rehearsal dinner!), for great food and frozen mud slides. Or drive further down Route 1A South to Aunt Carrie’s in Point Judith – an institution there for 85 years! I used to work there – classic clam shack, great views and amazing homemade pies!  If you’re heading back up 1A North to head home, Twin Willows is our favorite pub (get the Black Angus Bill Burger) while Brickley’s Ice Cream just two doors down from the Willows is outstanding.]

8. Horseneck Beach State Reservation in Wesport – This beach was introduced to me by my grandfather back when I was just visiting from Iowa.  Today, as a resident, I enjoy this beach with my kids.  It’s huge, but be careful because it does have an undertow.  They have just renovated the bathrooms, making it more eco-friendly and much cleaner!  It has a place to get food, but it would be in your best interest to pack a lunch and save your money for ice cream on the way home at Handy Hill Creamery located at 55 Hix Bridge Road, Westport.

9. Capron Park Zoo: Splash Pad – They just put this in recently and it’s a lot of fun!  This is inside the zoo and is included in the price of admission.  It can get a little crazy with all the kids, but if you are there you might as well visit with the animals and hit the splash pad when it’s less crowded.

10. DCR Demarest Lloyd State Park in Dartmouth – This little beach is near Horseneck and it’s where we go when Horseneck is too crowded or the wait to get into the parking lot is too long.  It’s perfect for kids because it’s not open ocean.  It’s very gradual and doesn’t get quite as busy as Horseneck.  A very yummy place to eat nearby is called Bayside Restaurant located at 1253 Horseneck Road, Westport.  You just have to try their eggplant fries and parm dipping sauce… different, but excellent!!  Kids welcome – very family-friendly plus outdoor seating to enjoy the salty fresh air!

From ZipNews this week, here are my “Top 5 ZipPicks” for this weekend: (Subscribe to ZipNews here!)

1. Custom Handprints for Father’s Day & Teacher Gifts at Ceramics a la Carte in Canton, 10am-8pm.

2. Friday/Saturday – Winslow Farm: Movies Under the Stars in Norton, 8:15pm, $5/person.

3. Saturday – Borders Legacy Place: Summer Banjo Bash, 11am, FREE!

4. Kids’ Nite Out at Stardust Gym in East Bridgewater, 6pm-9pm.

5. JCCGB Take a Hike!  At Borderland in Easton at 10am.

And don’t forget June 4th is National Trails Days!  Check out the various locations to hop on a trail and help out!  Medfield, Mashpee, and Canton!

Save the Dates!

1. Sign up for this educational class, Lightning Bugs, for your almost 21-26month old at Isis Parenting Hanover, Wednesdays July 13th – August 31st.

2. Guess who’s coming to the south shore! South Shore Conservatory presents Vanessa Trien & the Jumping Monkeys.  Get your tickets now for the July 20th show.  Tickets are $5 for kids and $15 for adults.

3. Get dad out there an make him work for his special day!  Sign up for the Father’s Day Race at the Children’s Museum in Easton – daycare provided!

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