Essex County Hidden Gems – Half Moon Beach
Half Moon Beach Gloucester MA | Complete Visitor’s Guide
Cape Ann is home to some of the most beautiful coastline in Massachusetts. The rugged New England waterfront is speckled with beautiful coves, beaches, and a large population of working fishermen who supply the local community with the daily catch.
Beaches like Good Harbor, Wingaersheek, and Long Beach are some of the most popular places to cool down on a hot summer day. And let’s keep it real, with summer water temps hovering in the 60’s it makes it pretty easy to avoid heat exhaustion.
But there are many lesser-known nooks, private beaches, and small public beaches that are often overlooked by the larger crowds. One of these hidden gems is Half Moon Beach in Gloucester, MA.
In this article we will provide the Complete Visitor’s Guide to Gloucester’s Half Moon Beach. Everything from parking, driving directions, local restaurants, area lodging and more.
Things We Love About Half Moon Beach
Located in the heart of Gloucester, Massachusetts at Stage Fort Park, is the small, crescent shaped beach known as Half Moon. The beach is nicely secluded by the trees, rocks, and Cressy’s Beach beside it with a small sandy beach that is perfect for relaxing.
In addition to seclusion, the rocks also provide a great place scramble across and find some local sea life. During your visit you feel a connection to the history of the area because Stage Fort Park was home to Gloucester’s first settlers in 1623.
Your inner photographer will feel right at home on Half Moon beach as the rocks provide fantastic framing for your shot.
A visit to Half Moon Beach and Stage Fort Park is perfect for a picnic. Grills are allowed in the park, and you can bring your pets as well. Your furfriends can frolic in the park but park but they are not allowed on the beach from May 1st to September 15th.
Stage Fort Park is also fun because it’s a hot spot for local events, concerts, and other gatherings. Throughout the summer there is a Thursday night concert series, called Harbor Loop, that is free to the public. Stage Fort Park is also the home to the popular 92.5 Riverfest which has drawn some great artists, over the years, like Mt. Joy, Barenaked Ladies, and Guster.
How Much Is Parking at Half Moon Beach?
The good news about Half Moon Beach and Stage Fort Park is that there is parking right on site. Gloucester residents will be able to park at the beach for free. Non-residents will be charged a fee of $15 on weekdays and $20 on weekends.
These parking rates are another benefit of Half Moon beach because the other beaches in the area will charge you just about double that rate to park in their lots. If you get creative, there are likely ways to avoid the fee all together, but it may take a little walking.
And, if you have little ones with you, not to worry. There are lifeguards on duty every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 9am to 5pm.
Half Moon Beach is located just off 107 Western Ave. Here is a link that will provide directions to the beach.
Are There Any Bathrooms at Half Moon Beach?
Half Moon Beach does have a nice clean bathroom facility where you can go and wash up after spending the afternoon on the beach.
In addition to restrooms there is also a great little restaurant where you can refuel for your Cape Ann adventures!
Right on site in Stage Fort Park there is great snack shack known as The Cupboard. Family owned and operated for many years, this concession churns out just about anything you could want. From fried clams to hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream, The Cupboard is sure to hit the spot!
Where To Stay When Visiting Gloucester, MA
One of the best things about visiting Cape Ann is the plethora of fantastic bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels in the area to relax and unwind after a long day out in the sun and salt air.
Whether you’re looking for an historic home furnished with antiques and a nod to earlier times, a small, stylish boutique hotel, or a large waterfront hotel you will not be disappointed. Some of our favorites in the area include the Harborview Inn, The Beauport and the Addison Choate, pictured below.
If you’re thinking about spending a night or two and want to do a little more research on the best places to stay, you may want to check out our list of the 7 Best Gloucester MA Hotels and the 5 Best Places to Stay in Rockport, MA. They all have their own charm and you can’t go wrong with any of these spots!
Restaurants Near Half Moon Beach
There are so many amazing restaurants in the Gloucester and Rockport area that you will never have a shortage of places to enjoy! If you’re looking for some fresh local seafood you may want to try out Roy Moore’s on Bearskin Neck in Rockport or you could check out Blue Collar Lobster on the waterfront in Gloucester.
Both of these restaurants are local institutions and offer a no frills dining experience with nothing but the freshest local seafood that comes right out of the ocean you were swimming in all day!
If you’re feeling Pizza & Subs you may want to check out Virgilio’s for classic Italian sandwiches and pastries or Greg’s for a great delivery option. Greg’s has a fantastic menu with something for just about any tastebud.
If you’re looking for a finer dining experience we’d recommend Tonno or The Franklin in Gloucester or Feather & Wedge in Rockport.
You can check out a more detailed list of some of our favorite local restaurants here: https://addisonchoate.com/the-9-best-restaurants-near-rockport-ma/