A Closer Look at One of The Best North Shore Beaches
If you’re searching for a beach in Gloucester with white sand, epic waves (for New Englanders…) and breathtaking backdrops, Good Harbor Beach is for you! Facing the Atlantic Ocean, this corner of paradise offers plenty of space to explore the coastline, play frisbee or football on the sand, or paddle out into the clear blue water.
If you’re a sucker for a surfboard, you’ll be glad to know that Good Harbor Beach is one of the best places to catch a wave in Gloucester. With soft sand beneath your toes even as you swim out, if you happen to get wiped out, your fall will likely be cushioned by the sandy seafloor.
Whether you’re a local looking for a day out at the beach, or you’re visiting Gloucester for a couple of days, make sure Good Harbor Beach is on your must visit list. To help you make the most out of your day at the beach, we’ve put together a handy guide.
Here is our definitive guide to Good Harbor Beach Gloucester MA, and everything you need to know about this beautiful gem.
The best way to reach Good Harbor Beach is by car. Put the following address and zipcode into your SatNav or Google Maps and follow the directions until you reach this pristine beach.
Address: 99 Thatcher Rd, Gloucester, MA 01930
If you’re driving from Boston to Gloucester it’s around 26 miles away from the city and 45 minutes drive, so make sure to hit up your local Dunkin’ to fuel up for the journey.
Be aware that parking spaces will go fast, so if you want to get a good spot, arrive early and ideally for 8:00am. Good Harbor Beach parking lot will close at 9pm and will be locked, so keep an eye on the time if you’re staying late.
The beauty of Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester MA, is that during low tide you can walk out to Salt Island and if you don’t fancy that, to the right of the beach, the Annisquam River provides a wonderful place to explore the saltwater estuary and hunt for critters in the rocks. With plenty of amenities, such as rest rooms and showers, it’s a perfect spot for a long day by the shore, whether you’re with family or friends.
If you get hungry after exploring the coast, there is a place to grab snacks and drinks too. Dig into burgers, chicken wraps, grilled cheese and ice cream, then wash it down with your favorite slush drink. If you do bring snacks to the beach with you, follow Gloucester’s Carry In-Carry Out policy and keep the beach pristine all year long.
If you’re hoping to spot wales while in Gloucester, after taking in the panoramic views of Good Harbor Beach, you can also book a boat trip around Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and hopefully sail between humpbacks, dolphins and more.
So, here is the lowdown on Good Harbor Beach Parking and how to secure yourself a great spot!
Parking is available, but limited at Good Harbor Beach and there also a fee of $30 per vehicle. This price can increase slightly to $35, over the weekend and during public holidays.
If you happen to have a resident beach sticker, good news, you’ll be able to park at Good Harbor Beach for free. However this doesn’t guarantee you a parking space so it’s still important that you plan your trip and arrive early or after 5pm, when most people will be heading home.
For up to date information regarding Good Harbor Beach parking, you can check out Gloucester Beach’s Facebook page here.
Yes, lifeguards will be on duty from Memorial Day weekend through to Labor Day from 9am to 5pm, but if you arrive earlier or later, pay attention to the tides, waves and weather conditions. It is best to wait for the lifeguards to be on duty before hitting the water or attempting to explore Salt Island.
Although, if you’re planning on surfing, you will have to wait until after hours, when lifeguards are not on duty as surfing, inflatable objects and all flotation devices are all prohibited during these hours, apart from Styrofoam boogie boards.
Can you bring your furfriend to Good Harbor? The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. From October to March (off season), they are allowed to explore the white sand and crystal clear water of Good Harbor Beach with you, but from April 1 to October 1, you’ll have to leave your pooch at home.
In the off-season, the Gloucester Beaches become veritable doggie playgrounds with plenty of room for a mean game of fetch. But keep in mind that there are some regulations as to when doggos can be on leash or off leash. At Good Harbor, you can only take your dog off leash on even numbered days, while at Wingaersheek Beach you can only take your dog off leash on odd numbered days.
While lifeguards are on duty, it’s important that you stay vigilant and pay attention to any changes in the weather and tidal activity at the beach. Rip tides can quickly take you out to sea and this is why flotation devices are not allowed or recommended.
Here’s what to do if you encounter a rip tide at Good Harbor Beach:
If you can, get out of the water as soon as you notice a rip current.
If you can’t, remain calm.
Call for help and alert others to the rip tide.
Swim parallel to the shore to get out of the rip tide.
If you are struggling against the current, try to save your energy and call for help.
If you can, try to swim diagonally towards the shore.
For those hoping to catch some waves, it’s a good idea to check out the Good Harbor Beach tides online before hitting the beach. The water here can get pretty cold during the winter, and drop to 36°F in late February. The best time to swim and surf is during August when the water temperature peaks at 72°F. If you’re braving the water during low season, it’s recommended to wear a high-quality long sleeve, well fitting 5/4 mm wetsuit, neoprene booties and a hood to surf here.
Enhance your trip to Good Harbor Beach by booking a couple of nights in Gloucester. We would love to welcome you to our chic boutique hotel in Rockport, not far from Good Harbor Beach.
Stay in one of our deluxe queen or king sized rooms or enjoy the Dog Watch, a two-floor suite in our Rockport bed and breakfast with pine floors and a 19th century accents. We assure you that once you lay down in one of our luxurious new mattresses you will be glad you treated yourself to a night or two away!
Or if you’re searching for a beach-front place to hit the hay, there are plenty of cabins, studios, cottages and houses to choose from and you can compare them online on VRBO.
Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester Massachusetts was once a humble fishing village. As Harbor Beach developed, and the famous footbridge was built at the end of Beach Road in 1870, this place of natural beauty became more popular as a spot to paddle, play and explore.
Salt Island used to be home to the Parsons Lobster Company, and was later used to film a Fox Film production titled Bride 13. This story of piracy, kidnapping and deception led to a castle being built on the island to film an explosion final scene, but unfortunately the movie didn’t make much of an impression on viewers and is considered a flop.
Whether you’re soaking up the sun during the summer, or daring to paddle during low season, after a couple of hours at the beach, it’s time to explore the local area and taste your way around the town. If you’re in the mood for seafood, you could head over to The Causeway, a Gloucester gem that will provide you more than enough food to refuel even the heartiest of beachgoers! Or for the experience seeker, you can enjoy a delicious Rockport lobster in shell or roll form, in another classic New England fishing village, at Roy Moore Lobster Co.
After you enjoy your tasty crustaceans, you can wander through the diverse shops and art galleries of Rockport’s Bearskin Neck. It’s the perfect place to find a hidden treasure or unique gift for that special someone.
Alternatively, you could head over for to visit The Cape Ann Museum, and take a step back in time as you learn about the history and heritage of the local area and enjoy the museum’s fine art collection.
If you’re fond of drink or two, you also have the opportunity to visit the local craft distillery, the first legal distillery on the North Shore since Prohibition. Learn how spirits are hand crafted, fermented, distilled and barreled. Plus this interesting tour is completely free!
For animal lovers, you can’t visit Gloucester without whale watching, so book a boat trip after spending a day at Good Harbor Beach and marvel at these incredible mammals! Guests of the Addison Choate will have the opportunity take take advantage of a great Gloucester Whale Watch Discount!
Hopefully, you found our Guide to Good Harbor Beach helpful! Please feel free to add any additional information or comments below. And, we hope to see you on Gloucester very soon!