A Deep Dive Into One Of Our Favorite Cape Ann Beaches
So, you’re thinking about making a Summer trip up to Cape Ann and are looking for the best beaches? Well, Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, MA is definitely one of the best beaches on Cape Ann. Wingaersheek has been making the lists of Massachusetts best beaches for years.
Here is our definitive guide to Wingaersheek Beach everything you need to know about tides, parking, rentals, food, and more!
Located right on the Annisquam River and nestled in Ipswich Bay, Wingaersheek Beach, known locally as “Winga”, offers beachcombers 0.6 miles of soft white sands and crystal-clear water. The signature features of the beach are the low tide sandbars, climbing rocks, lighthouse views, and tide pools that are teeming with sea life.
You will be sure to come across some beautiful seashells, hermit crabs, and sand dollars that are ripe for the picking so bring your pails!
The beach is family friendly and offers both concessions as well as a changing area, rest rooms and showers. The waters at Wingaersheek are calm and great for beachgoers that are not seeking waves.
If you are looking for some waves, Good Harbor may be a better bet and if you are looking for a long walk on the beach you should consider Crane Beach in Ipswich, which offers a 4 mile coastline.
Wingaersheek Beach is conveniently located in West Gloucester. To get to the beach you just have to take Route 128 to Exit 13. Continue on Concord Street for about .8 miles until you hit Atlantic Street, which will take you right to the beach.
Ok so if you are thinking about coming to Wingaersheek you should know about the parking scene (don’t get too excited, there is no shakedown). The lot is fairly small compared to other beaches and can fill up pretty quickly. Summer is short, so carpe the diem and hit the beach early (10am should do the trick)!
The lot itself includes a locals only lot for locals with stickers and another section for other beachgoers. The cost to park at Wingaersheek is $30 per car during the week and $35 per car on the weekends. And, remember, it’s cash only so be prepared. Nothing worse than running to the ATM and then returning to a full lot!
Sure, the price is a bit steep, but where else can you get a full day of entertainment for a family for about $30? If you’ve never been, trust us, it’s worth the price of admission.
PRO TIP: Get here early to ensure parking. Alternatively, if you’re looking to save some money, show up after 3pm to take advantage of the discounted rate.
Yes Wingaersheek Beach has lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Their shifts fun from 9am to 5pm each day. Please note that you are not allowed to bring inflatable objects, surf boards and any other flotation devices to Wingaersheek during the hours lifeguards are on duty.
Fear not, your furfriends are allowed on Wingaersheek beach in the winter because Wingaersheek is dog friendly, well sort of.
Since 2015, the town of Gloucester has allowed dogs to burn off some pent-up energy on the beautiful sands of both Wingaersheek and Good Harbor Beach. From October 1st through April 30th dogs can enjoy Wingaersheek on odd numbered days and Good Harbor on even numbered days.
Here are additional details from the town of Gloucester on Dog Rules and Regulations:
The beach tides at Wingaersheek are always great to know. Many boaters come into the beautiful protected waters to raft up in the summer and enjoy the low tide sandbars. Here is a link to the Gloucester, MA Tides, which should provide all of the information that you need.
During low tide, the water actually retreats about a half mile giving kids and families and opportunity to explore the sand bars, large rocks and tidal pools.
If you are looking for Wingaersheek Beach rentals there are definitely a few to choose from. There are not that many right on the beach, but within a mile or two you will certainly have plenty to choose from! And, of course, we would always be happy to have you at our Rockport, MA Hotel! But here is a link to the Wingaersheek Beach Rentals on VRBO.
PRO TIP: If you are a non-resident renter, consider getting the beach sticker from the owners. If they will not provide one, you may be able to acquire one as a renter, for a fee. Here is the beach sticker application.
So there is some dispute over the Etymology of Wingaersheek. The area was first surveyed as a plantation in 1627 by Governor John Endicott. In the 17th and 18th century much of the area was utilized as farmland that was owned and operated by Peter Coffin. Yep that Coffin. The namesake of Coffin’s beach.
The beach was later privatized after World War One and even served as a National Guard outpost during World War II.
As far as the name itself, some claim that the name is derived from an Algonquin Indian village named Wingawacheek. While others claim that the name is a corruption of the Dutch name “Wyngaerts Hoeck” derived from Wyngaerton, which means “Vineland.” Either way, the name offers a jumping off point for the appreciation of the regional history.
If you are interested in the history of Wingaersheek Beach and Coffin’s Beach this fun Facebook page has some fantastic information, old maps, postcards and photographs from the area that are definitely worth a gander.
It seems like we learn, after several childhood sunburns, that there is only so much time that you can spend on a beach each day without paying the price. For us, we like to spend 2-4 hours and then hit the road to explore nearby attractions and get in a pre-evening refuel. The great news is that near Wingaersheek there are some great shops, restaurants, bars and areas to explore.
Wingaersheek beach is actually just down the road form the Essex Antique Trail. We put together guide on Essex MA Antiques that is worth a read if you enjoying antiquing.
The beach is also near some fantastic seafood institutions including JT Farnhams, Woodman’s, The Blue Marlin, and Lobsta Land!
Hopefully, you found our Guide to Wingaersheek Beach helpful! Please feel free to add any additional information or comments below. And, we hope to see you on Cape Ann this summer!