The Crane Estate Trustees of Reservations 310 Argilla Road Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938Official Website
Crane Beach, located on the shores of Ipswich Bay in Ipswich. Spanning nearly seven miles of shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean and the Castleneck and Ipswich Rivers, Crane Beach is one of the most significant barrier beach systems in New England. Comprising 1,200 acres of wide sandy beaches and distinctive white sand dunes, expansive salt marshes, pitch pine forests, maritime shrubland, and red maple swamps, the property supports a rich diversity of plants and wildlife and plays a critical role in protecting the Essex River Estuary and inland communities. Without a doubt, Crane Beach is one of the Trustees of Reservations’ most ecologically significant properties. Attracting more than 200,000 visitors each year, it is also The Trustees’ most visited property. This combination of ecological significance and intensive public use creates a substantial management challenge for The Trustees as it seeks to protect the ecological integrity of this special place while ensuring opportunities for public enjoyment of all that the property has to offer.
Crane Beach is also among the world’s most important nesting sites for piping plovers, a threatened bird that was nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century for its eggs and feathers. Crane Beach has been nationally recognized for its successful shorebird protection program. To protect these threatened shorebirds, visitors are asked to avoid the fenced nesting areas and the wrack, the line of washed-up organic debris where the birds feed and hide.
Visit year-round, daily, from 8 am to sunset. Allow a minimum of 2 hours, 6 hours if also visiting Castle Hill (including Great House or landscape tour) and the Crane Wildlife Refuge. Please note that dogs are welcome at Crane Beach from October 1 through March 30.
Facilities in-season include lifeguards and rangers, bike rack, bathhouses (with toilets and changing area), outside showers, picnic tables, Crane Beach Store (refreshments and merchandise), drinking water fountains (located outside the bathhouses), information kiosk, transportation for mobility-impaired and challenged visitors. Off-season there are portable toilets (located outside bathhouses), and transportation for mobility-impaired and challenged visitors.
See all hotspots at Crane Estate
The Crane Estate is a 2,100-acre coastal estate where past meets present. Four miles of Atlantic-facing Crane Beach flank the quiet, tidal waters of Essex Bay and the Crane Wildlife Refuge. With a rich past of fishing and farming, Castle Hill was transformed into a European-style country estate in the early 1900s. A truly special place, the Crane Estate is protected forever for public use and enjoyment.
5.5 miles of trails traverse dunes and track the beachfront on both the Ipswich Bay and Essex River Estuary sides of the Castle Neck peninsula. Moderate hiking. These trails are part of the Bay Circuit Trail.
Restrooms on site
Wheelchair accessible trail
Last updated February 20, 2023