Hitting the Trail is a weekly feature here at Mud Puddles to Meteors. In each post we will share trails, parks, and museums from around the country (and sometimes even beyond). If you would like to join in and share a special nature location please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details listed at the bottom of the post and links to the photos. We would love to share your nature adventure!
Today we are taking a trip to the Massachusetts coast to visit Crane Beach, a beach well known to Massachusetts residents for its beautiful ocean views and miles of soft sand. The beach is often crowded in the summer and the parking lot fills early, making it more of a commitment to plan a visit. But in the fall and winter, the beach has ample parking and makes a wonderful place for families to take a walk, discovering washed up sea creatures along the way.
Some Things to Know
Location: Crane Beach is located in Ipswich, Massachusetts (north of Boston).
Habitat: Ocean beach surrounded by coastal sand dunes and salt marsh.
Favorite Plant & Animal Life: Crane Beach is an important nesting site for the piping plover, a plucky little bird threatened by extinction in years gone by when it was hunted for its feathers and eggs. The plover population is recovering thanks to conservations efforts at Crane Beach and elsewhere on the Massachusetts coast, but is still considered threatened.
Special Features: Crane Beach offers miles of pristine coastline with easy walking conditions and is great for curious beach combers looking for shells, crabs, and other seashore specimens. In the summer, the swimming at Crane is particularly good, even for families with small children who might otherwise be concerned about tides. Crane Beach also has a network of trails leading away from the shore into the surrounding dunes, making it a great place for a quiet hike.
Best Time of Year to Visit: The beach is open year round, and offers different things to visitors depending on the season. In the summer, swimming conditions are great, and the beach is the perfect place to spend a day lounging in the sand. But in the fall and winter, it makes a great place for a walk in the sand, and dogs are allowed (on leash) during the off season as well. You might also see horseback riders along the shore in the winter months.