A newly released ranking of the country’s best beaches has confirmed what locals have long known: Gloucester’s Good Harbor Beach is one of the top spots for sun, sand, and swimming. Travel + Leisure last month named Good Harbor to its list of the 25 best beaches in the U.S., describing it as “a family-friendly spot with sugar-soft sand and relatively calm water.”
The listing also notes that, “At low tide, you can walk across a sand bar and explore rocky Salt Island, while little ones get to play in warm tidal pools.”
Other top beaches that made the list include Clearwater Beach in Florida, Coronado Beach in San Diego, Carlsmith Beach in Hawaii, Crystal Lake in Vermont, and many other notable and lesser-known destinations. Good Harbor is the only beach in Massachusetts to make the list.
On the eastern side of Cape Ann, Good Harbor faces out to the open Atlantic Ocean. On the southern end, a wooden footbridge crosses a tidal creek that is very popular with children at low tide (though be sure to check for closures before venturing in). The sand here wraps around the grassy dunes, offering spots facing the marsh, for visitors seeking a bit of seclusion.
A concession stand offers snacks, treats, and beach toys, and bathrooms, changing rooms, and showers are available.
Good Harbor has long been one of Gloucester’s most popular destinations. On warm summer days, the parking lot has generally filled shortly after opening for the day and a line of cars waiting for their chance to enter lingered through the morning. A new parking reservation system introduced this month aims to cut down on the wait and the uncertainty, making one of the best beaches in the country even better.
Looking for more of the North Shore’s best beach options? Check out some of our favorites.