Date: July 20, 2014
Distance: .62 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 68 feet
Our Hiking Time: 27 minutes
Trail Blaze: None, but there are maps posted.
We are not generally beach people, but with crawling twins and a four-year old who loves jumping waves, the beach has become our new hangout. Needless to say, when my friend Jenn suggested a hike at Crane Beach on the Trustees of Reservations’ Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA, I thought it would be a fun adventure for me and Addie. Evan came along as well, hitching a ride in my Deuter Kid Carrier while Jenn’s daughter, Abby, enjoyed her view from Jenn’s Kelty Kid Carrier. Our friend Emily, visiting from Colorado, tagged along to see the Atlantic Ocean.
We started our hike from the Crane Beach parking lot, following the green trail. As soon as we set foot on the sandy trail, we spotted blackberries! Popping a few ripe ones into our mouths, we hiked under a canopy of trees and over a wooden footbridge.
The trees gave way to rolling, grassy dunes, and it wasn’t long before we all kicked off our shoes and hiked barefoot. Addie had a blast, alternately running far ahead of us, and plopping in the sand to bury her feet.
It was a happy mistake, as by then we were ready for some lunch, and the kids were excited to play in the sand. Addie jumped waves with Emily, while Evan and Abby dug and played with seashells.
I’d never been to Crane Beach before – it was awesome! Not at all crowded, and the water of Ipswich Bay was gentle enough for Addie to splash around.
We only explored a small part of the 5.5 miles of trails through the sand dunes and salt water marshes on the Crane Estate, which also includes Castle Hill and the Crane Wildlife Refuge. With so much more to see, we will definitely be making a return trip!
Know Before You Go
Entrance Fees: Make sure you check the Trustees of Reservations website for the current fees for Crane Beach, as they vary depending on the day.
Hours: Year round, 8am to sunset daily.
Amenities: In season (summer) includes restrooms, showers, lifeguards, and the Crane Beach Store. Off season there are only porta-potties on site.
Directions to the Trailhead
From Rt. 128 North: Exit 20A, take Rt. 1A north for 8 mi. to Ipswich. Turn right onto Rt. 133 East and follow for 1.5 mi. Turn left onto Northgate Rd. and follow for 0.5 mi. Turn right onto Argilla Rd. and follow for 2.5 mi. to entrance and parking at end of road.