Revere Beach aerial view and historic coastal area in spring in city of Revere near Boston, Massachusetts MA, USA.

The Best Seaside Runs in Boston

Head to Boston’s North Shore to explore some of New England’s best beaches for running.

Want to stretch your legs with a run on the beach near Beantown? Escape the crowds, concrete and confines of the city by beelining to a sandy playa to make some miles, leaving your worries behind with your footsteps. Relish the cool onshore breeze, serene open-water views and the lower-impact feel of sand underfoot as you zigzag your way around the incoming tide on one of the following best running beaches on Boston’s North Shore. Just check the tides first so your chosen route isn’t underwater.  

Revere Beach 

Designated as a National Historic Landmark and officially recognized as “America’s First Public Beach,” Revere faces Massachusetts Bay, just 5 miles north of Boston. With its sand forming a giant crescent that slopes gradually out to the sea, and the Nahant and Winthrop peninsulas framing the horizon, it’s as perfect a running beach as you’ll find. While it’s only 1.5 miles one-way, you can turn it into a roundtrip with a few added side-excursions to justify the jaunt from the city. And it’s a simple one at that, thanks to convenient public transportation access via the Blue Line to either Revere Beach or Wonderland.

Upon arrival, it’s also easy to jog through the shore’s history, which dates back to 1895 when the state legislature turned nearly 3 miles of private seacoast land into the Revere Beach Reservation, designing it “for the best use by the public.” Added original landscape designer Charles Eliot: “We must not conceal from visitors the long sweep of the open beach which is the finest thing about the reservation.” With the beach protected in the 1930s, it hosted dance marathons where couples would dance 45 minutes of every hour, with some lasting for weeks. If that doesn’t motivate you to add length to your run, know that recent facility upgrades restored a paved walkway/boardwalk that parallels the beach if your ankles can’t hold up to the sand. And for a bonus slice of history, hit Kelly’s Roast Beef afterward for a post-run snack from the beef sandwich originators. More info: 

Overview of the Crane Beach, a four-mile expanse of pristine, white-sand beaches and trails across dunes in the Crane estate, located in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Nahant Beach, Kings Beach, Lynn Shore Drive 

Located just a half-hour north of Boston and 20 minutes from Logan International Airport, Nahant and Kings beaches along Lynn Shore Drive set up a nice 6-mile out-and-back, with a wide, paved boardwalk paralleling Nahant Road for when you tire of the sand. (Note: Check your tide chart; a large area of hard-packed sand gets exposed at low tide, making it perfect for running.) Follow the beach for 3 miles and then turn around and retrace your footsteps, if they haven’t been washed away by the tide—at high levels, it can force you to run along the sidewalk in a couple spots. There’s plenty of parking along the beach, as well as a commuter rail stop nearby at Swampscott.

As with Revere Beach, the Metro District Commission acquired private properties in the early 1900s to turn it into a protected reservation and assure public access and protect its natural features. A promenade extends along both reservations for walking, jogging and bicycling. Have some extra time? Check out the mile-long system of fragile sand dunes paralleling Long Beach, or the tide pools filled with colorful marine life at Red Rock Park, which juts out above Kings Beach. For a quick bite afterward, try the clam chowder at the Tides Restaurant near Nahant. More info: 

Crane’s Beach

Located in Ipswich, Crane Beach is a 1,234-acre conservation and recreation property just north of Cape Ann, consisting of a 4-mile-long sandy beachfront for running, as well as dunes and maritime pitch pine forest. While it can be crowded in summer, it’s one of the best beaches in New England for running—especially when the tide wanes, exposing its firm sand—with expansive views of Plum Island to the north and Rockport to the south.

It’s also a model for balancing conservation with public recreation. If you can lift your head up from the run, the region is an important, protected nesting site for piping plovers—a threatened bird that was nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century for its eggs and feathers. (Note: Avoid the fenced nesting areas and washed-up organic debris where the birds feed and hide.) Feel like racing? Enter the annual Sand Stride, a 5-mile beach race held every August. If you don’t want to drive and deal with parking, try the commuter rail to Ipswich, which also offers a seasonal beach shuttle. More info:

Salisbury Beach

With nearly 4 miles of wide, flat continuous beach and firm, compact sand, Salisbury Beach State Reservation, just south of the New Hampshire border, is another great beach for running north of Boston. While a large portion of the state-owned beach is bordered on its west by private property, the boundary of its southern end, Salisbury Beach State Reservation, is largely defined by water: the Merrimack River to the south, Black Rock Creek to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The primary beach begins at the southern jetty and runs north for 4 miles, interspersed by smaller beaches along the banks of the Merrimack. Amenities include parking, boat launch, bathrooms, outdoor showers, boardwalks and sand dunes, plus a mile-long nature trail, picnic pavilion and children's playground. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, with a per vehicle entry fee or $14 for residents and $16 for non-residents. Bonus: Make a weekend out of it by spending the night in its state park campground, with 484 campsites.  More info: 

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.