How to do the whole sun and fun thing, whether you head north or south of downtown
Greater Boston’s not exactly known for its beaches, but maybe it should be. We’re not exactly Orange County in Cali, but from options to unique attractions and accessibility, we’re looking pretty good (other than that whole global warming thing, of course). If you wake up and your bedroom is a toaster oven, you can head in almost any direction other than west and hit sand. You don’t even have to travel to Cape Cod or Maine; as we’ve written on several occasions, there are lots of places on the T to cool off, grab a bite, and pet all sorts of dogs. Last year we focused on Quincy, where the beaches go for miles upon miles. This time, we stayed even closer to downtown, breaking down your day and way around Castle Island in Southie and Revere Beach in that city.
- Transportation: Yes, people who never ride the Blue Line, Revere Beach is absolutely accessible by the T. Simply hop on at Government Center and exit at either of the last two stops (Revere Beach or Wonderland). Both are prime spots to set up. Or you can drive your new drop-top; in that case, there’s free four-hour parking on Revere Beach Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, while Ocean Avenue has some paid lots as well if all else fails.
- Navigation: This whole area is rich in life, delightful, and ambient, so you’ll want to roam about. Seagulls will flock around you, all while kites dance in the sky and street musicians fill the background.
- Flotation: The water’s notably clean, too—or at least it looks and smells all right—and is still getting warmer, so wear your suit (or don’t, for all we care).
- Temptation: There’s plenty of sand along Revere Beach Boulevard to sunbathe on, but don’t go too far north of Wonderland, as you will reach a fenced-off area where threatened common terns and piping plovers are nesting. Also note: dogs are not allowed at Revere Beach during the summer, and neither is smoking.
- Creation: Revere Beach hosts a lot of events (see: our outdoor movies roundup), but the one that everybody seems to anticipate is the annual International Sand Sculpting Festival, which falls on the weekend of July 26 this summer. Sculptors from around the world will compete using nothing but the sand and water on the shore.
- Libation: We obviously have to recommend Kelly’s Roast Beef, where the public tables overlook the beach. It’s worth it. Its menu packs a whole lot more than meat, but if you really want something delicious and different, try the slices at Bianchi’s down the street. Have more of a sweet tooth? Go to Kell’s Kreme for the cold stuff. And if you need a drink, aim for either Bill Ash’s Lounge or Sammy’s Patio, both of which are cash-only.
CARSON BEACH / CASTLE ISLAND
- Transportation: Take the Red Line to Andrews or the Orange Line to Tufts Medical Center, then catch any number of buses that will bring you directly to Castle Island. Or you can just walk from Andrew (or JFK/UMass). Driving? There’s metered parking all along the beach.
- Navigation: Walk down Preble Street and cut through the park at the roundabout to get to Carson Beach. Continue walking north and you will pass the Curley Community Center, which houses bathrooms for those hanging out at M Street Beach. This is basically the best place to spread out your towel and take a dip, as the sand is cleaner and it’s generally less busy than Castle Island proper.
- Crustacean: Now you’re hungry. Continue north along the boardwalk until you’re at Pleasure Beach. Here, at the roundabout, you can make your way down East Broadway for brunch at one of Southie’s bougie haunts. Or you can keep walking all the way to Castle Island, where the line at Sullivan’s will probably be too long unless you are super lucky or there at an odd time.
- Elation: Continue to the end of the Castle Island peninsula and past Fort Independence, which dates back to 1634. Walk along the jetty that encircles Pleasure Bay, and if everything works out according to plan, you’ll be deposited back on Pleasure Beach, where there’s normally an ice cream truck parked waiting for you.