Seeking East Coast Creepy Crawlies
June 18, 2009 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Tidepooling near Boston?

My family is visiting Boston and environs next week as we prepare to move out there from Seattle.

Apparently there's an unusally low tide next Tuesday and my husband the biologist would like to go tidepooling, to see what kind of interesting creatures lurk at the edge of the water on the other side of the continent...

We are pretty much completely unfamiliar with the area and will have use of a rental car. Something within say an hour of the city would be best, I think...Can anyone offer suggestions of good beaches to visit for this sort of thing? Thanks!
posted by Sublimity to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Nahant? Seems like you should be able to find some good rocky areas there.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:31 PM on June 18, 2009

The problem with Nahant is parking, the entire isthmus is resident only.

There is a public access walk on the north shore somewhere between Beverly and Gloucester that gets to a public section of the coast. If you can get up there, Cape Ann would be a good direction.
posted by sammyo at 5:02 AM on June 19, 2009

This is probably farther north than you'd want to go (though maybe not, New England interstate distances are much shorter than West Coast ones) but when I was a schoolkid my science class would have field trips to Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, New Hampshire for tidepooling.

One caution if you haven't driven in the Boston area before: remember that the city was built well before there were cars so the streets and even many major roads are very twisty compared to more-planned cities on the West Coast. It's not as bad as a European city or Old Quebec but navigating is often easier when there's more of an open grid of streets like in Seattle, so it may seem unusually difficult to get from Point A to Point B to you. So, you might want to rent a GPS system or bring copious maps.

Also, if you fly into Logan Airport and leave the airport via the highway you'll probably immediately run into a $3.00 toll. (I mention because sometimes I've come back from trips without any cash handy and it's been a pain in the butt.)
posted by XMLicious at 5:13 AM on June 19, 2009

All beaches within the Boston Harbor tidal flow will have some pollution, over-population, and access issues. For my money, I'd head for Gloucester on Cape Ann. About an hour's drive from downtown Boston. Wingaersheek Beach and Good Harbor Beach should offer some good mucking-about spots. Also, the Rockport/Gloucester/Ipswich area is one of the prettiest coastal communities in southern New England.
posted by birdwatcher at 5:14 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I used to love playing in the tidepools at Crane Beach in Ipswich as a kid. Wingaersheek is also good, but I seem to remember Crane being more "critter-y"
posted by Rock Steady at 6:14 AM on June 19, 2009

Brant Rock in Marshfield is a good place to see rocky coastal critters. 45 minutes south of Boston if it isn't rush hour, and parking wont be a problem on a Tuesday.

Also, the stretch of coast in North Scituate near Minot Light is nice and rocky, but the parking is very limited.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:35 AM on June 19, 2009

I'm about an hour north of Boston, too, and don't know if you want to go this far. BUt if you did, it would be worth it. In addition to Odiorne Point in Rye, there is truly excellet tidepooling at parts of Jenness State Beach (also in Rye) and all along the rocky natural seawall from Jenness up through Odiorne; Fort Foster Park in Kittery, Maine, Long Sands beach in York, Maine, and Ogunquit, Maine from the Southern end of the sand spit all the way along the cliffwalk to Perkins Cove. All of these destinations are within a half hour of one another, so if you got up here and got off the highway, you could meander along Route 1 to all these spots.
posted by Miko at 7:23 AM on June 19, 2009

Thirding Odiorne Point, it used to be an elementary school destination for us for just this reason. I'll also note that if you do go to Long Sands, you'll want to either go to the south end or near the restaurant in the middle. (It's, well, long and sandy, and you'll spend a lot of time walking instead of tidepooling.) Bring quarters for the meters.
posted by Upton O'Good at 4:40 PM on June 19, 2009

Bear in mind I haven't lived in New England in ten years, but the most lovely tidepooling experience I have ever had was here.
posted by SassHat at 8:31 PM on June 19, 2009

Thank you all for the suggestions!
posted by Sublimity at 6:51 AM on June 20, 2009

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