Plum Island Barrier Beach

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A great place for a family ride along a beautiful beach with many great places for food and drink after your adventure.

Written by

Cody Grodzki


12.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

33.8 miles


1 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

The ride will only take about an hour or two, but you can hang out there all day if you want!


Spring, Summer, and Fall

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


$5/ person drive in, $2/ walk in



A wonderful beach ride in the seaside town of Newburyport. Ticking in at about 12 miles of relatively flat terrain, this is a great ride for families, especially considering you can stop at any point along the beach to take a break and enjoy the water. After a day of enjoying the seaside sun and sand, Newburyport is a wonderful town to explore. Historical and quaint, there are many restaurants and shops to visit, many of which are located right alongside the water.

What Makes It Great

The Plum Island barrier beach is a unique and finite landscape, with the sands always moving, shifting, and changing. If you visit the beach regularly, you many not even notice, as this process takes time, drawing largely from the repetitively changing tides and frequent winter storms. It is because of these facts that at some point in the future, this beautiful beach will be reclaimed by the relentlessly encroaching waves.

This barrier beach in particular plays hosts to a variety of outdoor activities, not only cycling. Surfers, runners, fisherman, shell collectors, sand castle engineers- everyone has the opportunity to utilize this fantastic space.

Who is Going to Love It

Groups and families looking for the option of a nice long ride, but with a safety net of an easy return trip, will both be satisfied with their choice of Plum Island barrier beach. Depending on the frequency of your stops along the way and how hard you pedal, the barrier beach ride can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. With that being said, it is worth stopping at the observation tower at Parking Lot 4 for at least a few minutes to enjoy a beautiful aerial view of the island.

In addition to the observation tower, be on the lookout for a multitude of trails and sightseeing points  that dot the barrier beach, as well as a large number of birds and other wildlife that you will likely encounter along your journey.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Boston, take Route 95 North to Exit 57. Follow Route 113 East through the town of Newburyport and take a left when you get to the harbor. From there, hop onto the Plum Island turnpike and follow the signs for Parker River Refuge.

There are restrooms available for use, but only at parking lots number 1 and 4, so plan accordingly.

For all you dog lovers planning on visiting Plum Island barrier beach, be sure to find your pal a sitter for the day- no dogs allowed are allowed. This measure is in place to help protect and conserve the many different types of wildlife found throughout the area, such as the Piping Plover, a protected shorebird that nests on the beach.

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Plum Island Barrier Beach

Newburyport, MA, 01950
42.813221, -70.811925

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