An early-season beach walk at Crane Beach in Ipswich is a perfect way to kick off a birthday weekend. Larisa's birthday weekend is a combination of low key, relaxing beach strolling and a night with a few friends.
We drove up to the Cape Ann area on Friday night, and spent the night at the rustic Ipswich Bed and Breakfast. After a delicious breakfast of eggs and home made granola, we decided to drive out to the beach for a short walk.
Crane Beach is not a state park, so the rules and the prices are a little different. The price is $5 per person, pretty much any time of the year when it's not snowing. The advantage of the well-maintained facilities is that even this time of the year, there is running water to wash off sand from your feet (and shower, if you desire).
Much of the dunes at the reservation are inaccessible to the general public as they are home to three species of migratory shore birds. Lack of access to the dunes also keeps erosion at bay, making the dunes wild and pristine to the eye.
There's are many beaches along the coast of New England, but there's something special about Crane Beach. The water is always very clean and blue, and the healthy dunes create a scenic backdrop to the shoreline. On busy summer days, people congregate at the entrance to the beach area, but if you're looking for more privacy, there's plenty of space a 10 minute walk down the beach.
Crane Beach is also accessible by boat, for those staying or living on the nearby Essex River/Essex Bay.