What could be more romantic than saying your vows with the sound of ocean waves crashing while sand tickles your toes? If you’ve got your heart set on a coastal wedding—but don’t want to drive or fly a far distance—you can host your nuptials at the beach in Boston. Tie the knot seaside with these ceremony locales that are only about an hour from the city.
Boston Harbor Islands
Take a 20-minute ferry from a pier in South Boston to one of several nearby islands to host your wedding. On Spectacle Island you can have your ceremony at the gazebo and then head to the beach for a laid-back reception. Complete with a lifeguard and swimming, you can even have a bonfire if your wedding is in the evening. Meanwhile, Georges Island offers a more historic ambiance since it’s home to Fort Warren, a Civil War-era granite fort. Grassy and graceful, you and your guests will have amazing views of the surrounding islands and Boston. Another sandy island in the Harbor that can host your big day: Thompson Island which can provide both an elegant tented reception as well as offer something more low-key, like a catered clambake.
Just north of Boston is the historically charming fishing village of Gloucester. You can tie the knot at one of the area’s many public beaches—so long as it’s after 5 p.m. per the town ordinance. Half Moon Beach is a small, quiet beach which gets its name from the crescent shape of the shoreline. Good Harbor Beach has sugar-white sand and offers a view of Salt Island, which you can actually walk to during low tide. Or you can get married at Stage Fort Park, which not only boasts a beautiful beach, but features a gorgeous gazebo and romantic rose garden.
Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA
Just a few miles north of Gloucester, is Steep Hill Beach—a stunning, but rustic, strip of sandy shoreline (there’s no fancy restrooms on the beach). The property also features Castle Hill, a 59-room mansion which was built in the 1920s. There is a little path that connects the estate which sits on a grassy hill to the ocean, making the vibe of Crane Beach feel both upscale and relaxed at the same time.
Quincy South Shore
Reachable by Boston MBTA trains, Quincy Shores Reservation is the largest beach on Boston Harbor. Locally known as Wollaston Beach, it’s 2.3 miles long. Offering the elegance of Boston mixed with the salty feel of Cape Cod, you can easily have your ceremony on the beach and then transition your guests to one of the nearby hotels or clubs for your reception. Either way, the view of Downtown Boston will be amazing.
Cari Wira Dineen is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle writer, editor, and content strategist. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Weight Watchers, Health, Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, TheKnot.com, The New York Post, and Shape.com among others. Most recently, she was an editor at John Brown Media where she created custom, branded content for digital and print publications as well as websites and social media platforms. A former senior editor at Redbook and Woman’s Day, she loves writing about travel, beauty, and wellness.