Ipswich: On The Water

Elliot Antonio Bates, Journalist

Ipswich is marvelous place in the summer. People flood in from all over the North Shore to enjoy the beaches and public water access. Especially after this winter with record-breaking snow fall and cold temperatures, people are ready more than ever to get back out on the water. Families are longing for those warm summer days gliding over the waves. The only escape from the sun’s blistering heat being a quick dip in the water.

Some people love being out on the water, but are in need of a change. Yes, the beach is nice for everyone, but for the operator of the vessel, it can be a real hassle. Or the opposite, maybe going to dinner at a nearby harbor or port is a common occasion, but you may just want a day of putting your feet up at the beach in a more casual atmosphere. There are many more places to stop at than people realize: here are just a few suggestions.

Steep Hill Beach:
Coming out of the Ipswich River, Steep Hill Beach is one of the first sights you will come across. As you exit the Ipswich River, it is located just south of the mouth/opening, perpendicular to the river. The beach itself is in fact, an extension of Cranes Beach; the only difference is that boats are allowed here. The beach has nice white sand and anchoring is quite easy, with a gradually sandy slope. However, boaters must keep watch on the outgoing tide and keep moving their boat because it will hit the sea floor. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the beach.

“The Sandbar”:
As you follow the channel out to sea, once you exit the river on the left/port side of the channel you will be able to see one of two sandbars. If it is high tide you will be able to see an obvious shallow spot which you need to avoid. However, if it is low tide then you will see a protruding sandbar sticking out of the water. The sandbar is a real hot spot. It starts to poke out of the water about two hours after high tide. This is when you want to show up for two reasons: arriving early allows you to kick back for the whole day, or about 8 hours of it at least, before she goes back under. The second reason is that it gets busy. The only good place to anchor is on the west facing side, protected from the ocean swell crashing to the east. The sand bar is plenty big for everyone and has ample space to spread out and get some privacy.

Plum Island:

As you exit the Ipswich River you can look straight across the sound and see a narrow spit of beach; this is Plum Island. The perfect spot here is anywhere along the northern or western face. The northern face provides great privacy and easy anchoring. The only downside is the beach gets small at high tide. On the western face you’ll find a little more action and excitement. Being on this side of things gives you a better view of the main channel, a larger beach area at high tide and prime anchoring. Just don’t expect any meditation to be happening.

As a small town on the water, Ipswich has many places to stop at when having a boating day. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day of self discovery, or are in the mood to hangout with friends and play beach volleyball, there are ample spots to fulfill everyone’s needs.