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What makes Norton Point Beach a special place?
This 2.5-mile-long strip of sand and dunes served as a vital link between Martha's Vineyard and the island of Chappaquiddick until 2007, when a major ocean storm caused a breach in the barrier beach. But this ever-changing environment still provides an important habitat for nesting shorebirds, and a sporting challenge for the fishermen who surfcast from this popular site.
This beach provides summer recreational opportunities for shellfishing, swimming, bird watching, and picnicking. In the autumn, the extensive sandflats are used by migrating shorebirds for feeding and resting. During the winter, the beach and adjacent waters are often frequented by winter bird residents such as snowy owls, mergansers, and bufflehead ducks.
Due to recent beach erosion, there is only 1.8 miles of oversand-vehicle trails. There are 4.5 miles of walking trails and sandy roads in the upland area.
The western end of Norton Point Beach abuts the state-owned bathing beach, South Beach, which has lifeguards and seasonal restrooms and changing areas. Please note that Norton Point Beach does not have lifeguards. We urge you to exercise caution when swimming or wading at Norton Point.
Due to strong currents and riptides, swimming at Norton Point Beach can be hazardous. Use caution at all times and if in doubt, please don't go in the water. The breach can be particularly dangerous. Please stay at least 10 feet away from the edge of the breach and obey all posted signs.
Also, avoid swimming where seals are present. The growing population of seals on the sand islands offshore may attract sharks.
Please use common sense – be safe, be wary, and respect the power and beauty of nature from a safe distance.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, 24 hrs. Over-sand vehicle access is subject to occasional closures due to erosion or storm damage, or to protect rare nesting shorebirds.
Beach access hotline (current beach closure updates): 508.627.8390.
Phase 1 Beach Reopening Rules
Your cooperation is appreciated during this phase of reopening.