The native translation of Onset is “place that is sandy” – and that’s still the defining feature at Onset Beach today. The wide, flat sand at this town beach is perfect for families in summer: with lifeguards and a roped-off swimming area, kids can splash and play for hours in the calm waters of Onset Bay. There’s a large parking lot right next to the beach at Onset Town Pier, so it’s easy to get everybody onto the sand.
Paddlers will love Onset Beach, too; bring your own kayak or rent one from Nemasket Kayak Center, located right on the beach. From here, you can enjoy a scenic paddle around Wickets Island and the shores of Onset Bay.
Habitats & Wildlife
Another reason why Onset Beach is great for kids is because there’s so much diversity living along the shore. Dig in the muddy sand to find clams, or look for crabs scurrying between the waves. Go on a shell scavenger hunt, and you’re sure to find oysters, quahogs, and even a few crab shells washed up on the beach.
Onset Bay is also a haven for birds, from ducks and geese to gulls and ospreys. Their populations change seasonally, so come here throughout the year to see different species. We recommend coming for a walk early in the morning, when herons and cormorants soar low over the bay’s placid waters.