Gooseberry Island draws an eclectic mix of families, boaters, dog walkers, birders, and outdoor enthusiasts. With strong, salty sea breezes and a stunning panoramic view of Buzzards Bay, the island is a destination for anyone who loves exploring the coast. Gooseberry Island is also home to a concrete observation tower that was built during World War II as part of the coastal defense system to watch for German submarines.
The island is connected to the mainland by the short Thomas E. Pettey Memorial Causeway, which begins on East Beach Road. On the west side of the island, waves crash against the rocky shoreline. On the east side, Buzzards Bay laps gently along a sandy beach. There’s an unimproved shoreline boat ramp here, which is best for kayakers, windsurfers, small skiffs, and other small watercraft because it’s very shallow and surrounded by rocks.
The wide, sandy path at Gooseberry Island runs for about a half-mile down the length of the island. We recommend allowing about an hour to explore here, because there’s a lot to enjoy!
Beginning from the parking area, walk down a long, flat path that runs through the middle of the island. As you approach the towers, the path splits in two. Turn right to explore the towers up close; turn left to head toward the island’s gentler eastern shore. You can also loop around the tip of the island by walking along the beach.
Habitats & Wildlife
Because of its location near the mouth of Buzzards Bay, Gooseberry Island is well known as a birding hotspot. It’s a thoroughfare for migratory birds as they travel up and down the Atlantic flyway. Hundreds of species have been recorded here, from warblers and swallows to geese, ducks, and seabirds. Rare piping plovers nest on the beach, so please stay away from any marked nesting areas.
Beaches, wooded parks, parkways, and reservoirs — All of these places make up the Massachusetts state parks, operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.