Done right, setting out with the kids for a family beach day is one of the gifts of summer. At the David S. Lynch Memorial Park in Beverly, MA, a 50 – 60 minute drive from Wellesley, families can experience all the fun of sun and sand on the 16-acre oceanfront park’s two beaches — one bayside beach, sandy and calm, and the other oceanside and rocky. If this isn’t enough to make everyone excited enough to levitate, there is also a playground with a splash pad area, a snack bar, a rose garden (which was packed with kids playing Pokemon Go while were there), and that rare and welcome beach commodity — plenty of shade.
On the mid-90s, breeze-free day we went, we found a shady spot under a tree and set up a base camp that was near the rose garden but also allowed us a view of the Atlantic and close proximity to the snack bar. In an interesting reversal of what is our natural order of things, our kids were working and we had the day off. We were there not as harried parents needing to keep sunburn at bay and a loose summer form of law and order in force (No dunking your sister! Stop throwing sand!), but as part of the leisure class, our only responsibility to get home in time to feed our hungry worker bees.
In keeping with our lazy frame of mind, we got there late morning on a Monday and were waved into a parking lot, which had plenty of room for more. Non-resident parking fees are $8 on week days (seniors $3), and $20 on weekends and holidays, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. We haven’t visited Lynch Park on a weekend in a long time, but if you do so, it would be prudent to approach your outing in a less loosey-goosey manner. The lot probably fills up fairly early on Saturdays and Sundays.
Once you’re in, though, there’s plenty to do to keep a family occupied all day. All the usual activities can certainly carry the day: building sand castles on the beach and swimming (being the North Shore, yes, the water was cold, but refreshing). But the beauty of Lynch Park, beyond its natural charms, is that once sand and swim lose their allure there are kayaks for rent, the playground and splash pad to explore, a volleyball net, ice cream and snacks at Captain Dusty’s, and some nights there are concerts on the small stage.
It’s also worth mentioning that the parking lot isn’t so far away that at day’s end you want to weep when faced with the prospect of toting all that beach stuff plus a 4-year old who simply cannot take another step. The family can be bubbled along at the end of the day with a little cheerleading. There’s the car, you can see it, come on everyone, dig deep and drag yourselves there. Promise them air-conditioned comfort. Promise them the Hamilton soundtrack. Whew! Everyone is seat-belted in. And off you go, drifting away like a gentle wind, back to Wellesley.
Fun summer-time family outing. Mission accomplished. You are a great parent.