Low Beach

Low beach

Current Driving Status: Closed to vehicle traffic.

Emergency Beach Access Number: 1

Current Beach Conditions: 

beach signs

Rules & Regulations 

  • Fishing is permitted with a state license, which can be purchased here
  • Dogs are allowed, providing they are leashed and licensed. Dogs and owners are not allowed in any dune vegetation, marsh grass, protected wildlife and other fenced areas at any time.
  • Bonfires, campfires, and fireworks are not permitted.
  • No kites (of any kind) or drones within 200 meters of any fenced shorebird habitat.
  • Alcohol is not permitted on public property.
  • Glass is not permitted on public beaches.
  • Smoking is not permitted on public property.
  • Please do not dig holes deeper than the waist. Fill in any holes before you leave the beach.
  • Beachgoers must stay at least 150 feet away from any marine mammal.

Basic Information

Low Beach is one of the quietest, lesser-known beaches on Nantucket. Located right next to an expansive dune system and close to the village of ‘Sconset, it is a great place to get away from the crowds and potentially see some wildlife. Slightly more off the beaten path than ‘Sconset Beach, it is a great place to picnic for the day in the summer or take the dog for a quiet walk on the beach in the off-season. It is an excellent birding area and seals can often be seen floating by in the surf. Low Beach usually offers great fishing in the spring, fall, and summer months. This Atlantic-facing beach has deeper water and can have fast-moving currents, so swimming should always be done with a buddy and by experienced swimmers. Driving on Low Beach is allowed when nesting shorebirds are not present. Interesting things often wash up on Low Beach, which makes it popular with shell collectors. 

Directions and Access Information

Despite being far away from town, Low Beach is relatively easy to access. From the Milestone Rotary, follow Milestone Road all the way to the end until you reach the Siasconset Rotary. Take a right at the rotary onto Gully Road, and take another right up the small hill onto Ocean Ave, going past the bridge on your left. Follow Ocean Ave and continue straight past the stop sign. There is a small dirt road on the left, just after Stone Post Way. Follow the dirt road to reach the parking lot, or continue on from there to drive onto the beach. Parking in this area is limited and the lot is unpaved. 

Beach Driving Information

Low Beach is open for beach driving year-round, unless it is closed for nesting shorebirds. The entirety of Low Beach, from the access point to the beach itself, consists of very deep and soft sand and driving on this beach should only be attempted by 4-Wheel Drive vehicles – All Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles are likely to become stuck in the soft sand. Please make sure you are well equipped with a tire gauge, shovel, tow rope, and jack with jack boards. The recommended tire pressure is between 12 and 15 PSI and please operate in the “4 HIGH” setting. Additionally, if your vehicle is equipped with a “traction control” setting, please turn it off to prevent interference with the 4WD system. A beach driving permit, which can be obtained from the Town of Nantucket Police Department by clicking here, is required in order to drive onto Low Beach. There is a strict speed limit of 20mph when driving on the beach, which is reduced to 5mph when you are anywhere within 100 yards of a pedestrian. Low Beach is a very productive area for nesting shorebirds and as such experiences seasonal vehicle restrictions during the breeding season. There may also be restrictions in place due to erosion. Please stay within existing established vehicle tracks; driving through dune vegetation or creating new trails is not permitted. You may stop and park anywhere along the beach, however make sure to pull off the main trackway so that traffic can get by. Do not attempt to drive close to the water. Pedestrian traffic is welcome after a vehicle restriction is in place, but pedestrians must obey fencing and signage and continue to stay out of restricted areas. Please respect boundaries and rules established by private property owners on private property.

Swimming and Recreation

Low Beach is a hidden gem for those who love the outdoors. This beach is great for experienced swimmers who enjoy a colder, more challenging swim, however please be aware that there are no lifeguards anywhere along Low Beach, and swimmers should remain vigilant when in the water. There may be biting insects such as greenhead flies and mosquitos, especially on a day with little wind. Low Beach is also a popular fishing location. Striped Bass and Bluefish are commonly caught from the beach. There is little in the way of amenities at Low Beach, but there are some options nearby that are closer than going all the way back into town – several restaurants and a sandwich shop are open during the summer in ‘Sconset Village, as is the ‘Sconset Market which sells ice cream, beverages, snacks, and other small household and beach supplies. There are also public restrooms available in ‘Sconset. Grilling on the beach is allowed, preferably with a charcoal or propane grill (please do not leave charcoal briquettes on the beach). Small, enclosed cooking fires located away from any flammable material or dune vegetation are allowed without a permit – please click here for further regulations on fires. Keep this beautiful beach clean - all trash and items are “carry in, carry out”, there are no trash receptacles on the beach so please bring any trash you create with you when you leave. 

Shellfishing and Water Quality

To ensure the safety of Nantucket’s beaches during the busy summer season, the Town of Nantucket Department of Health and Human Services conducts weekly sea water testing. Done in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the samples are collected weekly for analysis at the Barnstable County biolab, and coliform bacteria levels monitored to ensure safe swimming conditions. Should levels exceed safe margins for two consecutive weeks, the beach will be closed to swimming and monitored until it’s safe to return. 

The recreational scallop season runs from October 1 – March 31 and is open to all who carry a recreational shellfish permit from the Town of Nantucket. Permits are $35 for residents and $125 for non-residents, and are available at the Public Safety Facility at 4 Fairgrounds Road. Scallops taken must have a legal raised growth ring a minimum of 10mm from the hinge or are larger than 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) from hinge to shell. Quahogs and oysters can be harvested year-round under a recreational shellfish permit. Soft-shell and razor clam shellfishing is prohibited from June 15th – September 15th. A comprehensive list of Town of Nantucket Shellfishing Policy and Regulations, including daily harvest limits and shellfish sizes, can be found here. A shellfish classification area map for the Low Beach shore is available here. For questions about any shellfishing closures, please contact the Department of Marine Fisheries directly.


This quiet location almost always has something to offer in the way of wildlife. Gray seals can frequently be seen year-round in the water and occasionally haul out on the beach in the winter. If you are very lucky, you may even see dolphins or whales far offshore. Low Beach is a favorite area for all sorts of birds during the fall migration, but is especially loved by the Peregrine Falcon and the Merlin. The rolling sand dunes and pine trees just south of Low Beach offer good habitat for deer and small songbirds like the Snow Bunting and different species of warbler. In the winter Snowy Owls occasionally crest the dunes. Low Beach is also a good place to see Sanderlings and other types of sandpipers, who find excellent foraging along the shore, primarily feeding on the plentiful “sand fleas”, or Mole crabs, that inhabit the surf zone. Throughout the year the Northern Harrier – also known as “Marsh hawk”, “Hen harrier”, or even as “Grey ghost” can be spotted cruising low over the dune in search of rodents or birds to prey upon. Spring and summer bring nesting Piping Plovers and a variety of tern species, most notably the Least and Common tern. For a complete list of the bird life that can be found on Nantucket, click here

Important Phone Numbers & Web Addresses

Nantucket Police & Fire Department (emergency) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 911

Nantucket Police Department (non emergency) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–1212

Nantucket Fire Department (non emergency) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–2324

Beach Hotline/ Marine Dept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–7261

Natural Resources Department . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–7230

Coast Guard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–0388

Environmental Police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(800) 632–8075

Marine Mammal Stranding Team (via Police) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(508) 228–1212