Owned By: Town of Scituate
Located at the mouth of the North and South Rivers, this popular summertime beach, a sand spit, is also known as Sandy. Low tide provides more real estate on which to park your chair or blanket. The Spit is accessible by boat, or on foot via a trail/boardwalk from the Preble Property on Third Cliff.
The wide, flat, sandy terrain of The Spit is habitat for the endangered piping plover. Please respect and avoid their marked nesting areas. Set off from here to go clamming!
The clam flats in both the North and South Rivers are typically open from November 1 to May 31st. If there is a Red Tide, they may close sooner. (In 2023, some areas opened on January 1st and others opened on March 1st.) See this recent update on North River Shellfishing for locations.
Boats often drop anchor at this beautiful sandy beach. On summer weekends, The Spit can be extremely crowded, but it’s much less populated on weekdays. Due to strong currents, paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking are not recommended. To learn more about The Spit, check out this 7-minute video by David Larkin.
It’s hard to imagine now, but prior to the 1898 Portland Gale, which created a new mouth for the North River at this spot (New Inlet), a barrier beach and roadway connected Third and Fourth Cliffs.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
A boardwalk extending from the adjacent Preble Property leads through the marsh and eventually to The Spit. For pedestrian access, follow the path that begins at the corner of Collier and Moreland Roads, on Third Cliff in Scituate. No public parking is available. The boardwalk begins between two houses and continues for about a tenth of a mile to The Spit. Be prepared to carry your coolers and beach chairs.
Habitats and Wildlife
The Spit is located near the mouth of the North River. It is a barrier beach with an extensive salt marsh. Sandpipers abound on the inner mud flats. Also look for false angelwing shells. Piping plovers are a threatened shore bird species that inhabit beaches and dunes in Massachusetts and surrounding states. Massachusetts has the largest breeding population. Mass Audubon protects their nesting sites on The Spit in the spring, and also protects nesting sites for terns. Striped Bass and other fish species are popular around the The Spit, since it is a dual river mouth.
The North River, approximately 10 miles in length, begins at the confluence of the Indian Head River (Hanover) and Herring Brook (Pembroke). From there it flows through the towns of Hanover, Pembroke, Marshfield, Norwell, and Scituate. It empties into the Atlantic Ocean between Third and Fourth Cliffs, draining approximately 59,000 acres along the way.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: Size varies considerably, depending on the tide.
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Primarily accessed by boat. There is no public parking close to The Spit.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed June 15th - September 15th. Leashed dogs are allowed in the off season.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: North River