The Spit

Owned By: Town of Scituate

The Spit is located at the mouth of the North and South Rivers in Scituate, adjacent to Third Cliff. A popular summertime beach, and a sand spit, it 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.

The shellfish beds in both the North and South Rivers are typically open from November 1 to May 31st. They opened on time in 2023, but closed temporarily in January. As of February 9, 2024, they are open again!

Please visit our Shellfishing page for maps and permit info.


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 Massachusett (or Massachuseuk). To learn more about local Native American tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mattakeeset band of the Massachusett, and the Massachusett tribe at Ponkapoag, both share information on their websites. 

Trail Description

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.

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 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.

  • Aerial photograph of the mouth of the North River with The Spit, a sand spit, on one side.
  • Map that shows the location of The Spit, at the mouth of the North River.
  • Photograph of beach sand with the North River mouth and Fourth Cliff in the background.
  • Property sign with a pair of sneakers hanging from it, with dune grass in the background.
  • A large flat area covered with beach stones with a long stick propped up in the middle by mounded stone, and the ocean in the background.
  • A tide pool with seaweed and stones, with the river in the background.
  • A broad sandy area with bird tracks extending across it, and a river in the background.
  • A yellow triangular sign with rules about protecting the piping plover.
  • A wide flat area with dune grass and driftwood, and a river in the background.
  • A sandy area that slopes down to the water, with a river in the background.
  • A sandy beachfront with dune grass on one side and a river on the other.
  • Two sets of human footprints extending across beach sand with a river in the background.
  • Dune grass and sand with a path down the middle and a river in the background.
  • An American flag posted on a tall piece of driftwood with stones in the foreground and a river in the background.
  • A sandy path extending across a broad area of dune grass.
42.164899, -70.718598

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: Yes

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: 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.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy


Geocache location.

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

Other Things to Do at This Site