Monday, December 17, 2012

Horseneck Beach State Park


Do you remember those annual family traditions? One we'd like to start is an annual camping trip. Where better than Horseneck Beach State Park?
Damian Musello from the examiner says:
"Horseneck Beach: 5 John Reed Road and Rt.88, Westport, MA
I almost don’t want to write about Horseneck Beach State Reservation because it is popular enough—one of the most popular facilities in the State—and I fear letting more people know about it. It is hands down one of the finest beaches in New England and possibly the East Coast because it combines a southwest facing 2-mile long beach and an extensive estuarine system with the most voluptuous dunes to create a stunning swimmer, sun tanner, bird watcher, wind surfer, heaven. I have had some days at Horseneck that were such a fabulous concoction of sun, soft breeze and lovely clear water that I entered a dazzled fugue state in which the day simply slipped away. Suddenly the sun is sinking low in the west and one is forced to call an end to the reverie.
Horseneck is a part of the Massachusetts State Park system and one of the best run. Last year a brand new shower house and over-dune walk was were opened and another is being renovated. There is a paved walkway which runs parallel to the beach behind the first set of dunes making the carting of coolers and beach chairs a lot easier. The beach is granular loosely packed sand and moderately sloped, even as the tide goes out. There’s a volleyball net set up and always in use. If you want more privacy you can walk westward towards Horseneck Point. On this part of the beach are the steep dunes where you can shelter in a swale if the wind picks up. It’s a good 20 minute walk to the point but worth the trip to see where the Westport River scours a channel through the barrier beach into Westport Harbor. To the east, behind the dunes of Gooseberry Neck—a rocky headland—is a 100-site campground.
Horseneck is a classic barrier beach and behind it is a mature dune system with some classic swales scoured to the water table. Further inland beach vegetation has evolved to woodland.
The beach does have it’s bad days though and it is always advisable to call ahead and check on conditions. I’ve driven down from a sweltering Boston right into the most dense fog bank I’ve ever seen….it began right at the beach parking lot and never ventured further inland. Green heads are sometimes a problem but the most common trouble at Horseneck is the foul red mung—seaweed torn up from beds offshore—that makes swimming impossible. Call ahead, ask about fog, mung, green heads and water temperature….the beach personnel are reliable.
From Boston: Rte. 93 south to Rte. 128 north. Follow Rte. 128 north a short distance to Rte. 24 south. Follow Rte 24 south to Fall River and the intersection with Rte. 195 east. Follow 195 east to exit 10 and Rte. 88 south. Follow Rte. 88 south 11 miles to the end and follow the signs."

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