Marine Division - Shellfish Division - Endangered Species Program - Department Personnel

Welcome to
Duxbury Beach
Duxbury, Massachusetts

Duxbury Beach is owned by the Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc., a nonprofit trust. The membership of the Board of Directors and Trustees consists of individuals who represent a wide variety of interests, including the general citizenry and local government. The Beach is leased and managed by the Town of Duxbury for the benefit and enjoyment of its residents and the general public. All beach visitors are subject to the General Beach and Motor Vehicle Regulations contained herein, including any other applicable law.

Non-compliance with any of the Duxbury Beach Regulations, including any other applicable law, may result in the loss of beach vehicle permit and beach privileges, in addition to any other appropriate penalties. As promulgated by the Duxbury Board of Selectmen in December 1991.

Management of Duxbury Beach

Duxbury Beach is a unique and ever-shaping natural resource of the entire South Shore of Massachusetts. This specialized barrier beach serves as a recreational area, a scenic area, a conservation area, and a natural breakwater for the towns of Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth. Because of it constant use and vulnerability to the natural forces of weather on the Eastern Atlantic Coast, Duxbury Beach is under constant scrutiny by the three organizations involved in its management: the Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc., owners of Duxbury Beach; the Duxbury Beach Committee, a town advisory group; and the Harbormaster / Coastal Natural Resources Department, which directly oversees daily operations.


Duxbury Beach’s very existence depends on beach grass found in the dune areas. Beach grass is brittle and easily broken if stepped on. Just walking between the clumps of grass causes sand grains to break the fragile root hairs. Once broken, the plant immediately dies. Since the primary destroyers of beach grass are people—their children, pets, and vehicles– it is essential to establish and enforce natural dune areas and keep them free of human impact. Although not having access to these restricted areas may seem to limit your enjoyment of the total beach a bit, you will see that this management technique allows Duxbury Beach to recover naturally from high impact environmental forces such as storms. All beach erosion control devices such as fencing, grass planting areas, and cabling are here for the purpose of preserving the beach as a natural protective barrier and for your present and future enjoyment.

Limitation of Liability

1.        The Town of Duxbury and Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. accept no responsibility or liability for any personal injury or property damage sustained on Duxbury Beach (M.G.L. Ch. 21 Sec. 17C).

2.        Entry upon or use of Duxbury Beach by any person by foot, bicycle, motor vehicle, boat, or horseback shall be at his own risk and such entry or use shall constitute a release by such person of the Town of Duxbury and Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. from any and all claims for personal injury or property damage sustained on Duxbury Beach, and such release shall be binding upon such person, his personal representative, and all persons claiming through or under him.

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Recreational Beach Regulations

1.        Walking. Walking is encouraged on Duxbury Beach. All persons, their animals, and vehicles must stay out of all dune, vegetated, marsh grass, posted bird or wildlife, and fenced areas. Use designated crossovers and pathways only.

2.        Swimming. All persons swimming or bathing at Duxbury Beach do so at their own risk (see "Limitation of Liability" above). Lifeguards are on duty only in the designated lifeguard / bathing area. The designated lifeguard / bathing area is defined as the ocean side of the beach directly east of the Powder Point Bridge, 100 yards either side of the stationary lifeguard stand (see map). Rafts, tubes, floatation equipment, face masks, and snorkeling and diving equipment are prohibited in the designated lifeguard / bathing area. Swimming in any other area of the beach is without lifeguard supervision. Swimming, diving, and jumping from the Powder Point Bridge are prohibited. No swimming is permitted in the boat channel adjacent to the bayside beach.

3.        Boating. No vessels of any kind (motorboats, sailboats, sailboards, kayaks, jet skis, etc.) are permitted within 150 feet of the oceanside beach except in designated vessel access areas, or within 150 feet of the bayside beach, 100 yards north and south of the Powder Point Bridge, In designated vessel access areas (a) all water skiing, swimming, and floatation devices are prohibited, (b) anchoring is permitted, and (c) vessels may proceed at steerage speed only.

4.        Horseback Riding. Horseback riding requires a special permit that must be purchased from the receptionist at Town Hall. Riding is permitted daily, from sunrise to sunset, October through April. Riding is permitted sunrise to 9:00 am and 6:00 pm to sunset, May through September, weekdays only. All motor vehicle and parking regulations apply. Riders are responsible for removing all horse droppings from parking areas.

5.        Shellfishing. Shellfishing requires a special permit that must be purchased from the receptionist at Town Hall. Motor vehicle access for this purpose must comply with all beach motor vehicle regulations.

6.        Fishing. Fishing from the bridge is permitted on the sidewalk side only, as long as it does not interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic. No fishing is allowed within the marked channel area. Fishing poles on the beach must be kept at the water’s edge at all times, year-round, while in the act of fishing. Bait and carcasses must be removed.

7.        Hunting and Shooting. Rabbit hunting is prohibited due to dune restrictions. Discharge of firearms is prohibited within 150 feet or roadways or 500 feet of a dwelling.

8.        Facilities. Public restrooms, changing facilities, snacks, and telephones are available at the Duxbury Beach Park Bathhouse.

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General Beach Regulations

1.        All beach users must comply with all Federal/State and local law, terms, conditions, policies and the request or instructions of the patrolling Harbormaster/Coastal Natural Resources personnel, Endangered Species personnel or police officers or other authorized agency or department.

2.        When endangered species are present on the Duxbury beach, no person, their animal or vehicle shall disturb or attempt to disturb or attempt to disturb the endangered species in any way and/or fail to adhere to the direction and instruction of the Endangered Species personnel, Harbormaster/Coastal Natural Resources Officer, Police Officers or other authorized agency or department.  All persons shall comply with all Federal, State and Local laws rules and regulations terms conditions policies and procedures in effect for the protect of endangered species.

3.        Drinking of alcoholic beverages is prohibited (Town By-Law 1986).

4.        Dogs must be leashed or under immediate and effective control of handler at all times. (See also Special Dog Regulations.)

5.        No sand, stone, vegetation, or other material may be removed, except for salt marsh hay or seaweed. Erosion control fencing or signs shall not be damaged or removed.

6.        Store and discard trash properly, especially food scraps. All beach refuse must be removed by the beach user. Littering and dumping of household trash are prohibited. Glass containers are not allowed.

7.        Bonfires and campfires are not permitted. Only small cooking fires in a metal container are permitted. All cooking fires must be extinguished with water.

8.        Overnight camping is prohibited.

9.        Fireworks are prohibited (They are illegal and cause dune fires).

10.     Loitering in the beach parking lots is prohibited.

11.     Beach functions of approximately 20 or more persons, or any other special event or research, require a special permit from the Harbormaster’s office. Applications for permits shall be received at least one week prior to the proposed function.

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Motor Vehicle Beach Regulations

1.        All vehicles must carry a copy of the Duxbury Beach Rules and Regulations pamphlet.

2.        All vehicles parked on the beach property must purchase and visibly display a current Duxbury Beach permit. Vehicles parked in any paved parking area at the east end of the Powder Point Bridge must visible display a resident or rental resident beach lot permit from Memorial Day to Labor Day. All vehicles driving or parked in oversand areas or parked in roadside parking areas south or Powder Point Bridge must visibly display a resident or nonresident oversand permit on a year round basis. Permit Location: Shall be affixed to the windshield, below mirror, never in tint. Unauthorized parking in all roadways, fire lanes, or vehicle crossovers is prohibited at all times.

3.        There are five types of Duxbury Beach permits:

Resident Beach Lot Permit for use of paved parking lots (valid April thru March)

Resident Oversand Permit for four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles in paved parking lots, oversand areas, and roadside parking areas. (valid April thru March)

Resident Off-Season Oversand Permit for four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles in oversand areas and roadside parking areas. (valid October thru April)

Non-Resident Oversand Permit for four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles in oversand areas and roadside parking areas. (valid April thru March)

Non-Resident Off-Season Oversand Permit for four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles in oversand areas and roadside parking areas. (valid October thru April)

3.        Permits are valid only for the vehicle for which they were purchased. The permit registration number must match the vehicle registration. Permits are nontransferable. (Original permit must be returned in order to receive a replacement due to sale of vehicle, windshield replacement, etc.)

4.        All other vehicles are prohibited, including motorcycles, minibikes, minicars, snowmobiles, paraglides, ATV’s and ATC’s (except when necessary for official use). No airplanes or helicopters are permitted to land on Duxbury Beach except in an emergency.

5.        All parking is on a first come, first serve basis. When parking capacities are reached, vehicle access restrictions will be imposed. Limitations may be imposed on the number of oversands vehicles permitted on the beach at one time for public safety and dune preservation due to beach and tidal conditions.

6.        All oversands vehicles must be properly equipped before they are permitted on the beach. Vehicles may be inspected for the following equipment at any time:
●Tires that are properly pressurized for beach conditions
● Shovel
● Tow Rope, Tow Strap, or Chain
● Spare Tire, Jack, and 18" square plywood support pad

7.        Resident Parking Area hours (weather permitting) are:
North Lot: Sept-April 9am to Sunset (Off-season)
North Lot: 9:00 am to Sunset (Seasonal)
South Lot: Sept- April 6:00am to Sunset (Off-season)
South Lot: 6:00 am to 10:30 pm (Seasonal)

8.        The oversand permit use hours are from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm (weather and tide permitting) seasonally.

9.        Driving must be confined to designated routes and never in the water, on or over dunes, vegetated, or marsh grass areas. Vehicles shall travel in established tracks. Vehicles shall park in an organized fashion in a manner that will not interfere with the established track or traffic flow. Vehicles driving off the beach shall have the right of way. Vehicles are not allowed in pedestrian, mud flat / shellfish, or wildlife areas. No vehicle shall travel or park within 10 feet of a sand fence on the ocean side of the beach.

10.     All vehicles must be operated for the safety and regard of the operator, vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and beach resources. Maximum speed on the Powder Point Bridge, vehicle turn around, paved parking areas, vehicle crossovers, and in designated oversand areas is 10 MPH, conditions permitting; on the improved beach roadway, the maximum speed is 15 MPH, conditions permitting.

11.     All persons must ride within the confines of any motor vehicle and must be seated. Riding on fenders, tailgate, or roof, or standing in the vehicle is prohibited.

12.     The roadway over the leased portion of the beach to Gurnet Gate is for use by oversand vehicles only. All Gurnet-Saquish traffic must use the roadway.

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Special Dog Regulations

Dogs must be leashed or under immediate and effective control of the handler at all times (Harbormaster / CNR personnel determine "effective control"). Dog handlers are required at all times of the year to remove droppings from the Powder Point Bridge, Parking Lots, and All Beach Areas.  Dog handlers are required to have a dog permit on their person at all times.  Permits can be obtained from the Duxbury Town Hall.

From April 1st thru September 15th the following restrictions are in effect:

● Dogs handlers must always have a dog permit whenever they walk their dog anywhere on the beach

● Dogs are prohibited from the front beach, known as the Resident Beach, south to the poles delineating the start of the 4x4 beach.

● Dogs are prohibited from the back beach north of the Powder Point Bridge adjacent to the Resident Parking Lot.

Only dogs restrained by leash are permitted on beach properties as authorized.

● Follow this link for Dog Regulations.

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