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Winthop’s public beaches – much like the town itself – are currently not considered to be "destination" spots, meaning that they’re far more likely to be used by residents than anyone else. That’s good news for anyone looking to get away from the crowds on a hot day.
Winthrop Beach is considered the "main" beach in town. Located on Winthrop Shore Drive, it features both giant rocks for climbing and sandy stretches for relaxing. At low tide, you can walk out to the "Five Sisters" breakers. Lifeguards are on duty through most of the summer. It features free on-street parking and is accessible by public transportation.
Yirrell Beach, on Shirley Street strip connecting Point Shirley with the main part of town, is more popular with families with small children due to the larger sandy areas. The water is shallow for about 100 yards out and is usually as warm as a northern Atlantic beach gets. Many town celebrations, including the Sandcastle Festival and the Town Family Day at the Beach, are held here. Two things to note – depending on the air traffic patterns, you’ll spend the day getting a close look at arriving or landing aircraft. And the sand tends to stick to the body more so that that of other beaches, so be ready to do plenty of "body brushing."
Both Donovan's Beach (on Pleasant Street) and Pico Beach (hidden among the side streets near Cottage Park) are tiny spots that serve primarily to provide fantastic views of the Boston skyline (Donovan’s) and Winthrop Harbor/Point Shirley (Pico).