Stay Seaside in Winter

The summer crowds are long gone and traffic temporarily a thing of the past around the seaside villages on the South Coast, but wise travelers are heading towards rather than away from the shore. Winter explorers should consider staying seaside to experience the gifts of an off season beach vacation!

The View

Now that the blankets, beach pails, coolers, body boards, and blankets have been put away, you can actually get a clear view of the beautiful South Coast beaches. Onset beach is a sandy beach that stretches out just below Onset Bluffs Gazebo Park. Walk the beach or sit on Onset Bluffs for a gorgeous view of the ocean. Either way, it is serene…an adjective no summer visitor would be able to attribute to this spot! Mattapoisett Town Beach is a tiny beach on the harbor and perfect for kids during any season. Head over to look at the boats in the harbor and play on the swings at the top of the beach.

The Price

Parking at Onset Pier costs $2.50 for one hour and $2.00 every hour after, so a day on the coast could cost up to $16.50 in parking and during the summer months, street parking is a pipe dream. The parking kiosks operate year round, but off season street parking is easy to find. Park in front of the beach entrance, park in front of your lunch restaurant, or park in front of the shop you love. Your choices are endless!

Winter also brings steep lodging discounts for travelers. For example, rooms at the Inn on Onset Bay are currently listed as 30% less per night this December than they will be next July. Stay three nights for what you’d pay or the price of two nights in summer.

The Beach

Swimming is probably not an option, but there is so much to do on the beach in winter you won’t even miss it!

In the winter, South Coast beaches see low tide in the afternoon making tidal pools more accessible than in the summer when they tend to be early morning and later at night. Hearty seabirds like eiders, harlequin ducks, mergansers, grebes, black guillemots, great cormorants, and purple sandpipers all stick around to see you during the winter months.

If you are interested in observing winter wildlife, consider taking a day trip from the beach to the Lloyd Center for the Environment. Winter programs teach guests how animals survive during the snowy season and what we can learn about them through the tracks they leave behind in the sand or snow.

Kids love to make sandcastles and splash in the waves, even in winter. The empty beaches give everyone room to run and play. Take advantage of the space to throw a football around or play a game of tag. Children and adults alike will enjoy taking photos of the beach in winter…and of each other!

The Company

A beach vacation in winter couldn’t be cozier. Whether you are traveling with your family, or it’s just you and your sweetheart, keeping warm means staying close! Take advantage of the quiet winter season to be together.

Taking some time off to be with those that matter the most to you may be just what you need to manage the holiday mayhem this year. However, if you would like to enjoy some holiday magic during your seaside stay, venture to New Bedford and take in a show like the Christmas Carol or Holiday Pops at the Zeiterion Theater.

Bundle up and enjoy a romantic walk to enjoy one of South Coast’s spectacular sunsets and then enjoy a quiet dinner at one of the South Coast’s excellent restaurants. Look for one with a toasty fireplace like the Pasta House Italian Grille in Fairhaven or with live jazz like the Airport Grille in New Bedford. With a light snow falling outside your window and a gourmet meal on the table you won’t want to be anywhere else.

The South Coast has so much to offer visitors all year long. Enjoy!

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Angela Boffi

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