Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Massachusetts

Ready to check out the best sites in Massachusetts for scuba diving, snorkeling, shore diving, free diving or other ocean activities? Zentacle has 35 dive sites, snorkel spots, beaches, and more. Discover hand-curated maps, along with reviews and photos from nature lovers like you. No matter what you're looking for, you can find a diverse range of the best ocean activities in Massachusetts to suit your needs. Massachusetts provides a variety of diving locations and exploration possibilities. Cape Ann affords numerous shore-diving locations, with countless varieties of fish (tautog, flounder, skate, striped bass, and squid, to name but a few!) In addition, lobster and crab can also be found in most rocky areas. An abundance of interesting wrecks can also be accessed from shore.
Massachusetts dive site map
40 Steps

#1 - 40 Steps

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(4)
This is fine cove for casual diving. Easy entry and mostly sheltered from the sea. Coming from Boston, take 1A North. It will become North Shore Road, and then Lynnway. Continue to stay on Lynnway, wrapping around the coast, bearing right onto Nahant Road. From that intersection, the site will be on your left in 3.25 miles.
Front Beach

#2 - Front Beach

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(3)
Front Beach is best as a swimming beach for the kids. The area is mostly sandy and shallow, with a few patches of rocks. It is, however, an excellent starting point for those willing to make the swim around the point to the left and end up in the next cove over, Back Beach. At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), turn South on SR 127A (Beach Street) to head into Rockport. In .3 miles, Front Beach will be on your left. You will pass Back Beach along the way.
Plum Cove

#3 - Plum Cove

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(6)
Plum Cove is a relatively easy entry and is generally shelter from ocean swell when other sites may be undivable. With a maximum depth of 35 feet, it is great for novices just wanting to get web for a couple of hours. At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), continue North for 4.2 miles. The Cove will appear on your right.
Castle Rock

#4 - Castle Rock

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(4)
Yikes!!! When we came across this site, it looked like it would be suicide to enter the water! But this was just after a storm, and it was actually a lot fun watching the huge waves crashing upon the shore. Great place for storm watching! On a calm day, we are told the entry is very easy off a small sandy beach. With depths of 30 feet, you'll find a good variety of sea life within the kelp beds and rocks. Coming from Boston, take 1A North, and turn right on 129 in Swampscott. In 4 miles, turn right onto Beach Street, which then becomes Ocean Ave. If coming from Salem, take 114 South for 3.4 miles. Turn right on Ocean Ave. Head across the Marblehead Neck. At the fork with Harbor Ave., stay on Ocean Ave. The site is 1.25 miles from that fork.
Back Beach

#5 - Back Beach

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(15)
Back Beach is a very easy site and should be interesting for all skill levels. Because of the easy of entry and proximity to parking, many come here watch the squid perform their antics during a night dive. At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), turn South on SR 127A (Beach Street) to head into Rockport. In .2 miles, Back Beach will be on your left.
Norman's Woe

#6 - Norman's Woe

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(5)
If you can't tell from the pictures, this is an advanced dive! But if you are up for the 200 yard hike, and a crawl down the rocks into a precarious entry, you'll love this dive. Plenty of lobster and other critters will surround you. We'd definitely recommend a guide for your first trip here. At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn right on SR 127A (Cross Street), and then bear left onto SR 127 South. In 1.3 miles, you will cross a bridge. In another 1.5 miles, turn left onto Hesperus Ave. In 1.4 miles, parking will be at a fenced area on your left..
Folly Cove

#7 - Folly Cove

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(20)
Folly Cove is one of the finer dives on this part of the peninsula due to the accessibility of a spectacular wall just outside the cove. Any life indigenous to the New England area can be found here. At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), continue North for 2.3 miles, turn right onto Gott Ave. Parking will be on your right in about 200 yards.
Old Garden Beach

#8 - Old Garden Beach

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(8)
Old Garden Beach is in a small and very scenic residential area of Rockport. It used by divers of all skill levels due to its ease of entry. This is a small, secluded beach with a sandy shore near Rockport Harbor. By swimming 100 yards or so straight out from the beach you can reach depths of 50', and the bottom topography includes huge boulders. Following the shoreline to the right, depths are considerably shallower – around 15-25 feet max – and the bottom is rocky. Both areas are home to many lobsters. This site has a very easy entry – there is a ramp from the street to the beach. There is a lot that is residents only during the summer, but parking is available on Old Garden Street during weekdays. On weekends, you can drop your gear off at the top of the ramp, and then park the car on adjacent streets (Atlantic Ave. is unrestricted). They will tow cars that are parked illegally. There is a "No Night Diving" sign posted – this contradicts MA state law and is unenforceable. At high tide the water level is right at the base of the ramp, and low tide reveals a stretch of sand. There are no restrooms or other amenities here. This site generally has very good visibility. Exposure is Northeast. At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn Left on SR 127A (Cross Street). In one half mile, turn left (following SR 127A) onto Thatcher Road. After 4.3 miles, turn right onto Calebs Lane, and travel almost to the end (.25 miles), turning left on Old Garden Rd. The Beach will be on your right.
Canoe Beach, Nahant

#9 - Canoe Beach, Nahant

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(1)
Canoe Beach, Nahant is a 5.0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in Massachusetts, USA East which is accessible from shore based on 1 ratings.
Cape Hedge

#10 - Cape Hedge

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(1)
Cape Hedge is an easy, shallow dive with depths of no more than 35 feet. At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn Left on SR 127A (Cross Street). In one half mile, turn left (following SR 127A) onto Thatcher Road. After 2.8 miles, turn right onto South Street, and travel almost to the end (.4 miles), bearing to the right when you get to the ocean.
Pebble Beach

#11 - Pebble Beach

USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann

beginner
(1)
Head northeast on MA-128 N At Grant Circle, take the 2nd exit onto MA-128 At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit and stay on MA-128 Turn left at Eastern Ave/MA-127 Turn right at Barn Ln Turn left at MA-127A/Thatcher Rd Turn right at Tregony Bow Turn right at South St Turn left at Old Penzance Rd Park along the pebbles (free).
Loblolly Cove

#12 - Loblolly Cove

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(4)
Loblolly Cove is an area popular with dive classes due to its shallow depths and abundance of shallow water creatures. At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn Left on SR 127A (Cross Street). In one half mile, turn left (following SR 127A) onto Thatcher Road. After 2.8 miles, turn right onto South Street, and travel almost to the end (.4 miles), turning left on Penzance for another .8 miles at which point you will dead end.
Halibut Point

#13 - Halibut Point

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(4)
Halibut Cove is a fairly easy dive (if the conditions are right), but can be physical demanding to get the entry. You'll have almost a mile hike from the parking area, so you will definitely need a three or four wheeled equipment cart. Only do this dive if you are good shape. Remember that the effects of nitrogen are magnified by physical exertion. At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), continue North for 1.8 miles, turn right onto Gott Ave. Parking will be on your right in about 200 yards.
Pebble Beach

#14 - Pebble Beach

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(12)
Pebble Beach is a popular night diving area because of the proximity of parking and an easy shore entry. The depths are no more than 25 feet for several hundred yards out to sea. At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn Left on SR 127A (Cross Street). In one half mile, turn left (following SR 127A) onto Thatcher Road. After 2.8 miles, turn right onto South Street, and travel almost to the end (.4 miles), turning left on Penzance for another .25 miles.
Bass Rocks

#15 - Bass Rocks

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(2)
Bass Rocks is a great dive if the weather is cooperating. It is fairly shallow, and the entry can be challenging, but the abundant sea life will make it worth the effort. At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn Left on SR 127A (Cross Street). In one half mile, turn right on Atlantic Rd. In one more mile you'll arrive at the dive site.
Salt Island

#16 - Salt Island

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(2)
Salt Island is an easy dive, however, the hike out is not! For the best diving you'll need to walk out to the far side of Salt Island during low tide, so make sure you are in shape! At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn Left on SR 127A (Cross Street). In one half mile, continue straight onto Nautilus Road for another quarter mile. Alternatively, in one half mile, turn left on Thatcher Road and turn right in .7 miles into the Good Harbor Beach Lot. The latter is closer to Salt Island.
Chimneys

#17 - Chimneys

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(3)
Chimneys is located at the Northeastern University Marine Station. It is a very easy dive with lots of walls to explore. Our biggest problem was with parking. Inquire locally for your best options. Coming from Boston, take 1A North. It will become North Shore Road, and then Lynnway. Continue to stay on Lynnway, wrapping around the coast, bearing right onto Nahant Road. From that intersection, the site will be on your left in 3.5 miles.
Cathedral Rocks

#18 - Cathedral Rocks

Massachusetts, USA East

advanced
(11)
One of the more popular dives in Cape Ann, Cathedral Rocks is known for its abundance of lobsters and for its deep dives. If you consider yourself an advanced diver, you'll feel at home here. At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), continue North for 1.2 miles, turn right onto Cathedral Ave, and continue further for another .1 mile.
Hoop Pole Cove

#19 - Hoop Pole Cove

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(5)
Hoop Pole Cove is known for its great lobstering. With depths no more than 40 feet, you'll find lots of nooks and crannies in the rocky bottom, a favorite habitat of our favorite crustation. At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), continue North for 1.4 miles, turn right onto Phillips Ave, and continue further for another .43 miles.
Magnolia Rocks

#20 - Magnolia Rocks

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(7)
Another good area for lobster, Magnolia Rocks can be a great dive once you get past the rocky entry. You can descend down to about 45 feet where you'll find boulders, sand and crevasses. Perfect for exploration! Lots of lobsters, too close to rocks for boats to drop their pots...large stripers, not afraid of you...easy to spear..delicious..cold and when algae bloom, no vis..but can get dinner there in 15 minutes At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn right on SR 127A (Cross Street), and then bear left onto SR 127 South. In 1.3 miles, you will cross a bridge. In another 2.3 miles, turn left onto Magnolia Ave. In .6 miles, turn left onto Raymond/Norman. In 300 yards, turn right onto Lexington Ave. and go to the end.
Stage Fort Park

#21 - Stage Fort Park

Massachusetts, USA East

beginner
(6)
Stage Fort Park offers an easy entry and a shallow dive. Mostly sandy throughout the center of the cove, the edges offer more exciting exploration. Diving is only permitted here during the off-season, so call ahead to get the exact dates. At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn right on SR 127A (Cross Street), and then bear left onto SR 127 South. In 1.3 miles, you will cross a bridge. The park will be your first left after the bridge (.22 miles). The dive site is .36 miles further.
Whale Cove

#22 - Whale Cove

Massachusetts, USA East

Unrated
(3)
Whale Cove is another great place to try your hand at lobstering. With a relatively easy entry, watch out for swells and boulders! At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn Left on SR 127A (Cross Street). In one half mile, turn left (following SR 127A) onto Thatcher Road. After 3.6 miles, turn right onto Whale Cove Lane (not Whale Cove Rd) for another 200 yards at which point you will dead end.
Sandwich Town Beach

#23 - Sandwich Town Beach

USA, Massachusetts

beginner
(0)
The max depth is approx. 25', and this site has easy shore entry via the beach. This is a sheltered cove with Northern exposure, so surf and tides are milder than other dive areas. However, if there is a strong north wind, the conditions can get challenging. The bottom is covered in seaweed making it a good spot for lobster and flounder. Visibility is usually around 15'. Parking is $10, and free after 4 pm. There are bathrooms and a snack bar here. This is a very popular spot, so expect to see a lot of other divers.
Garbage Beach

#24 - Garbage Beach

USA, Massachusetts

beginner
(0)
This site seems to be known as Garbage Beach only to divers. It has an easy entry, and easy metered parking (so you will need quarters). Max depth at this site is 70', visibility is 5'-15'. This site has Southwesterly exposure. There have been tropical fish sightings here in the summer, and a variety of nudibranchs in the winter. This can be a hazardous dive, challenges include strong currents, fishing line (make sure you have a knife/line cutter) and considerable boat traffic. Divers have found old bottles and tea cups at this site, so keep your eyes open for artifacts! Stay away from the Vineyard Ferry dock, it is best for divers to stay near the jetty or the pier. Garbage Beach is also known as Marine Park on Water Street.
Brant Rock

#25 - Brant Rock

USA, Massachusetts

beginner
(0)
Brant Rock is also known as Brant Rock.
Lanes Cove

#26 - Lanes Cove

USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann

intermediate
(0)
Head northeast on MA-128 N At Grant Circle, take the 3rd exit onto MA-127/Washington St Turn left at Andrews St/MA-127 Follow Andrews street around to parking area and walk over rock wall for dive entry.
Salt Rock

#27 - Salt Rock

USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann

beginner
(0)
Many crevices and interesting formations near island. Boat access from Cape Anne Divers boat charter.
Paddock Rock

#28 - Paddock Rock

USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann

beginner
(0)
Pinnacle dive with steep walls and crevices. Easy to navigate and circle around. Boat access from Cape Anne Divers boat charter.
Burnham Rocks

#29 - Burnham Rocks

USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann

beginner
(0)
Burnham Rocks is a 0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann which is accessible from shore based on 0 ratings.
Halfway Rock

#30 - Halfway Rock

USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann

beginner
(0)
Wall dive with lots of marine life. Can have stronger currents than most dives in the area. Boat access by Cape Anne Divers boat charter.
Chester E. Poling Wreck

#31 - Chester E. Poling Wreck

USA, Massachusetts, Cape Ann

intermediate
(0)
Stern of the Chester Poling sits upright in about 28m / 90ft. Broken in half, it makes for an awesome dive around the perimeter and over the deck. Can also be penetrated, but sediment settling in the boat could be stirred and obscure visibility. Boat access by Cape Anne Divers boat charter.
The Crane

#32 - The Crane

USA, Massachusetts

Unrated
(0)
Deep wreck dive. This is a crane that fell off a barge. It is sitting on its back, intact, in 150' of water. Covered with marine life. Very impressive, but small wreck. Can only be accessed by boat. Southeast of Rockport.
Niles Beach

#33 - Niles Beach

USA, Massachusetts

beginner
(0)
This is the spare tire of dive sites - when everything else is blown out, Niles is often okay to dive. This is a great back up site for instructors with classes. There is not a lot to see, although photographers claim the eel grass offers a lot of small marine life. The bottom is a combination of sand and mud. The long sandy beach offers easy entry and depths can reach up to about 20-25 feet. This site is very sheltered and has Western exposure. Parking is restricted to residents, but this is only (usually) enforced during the summer. There are no public facilities at or near the beach. You may want to lock up any valuables as it is quite an isolated area.
Josephine Marie Shipwreck

#34 - Josephine Marie Shipwreck

USA, Massachusetts, Stellwagen Bank

intermediate
(0)
The Josephine Marie was a steel-hulled stern trawler that now lies in 100 feet of water on top of Stellwagen Bank in NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The red-hulled Josephine Marie lies upside down with its bow facing roughly northwest. Divers are free to visit the site, but should be aware of hazards such as strong currents and fishing gear. Josephine Marie Shipwreck is also known as Fishing Vessel Josephine Marie.
Hathaway's Pond

#35 - Hathaway's Pond

USA, Massachusetts

beginner
(0)
This freshwater pond covers 20 acres, and is a popular OW training site for local dive shops. Maximum depth is 57', and usual visibility is 5'-25'. Temperatures range from about 40 degrees in the winter, to low-80's in the summer. Over the years a variety of things have been sunk in the pond, including a Saab, a cabin cruiser and a couple of tire piles and a training platform. All diving is accessible from shore, and visitors are able to park near the water. This pond has a variety of fish, including perch, trout, bass and freshwater eels. There is a $7.00 parking fee for non-residents in the summer. There are no public restrooms.