Nantasket Beach in Hull, Mass., serves as a terrific low-cost day trip, just a half-hour south of Boston.
Best known for its glory days when Paragon Park provided a wonderland of amusements by the sea from the early 20th century until its closing in 1984, Nantasket Beach might not have the spirit that it once did, but there’s no denying the great stretch of ocean beach, excellent restaurants (for a bigger budget check out Jake’s Seafood Restaurant), and better lodging options (Clarion Nantasket Beach Resort Hotel and Spa).
There are even remnants from Paragon Park, including a working carousel, mini golf, ice cream, fried dough and beach side gift shops all within a stone’s throw of each other.
A local family of four recently spent around $45.00 for a day trip to Nantasket — what a bargain for six hours of fun! Here is their breakdown:
* $7.00 for beach parking on Nantasket Ave.
*$17.37 spent at Joseph’s Pizza, including a Caesar Salad, two large slices of cheese pizza and two waters. Excellent cheesy pizza and decent salad. Located at 183 Nantasket Ave., right across from the beach.
$5.75 paid for a fried fish sandwich at Ricky’s Place. Decent tasting and filling! Located at 153 Nantasket Ave. Ricky’s is very well known, by the way, for its fried dough. You can smell it a mile away
$5.25 for two rides on the Paragon Carousel. The carousel is a beautifully restored, well-maintained merry-go-round from 1928 featuring 24 restored shiny horses and a Wurlitzer band organ that generates the familiar carnival music. Located at 205 Nantasket Ave.
$10.00 for four kid’s sized ice creams at Carousel Ice Cream. Excellent local Gifford’s ice cream, including strawberry shortcake, mud slide, grape nut and cotton candy! Located right next to the Paragon Carousel.
Total Price: $45.37 for a fun, fulfilling and filling day! All this, plus plenty of room to stretch out at the two-mile stretch beach, a free Sunday afternoon music concert at the pavilion, a gorgeous sunset, and plenty of walkways to get a scenic coastal workout.
You might also enjoy some affordable shopping at the Carousels and Ships souvenir store at 532 Nantasket Ave., with an amazing assortment of boogie boards, Nantasket Beach clothing, beach chairs, souvenirs and beach toys and games.
The Dream Machine arcade at 197 Nantasket Ave. also serves as a cheap attraction with it classic mix of arcade games, while the Nantasket Landing Mini-Golf right next door also provides affordable, traditional family entertainment.
While Nantasket doesn’t have the sheen of neighboring Cohasset and Hingham, this famous coastal area more than makes up for by simply offering one of the best beaches in the area and a brief but fun stretch of food, attractions, ice cream and souvenirs to make for a fun, inexpensive day around the Boston area.