Kids have a blast exploring the shallows off West Island. Phtos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

Kids have a blast exploring the shallows off West Island. Phtos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

If you’re a small-boater looking for a beach-day option on Buzzards Bay, consider the series of “micro beaches” along the West Island State Reservation, on the north side of West Island in Fairhaven.

Chart: West Island Beaches

Chart: West Island Beaches

These small, coarse-sand beaches are ideal for boaters launching from Wareham, Marion and Mattapoisett, as the location provides an easy run back home or to the ramp if the southwest wind cranks up. Indeed, West Island often serves as my “back-up” spot if the family doesn’t manage to get on the water by noon.

Chart: West Island

Chart: West Island

The major drawback to accessing these beaches is the abundance of rocks, so you’ll need to work your way in slowly in a shallow-draft skiff, dinghy or kayak—and post a lookout in the bow—to reach the beach. Once ashore, kids can have a blast exploring the shallows, which are home to hermit crabs, green crabs, periwinkles and other items of interest to young minds. There’s good clamming and fishing here as well, but make sure you have a license. Lastly, you can wander the shoreline or hike the trails that wind through the wooded reservation.

West Island Beach

West Island Beach

 

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