On a very hot Saturday in June, we found ourselves with no plans and a need to beat the heat. So, we packed up the kids and headed to Lynch Park in Beverly. Katie and Steve introduced us to this great place and the drive is definitely worth it. The park is actually an old estate and has everything a family needs to spend a great day outside. There are two beach areas, beautiful old gardens, a huge, open field, restrooms, a concession stand with food and ice cream, shaded areas, and two playground areas. The website is http://www.bevrec.com/lynchpark.html and it's definitely worth a look. You do have to pay an entrance fee ($15 per car), but I found that worth it... where can you park for an entire day for less than that? The restrooms leave something to be desired in the cleanliness department, but everything else about the park is great.
Mairead and Jack loved the beach part of the day. Ben is super sensitive to strange textures so he was not a fan of the sand or rocks. It was partially my fault because I put sandals on him and not water shoes, so we hope that we have better results when his feet are better protected. Mairead and Jack engaged in an extensive hermit crab 'catch and release' program and had a lot of fun with that. All of the kids loved being able to run free through the park and had a blast at the playground. There is a large climbing structure for kids who are pretty independent, as well as a toddler structure that is entirely in the shade. The big kid structure is mostly in the sun, so it can get pretty hot!