Back Beach is a quarter-mile stretch of sandy shore that slopes gently into the water, enclosed on either side by rocky points. It isn’t as pretty as its next-door neighbor, Front Beach, and much of it disappears underwater at high tide. Still, it’s one of the most popular dives in Massachusetts. There are typically restrooms open during the summer (on the street across from the beach; if these are closed you can find the Front Beach restrooms just down the street towards downtown on the beach-side. There are restaurants in the area as well. This is a good place to bring non-diving friends and family.
You can head in from just about anywhere on the beach, move out in just about any direction, and start finding small to medium-sized boulders within 30-50 yards. The bottom is variable. In some places. it’s a solid layer of rocks. In others, it’s sand and gravel with boulders scattered about. It’s almost always interesting, though. The most consistently good diving is found near the left (northern) end of the beach. The bottom throughout the area follows a gentle slope down, with depths ranging from 25-30 feet. This is a nice dive.
How you get to the beach depends on which end you'll be diving. To dive the left (northern) end, there's a concrete ramp that leads down from the road. This is the only access point here. To dive the middle or right (southern) end of the beach, there are numerous paths from the road over the rocks. Once on the beach, entry and exit are made over sand and are easy.
This site can become rough when the wind blows out of any easterly direction.
The most important notation for this section at Back Beach is the tensions between one of the local residents and divers that have unfolded over the summer of 2019-2020. There is pending litigation against the Town of Rockport for neglecting to restrict access to divers who this resident has found to be disturbing his peace. If you are planning to dive Back Beach make sure to be especially quiet and respectful of the neighborhood, there are residence only a few yards from the parking spaces and a stone's throw from the beach. Also, take care to avoid public nudity as this has been cited as one of the chief complaints.
Avoid Back Beach when winds and waves are out of any easterly direction. Despite the breakwater offshore, surge can pick up here and at neighboring Front Beach. The site has a tendency to get washed out when there's been inclement weather in the area so make sure to cover buddy separation protocols in your pre-dive checks.
Parking is available in spots on RT 127 all along the road opposite the beach. In summer months, parking fees are enforced 7-days a week so make sure to utilize the electronic pay-station near the bathrooms. There are a lot of spaces but they fill up quickly on summer weekends and holidays.
Jerry Shine provided much of the written dive site content on the shore diving sites around New England from his 2005 publication: A Shore Diving Guide to New England which is currently out-of-print. His 2017 publication A Year Underwater: Twelve Months of Diving, Fraternizing with Marine Life, and Just Having a Great Time, from the St. Lawrence River to West Palm Beach is available for purchase on Amazon.
If lobstering be sure that you are licensed, have a gauge for the area you are lobstering in, have your numbers on your cylinder and flag, and don’t land any shorts, longs, notches, or eggers. For more information please reference the mass.gov regulations site here.