Policies & Permits

Beach Fire Permit Application
Beach fires (i.e., small cooking fires; not bonfires) are once again allowed at Goldthwait beach for the 2023 season through a permit process. Any un-permitted beach fires will be subject to enforcement and fines. Please see Fire Permits (below) for additional information about the policies and how to apply for a permit .

event/Area Use Permit Application

For gathering of 12 or more people in the grassy/fire pit area or on the beach OR any use of the firepit, please review the Event/Area Use Permits section below. Gatherings at Goldthwait Reservation are subject to advanced reservations, fees, and trash deposits. See the permit application for details.


The Goldthwait property has been held in a conservation trust to preserve and maintain the natural setting for the enjoyment of the residents of Marblehead. The reservation includes the beach, the park area, and the salt marsh. Please enjoy this private property respectfully according to the following rules:

  • Hours of operation are from dawn until 10:30 pm.
  • The parking lot closes at 8:30 pm.
  • There are no lifeguards on duty. Please swim at your own risk.
  • Please do not disturb or disrupt the wildlife or trample fragile vegetation.
  • Do not trespass into the marsh unless by prior approval.
  • Permits are required for any fires. Small cooking fires only.
  • General Use Permits are required for groups with more than 12 people.
  • All permits require 48-hour notice. See the Permit Application for details.
  • Annual parking permits are also available.
  • Alcohol is not allowed except for events specifically sanctioned by the Goldthwait Board of Directors.
  • Please do not bring glass items or balloons onto the reservation.
  • Please dispose of your trash in the nearest receptacle or take it with you in the off-season.

Every year, we see hundreds of people (including landscape trucks) removing rocks from the beach and cobble dune. The cumulative loss of rocks will eventually impact the ability of the barrier beach to protect landward areas from storms and flooding. This type of alteration is prohibited under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and is subject to fines. Thank you for doing your part to help protect this valuable resource.


Goldthwait promotes and supports the property’s uses for the recreation and enjoyment of the residents of Marblehead. However, to maintain a safe and clean area for enjoyment, we ask that you follow the Town of Marblehead by-laws requiring that dogs be on a leash at all times. Moreover, as with town public beaches, dogs are not allowed on the Goldthwait beach from May 1 through October 1. However, leashed dogs are permitted in the parking lot area year-round. If you have concerns regarding a dog off leash or on the beach during the prohibited time, please contact the Animal Control Officer at 781-631-8664 or see the Animal Control website. The Trustees and Directors of Goldthwait Reservation also kindly ask that dogs not be allowed on the grassy area where children play and that you pick up after your dog and dispose of the trash responsibly.


If you would like to hold an event at the park area or beach/dune area of Goldthwait, general use permits are required for parties of more than 12 people. These larger organized parties must be approved by the Officers of the Reservation prior to use and applicants are required to submit a General Use Permit Application. Applicants must be Goldthwait donors, pay the applicable permit fee and a deposit to cover any clean-up expenses. Please contact Jeanne Kleene at 617-922-0656 or email permits.gwr@gmail.com to confirm availability of your desired date and to submit your request. Parties with 12 or less and no fire will not require a permit, though you are encouraged to contact a Goldthwait officer prior to use to ensure you will not overlap another event. Please note that space and timing for reservations is limited to certain weekdays and weekends of the summer. Goldthwait Reservation is unable to accommodate all requests.


As of 2016, the Goldthwait Reservation and the Marblehead Fire Department have made changes to the fire permitting process for the Reservation. As per town ordinance, open fires are allowed on Goldthwait with written permission from a Goldthwait Director and notification and final approval by calling Marblehead Dispatch on the day of the planned fire (781-631-1212). The Dispatch reserves the right to deny applicants from burning due to specific weather conditions (e.g., dry conditions or high winds). Please note, the permits are for small cooking fires only (not bonfires) and permits are issued based on availability, with only one being granted per night. To obtain a cooking fire permit for Goldthwait beach for no more than 12 people, please complete the Beach Fire Permit Application. For use of the park area firepit (as well as larger gatherings), please use the General Use Permit Application. Contact Jeanne Kleene at 617-922-0656 or email permits.gwr@gmail.com for more information.


Alcohol is never allowed anywhere on the Goldthwait Reservation with the exception of events specifically sanctioned by the Goldthwait Board of Directors. These events require a one-time liability insurance policy to be approved by the Goldthwait insurance agent, Burke Insurance of Salem, Massachusetts. The policy will need to name and cover Goldthwait Reservation, Inc. for a minimum of $1,000,000. All events are subject to compliance with the rules posted regarding use of the Reservation. Special Event Insurance is also available from TheEventHelper.com.


The Reservation is open to all residents of Marblehead. The parking area is also available to all residents for a fee or donation. If you are a contributor of Goldthwait Reservation, your fee is waived (with presentation of your Goldthwait sticker). The fee for a seasonal parking permit is $50. Marblehead residents who contribute $75 or more will receive two parking stickers. To donate and receive your stickers, download and send in a completed Donation Form with your payment (or click on Donate on the Home Page and enter an amount and note about where to send the stickers). The money collected is used for the upkeep and maintenance of the Reservation’s park, salt marsh, and dune and beach area, such as for garbage collection and restoration efforts. These fees, along with the annual contributions, are what allows the Reservation to function. Therefore, we kindly ask that you follow the intent of the policy and refrain from parking along the street in the residential neighborhood in order to obtain access to the beach. Non-residents of Marblehead may obtain access for parking on a case-by-case basis for a fee.