Growing up near the ocean was a treat I'd say. So many memories of packin' up the station wagon and heading to the beach with my family as a kid. The other thing I remember? The smell that often plagued our beloved public beach.

Cities obviously cannot help where they are geographically located, but there is just something about the Swampscott/Lynn/Nahant area, right? If you know, you know!

Why This Massachusetts Beach Smells So Bad


So, Why Does Lynn Beach Smell Like Crap Sometimes?

Brown algae, or Pilayella littoralis. This non-toxic brown algae washes ashore and lands on rocks and the sand, drys, and smells. As the plant material decays on the beach and in the sand it produces an odor. The odor is a sulfide containing gas. There are no documented detrimental health effects from the beach-generated odors.

The species has been in Nahant Bay since at least 1902, its ultimate origin is not known. This type of brown seaweed is unique to our area. No one, including scientists, is entirely sure why Pilayella littoralis occurs in such large quantities or why it is mostly limited to Nahant Bay and Broad Sound.

For decades now there have been studies to figure out a way to prevent the stench. You can't kill the algae. In 2008, crews would literally go and scoop up any algae that washed ashore every day, according to


When we were kids, I remember my cousin Jason telling me that he actually liked the smell. He was not kidding, either. You serious, bro?

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

Gallery Credit: Keri Wiginton

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