Overview of Folly Cove

Folly Cove

USA East


Folly Cove is one of the finer dives on this part of the peninsula due to the accessibility of a spectacular wall just outside the cove. Any life indigenous to the New England area can be found here.

Directions: At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), continue North for 2.3 miles, turn right onto Gott Ave. Parking will be on your right in about 200 yards.


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04/01/2019 Rybolov (Avg: 4.17 Review) - I just finished a nice early spring dive. Water was 4degC which is my personal record. Most sea life that I've seen in my relatively limited experience in New England. Large sandy bottom in the middle of the cove full of sand dollars. Wall on the left side with lots of starfish, urchins, kelp, etc. Tons of macro photography subjects which is why I was there. Good variety of nudibranch life. Huge skeleton shrimp. I dived on an incoming tide and there was an outgoing current along the left wall. It was just strong enough for me to have to chase my dive flag and to make supermacro photography hard. I didn't have a problem walking out on the rocks for entry like other people report. I staged my fins, camera, and stage cylinder on the rocks and put on my BCD and cylinder at the bench in the parking lot. I did have a problem on the exit because I was carrying a stage cylinder: I'll detach it next time before I exit.

07/27/2009 Bob Carabia (Avg: 3.00 Review) - I heard so much about Folly Cove that I had to try it. It was true about the parking but someone gave me some good advice and that is bring a bike with you so you can drop off your equipment. Get a parking space down the road and ride back with your bike. The entry wasn't terrible but at low tide the rocks get slippery so be careful. My first dive was to the left. Lots of fun but the visibility was very poor. I can't wait to see what it's like when you have 10+ vis. Our second dive was to the right. With a lot of kelp beds and rocks, the visibility was even worse here about 2 feet. We had to surface as it was just too bad.

09/21/2008 Anonymous (Avg: 2.76 Review) - We went on Friday September 19th. It was a night dive and we were in the water by 9:00. It was about 62 degrees and saw a lot of lobster, squid (some over 12 inches) and lots of skate. There were very few divers and it was not too bad climbing down the rocks to the water line. The current however became very strong at about 50 feet.

09/21/2008 Lusitano Diver (Avg: 3.73 Review) - After diving in Cape Ann for over 14 years I had only been to folly cove 2-3 times. I had never had good luck with the visibility here. Today 9-21-08 was one of the best dives I have ever done in my lifetime (Including dives in the Caribbean!) The visibility was roughly 15-20 feet which is ok for New England standards. My sister and I saw the elusive ATLANTIC TORPEDO RAY!! Holy Smokes, this baby was huge. 4-5 feet was our average guess. As we were both along the wall peering into some cracks and crevices looking for lobster, we felt an eeearrry presence. Have you ever had that feeling you were being watched? Without paying attention to one another we slowly turned around and there it was. I had to take a double take. Swimming along 5-6 feet from the bottom with her 240 volts of confidence, she slowly swam out of the 'murky mist' Stunning! (No pun intended). I even pulled my reg out of my mouth and yelled WOOOW to my buddy. Another amazing dive in New England. For those New Englanders who only dive in the Caribbean, Shame on YOU! You are truly missing out. Oh well, more room for the hardcore divers. After staying away from Folly all these years due to lack of visibility and the Nerd Herd of other divers, I'll be back tomorrow! (We were slightly chilled after our 65 minute dive.) I would tell you what the best dive in Cape Ann is but I won't have others cramp my style. Do give those spots that are 'tough to get to' a chance and you'll find yourself a true gem.

05/16/2008 John (Avg: 3.58 Review) - This was my first dive at 13 years old. There were many large crabs, strippers and lobster.

08/25/2006 Marke Englert (Avg: 2.87 Review) - This is a rocky shoreline, which has lots of ocean life in a small area. We saw horseshoe crab, skates, flounder, lobster, sand dollars, star fish, sea urchins, sea anemones, crabs and moon snails. We had 15-20 feet of viz, all at a max depth of 41 feet. Enjoy!

07/18/2006 Amburgey Dive Team (Avg: 2.77 Review) - This was a good dive. It is pretty well protected so it is not that rough. The wall to the left is awesome where there are huge rocks. In the middle it is sandy with a ton of sand dollars. Not much to see, maybe a flounder or two. To the right you'll also find some good rocks. It is not a very easy entry as very loose rocks can be slippery, so be careful. There is a swim involved here, so be ready. Do not park in the little parking area if you are not a resident, but drop off your gear and your buddy, and then park your car somewhere down the road and walk back. This is a great dive, though, once you are under the water.

10/03/2005 Crashdiver9 (Avg: 3.52 Review) - Tried this one out with my two buddies at Cape Ann Divers' suggestion after a very average dive at Pebble Beach. Being from Cleveland and used to dismal Lake Erie conditions, this dive was what we had all hoped it would be. Snorkeled out along the left side and had a blast checking out all the sights. Dropped down farther out along the left wall and saw all kinds of stuff: a dogfish, schools of stripers, a very large torpedo ray (we had NO idea at the time that it was an electric ray, and we actually jostled it underneath its wings with our fins so we could get a better look at it. It apparently didn't care for that kind of treatment and came flying off the sand at us in a kind of bull rush. Too bad no locals were watching because they would have had a great time watching the three morons from out of town swim for their lives), lobsters, crabs, anemones, urchins, sand dollars, etc. Very good dive. We're used to the cold so that didn't bother us. The parking wasn't bad, either, as far as we were concerned, because you can't do this kind of diving off the beach in Ohio. We would have gladly parked a mile away and walked in.

08/22/2005 LobstaMan (Avg: 3.50 Review) - After Cape Hedge, Pebble Beach and Lobolly Cove were vetoed, my brother and I did two tanks at Folly on a warm sunny Friday morning. Parking was no problem (for Cape Ann); only two other buddy teams there and entry was not too bad (little slippery). Once in the water, the first dive was to the right in search of lobster (got a few) and the second dive was to the left wall side. No sign of the resident torpedo rays, but plenty of other marine life -- invertebrates galore, schooling stripers, skates, crabs, sand dollars, urchins, etc. Between two dives, the max was 41fsw with a chilly 46F at depth. Two nice dives with the only drawback being the 2 1/2 hr ride home thru Boston traffic.

05/08/2005 Jake Jurczak (Avg: 2.69 Review) - I love Folly cove, and recommend that you check this spot out. The cove is located on rte 127 near the Glouchester and Rockport line, so you shouldn't have any trouble locating it. We usually drop off the equipment at the small parking area, then we park near the little restaurant up the street. [Its 1/4 mile away, please park across the street from this establishment and not in their parking lot] I usually find a spot here, but you can park at Halibut point state park a little further down rte 127. [1/2 mile away so bring your mountain bike] Be sure to check the tide chart, because you want to dive this spot at high tide. The entry at low tide can be a lot of work, with slippery conditions. [I've seen many divers wipeout or twist an ankle] I've seen every inch of this cove over the years, but find the West side or left side preferable. I recommend that you swim at a leisurely pace because it's approximately 250+ yds to the desired descend area. The depth is in the 35 foot range depending on the tide. After descending, we like to head toward the mouth of the cove for half of our bottom time. This is a really nice place to explore, with its abundant marine life and various invertebrates. The topography of this dive should make navigation simple, even on a night dive, with its sheer cliff on one side. [it's on your left heading out and on your right heading in] These rocks have various holes, ledges and a chasm or two, that I've explored over the years. I always find something interesting. On one particular dive in 2004 we spotted a rather large Atlantic TORPEDO RAY! He or she was in 25 feet of water and around 30 feet from the base of the West wall. I estimate the ray to have been 4+ feet long and 1 1/2 feet wide with two gills visible on his head or dorsal area. With lousy vis, we managed to snap a few pictures of this beautiful specimen [only one came out]. This TORPEDO RAY is a kind of celebrity in these parts, having been seen by many divers over the last 2 years. Most NEW ENGLAND divers are familiar with this creature, and know enough not to touch or mess with it in any way. I read book warning of this Ray attacking anything that comes within 30 feet [what was this guy smoking?] This animal was docile and never moved [I was 7 to 10 feet away]. Please, be careful where you put your hands and feet on this dive, and remember, it's his home not yours and he has 220 volts to let you know it [this shock will blow your reg out of your mouth and heat up the fillings in your teeth, so again BE CAREFUL] On your way in, be sure to check out some of the rock formations. I like to sit on ledges like I'm having a break [this makes a great picture] and you get the feeling that you’re a bird perched on a cliff [good vis helps]. Don’t mess with the shellfish, and I don't recommend taking anything from the cove. Check the posted signs on the telephone pole near the small parking lot. I hope this information is helpful to you, so again have a safe dive, and I hope to see you at Folly cove.

03/14/2005 Sharon Hepburn (Avg: 3.33 Review) - Folly Cove is a fall-back dive when surf is up in other spots and tends to be pretty crowded. As a result viz tends to suffer. The wall to the left is pretty and easy to navigate. You can hit 60+ ft, too. Lots of interesting things to see every time we dive here. Tons of flounder, snails bigger than your fist, sand dollars, stripers, stone fish - I've even seen a dog fish here. I like it best at low tide. The sandy area is closer (good for donning fins & such) and fewer rocks to stumble over in the shallows.

11/04/2004 Joe from Waltham (Avg: 3.37 Review) - Folly Cove is a classic MA dive. There are plenty of lobsters, and the Stripers come into the cove fairly regularly. Because the opening to the cove faces north, it is usually quite calm, even when other places are blown out.

08/02/2004 Jason NYC (Avg: 3.52 Review) - This was my favorite Cape Ann dive site during our visit. As many mentioned, small parking lot is only for residents so park a few blocks away or they will ticket or tow you! Only dive at high tide or you will have a very tough entry over extremely slippery boulders and rocks for at least 50-100 yards. Very dangerous and almost impossible in full gear. Visibility was over 20ft., with great plant and animal life including torpedo rays, dog fish, flounder, lobster, crab, anemone, starfish, urchin, stripers, skates, and more! Navigation is as easy as following the right or left wall out and then back again. Topside is very pretty! Crowds are low. Mostly divers. The day I was there the sea was like glass! Watch for the dogs that chase tennis balls down the rocks from the private homes. They love to come down and check divers out as they go under.

05/21/2004 Daniel J. Halligan (Avg: 3.49 Review) - This is one of the premier dives of New England. I dove the right side of the cove which is shallow compared to the wall on the left side. Depth was around 30-40' easy. This cove is not shallow if you go far out. You can easily get to 70' on the wall (My dive partners went earlier and were at 50' inside the cove at the wall.), which is located on the left side of the mouth of the cove, the deep side anyway. If you want to see Anemones, this is the place to do it. I plan on going to Folly Cove many times in the future, it's a great dive. Back Beach is nice, but it is not even CLOSE to Folly Cove. There is no way that Back Beach should be rated higher than this dive site. Parking is non-existent, so drop your stuff off and park at Halibut Point Sate Park. I will post a review for Halibut point as well.

01/30/2004 Roger Scott (Avg: 3.37 Review) - Folly Cove was an excellent dive! I went there last summer to meet 2 of my dive buddies and we had a blast. As noted by another reviewer, the parking is less than desirable. I was lucky enough to have my non-diving wife along, so she dropped us off and left to do her own thing for the next two hours. That was plenty of time for us. (See, it's not so bad having a land-lubber spouse!) We had heard about the Wall, so snorkeled out toward the left part of the cove. Lo and Behold, we reached the drop-off and the sea life started to appear. Sea Bass and crabs met us on the bottom, and it didn't take long find a lobster. My buddy, Bob, wanted to show us how he could catch a crab by grabbing it from behind. With some effort, he cornered one, and instead of catching it, it caught him! Luckily, it was just the tip of his glove that got pinched, and it wasn't going to let go. I thought I was going drown I was laughing so hard. Eventually, the crab let go, and Bob gave up. We also took a close look at all the Sea Anenomies along the way, hundreds of them! This was really a great dive, and next time we go back it'll be a night dive. Entry and navigation were so easy, I'm sure a night dive will be a snap. Oh, a good trick for these cold waters: bring a water cooler or chest of hot water. Soak your gloves in the water before you put them on, and soak your hands when you come back. It feels great! So, in summary, do this dive. It's worth the effort and parking hassles.

10/28/2003 Alan Shepard (Avg: 3.67 Review) - I have dove Folly Cove over 200 times and it is my favorite "local" site. No other local shore diving site has the variety of animal life that Folly does. Entry can be slippery at anything but high tide. Wall on west side is covered in invertebrates. Best lobstering contrary to popular belief is on the eastern side.

07/16/2003 Mark Fisette (Avg: 3.72 Review) - Parking sucks, but diving is good.

05/14/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 3.25 Review) - Folly Cove is a great beginner dive, entry is very easy except at mid-tide there are some slippery rocks. Maximum depth at the mouth of cove is approximately 45', most of cove is shallower. The left side of the cove is a wonderful rock wall with lots to look at, the right side is mainly boulders but also interesting. The center is pretty bare. An excellent night dive. Drawbacks: No facilities and very limited parking - resident only during peak hours in the summer.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: MS0201


Entrance at Folly Cove 

Folly cove is well marked, so you won't have a problem finding it. 'Parking by Permit Only' seems to be the general rule in this area. So, as with Plum Cove, have your buddy watch your equipment while you drive off to find some off street parking.




Overview at Folly Cove 

The entry can be a little tricky due to the large number of rocks at the water's edge. Walking through this alone, you could easily twist an ankle, so hold your buddy's hand until you start to become buoyant.


 Map     Sat
GPS: MS0203


entry at Folly Cove 

The wall will be found just outside the cove, on the left. Head out to the point, and you'll be able to drop down to 80 plus feet.

Last Verification: November, 2003  


Diver Averages for  Folly Cove  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.06
Bottom Conditions:  3.89
Reef Conditions:  3.33
Animal Life:  4.06
Plant Life:  3.17
Facilities:  1.50
Solitude 2.94
Roads:  3.56
*Site Average:  3.35

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.94
Beginner Scuba:  4.17
Intermediate Scuba:  4.11
Advanced Scuba:  3.67
Night diving Scuba:  3.61

Number of reviews for this site: 18


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