After years of planning, legal battles and a winter of ferocious coastal storms, Squibnocket Beach officially opened to the public on Friday.

Town officials celebrate end of project that has been years in the making. — Landry Harlan

About 100 people attended the ceremony on a sunny, balmy start to the long holiday weekend. Many stood barefoot in the cool sand.

“I’d like to welcome everyone to Squibnocket Beach,” said Chilmark selectman Warren Doty to loud cheers and applause.

Mr. Doty praised those who assisted on the beach project, including his fellow selectmen Bill Rossi and Jim Malkin, Island surveyor Reid Silva, Chilmark conservation agent Chuck Hodgkinson and contractor John Keene. They were honored with photo certificates and Squibnocket beach passes, along with a few others who contributed to the project.

The beach is open to all until June 15, when a Chilmark beach pass will be required for access.

The beach was created as part of the town portion of the Squibnocket Beach project, a public-private endeavor. The private portion of the project is a 300-foot raised causeway that provides access to Squibnocket Farm, an enclave of high-end private homes.

Excavation on the beach part of project began in March and was a massive undertaking, according to Mr. Keene. A stone revetment and crumbling parking lot were removed and rebuilt 100 feet up the bank. High waves and winds from the March storms exacerbated the erosion, which Mr. Keene said made him worried chunks of land would be soon washed away.

Despite the challenges, hardly any signs of the rubble remain. A smooth, 44-space parking lot that still has a new-lot smell greets visitors driving down Squibnocket Road. To the side of the lot are hundreds of stalks of beach grass. From the parking lot it is a short walk to the water, where on Friday waves gently lapped against as children and dogs frolicked in the sea foam.

“We’ve given Mother Nature another wardrobe to wear,” said Mr. Keene.

Accessible parking lot is short walk from shore. — Landry Harlan

Candy Shweder, former chairman of the Chilmark conservation commission when the project was being developed, had her toes in the sand while her eight-month-old Australian doodle Zeke dashed in and out of the water.

“It’s never been as beautiful,” she said, adding she’s been coming to the beach for 45 years. She said not only is the beach no longer an eyesore, but a better environment.

Mr. Malkin agreed, noting how the accessibility, parking and beach aspects of the project all came together.

“What is thrilling is how good this all looks,” he said. “It looks terrific.”

With the ceremony over, people milled about and strolled down to the beach to enjoy the views. It was midday on a Friday, but no one appeared eager to get back to the office. Besides, there’s only one way to properly celebrate a new beach opening.

“Are we going swimming?” said Mr. Doty. “Who brought the towels?”