Experience the North Shore

Just minutes from the sandy beaches of Ipswich, the seafaring port of Gloucester, and the historic attractions of Salem, there’s much to explore here.

Two small boats tied to a dock on a river

Outdoor Activities

Surrounded by salt marshes, park trails, and miles of shoreline, the North Shore offers outdoor adventures year-round. Kayak or paddleboard on the Essex River, surf the waves in Gloucester, or cycle around scenic Rockport. Nature lovers can go bird watching on the Parker River, whale watching off salty Cape Ann, or hiking along the coastal trails of the Essex National Heritage area.

A lighthouse on some rocks by the ocean

Beaches & Coast

The North Shore boasts miles of sandy beaches, coastal waterways, and hidden coves. Spend a sunny afternoon at Crane’s Beach in Ipswich or take a sunset walk on Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester. Afterwards, stop for fried clams at the Clam Box in Essex or Woodman’s of Essex, a century-old North Shore tradition.

A close up image of a dark museum exterior


New England’s seafaring history comes to life at the renowned Peabody Essex Museum in nearby Salem, just steps away from the Witch History Museum. Or visit one of the many Colonial-era homes that are now open to the public. Art lovers will enjoy the many galleries of Rockport, and the famous Rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester, where artists have long been inspired by the area’s dramatic seascape. 

A close up of an 'Antiques' sign


The North Shore is an antique collector's paradise. Rowley’s Todd Farm Antique and Flea Market is one of New England’s largest antique markets, drawing dealers from New York and beyond. Nearby Essex is a virtual attic of historic collectibles, with more than 25 shops lining the town’s Main Street.

A close up of an antique wheel resting against a red building

Historic Rowley

A historic mill town surrounded by centuries-old farms, Rowley’s streets are lined with Colonial homes dating to America’s founders. Rowley boasted the oldest stone arch bridge in North America, which still spans the Mill River. The surrounding region was famous for shipbuilding during the 18th century, and a local fishing industry still thrives there to this day.

For a more expansive list of activities and attractions, please take a look at our Visitor Guide, detailing all of the North Shore’s very best. 

Visitor Guide