Summer Staycation Spots
Summer vacation looks a bit different this year so we're helping you embrace the STAY-cation!
We're all trying to stay closer to home this year and while that might mean your typical summer vacation was canceled, it doesn't mean there's no way to enjoy the summer. So, we've compiled a list of our favorite, perhaps lesser-known, summer staycation spots and activities on the North Shore. Stay safe and enjoy!
1. IPSWICH RIVER
WITH SYNDI ZAIGER
One of my favorite things about living in the North Shore is that you get quick access to an amazing city while living in a place that is so incredibly gorgeous that people vacation here. Coming from Syracuse and Buffalo, living so close to the sea gives me that feeling of exhilaration each and every day. It makes me feel alive. With that said, you are also so close to the woods. Each Summer I make sure I get back to my upstate New York roots by canoeing the Ipswich River. When you rent a canoe or kayak at Foote Brothers in Ipswich they drive you a few miles down the road to Topsfield where you launch. You are transferred to a world of lily pads, dragon flies, amazing bird-watching, wetlands.. all along a quiet river running through the woods.
2. RAVENSWOOD PARK
WITH DAN BERNAL
One of the great things about living on or near the North Shore is there are endless outdoor settings that, even in these social distancing times, provide more than enough space for safe staycation activity. One of my family's favorites is Ravenswood Park in the Magnolia area of Gloucester. This is a network of hiking trails broad enough to accommodate short hikes for families with young kids (our youngest first hiked there at 3 years old) and serious excursions for more ambitious adults with bike-able trails as well. You'll pass ponds and small lakes, stone peaks, incredible ocean view outcroppings - all in a short hike, and quickly pop into Gloucester or Manchester for lunch & drinks afterward.
3. WOODMAN'S OF ESSEX
WITH DEBRA LAPORTE
A major perk of living in New England is the fresh, delicious seafood. I recently enjoyed a summertime visit with my son, Matthew to Woodman's of Essex, 119 Main Street, Essex for lobster rolls followed by photo opps against a magnificent backdrop. My son was kept busy taking photos of other diners who wanted to capture this brilliant setting. Outdoor picnic tables were available, social distancing in place, and everything was super clean!
4. HALIBUT POINT
WITH JILL FUCILLO
One of my favorite places is Halibut Point State Park in Rockport. With numerous trails available, it's an amazing place to go for a walk and has some of the most expansive and beautiful ocean views. If you are there on a clear day, you could see all the way up to Maine. We always bring a lunch and eat out on the rocks looking over the ocean!
5. EXPLORING IPSWICH
WITH KALLIE MOAR
After a long day at Crane Beach, a top rated beach in Massachusetts, located on the Crane Estate, you can head over to the Ipswich Brewery for some fantastic food and spirits. You will also want to stop over at Zumi’s for some amazing coffee and treats and then head out on the numerous walking trails or take out a kayak on the Ipswich River. Ipswich is a one stop shop when it comes to food, fun and a gorgeous beach. Can’t get much better!
6. POWDER HOUSE HILL RESERVATION
WITH BRIAN ROTHE
While we all know about Singing Beach which is one of only seven in the world that actually sing, there’s a hidden treasure located in the very heart Manchester-by-the-Sea that I consider a gem.
Powder House Hill Reservation: Up on the hill topmost point you can look down to vistas of town and sea. Also where they kept gun powder durning the Revolutionary War (hence the name). With some of the most breathtaking views of the town not to mention two miles of trail systems, this place caters to nature lovers. It’s a great place to walk the dog and explore the local natural landscape.
7. WAIKIKI BEACH
WITH KAIT O'SULLIVAN
Coming from landlocked Upstate New York, I have always delighted in the plentiful beaches of the North Shore. Living in Salem, one of our family favorites is Waikiki Beach on Winter Island. Parking is a breeze (even for non-residents!) and the beach is small enough to always be able to keep an eye on the kiddos while they're playing. Another bonus is the availability of bathrooms and showers, making it easy to stay all day. A public boat launch is available and you can also easily go kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. There's also some short nature trails near by to explore. So, though it may not be the most glamorous of North Shore beaches, it's definitely our local favorite.
8. CAPE ANN DAY TRIP
WITH JACKIE WELSH
Calling Cape Ann my home for the last five years has been like being on vacation every day. During these times when traveling far is limited, there is plenty to do and see on Cape Ann. Starting the day with a hike at Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, walking on paths along once-active quarries out to an ocean view, to having a gourmet, yet casual outdoor lunch at CK Pearl by the Essex River, the first half of the day is well spent. With an area steeped in history, antique shops, fresh fish and lobster, as well as views of untouched, equestrian countryside to the majestic seaside, one can never get bored here. Wrapping up the day sitting on the sand at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester while enjoying take out from Allie’s Beach Street Café of Manchester, I feel quite lucky that I live here. I look forward to spending the next few decades discovering more of what makes Cape Ann so special and truly my best staycation place.
MORE TO EXPLORE
It goes without saying that living in coastal New England has major perks when it comes to summer beach fun. Though we focused on some lesser-known locations and activities, here is a list of some other popular North Shore beaches to explore:
Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester
Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester
Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Plum Island Beach, Newburyport
Deveraux Beach, Marblehead
Lynch Park Beach, Beverly
Nahant Beach, Nahant