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Weekend Getaway: Visiting North Shore, MA

At just an hour outside the city, the North Shore of Massachusetts makes for a perfect weekend getaway from Boston. Spend your trip exploring the quaint communities that make up the region or just relaxing near a rocky beach. Just be careful: we hear the coast was once infiltrated with witches and pirates! Whatever your interests, the seaside towns of North Shore, MA, with their rich history and culture, make this area an ideal escape from your weekday life.

photo: Rockport credit: Credit: Kindra Clineff/MOTT
photo: Rockport credit: Credit: Kindra Clineff/MOTT

When to Visit the North Shore

There’s plenty to entice visitors year round, but it’s best to plan your getaway when your favorite activities are in season. If you want to bask in warm beach weather or frolic in the fall foliage, be sure to plan your vacation early — late summer and early fall are popular times to visit. If you’re inclined to avoid the crowds, the North Shore’s quieter seasons offer just as much excitement as any other time of year. In the spring, farms and living history museums have beautiful gardens and baby animals. And if you visit the North Shore during the winter, you’ll discover the local character of the area, plus the inland skiing is great.

Things to Do in the North Shore

Cape Ann Whale Watch, Gloucester_ whale, Credit: Fred Goodwin/MOTT
Cape Ann Whale Watch, Gloucester_ whale, Credit: Fred Goodwin/MOTT

What are weekend getaways from Boston without plenty of activities to choose from? We promised something for everyone, so here’s the best of the best. With its history of piracy, ghosts and more, the North Shore, MA is a prime destination for history buffs. Stop over in Salem, MA, and join the Salem Smugglers’ Tour for true tales of Salem’s sordid past while you explore the tunnels underneath the city. Once you’ve had your fill of history, take a meandering drive along the coast to Gloucester and hop aboard the Privateer IV for an exploration of the coast to observe some of the ocean’s most majestic animals: whales (7 Seas Whale Watch boasts a 99% sightings record). End your day with a romantic dinner in Newburyport’s lighthouse and spend the night at the nearby inns/

Where to Eat and Drink in North Shore, MA

credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Foodie fanatics, prepare to freak out. Taste a fried clam as it was truly intended, straight from the inventor! Woodman’s of Essex, just 15 minutes outside of Gloucester, is a must-do for foodies and non-foodies alike. While you’re in Salem taking in the history, try out Bella Verona, which the Boston Globe calls “the cutest place in Salem.” For a more comprehensive North Shore, MA, food experience, head over to Rockport where Cape Ann Foodie Tours will transport you from one delicious food destination to the next. After your tour, kick back with Ipswich Ale Brewery’s Five Mile Ale, made with the sole purpose of using local ingredients, on the porch of the Inn at Castle Hill.

Where to Stay in the North Shore

Although the North Shore just a short drive from Boston, it’s worth your while to spend at least one night in the area. Settle in for the weekend and give yourself time to uncover each North Shore town's unique character and set of activities. Stay in Rockport and spend your days on a porch, gazing out over the sea. Other North Shore towns — like Salem, Beverly, and Marblehead — are washed in sea breezes and have a number of overnight options, from luxury hotels to cozy inns. No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll have all of North Shore, MA, at your fingertips.

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