North of Boston – home to Salem, Gloucester, Newburyport and so much more – is a fabulous destination for all things summertime fun and fresh vibrant flavors.  

The 34 cities and towns of Essex County are authentic New England experiences, each with their own character and charm. Located only minutes from Boston, we’re loaded with things to do: 200 miles of coastline and sandy beaches, world-class dining, rich history, vibrant arts and culture and nationally recognized attractions. From the salty air of Newburyport to the witches of Salem, the seafood of Gloucester to the industrial city of Lawrence, there is something for everyone!

The 90-mile/145k long Essex County Scenic Byway links 14 coastal communities and features breathtaking views with one-of-a-kind spots to be explored. Eat like a local and indulge in summer favorites such as fresh lobster rolls or fried clams. Head to Beverly for their bustling craft beer scene, dine alfresco, peruse unique shops on Cabot Street and end the evening with a show at North Shore Music Theatre. Spend a sunny afternoon walking your dog along Lynn Shore Drive’s oceanfront pedestrian walking path then find a hole-in-the-wall eatery ranging from noodle bars to taco shops.

For a bit of romance, enjoy a seaside serenade at the stunning Shalin Liu Center in Rockport.  Before the show, browse art galleries and boutiques along Rockport’s iconic Bearskin Neck district. The red Motif No. 1 fishing shack makes the perfect backdrop for a family photo or selfie. For more art, head to Gloucester’s Rocky Neck District to peruse stunning paintings, handmade jewelry and more or make a getaway out of Marblehead’s Festival of Arts complete with fireworks over 4th of July weekend. 

Enjoy ice cream from local dairy cows and visit one of the region’s many stunning beaches. Hear the squeaky sand beneath your feet at Manchester-by-the-Sea’s famous Singing Beach, or head to Crane Beach in Ipswich which sits below the stunning Crane Estate. Swim in the ocean, or see the sites out on the water on an epic schooner adventure or whale watching excursion. 

Enjoy hors d’oeuvres harborside on a patio in Salem or Marblehead or watch the working waterfront from one of Gloucester’s iconic restaurants. Grab a cocktail and freshly shucked oysters on the half-shell on the deck of the fabulous 1606 Restaurant & Oyster Bar at the Beauport Hotel, or feast on award-winning clam chowder and overflowing platters of fried seafood at Woodman’s of Essex (where the fried clam was invented!) Indulge in steamers, corn on the cob and potatoes at a classic lobster bake, or munch on a tasty lobster roll (butter or mayo? Your choice!). While in Essex, don’t miss the Essex River Cruise.

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Celebrate more summer fun at one of the regions’ many family-friendly farms, farmstands or farmer’s markets. Amesbury, Ipswich and Andover farms are known for their cider donuts, hard cider, and orchard-fresh fruit wine. The summer season offers pick your own berries, flower cutting and live music outdoors. Appleton Farms, which spans over the county lines of Hamilton and Ipswich, offers woodfired pizza and local brewery pop-ups every weekend at their bucolic property, which is a great event for the whole family. Bring a blanket and let the kids run around in the grass while the grown-ups sample a local craft beer. 

There’s endless things to do North of Boston in the summer. Come visit us and discover what makes this region so special!