Where to Explore in the North Shore

Plum Island

Want to get lost in the woods on the North Shore? You are in luck, below are a list of my personal favorite places to explore. Each of these spots are only 60 miles or less from Boston, making them an ideal day trip.

Parker River National Wildlife Reserve, Plum Island, Massachusetts
On the coastal side of Newburyport, the Parker River National Wildlife Reserve has an abundance of trails which offer marsh and beach views. Our favorite is the Hellcat Observation area. Wind through the woods on a small boardwalk, or climb the observation tower and admire the classic salt water marshes of Plum Island. You can also pack your bathing suit and relax on the beach!

Old Town Hill, Newbury, Massachusetts
Old Town Hill in Newbury is fantastic at sunset. Climb the small hill for a stunning view of Plum Island, or wind along the hiking trails that border the salt marsh.

Ipswich Wildlife Santuary

Mass Audubon Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield, Massachusetts
When visiting the wildlife sanctuary, bring your own bird seed and marvel as birds eat right out of the palm of your hand! Follow the Rockery loop around a small pond and visit the rock grotto, which was constructed in 1905. In the summer months, rent a canoe or stay overnight at the Innermost House, a rustic cabin.

The Crane Estate, Ipswich
Explore the grounds of the estate and take in the view of Crane’s Beach and Plum Island. There are lots of fabulous activities happening at this property as the weather warms including guided nature walks, house tours and outdoor concerts.

Great Island Common, New Castle, New Hampshire
Located just over the border in New Hampshire, Great Island Common is 32 acres and boasts a small beach, a playground, and a coastal view park. As the common is only 3 miles from Portsmouth, you could stop in for a meal at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront downtown on your way home.

Fort McClary

Fort McClary, Kittery, Maine
We visited Fort McClary in mid-March on a beautiful sunny day. The view from the fort is stunning, small lighthouses dot the blue waters of the Piscataqua River and the colonial homes of Portsmouth and New Castle are visible in the distance. Coastal defenses were set up on this site as early as the 17th century, and surviving parts of the fort were used as recently as World War II by civilian defense forces.

Elizabeth shares her life with kids in Newburyport on her blog, Newburyport Daytripper. Be sure to catch up with her on Instagram, and check out all of her posts here.

Image credit: Elizabeth Brown

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