If you have ever watched The Perfect Storm, the seaside town of Gloucester, MA might be familiar to you. Fortunately, this city is much more than a launch point for death and destruction in the sea. If you are looking for a fun day trip in Cape Ann on the North Shore of Massachusetts, consider the town of Gloucester!
Getting To Gloucester, Massachusetts
At a 45 minute drive from Boston, Gloucester makes an easy day trip by car. Without a car, it’s technically possible with commuter rail and a shuttle, but somewhat tedious (you might prefer a closer town like Manchester-by-the-Sea).
If you will just be taking a short walk by the water, consider metered parking, otherwise, there are a few of parking lots that will allow you to stay longer.
Stage Fort Park
One nice area of Gloucester is simply to wander the oceanfront along Stage Fort Park.
You will feel like you are getting into nature and the views of the ocean are fabulous!
The kids love scrambling along the rocks.
And the cannons and other signs of the need to defend from sea attacks is sure to delight.
There is even a little beach that would make a fun family trip on a summer day! Even better, it has a shower station to rinse sand off before continuing on your way.
If you want to bring a picnic, there are quite a few tables.
If you are traveling with the kids, the playground has nice equipment for them and beautiful views for you!
It was a little early in the growing season, but I really liked the gardens. That said, the sign advertising “sneezeweed” made me question their plant choices. Further research indicates that this plant has a long blooming season and that it doesn’t actually make you sneeze more than any other plant, but the name is interesting.
If you continue along the waterfront, you will see some more formal gardens.
When we got to the drawbridge, the kids were delighted to see it open to let a small boat with a large antenna pass through.
We continued onto the Fisherman’s Memorial. It is really quite sad to think about all of the fisherman who have died in the regions crazy storms. The boys enjoyed looking for unusual names on the lists.
Essex Coastal Scenic Byway
As you drive, you will encounter beautiful houses, rocky beaches, salt marshes, and more!
Good Harbor Beach
While we were driving along the coast, we decided to scout out a few of the beaches to see which destinations we might want to return this summer. One place we really liked was Good Harbor Beach.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can expect to pay $30 for parking (this seems like a common price point in MA, a few notches higher than what we were used to in California) – if you get there early enough to get a spot. But in April, it appeared that parking was free and spots plentiful.
Our analysis was that this could make a really awesome summer beach, although afternoon parking in the summer may make it a little less practical. If all you want is a beach walk, consider visiting Good Harbor Beach in the spring or fall.
We took a walk along the beach, then decided to call it a day and head home.
What a delightful day trip in the Gloucester area of Cape Ann!