It doesn’t matter if you’re a history buff, beach bum, fitness fanatic, whale watcher or avid window shopper, the North Shore is the place to be. For many, summer on the North Shore of Massachusetts means sandy toes, lobster rolls and endless glasses of iced tea, but there is so much more to know about!
Depending on who you ask, the defined area of the North Shore varies, but the non-negotiable towns include places like Salem, Marblehead, Gloucester, Newburyport, and (arguably the best….) Amesbury!
Since most people tend to work their way from Boston up the coast, we’re going to share our favorite things to do starting with Salem and ending with Amesbury.
Summer Activities On The North Shore
Difficult to squeeze everything this magical pocket of land has to offer into one day, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to do things like:
Open 7 days a week, Gulu Gulu Cafe is a spot you can pop into for an eye-opening coffee, mimosa-fuelled brunch, refreshing craft beer, unique wine or an evening of live music! They also have incredible local art for you to view and shop. With food options to suit vegans, meat lovers and those with food intolerances, we give it the award for being a true one-size-fits-all.
The other spot you can check out in Salem, is Gulu-Gulu’s sister restaurant, Flying Saucer Pizza Company! They have traditional pizzas as well as vegan and gluten-free options!
Contact Gulu Gulu Cafe
247 Essex St
Salem MA 01970
Gulu Gulu Cafe Website
When in Salem… do as the witches do of course! Look, not everyone loves a beach and sometimes the weather does not permit it to even be an option! Not to worry, the Salem Witch Museum is a legit must-do.
After your visit, we recommend doing the self-guided Salem Heritage walking tour and checking out other historical spots such as:
Contact the Salem Witch Museum
19 1/2 Washington Square North
Salem, MA 01970
Salem Witch Museum Website
You don’t have to be a mad fisherman to enjoy a day of deep sea fishing! The crew at Keepin It Reel Fishing Charters in Marblehead are pros at making it an exciting experience for both novices and professionals! With numerous packages to choose from, you can make it a full day activity or simply feel the fresh ocean breeze for 2 hours!
Wondering what you might catch? In Marblehead, depending on the time of year, you can expect fish like: Striped Bass, Cod, Flounder, Yellowfin Tuna, Blue & Mako Shark, Atlantic Mackerel, Haddock, and Black Seabass.
The Little Harbor Lobster Company is a waterfront seafood market that will have you drooling!! With loads of prepared food to nosh on, it also sells wine and beer AND (wait for it) – the region’s award winning lobster roll!
One of our favourite things to do is buy fresh shrimp & oysters and a bottle of bubbles to nibble and sip on while watching the sunset from our accommodation.
Contact Little Harbor Lobster Company
3 Beacon Street
Marblehead, MA 01945
Little Harbor Lobster Company Website
Is there anything more refreshing than sea spray on your face and the majestic sight of a whale leaping out of the water? (No, there’s not.)
Whale watching is something you 100% need to do on the North Shore and Gloucester is one of the best locations in the world. While there are a few tried and trusted companies running tours, we’ve always had a great experience with Cape Ann Whale Watching.
Contact Cape Ann Whale Watching
415 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
Cape Ann Whale Watching Website
Open seven days a week for both scoops and takeaway pints, Holy Cow Ice Cream is basically a mecca for ice cream enthusiasts. Crafted in small batches using the finest ingredients (and even made-from-scratch cookies!), their flavors include things like salted caramel pie, cold brew Oreo, cinnamon churro dough and key lime pie. And yes! They have dairy-free ice cream options.
A true Gloucester staple, you can now get a taste in Peabody, MA too!
Contact Holy Cow Ice Cream Cafe
80 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
Holy Cow Cafe Website
Shut up…. You had me at ‘Oyster Bar’.
While the oysters are what’s going to get you through the door (and keeping coming back for more), it’s Sea Level’s endless menu of tacos, poke bowls, burgers, fresh seafood and refreshing cocktails that’s going to want you to move in and never leave. With locations in both Newburyport and Salem, it’s a destination worth visiting multiple times while in the North Shore!
Contact Sea Level Oyster Bar
1 Market Square
Sea Level Oyster Bar Website
8. Spend a Day Exploring Plum Island
Plum Island is a quintessential MA spot for lobster rolls, beach strolls, and sundowners, but we extra love this spot for the Plum Island Lighthouse as well as the Hellcat Marsh Loop Trail at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
The welcome center is closed due to Covid, but you can do a mile-long loop and take in expansive views from a lookout tour. It’s built with elevated boardwalks, so perfect for all ability levels. If you’re someone who likes to get out in nature, this is an activity sure to soothe your soul!
And when you’re ready to refuel, you can grab some necessities from the iconic The Cottage Island Market & Spirits.
Contact Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Open Wednesday-Sunday, Barewolf Brewing is one of our favorite North Shore breweries to meet up with friends or family for an easy afternoon of beer and life chats. Known for their 11 rotating draft lines and beer fridge full of cans to-go, this Amesbury brewery also has various resident artists, loads of events, and is dog-friendly!!
Contact Barewold Brewing
12 Oakland Street
Amesbury, MA 01913
Barewolf Brewing Website
While Bryony & Birch is an actual space that houses a hair salon, yoga & wellness studio, fully equipped photography & videography studio, art and the best finds from local artisans and apparel & jewelry designers, it’s also a community of creatives who are actively seeking to network, collaborate and champion each other’s successes.
- For a little hair care
- To browse & shop local art, jewelry, and apparel
- To take a yoga or wellness class
- To simply say hello!
With the warmer weather upon us and Covid finally feeling at bay, we are loving getting back to our group practices outdoors!
Can’t make it in person? Not to worry! On the Bryony & Birch Yoga App (available on the App Store and Google Play), you’ll find restorative classes you can do from home that focus on mindful movements of the body and breath as well as power sessions designed to intertwine strength, balance and flexibility.