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10 Must Sees North of Boston

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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

Whether you’re seeking a maritime, cultural or culinary adventure, you can find it all North of Boston!

Here are 10 must-see attractions and activities located in the North of Boston region that every traveler should have on their list:

Cape Ann Whale Watch

Hop aboard for an exhilarating whale watching tour of the Cape Ann and Greater Boston area that’s both fun and educational! You’ll get the chance to learn about whale ecosystems, protection and the different types of whales in the area, all while enjoying your time on one of the largest and fastest whale watching vessels in Massachusetts. For a whale watching schedule, click here.

Twin Lighthouses

Located on Rockport’s Thacher Island, the twin lights are among the oldest lighthouses in America. The original 45-foot towers were built all the way back in 1771, while the newer versions finished construction in 1861. The twins are also the only multiple surviving lights in the entire country, and visitors are allowed to climb them. Find out how you can visit Thacher Island here.

Gloucester Harbor Walk

The new harbor walk is a self-guided tour of the Gloucester Harbor, with 42 stories, and two short films that tell the story of Gloucester’s history and contemporary culture. The tour can be downloaded as an app for iPhone, Android, or used with a collection of stories and a map, which can be downloaded here.

Peabody Essex Museum

Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum has a long background with local historical societies and institutes. With roots reaching all the way back to the 18th century, the museum has grown into a cultural hub with diverse collections and exhibits from all over the globe. Plan your visit here.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Few places can claim to offer the diverse scenery and vibrant wildlife you’ll find in Plum Island’s Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Egrets, herons and warblers are just a few of the birds that draw visitors to the park year after year. A remarkable variety of habitats, ranging from beaches to forests, also make the perfect site for a leisurely stroll. To plan your visit, click here.

Rocky Neck Art Colony

You can discover one of the oldest continuously operating art colonies in the U.S. nestled in Gloucester. Within the harbor, on a peninsula known for its beautiful views, this community is the perfect spot to find works by both experienced and up-and-coming artists. The Rocky Neck Art Trail will show you scenery that has inspired artists for centuries. Check out upcoming exhibitions here.

Cape Ann Foodie Tour

To find all the great seafood and other cuisine the Cape Ann area has to offer, hop along for a Cape Ann Foodie Tour. Four unique excursions allow you to explore Rockport, Gloucester, and Newburyport, while trying new food and drinks at the same time. On each tour, you’ll also get to learn a little history about the region. Get more information on individual tours here.

Photo Credit: Cape Ann Food Tour Facebook page


A New England classic awaits you in Essex, home of the original fried clam. Woodman’s is an award-winning seafood restaurant and distributor, hosting clambakes and shipping fresh lobsters all over the place. See their menu here.

Duckworth’s Bistrot

Gloucester’s Duckworth’s Bistrot is a great place to try fresh, locally sourced, seasonal fare right on the coast. Chef Ken Duckworth’s goal is to find a taste for every palate by creating quality food that involves plenty of variety, while using local ingredients and seafood. For a look at Duckworth Bistro’s menu, click here.

Salem Food Tours

Cape Ann isn’t the only area with tasty food tour options. Salem Food Tours provides a guided walking tour of Salem, complete with selections from the town’s finest restaurants. Folks on the tour are also treated to some fun facts about the area. For more information on tickets and reservations, click here.

Photo Credit: Salem Food Tours Facebook page

For more on the North of Boston region, including a number of featured cities and additional attractions, click here.

What’s your favorite thing to do north of The Hub?

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  • Darlene Hayes

    A great north shore destination each July is the Boston Lobsters tennis matches. This July thousands of guests will enjoy World TeamTennis (WTT) at their new venue located at the Manchester Athletic Club, Manchester by the Sea. It is Fun, Its is Fan Friendly an it is Fabulous tennis. http://www.bostonlobsters.net or check out their Facebook Fan page at http://www.facebook.com/bostonlobsters ! Lets Go Lobsters!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing, Darlene!

  • Jim Brown

    The Schooner Fame harbor tour out of Salem is excellent and an excellent value too.

    • Anonymous

      Awesome! Thanks for the comment, Jim! 🙂

    • cynthia

      Putting THAT on my must do list right now. Thanks

  • Johnny

    This article is mislabeled. A location isn’t a “must see” unless a tourist must see it, and shame on you for suggesting that the “top” 10 things on the North Shore include 4 food tours. What about Salem’s other museums? And Hammond Castle in Gloucester? And Castle Hill? And the wolves in Ipswich, Le Grand David Magic Show, Salem Willows Arcade & Carousel, fruit picking at Smolak Farms, Sedgwick Gardens at Long Hill, the Saugus Iron Works, Plum Island, and the Singing Beach, which is MBTA accessible? See http://eventsinsider.com for all this and more.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Johnny, thanks for the comment, and your input is appreciated! Our apologies for coming off as ‘mislabeled,’ as our hope was for the interpretation to come off as ‘something you’ve just got to check out.’ There’s no doubt that our list of 10 is among many other fantastic must-sees – so, thank you for listing some of them in your comment!

  • NoShoreBoy

    Don’t forget apple picking at Brooksby Farm in Peabody!

  • Rick Nazzaro

    Take a stroll on Rockports Bearskin Neck…where you will enjoy majestic ocean views, unique and beautiful shops, incredible art galleries, and even a spot to delight with fresh steamed lobsters! This is truly a magical place!

  • GloucesterGuy

    Thanks so much for highlighting some great things to do up here on Cape Ann! It’s beautiful in our neck of the woods and the downtown areas are nice and walkable, and dont forget to bring your bike if you really want to see the sights as they should be seen! What’s my favorite thing to do north of the hub? There’s nothing like a nice loop around the back shore or even a ride into Rockport from Gloucester. You can even take your bike on the MBTA or rent bikes from the bike shop in Gloucester!

  • Barbara Saint Jacques

    I love Cape Ann.

  • Bobbo

    Kelly’s Roast Beef!!

    • Bruce

      No…. Nick’s Roast Beef!

  • Barbara

    Whoa, whoa, whoa… there’s a NORTH of Boston??

  • Jennifer Clark

    North Boston is a awesome place for travelling.I really liked it so much.If you are also plan to visit so,visit http://attractions4us.com/deal-goods

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