You can’t control Mother Nature and so even the most temperate months of the year will still yield an occasional rainy day. If the darkened skies have impacted your beach plans, you might be asking “So what is there to do when it’s raining on Cape Ann?”
You don’t need to let the rain wash out your day! There are definitely plenty of things to do here when it rains. Check out these ten things to keep you and your family busy while staying dry.
1. Discover History, Art and Culture at a Museum
The Cape Ann Museum offers a fascinating walk through Cape Ann’s past and present with a mix of permanent and special exhibits. Learn about Gloucester’s fishing industry, Rockport’s granite quarries, as well as the art and artists inspired by the Cape Ann landscape.
Maritime Gloucester makes learning about marine science, maritime heritage and environmental stewardship fun with interactive exhibits and living creatures in the Sea Pocket Aquarium.
At one point in time the shipyards of Essex built more two-masted wooden fishing schooners than any other place in the world. The Essex Shipbuilding Museum tells that story through artifacts and tools, photos, documents, videos, and hands-on activities.
2. Catch a Film
Gloucester boasts two movie theaters to choose from, the Cape Ann Cinema & Stage (now fully virtual), which runs art house and independent films as well as mainstream movies, and the Gloucester Cinema, which shows primarily first-run Hollywood films. And did you know that Cape Ann is both the inspiration and actual location for many famous movies?
3. Get Into a Good Book
The local library is a great option for a rainy day with kids. Hunker down with the latest novel by your favorite author, surf the web, join a toddler story hour, do some arts & crafts, and more at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library, Rockport Public Library, Manchester by-the-Sea Public Library, or the T.O.H.P. Burnham Library in Essex.
Cape Ann has many local authors whose books cover a wide variety of topics from local history to nautical adventures. Stop by The Bookstore in Gloucester to purchase a wonderful souvenir from your visit.
4. Go Treasure-Hunting in Essex
Discover treasures great and small at the numerous antique shops in Essex. With over twenty-five antique shops within the same mile, Essex, MA is “America’s Antiques Capital.” Collectors, dealers, and amateur enthusiasts will all enjoy browsing through scores of gifts, artwork, furnishings, and more.
5. Try to Stay Out of the Gutter (When You’re Bowling)
Candlepin bowling is unique to New England, although it’s pretty similar in concept to its cousin, traditional ten-pin bowling (or, as we call it, “Big-Ball Bowling”). Cape Ann Lanes in Gloucester offers a traditional candlepin bowling experience, along with a small arcade, a snack bar, and private 4-lane function room.
6. Go for a Gallery Stroll
Rocky Neck, downtown Gloucester and downtown Rockport are chock-full of art galleries and studios. Pick a neighborhood and you can spend a leisurely afternoon or morning taking in world-class contemporary art, chatting with artists, and fueling your own creativity.
7. Try a Local Delicacy
Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than it is on Cape Ann. Even if fish, lobster, clams, or scallops aren’t your favorite, there are dozens of area restaurants that serve a wide variety of cuisines. And even on a rainy day, a restaurant with a water view will offer a dramatic and compelling backdrop to your meal. (Consider the views at Minglewood Harborside, The Studio, or Seaport Grille).
8. Engage in Retail Therapy
Gloucester’s Main Street and Rockport’s Bearskin Neck are perfect starting points for finding the perfect gift, book, outfit, jewlery, artwork, or pretty much anything else your heart desires. Rain or shine, you’ll be “shopping local” as you browse Cape Ann’s many boutiques and shops.
9. Sample a Locally-Crafted Adult Beverage
Ryan and Wood Distillery offer tours with interesting stories to share. If you want to venture further out of Gloucester on a full-scale beverage adventure, try following the Sips, Suds & Spirits Trail Map, published by the North of Boston CVB.
10. Staycation in your Vacation Home
One of the best advantages of a vacation home rental is you’ve got extra space to enjoy. Browse your vacation rental’s DVD collection, grab a deck of cards or a board game, or come up with a fun and creative meal in the fully-applianced kitchen. Rainy days a perfect time for a little togetherness, and there’s plenty of fun to be had without having to step foot outside your home away from home.
Atlantic Vacation Homes offers a wide variety of vacation rental homes across Cape Ann that would be perfect for your North Shore getaway. To book your accommodations, simply view available rentals and enter your desired dates to get a quote. You can also call toll-free at (855) 853-9143 to speak with a Guest Experience Specialist.
There are so many things to do and see in Cape Ann, they can’t all fit on one page!
Learn more by reading our Cape Ann Guide.
- Things to do in Gloucester MA
- Things to do in Rockport MA
- Things to do in Essex MA
- Things to do in Manchester-by-the-Sea MA