Here’s the scoop: The towns of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester-by-the-Sea offer a wide variety of summer activities and entertainments. For our go-to list of the best things to do on Cape Ann when you visit, read on.
10. See the Lighthouses. You can drive or boat around Cape Ann to take in views of the Twin Lights on Thacher Island, the Ten Pound Island Light, and the Eastern Point Lighthouse.
9. Visit the Museums. For the culturally inclined, Cape Ann is home to a multitude of museums, historical homes and art associations. Stop by the Cape Ann Museum to see works by local artists as well as exhibits relating to our maritime history and the local granite industry. The Sargent House Museum, Hammond Castle Museum, Maritime Gloucester, Cogswell Grant, and the Essex Shipbuilding Museum are also great choices.
8. Take a Cultural Stroll. Cape Ann Museum also offers a number of guided walks and tours throughout the area. Discover the houses painted by Edward Hopper, learn more about our local architecture, or the areas that inspired the art of Fitz Henry Lane.
7. Go Shopping. You can browse through many locally-owned shops and boutiques. Essex has a large selection of antique shops to explore, while on Main Street in Gloucester, on Bearskin Neck in Rockport, and in downtown Manchester-by-the-Sea, you’ll find unique and locally-made handcrafts, jewelry, clothing, art and more.
6. Go Hiking or Biking. We’ve got a variety of parks and trails for bikers and hikers and other recreation-seekers in Ravenswood Park, Dogtown, Coolidge Reservation, Halibut Point State Park, Tompson Street Reservation, and Stage Fort Park, to name a few.
5. Watch Outdoor Performances. Enjoy unique outdoor theatre performances with Gloucester Stage! The renowned theatre organization is partnering with Windhover to create a safe, socially-distanced live theatrical performances for the 2021 season.
3. Explore the Tidal Rivers. If rivers are more your speed than the open ocean, you’ll find plenty of opportunities here. Take a guided river cruise up the Annisquam or along the Essex River. You can also explore the rivers with kayaks or canoes.
2. Enjoy Outdoor Dining. Relax on a waterfront deck with spectacular views at the Seaport Grille, Mile Marker One, or Minglewood Harborside, or grab a picnic bench at the water’s edge at The Lobster Pool. For dessert, get some ice cream to go at The Cupboard or at Captain Dusty’s and take an evening stroll.
1. Go to the Beaches, of course! There’s nothing that says “Cape Ann Summer” more than spending a day at the beach. There are so many Cape Ann beaches to choose from, but here are a few options to get you started: Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, Singing Beach, Front Beach, and Wingaersheek Beach.
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
Where to Stay on Cape Ann
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 vacation 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.