Things To Do In Essex, MA

Essex is a quaint and quintessential New England town, sitting along the tidal Essex River. Once a major hub of the wooden shipbuilding industry, Essex has held firmly to its roots. The Essex Shipbuilding Museum celebrates the town’s role in maritime history and the neighboring boat yard regularly launches classic wooden ships. Local schooners such as the Ardelle, the Adventure and the Thomas E. Lannon were built in Essex and sail Cape Ann’s waters regularly.

In addition to shipbuilding, modern Essex has also established itself as a major hotspot for antiquing, with over 30 different antique shops within city limits. Most of these shops are located on a 2.5 mile stretch that includes Essex’s downtown area and its scenic causeway. 

Shop antiques in Essex, MA

Essex is the antiques capital of America. Video courtesy of Visit Essex, MA.
Fried clams can be found on the menus of most local restaurants.

The third thing that Essex is most popularly known for is a culinary invention commonly credited to Chubby Woodman, founder of Woodman’s of Essex: the Fried Clam. Today, there are clam shacks all over New England, but along the famed “Clam Highway,” all roads lead to Essex. During your stay in Essex, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is choosing which one of the various nationally renowned fried clam restaurants you want to try first.

Home to the Essex River, Chebacco Lake, and a number of estuaries flowing into the Atlantic, Essex is a water lover’s dream, boasting amazing fishing, kayaking, boating and swimming opportunities. For those who enjoy nature walks, Essex has several Greenbelt-protected reservations, in both woodland and salt marsh settings.

With its iconic food, rich history, beautiful natural landscape, and thriving antiquing culture, Essex is truly a vacation destination to experience. With the larger cities of Gloucester and Beverly less than 10 minutes away, and Boston 30 miles away, Essex’s location makes it a perfect hub for exploring the entirety of Cape Ann and the rest of the North Shore. For more information on Essex, MA go to:

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