Western Avenue (Route 127) at the eastern end of Stacy Boulevard
Near Gloucester’s famous Fishermen’s Memorial Statue (The Man at the Wheel), Pavilion Beach on Gloucester Harbor is the perfect site for beachcombing and for gazing upon the plethora of watercraft as they head out to the channel. Located a short walk from downtown Gloucester, the beach is perfect for a quick dip before a trip to many of the nearby restaurants and shops just waiting for you to explore. The beach, a mix of sand and stone, does not have lifeguards on duty.
- Alcohol is prohibited.
- Limited public parking is available along Stacy Boulevard. Free public parking is also available at the nearby Saint Peter’s parking lot, located at the intersection of Rogers and Commercial Streets and adjacent to the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center located at 33 Commercial Street.
South Street, Rockport
This is a long, secluded, rocky beach separated from Long Beach by a short, seasonal foot bridge. Smooth sand is minimal at high tide. Normally a quiet beach, Cape Hedge Beach is located about 2 ½ miles from Rockport’s many unique shops and restaurants.
- Very limited non-resident parking is available along South Street. Please observe posted parking restrictions.
- Directions: From downtown Rockport follow Route 127A south for approximately 3 miles to fork at Cape Hedge Inn. Continue straight on South Street for approximately 400 yards to its terminus at Cape Hedge Beach.
60 Spring Street, Essex
Cogswell’s Grant, established in 1636 and now a historic house museum, became the summer home of collectors Bertram and Nina Fletcher Little in 1937. The eighteenth century farmhouse displays their celebrated collection of American folk art, including portraits, redware pottery, painted furniture, shaker boxes, hooked rugs, weathervanes and decoys. Everything is arranged exactly as the Little family lived with it. The property has been operated as a farm continuously for nearly four centuries and offers beautiful views of the marsh and Essex River. Special events include Kite Day in April and the Lipizzan Stallions in September. The museum is open for guided tours June 1 through October 15, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm.
(Thatcher Road to Rockport Road; this beach is shared by Gloucester and Rockport)
About a mile long (hence the name), this beach offers one of the best views of Thacher Island’s twin lighthouses. Investigate the tide pools or take a casual stroll, soaking in the sun. The beach is lined with quaint New England beach houses and inns. Alcohol is prohibited. Enjoy the day at Long Beach and then head into town for a fresh lobster dinner.
- Directions from Gloucester: Continue past Good Harbor Beach on Thatcher Road (Route 127A north) for approximately 300 yards to the fork at Rockport Road. Continue straight on Rockport Road past the ice stand toward Cape Ann Motor Inn. Parking is available at privately operated parking lots (rates vary) located off Rockport Road, a short walk to the beach.
- Directions from downtown Rockport: Follow Route 127A south for approximately 5 miles to just beyond the Gloucester line, and then take a sharp left onto Rockport Road at the ice cream stand. Then follow directions above.
Essex Historical Society & Shipbuilding Museum
66 Main Street, Essex
Photo by Arlene Taliadoros
Shipbuilding in Essex began before 1668. More than 4,000 wooden vessels have been launched from the banks of the Essex River. Visit the Essex Shipbuilding Museum to learn the story of how the determination and enterprise of a small village of New Englanders developed the American Fishing Schooner – a vessel that powered the fishing industry and changed maritime history. The Essex Shipbuilding Museum is open April through December. Summer hours: Memorial Day Weekend to October 31, Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Off season hours, April to Memorial Day Weekend and November 1 to mid-December: Saturday and Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm. Guided Tours: Adults $10, $8 Seniors, $5 Children, under 5 years old free. Self-Guided Tours: $7.
White light flashing every 5 seconds.
Directions: Eastern Point Light is easily reached by following Eastern Point Boulevard to its end.
Photo by Coastal Exposure
Eastern Point Lighthouse was erected on Gloucester’s Eastern Point to mark the harbor entrance in 1832. The current brick tower was built in 1890 and is 36 feet tall with a focal plane of 56 feet. In addition to the light, there is a large lighthouse station, which continues to serve as housing for the U.S. Coast Guard. One of the station’s more famous occupants was Winslow Homer. The noted artist spent a year living at the light in 1880.
Photo by Boston Drone Works