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The Best Beach Towns North of Boston

By Tabitha Jean Naylor

Perhaps not as well-known or as popular as their South Shore coastal counterparts, these North Shore escapes nonetheless have some of the most astounding views in the state and are home to refuges and preserves providing some of the best nature experiences in the state.


Located 18 miles north of Boston, Marblehead harbor has one of the finest displays of sailing vessels, The harbor has been both a starting and finishing port for many international races. Marblehead is often referred to as the "Yachting Capital of the World." With multiple parks, playgrounds, beaches, conservation areas and walking trails there are plenty of things to do whether you are a resident or a visitor. Devereaux Beach is the most popular beach in Marblehead and has over 5 acres of sand beach, picnic tables, playground and 2 pavilions with grills. A great area for those that love boating and sailing it is also an inviting and active community for families with children.


Approximately 30 miles northeast of Boston, Ipswich features a combination of forests, fields, marshes, dunes, farmland and beaches. In this rural setting you can enjoy panoramic river and ocean views. Crane beach is often referred to as "one of the most beautifully scenic beaches in all New England." The many protected lands in Ipswich provide residents and tourists with an abundance of recreational opportunities. Almost a third of the town's land is protected salt marshes and estuaries which limits development and preserves the open space and beautiful views. Ipswich is also one of the top shellfish producing cities in the state of Massachusetts. For those who love nature and an outdoor lifestyle Ipswich offers a wonderful environment to explore. Good schools and lovely colonial architecture combine to make this a perfect little beach town for residential family living or for a summer vacation spot with plenty of seasonal rental properties.


Rockport is a coastal community that abounds with activity. From their chamber music and blues festivals to Waterfront and Schooner festivals and of course the annual public Rotary club lobsterfest, With its magical light, artists have been drawn to Rockport like Winslow Homer. Artisans find Rockport a special place to live and work. Rockport has everything a resident or tourist could possibly want. Miles of great beaches, woodlands and glades, and of course wonderful little shops make it is a pleasant location to live or vacation. Gloucester

Plum Island

Plum Island is a small barrier island located off the extreme northeast coast of Massachusetts and is considered part of Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley and Ipswich. The residential portions of Plum Island is mainly Newbury and Newburyport. The island is separated from the mainland by the Parker river. Most of Plum Island (the southwest portion) is part of the Parker river National Wildlife Refuge. The northern portion of the island is primarily residential with both year round and seasonal residents. Most of the oceanfront is a beautiful public beach. Most of the beach is only accessible however, by foot. It is a great place for bird watching. The inland side faces the tidal marshes and it is typical to see all types of birds including plovers, redwing blackbirds, egrets, killdeer, great blue herons, some snowy owls and osprey. It is a place of unsurpassed natural beauty. A great place for a summer home or for those who want a sanctuary to retire to.

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