The 10 Best Things to Do in Essex, United States

July 31, 2017 Etsuko Causey

Essex is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, 26 miles (42 km) north of Boston and 13 miles (21 km) Southeast of Newburyport. The population was 3,504 at the 2010 census.
Restaurants in Essex

1. Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House

75 Eastern Point Blvd, Gloucester, MA 01930-4433 +1 978-283-0800
Excellent
86%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 186 reviews

Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House

Also called the Beauport Sleeper-McCann House, this fantasy mansion of more than 40 rooms is perched on the rocks overlooking Gloucester Harbor.

Reviewed By JVC3515 - Antrim, New Hampshire

This is the most unique house tour guided by very well informed guides. They're knowledgable, engaging and share very interesting backgroung stories and facts that take you back to 1907 when construction started on this masterpiece. This place ranks in the top 2 or 3...MoreThanks for the lovely review of Beauport. The house has been preserved with most of Henry Sleeper's interiors intact, so guides really enjoy sharing the history and beauty of it with visitors.

2. Singing Beach

119 Beach St, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944-1440
Excellent
58%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
6%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 128 reviews

Singing Beach

Reviewed By Threnity - Holon, Israel

This place is wonderful. Just a hour train ride from north station in boston and you are in paradise. A very quiet villege on the Atlantic and you have everything for a good day on the beach to buy at the local supermarket. Just one thing the water is very cold. About the sand try to make him sing it's spacial.

3. Essex River Cruises & Charters

35 Dodge St, Essex, MA 01929-1337
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 235 reviews

Essex River Cruises & Charters

"Enjoy a scenic river excursion that captures the essence of New England " -Boston Globe. 1 1/2 hour narrated cruises, along the calm waters of the Essex River. Glide back in time, past islands, dunes & beaches formed by glaciers. See historic mansions, shipyards, saltmarsh farms, rare birds, wildlife, and stunning scenery. Charters &Clambakes. Restroom onboard, free parking, handicaped accessible, cards taken, and bar available. We also specialize in customizable private charters, perfect for corporate outings, birthdays, weddings, celebrations, and family reunions. Our private events range from New England Clambakes or BBQs on secluded tidal beaches to cocktail cruises. All charters are unique and planned your way with a variety of catering and bar options.

Reviewed By Z8364LHrichardt - West Boxford, Massachusetts

Perhaps going on this cruise with the remnants of a hurricane off the coast was not the best idea, but they were still taking people out. The result was a 2 hour bumpy, windy, cold ride. Putting that aside, this is what it says it is: a river cruise. You'll see some cranes and other birds. The guide will point out where some houses and estates are on islands but you won't see them through the trees. Go for the boat ride. That's what you'll get.

4. Castle Hill on the Crane Estate

290 Argilla Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938-2647 +1 978-356-4351
Excellent
76%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 217 reviews

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate

Experience the grandeur of a seaside estate and its marvelously landscaped grounds, notable for a broad, undulating lawn running down to the shore.

Reviewed By kathyandalan - Averill Park, New York

The same parking fee for Crane Beach allows you in to the Crane Estate. There are tours of the house and lovely grounds and gardens to wander. There are vistas down to the ocean in the distance. And statues and metal sculpted griffons (by the same artist who did the Prometheus in Rockefeller Plaza). There is a trick moving rock on one of the paths. Mr Chase had a sense of humor. For an added fee, the house offers a # of different tours. We took the Guests of the Chase Family tour and enjoyed it! If you have time, spend part of the day at the beach. It is beautiful.

5. North Shore Music Theatre

62 Dunham Rd, Beverly, MA 01915-1863 +1 978-232-7200
Excellent
79%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 119 reviews

North Shore Music Theatre

Reviewed By Donna D - Middleton, MA

Saw Evita here recently and wonder why the ticket prices are so high. $67 -$80 each for Beverly is silly and folks seem to think the same as there were many empty seats. The actors were good but not great. Evita herself seemed angry and lacked the essence of the character. The young woman who sang "Another Suitcase in Another Hall...where am I going to" stole the show and should have been Evita. The choreography for this show was just plain strange. And we didn't notice anyone of color in the cast -- very sad. The stage floor kept going up and down to change sets, leaving a gaping hole in the center when it did. Quite a distraction.

The owner encouraged you to donate to a booth in the lobby that sends people with cancer to see a show there. What a disgrace -- when there were so many empty seats. They could have easily filled the empty seats that night! We couldn't believe it when the owner mentioned Paul Anka was coming there and how much he was paying him. Lacked class. Will not be returning. Better experiences for a quarter of the price at local venues or through ArtsBoston or Goldstar elsewhere.

6. Cape Ann Museum

27 Pleasant St, Gloucester, MA 01930-5909 +1 978-283-0455
Excellent
78%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 173 reviews

Cape Ann Museum

The Cape Ann Museum tells multiple stories, all relating to a single remarkable place. From its earliest days as a fishing and shipping port to its mid-19th century role in the granite industry, to its singular charms of light and sea that have attracted countless artists from the 19th century to the present, Cape Ann boasts a rich and varied culture of nationally significant historical, industrial, and artistic achievement. The Museum's fine art collection includes the largest grouping of works by native son and renowned marine artist, Fitz Henry Lane, as well as work by other prominent painters and sculptors who lived on, visited or were inspired by Cape Ann. The work of contemporary Cape Ann artists is also collected and exhibited. The permanent collection includes fine and decorative arts, and artifacts from the major industries of the area - the fisheries and granite quarrying. Founded in 1873 as the Cape Ann Scientific and Literary Association, today the Museum is a vibrant cultural center that includes galleries, an auditorium, library/archives, a children's activity center, two sculpture gardens and two historic homes. In addition to its permanent collections, the Museum offers a rotating schedule of special exhibitions throughout the year as well as related programs and events. Visit us today to discover the treasures of Cape Ann.

Reviewed By Julie32159 - The Villages, Florida

While neither my husband nor I are great art-museum goers, we enjoyed our visit here because we both like history. And there is much of Gloucester's history represented in the paintings and other objects very well displayed throughout the museum. Great stories behind the items on display. Visiting here gave us a much better understanding of the whole area as well as Gloucester's role in it. Docent-led tours are available with the price of admission. Definitely worth a couple of hours here. We parked across the street in public parking and then had lunch nearby. Nice way to spend much of a rainy day in town.

7. Crane Beach

Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA 01938 +1 978-356-4354
Excellent
76%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 472 reviews

Crane Beach

Enjoy the Northeast's most spectacular beach and follow trails and boardwalks through a landscape of sand dunes and salt marsh.

Reviewed By yogaroom - Round Lake, New York

We arrived at the tail end of hurricane Jose and got to see some good wave action and blustery winds. We visited off high season, which is our preference and so there were no crowds or sweltering heat. Still, it looks like a nice place for a dip even if the crowds are there. Great protection for Piping Plover bird habitat and dune environment. The Fee (varies by season) also gets you into parking for the Crane Estate/Castle. Depending on the weather your could visit here for 1 or several hours.

8. Cogswell's Grant

60 Spring St, Essex, MA 01929-1308 +1 978-768-3632
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 25 reviews

Cogswell's Grant

If you love antiques, Cogswell’s Grant should be on your itinerary. This 18th century farmhouse overlooking the Essex River was the summer home of collectors Bertram and Nina Fletcher Little, and houses their celebrated collection of American folk art, including primitive paintings, redware, and painted furniture. Everything is displayed as the family lived with it and shared it with their friends and fellow collectors.Open June 1-October 15, Wed.-Sun.; tours given 11:00am - 4:00pm.

Reviewed By NewJerseyPhil - New Jersey

Each year we travel to Rockport for our vacation. This year we found Cogswelll,s Grant on TA as a side trip. As previous reviewers have said it is a large working farm with one home to tour. Our docent Will Peck gave us the first tour at 11 am. Since the house is not air conditioned I would highly recommend the early tour since it gets very warm on the 2nd floor. Will was fabulous. He made history come alive. He seemed to have a story about each artifact in this large house. We were the only couple on the tour so it was great having a private tour guide. Some of the highlights of the tour included the Little's family passion for collecting and authenticating the thousands of objects they collected for over six decades. These included numerous portraits, 148 baskets and other works of art. Mrs. Little would routinely open drawers of furniture she purchased and find inscriptions and messages from previous owners. The one hour tour was worth it and I am glad we stopped by
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9. Coolidge Reservation

Summer Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944 +1 978-526-8687
Excellent
75%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 24 reviews

Coolidge Reservation

Hike past a scenic pond and through a small forest of pine and oak to reach a spectacular seaside lawn offering memorable views of Massachusetts Bay and the North Shore.

Reviewed By abitran128 - brookline, ma

This is one of the nicest spots in Massachusetts in my opinion, and it is relatively uncrowded (hoping it stays that way). You walk through the forest and reach a magnificent, huge lawn that faces the ocean. The setting is idyllic, perfect for a picnic, lying down/sunbathing, or reading. At the east edge of the lawn there is a stunning view of houses atop cliffs facing the ocean--this reminded me of Maine's rocky shoreline. Another trail leads to a very nice lake and a beautiful beach on the Magnolia harbor. Note that swimming on the beach is not allowed unless you are a Trustees member (a membership may be worth it by the way, since it also gives you discounts/free admission to other amazing Trustees properties including Crane beach). Props to the Trustees for maintaining such an amazing place.

10. Greasy Beaks Fly Fishing and Boston Fly Fishing

169 Sagamore St, South Hamilton, MA 01982-1214 +1 541-868-6356
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

Greasy Beaks Fly Fishing and Boston Fly Fishing

Reviewed By Sasha R

This past Saturday I booked a fly fishing trip with Greasy Beaks & loved every minute of it! My friends & I all had multiple chances to fish in several different locations that Eliot had scouted. He gave great instruction & help when we needed it without it feeling too forceful. Captain Eliot keeps the atmosphere upbeat, positive & fun with music, snacks, beer & interesting conversation. I would highly recommend a trip with Greasy Beaks Fly Fishing to anyone looking for a fun way to spend part of a day.

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