Must-Visits in the North and South Shore of Massachusetts

The boundaries of Coastal Massachusetts are often drawn into the North Shore and the South Shore, two different regions that stretch along the Atlantic. While this is an arbitrary line, with no defined border, people take it quite seriously. Along the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts, you’ll find a variety of New England towns and cities, with some of the best seafood in America and rich colonial histories. But life on the North and South Shore isn’t necessarily the same.

The North and South Shore aren’t clearly defined boundaries, but there is a general sense of the area they encompass. The North Shore stretches from just North of Boston to the New Hampshire area, encompassing several quaint towns and a rocky coastline. The South Shore stretches from just South of Boston all the way down Cape Cod Bay. It is known as an affluent area.

There are differences between the North and South Shore of Massachusetts, with each region possessing some unique and beautiful spots that visitors will adore. Let’s explore some of the different towns and attractions along these coastal boundaries that are must-visits.

North Shore

Experience the North Shore History Firsthand:

Like almost every part of Massachusetts, the history in the North Shore runs deep. When settlers arrived from Europe hundreds of years ago, they spread across the New England area, making these states the places with the most extensive European-American histories.

Among the different North Shore towns and areas with intriguing histories, few offer the thrills of Salem. This small town was home to one of the most bizarre episodes in the country’s entire history when the Salem Witch Trial craze swept the town, and there are numerous tours and museums in the small town dedicated to this event.

There’s also Newburyport, where you can find a gorgeous historic district. There are numerous reminders of the town’s near-400-year history in this district. Newburyport it served as an important port for travelers and merchants. It has the most extensive Federal-period architecture in the country. Many other small towns in the North Shore offer gorgeous reminders of the nation’s past.

Get Out on the Water in Gloucester and Rockport:

Part of the joy of being in a coastal area is the ability to spend time on the water. If you head to some of the different North Shore towns in the summer, you’ll find yourself with an incredible ocean experience.

In Gloucester, you can take whale watching tours at one of the premier destinations for spotting these incredible creatures. Many of the tours guarantee a whale sighting or money back, and the town itself is a quaint summer destination that is one of the most important fishing spots in the country.

Rockport is another quaint small fishing town on the North Shore, just 40 miles north of Boston. Located right near Gloucester, Rockport also has incredible whale watching and fishing. They also have beaches, delicious seafood, kayaking, and many more incredible outdoor activities.

South Shore

Witness Where the Mayflower Landed:

In 1620, the European colonization of America began in earnest when the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth Harbor. This marked a turning point in the history of the United States of America as settlers arrived in the country for the first time. If you want to experience the place where the modern history of the United States began, Plymouth on the South Shore provides you that opportunity.

Plymouth has numerous different tributes to the early settlers of the United States. There is a replica of the Mayflower in the harbor, within view of where the first European settlement in the United States was. There is a monument dedicated to the “forefathers” who settled Plymouth Colony. There is even a replica pilgrim settlement within the town.

If you’re an American history buff, Plymouth on the South Shore is an absolute essential spot where the modern American story had one of its biggest chapters.

Experience the Picturesque South Shore Nature:

The South Shore is filled with natural landscapes that are just aching to be explored. The Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary is a large stretch of forest and marshland in Marshfield along the South Shore, with trails and docks perfect for the adventurous hiker. Right nearby, there’s the North River Wildlife Sanctuary, also in Marshfield.

For more of a coastal excursion, you can take a walk along the rocky shores of Scituate, where you’ll find the Scituate Lighthouse. The Scituate Lighthouse is a classic scenic slice of New England that has been standing since 1811. It is part of the National Register of Historic Places, and its location makes it the perfect spot to watch a South Shore sunset or sunrise from.

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