The area from Boston, Massachusetts’ doorstep extending to the New Hampshire border is a diverse and beautiful place with historical and cultural significance. Distances are short, prices are reasonable, and the people are friendly and welcoming.

Known for cozy hotels and inns, delicious restaurants, fascinating museums and great beaches, North of Boston, Massachusetts, is an ideal group destination. The North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau proudly promotes the 34 cities and towns of Essex County as a tourism destination.

North of Boston

Merrimack Valley

Museum of Printing, Haverhill, Mass.
Credit: NBCVB

Once the hub of America’s industrial revolution, the Merrimack Valley has become the newest mecca for creative talents and artists as former mill buildings and factories are transformed into lofts and gallery spaces. Don’t miss the historic home of the abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier and the Museum of Printing — both in Haverhill.

The city of Lawrence, once home to Jack Kerouac and Robert Frost, offers stories celebrating many immigrant cultures along with a melting pot of ethnic cuisines. Discover charming New England suburban towns, conveniently situated on major highway routes including 495 and 93.

Greater Salem

Salem Witch Museum, Salem, Mass.
Credit: Tina Jordan

Salem surprises guests with its abundance of art and culture, Colonial history, beautiful architecture, and a thriving dining scene. Save time for the Peabody Essex Museum, the House of the Seven Gables, and the National Park Service’s Salem Maritime National Historic Site. The Witch City’s infamous history can be explored at the Salem Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, and the and the Witch Trial Memorial.

Discover neighboring coastal towns such as Marblehead, where the patriotic painting “The Spirit of ’76” hangs, or Beverly, which boasts Montserrat College of Art and North Shore Music Theatre. Inland towns offer everything from quiet country roads, to fresh farm stands, to chic polo clubs and are well worth a leisurely drive.

Greater Newburyport

Crane Estate, Ipswich, Mass.
Credit: Ann Marie Casey

Follow the designated Essex Heritage scenic byway as it winds its way through beautiful landscapes north. In Ipswich, stop and explore one of the 58 First Period homes and the grand 1928 summer estate at Castle Hill, as well as the adjacent Crane Beach.

The charming waterfront community of Newburyport hosts festivals throughout the year, and birding enthusiasts will find pristine Plum Island minutes outside the downtown area. Farther north, Salisbury Beach is a summertime favorite for swimming, family fun and camping, while the Blue Ocean Music Hall provides dining and entertainment.

Cape Ann

Whale Watching, Gloucester, Mass.
Credit: 7 Seas Whale Watch

Massachusetts’ “other” Cape is a well-kept secret. For a relaxing day of sandy beaches, harbor walls, lighthouses, and lobster, visit the four communities of Gloucester, Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport. Stop for fried clams where they were invented, at Woodman’s of Essex, explore antique shops or take a cruise along the Essex River.

Gloucester, America’s oldest seaport, features the iconic statue of “The Man at the Wheel,” commissioned in memory of the thousands of fishermen lost at sea. Take a cruise on the harbor cruise on a schooner or venture further out on a whale watch. Art flourishes in this region at the Rocky Neck Art Colony and in downtown Rockport. In nearby Manchester-by-the-Sea, the aptly named Singing Beach has sand that make a distinctive squeak when you walk on it.