Day Tripping: Halibut Point

I'm a Northshore girl, Cape Ann girl if you want to be specific. 

I love taking the Rockport Line out of North Station or hitting Route 1 to 128. After you pass the traffic mess that is Revere and sometimes the malls (Northshore Mall on 128 or Square One Mall in Saugus), you get past Beverly (gorgeous in it's own right), and you start to see more trees, more sand on the road, and fewer rest areas. 

If you keep going past Hamilton, into Cape Ann, past Manchester, and into Gloucester you'll cross a bridge with a pretty view on both sides--beyond that bridge are some really lovely places to visit in Gloucester and Rockport.

Today, I'm selling you on the beauty and fun of Halibut Point State Park.

Halibut Point is a protected area on the border of Rockport and Gloucester (Gloss-ter) with an old granite quarry, some trails through the woods, and a beautiful craggy shore line (no beach, just rocks and cliffs--and no swimming). It's breath-taking and reminds you how much fun it is to hike around outside and enjoy the beauty surrounding us. On a clear day you can see Crane Beach in Ipswich, Mount Agamenticus in Maine and the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire. 

Plan to spend a couple hours hiking around--particularly if you have kids because there are so many spots to explore or play--I have fond memories of coming here as a kiddo and letting my imagination run wild. But you can make this hike as long or as short as you want. It's dog friendly but dogs should be leashed.

The above photo is of a vista that looks up to New Hampshire. There are places to stop and take photos on the cliffs by the sea, but there's also a quarry to hike around, little ponds to explore, side trails that take you into the woods to little clearings that are ripe for kids imaginations and dogs noses. There are wildflowers, tide pools, little plaques with historical information.

The trails are pretty flat, but there are rocky areas where you can climb around. Depending on the weather there may be some mud puddles to avoid. You might see some small animals scurrying around, but nothing unexpected. 

When to visit:

I recommend going to Halibut Point in the spring or fall on a nice day, not too hot, not too cold (it is on the Ocean, so it's usually a few degrees warmer, but also pretty windy, particularly since it's on the point of Cape Ann). 

What to bring:

Plan to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, a sweatshirt in case it's chilly, binoculars if you like birds, a camera because it's so beautiful. Keep an extra set of socks or shoes in the car in case you accidentally step in a puddle.

Getting there:

I admit, Halibut Point is not 30 minutes outside of Boston. But it is absolutely worth the 1:15/1:30 it takes to get there.  


Daily Parking Fee: $5 MA Vehicle, $6 non-MA Vehicle, though if capacity is reached they may close the parking lot until people leave.
The park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset for day use only. 
There are tours during the peak season (Memorial Day-Columbus day) on Saturdays.
There are bathrooms
Trash is carry in carry out

Once you're done hiking around you might be hungry or need a change of pace. 

Here are some suggestions:
-The little neighborhood of Lanesville in Gloucester is cute to walk around in
-You could continue to Rockport and check out their scenic downtown area with shops, restaurants, art, ice cream, beaches, and a wonderful music center--Shalin Liu (and you should since you're so close!)
-If you're hankering for a lobster roll, check out The Lobster Pool, a seasonal (April-September, but double check!) lobster shack. There are picnic tables where you can sit and enjoy your lobster roll or whatever you pick up. It's quaint and fun and delicious.

I hope you take the time to go check out Halibut Point! It's truly a special spot that I think you'll love.


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