Logo   Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Cape Ann north of Boston, Massachusetts's "other cape" (the first being Cape Cod) is much less well known, but busy with summer visitors all the same. Beaches, lobsters, clams, art, history and picturesque towns are the attractions.


About an hour's drive north of Boston, the Massachusetts seacoast's other cape, Cape Ann, is actually an island (map), separated from the rest of Massachusetts by the Annisquam River, a short salt water channel between Gloucester harbor and Ipswich Bay.

A bridge connects the cape to the mainland and carries MA Route 128 across the river.

The towns of Gloucester, Rockport and Manchester-by-the-Sea cover the cape, with other historic towns such as Essex, Ipswich, Marblehead and Salem nearby (map).


Gloucester, famous for its fishing fleet for four centuries, is the larger town, with the best beaches, art, commerce and industry. It is historic and interesting rather than charming, though it does have its quaint corners. It's a great place to eat a lobster or board a whale watch cruise.

Hammond Castle, just outside Gloucester, is a rich man's eccentric tribute to Europe's great medieval homes. More...


Rockport, once a granite quarrying port, became a renowned artists' colony in the latter part of the 19th century. It still has lots of artists' studios and art galleries, and even a narrow but enjoyable beach, but many more tourist attractions, restaurants, boutiques and gift shoppes. Twice each year the artists and artisans open their studios for the Cape Ann Artisans Tour. More...

Halibut Point State Park, just outside of Rockport, is a great place to go for a walk to admire the dramatic granite-bound shoreline.


Manchester-by-the-Sea, not to be confused with the much larger, land-locked Manchester to the north in New Hampshire, is a small, neat coastal suburban community. Besides the town's charming New England ambience, its major attraction in summer is Singing Beach, an appealing expanse of sand. More...


A day-trip to Essex MA, 34 miles northeast of Boston, includes a pleasant ride through pretty country, an hour or two browsing in the town's dozens of shops selling antiques and collectibles, a boat cruise, and a lunch or dinner of traditional seafood: clams and lobsters. More...


Famous for the manor-house-like Crane Estate and broad Crane Beach, Ipswich is a historic New England town famous as the home of the late author John Updike. More...


If you're driving, follow I-95 to MA Route 128 to reach Cape Ann (map).

You can also reach it by MBTA Commuter Rail train on the Rockport Line. The trains leave Boston's North Station and make stops in most towns along the route, including Salem, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Gloucester and Rockport, the end of the line. More...

—by Tom Brosnahan

Cape Ann Transportation








Cape Ann Artisans

North Shore


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Rainbow on church in Rockport, Massachusetts

Rainbow's end at the First Congregational Church in Rockport MA.

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