Newburyport Things to Do: Fun Activities for a Memorable Vacation

Located 35 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts, Newburyport is a coastal destination packed full of maritime history and small-town charm. People vacation in Newburyport to explore historic sites, watch wildlife, spend time on the beach and other adventures. For some fun ideas, check out the top Newburyport things to do and attractions.

Newburyport Things to Do: Plan a Fun Vacation in Massachusetts

newburyport things to do beach

Photo: iTrip Vacations North Shore

Connect to Nature

Newburyport is a small coastal town located on Merrimack River. This waterfront location and proximity to natural attractions means outdoor lovers will find plenty of clean parks and relaxing beaches.

One of the top places is Plum Island. The barrier island welcomes travelers to relax, splash and play. For a day exploring, stop by Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers a remote escape full of upland and wetland habitats. In addition, look for migratory and resident birds that call the area home. Due to the size, most people recommend dedicating two to three hours to see these attractions.

For more scenic beauty, spend time at Maudslay State Park, Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Waterfront Park and Newbury Beach. Maudslay has miles of trails for horseback rising, hiking and walking. Or admire the 19th-century gardens, bridges and a reflection pond. Parker River Refuge also offers a quiet place to play in the water and stroll.

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Book a Boat Charter

Boating also ranks as a must-do, and several charters in Newburyport host tours. For example, Newburyport Whale Watch offers dolphin and whale-watching adventures.

Anglers can book fishing trips with Captain’s Fishing Parties and Cruises, which has flexible options. Looking for a more intimate adventure? Try Compass Rose Yacht Charters, Ninth Wave Sailing Charters and Yankee Clipper Cruise Tours. All offer custom trips hosted by local experts.

See Newburyport’s Historic Sites

Newburyport’s history dates to 1635, when it was settled by English colonists. The port city flourished with agriculture, shipping and trading, and features buildings that showcase architecture dating from 1625 to the 1900s.

With so much heritage and history, sightseeing ranks among the top Newburyport things to do. One top site is Custom House Maritime Museum, which features local stories, personal voyages, ships and shipwreck displays. The museum sits in Market Square, home to historic streets such as State, Merrimac and Liberty.

Plum Island Lighthouse – a.k.a. Newburyport Harbor Light – was first lit in 1788, and ranks among the first constructed in the U.S. Other historical sites include Bartlet Mall, Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm, The Pink House, Tendercrop Farm, Newburyport Powder House and Lowells Boat Shop. To sample several in a short amount of time, book a walking tour of Newburyport.

newburyport things to do downtown

Photo: iTrip Vacations North Shore

Shop Local

For an additional glimpse into local culture, visit a few shops. The area has dozens of locally owned boutiques that sell apparel, food, homemade treats, jewelry and maritime collectibles.

Oldies Marketplace – located on Water Street – sells gently used furniture, fine art, toys, collectibles and souvenirs. Another top spot is Newburyport Farmers Market, which opens every Sunday most months. At the market, shop baked goods, locally grown produce, free-range meats, cheese and sweets. Several artisans also sell arts and crafts, offering an ideal spot for souvenir shopping. In addition, local wineries set up and showcase handcrafted beverages.

Support Craft Brews

Many visitors may not know Newburyport also offers brewery and food tours. In fact, the area has three breweries that specialize in craft beer. House Bear Brewery, Newburyport Brewing Company and Riverwalk Brewing Company all welcome beer lovers to sample local flavors and relax. Guests are welcome to visit the tap rooms and order what’s fresh on the menu. Many change seasonally, so no two trips feel like the same.

For an afternoon of dining and fun, book a food tour. Untapped History hosts walking tours that showcase history and stop at Privateer Rum and Riverwalk Brewery where guests sample appetizers and beverages. Taste Newburyport covers downtown. On this tour, taste clam chowder, scallops, special dishes, teas and whoopie pies.

Interested in a quick day trip? Find the top Salem haunts for a different experience. Then book a vacation home in Boston’s North Shore region.