Newburyport is a charming Massachusetts city that retains much of its historical architecture. Back in the 1970s, the historic downtown core was actually scheduled to be razed. Thankfully, the city changed its mind at the last minute. Many tourists now come to see the historic buildings and to get a sense of the city’s overall history. There’s much more to Newburyport than its historical attributes, however. The city’s waterfront is very picturesque, and the quaint downtown district offers enticing shopping and dining opportunities. Newburyport MA visitors can also indulge in the city’s wonderful parks and enjoy an array of fun water-based activities. A variety of annual events only serve to offer more in the way of diversion. Among the annual event highlights are the Yankee Homecoming Festival, the Newburyport Literary Festival, and the summer Waterfront Concert Series.
Plum Island Beaches
Plum Island Beaches Image: AtHandGuides.com (flickr)
Newburyport MA is set along the coast approximately 40 miles northeast of Boston. Part of the small city extends onto Plum Island, which is a barrier island. Found on Plum Island are inviting beaches that are largely responsible for the island’s popularity as a vacation destination. Some of the beaches are town run or are private beaches, while the others are part of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Admission fees apply for all of the public Plum Island beaches, and the best time to visit them is mid-August through mid-September. In the spring and early summer, the Parker River Refuge beaches are often closed to the public. These closings are enacted in an effort to protect the threatened piping plover, which is a bird that breeds in the beach areas. The closed beach areas tend to open in July, but visitors will likely have to deal with greenheads for much of the month. These biting insects can be annoying little pests, and they tend to linger on the Plum Island beaches until mid-August. Public restrooms can be found at two of the Parker River Refuge’s beach parking lots. No such restrooms are found at the town-run beach lots.
Fishing in Massachusetts can be a real joy, especially if you find yourself in such coastal destinations as Newburyport. The added advantage to the coast is the opportunity to cast your lines in both the inland bodies of water and the much more vast waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Merrimack River enters northeast Massachusetts after crossing the New Hampshire border and eventually empties into Newburyport’s scenic harbor. Anglers can enjoy plenty of inland fishing along this lengthy river. As for fishing the Atlantic, Plum Island offers the opportunity to go shore and surf fishing. Those who are looking to enjoy off shore fishing excursions instead can hire a charter boat or sign up for one of the pre-arranged off shore excursions that are offered by local boating companies.
Birding and Wildlife
Birding and Wildlife Image: USFWS Headquarters (flickr)
Birdwatching enthusiasts are all but guaranteed to enjoy a Newburyport MA visit. Of course, the best time to go birding is during the warmer seasons. The cold Massachusetts winters aren’t exactly ideal for such pursuits. As for where to go birding in Newburyport, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is a good place to start. It is home to a plethora of avian species. This protected area is also a good place to view other wildlife, not to mention plants. All told, more than 800 bird, animal, and plant species call the refuge home. Another option for those who wish to view wildlife during their Newburyport escape is to go on a whale watching cruise. Such cruises depart from the city’s harbor on a regular basis during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. The species of whales that are commonly seen on Newburyport MA whale watching cruises are humpbacks, minkes, and finbacks. Rare as it may be, you might also spot a blue whale – the largest animal in the world. Coincidentally, it is also possible to enjoy birding cruises in Newburyport, as well as dinner, sunset, and July 4th fireworks cruises.
Newburyport lodging basically comes in the form of inviting inns and charming bed and breakfasts. This is New England, after all. The majority of these delightful hotels occupy historic buildings, and among their accommodation offerings are rooms, suites, and apartments. Examples of highly recommendable Newburyport lodging establishments are the Garrison Inn Boutique Hotel (pictured), the Compass Rose Inn, and blue - The Inn on the Beach. Should these hotels be fully booked, travelers can turn to an assortment of other local lodging establishments that are also of considerable quality. Basically, it is hard to find a bad hotel in Newburyport MA.