Gloucester, Massachusetts, located on Cape Ann north of Boston, is known as America’s First Seaport. The setting of many movies such as The Perfect Storm and the TV show Wicked Tuna, Gloucester is picturesque and offers lots of things to do with kids, especially in the summer months. Read our favorite things to do in Gloucester MA with kids.
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Things to Do in Gloucester MA With Kids
Do you want to experience deep-sea fishing for yourself? It can be such a fun way to really see what goes into fishing in Gloucester. Luckily, there are deep-sea fishing trips and charters that you can book for a half-day, 3/4 of a day, or a full day, depending on your plans.
On these trips, you’ll go on a boat to fish for haddock, cod, and other local fish. Many of these fishing charters will let you bring home a cleaned fish to cook at home or at a local restaurant. Check the details before booking.
Depending on the charter you choose, you’ll probably be provided with fishing supplies, or you may be able to bring your own if you have them. Again, check the specific details of whichever charter you choose.
Whale Watching in Gloucester
Whale watching is a fun activity that families can enjoy together. In Gloucester, there are several different whale watching companies that you can book a trip with during your family vacation.
While seeing a whale is never a guarantee, these whale watching companies generally have a very high success rate on their trips. These are longer trips, and it takes a while to get to the area where the whales frolic.
Be sure to prepare properly for your excursion. It can be chillier on the water, so you’ll want layers, as well as sunscreen. If you are prone to seasickness, you’ll want to be prepared for that as well.
Check with your specific charter to find out whether snacks are provided onboard. You may need to bring cash to pay for snacks while on your trip.
Beaches in Gloucester
There are several gorgeous beaches in Gloucester that are perfect for a low-key beach day. These beaches are among the best beaches in Massachusetts.
Our personal favorite is Good Harbor Beach. This gorgeous beach offers a paid parking lot, a snack bar, and changing rooms/restrooms. During low tide, you can walk over to Salt Island to explore.
Another popular beach in Gloucester is Wingersheek Beach. Like Good Harbor, this beach offers a concession stand, changing rooms, and restrooms. Parking at both beaches is offered on a first-come, first-served basis for $30 (although in some cases, is limited to residents).
There are other beaches in the area, including Long Beach (which is also partly in Rockport), Plum Cove Beach, Cressy’s Beach, and Niles Beach. A Gloucester beach sticker may be required if you want to park at these beaches. Check all current beach information on the Gloucester website.
Afternoon in Rockport
Rockport Massachusetts borders Gloucester, and it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon trip. If you want to do some shopping during your trip, you’ll find quaint shops and boutiques in historic Bearskin Neck. Metered parking is available, and then you can just walk around this pedestrian area.
If the weather is nice, you may consider getting a delicious lobster roll at Roy Moore Lobster and then eating outside on their back deck. Arrive early or after the lunch rush to get a table. The views are remarkable, especially on a clear day.
There are also lots of quaint and delicious ice cream shops in Bearskin Neck if you are looking for a treat. Also be sure to check out Motif #1, a famous red fishing shack that can be seen right from Bearskin Neck.
Where to Eat in Gloucester MA
As you’d expect, there are some delicious seafood restaurants in Gloucester. Here are some of our favorite restaurants:
Tonno Gloucester: This Italian restaurant offers some of the best pasta dishes around, along with delicious seafood. Get their famous bluefin tuna if it’s currently available. Make reservations, as this is a popular dining location.
Blue Collar Lobster: Order at the window, and then bring your food to one of the many outdoor waterfront tables. While seafood is obviously the main attraction here, those who don’t love seafood will find some options on the menu. They also offer a full bar.
Bishco Gloucester: For something a little different, visit this downtown shop offering gourmet sandwiches, roll-ups, and salads.
Long Beach Dairy Maid and Surfside Subs: We visited this sub shop and adjacent ice cream stand several times during our trip. Portions are huge (especially for the ice cream and pizza), and it’s a great casual spot for food.
Sightseeing in Gloucester
Gloucester is beautiful, and you’ll want to walk around and explore the scenery. Don’t miss the Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial and Fisherman’s Wives Memorial, which is located along the waterfront. It’s near Stage Fort Park, where you’ll find visitor information, walking trails, and more.
There’s also the Rocky Neck art colony, where you’ll find art galleries, shops, and restaurants.
Where to Stay in Gloucester MA
While Gloucester MA can be a great day trip from Boston, or part of a greater New England road trip, there are also some places to stay in Gloucester. Vacation homes are especially popular and can be booked through Airbnb or through the local company Atlantic Vacation Homes.
Two of the more popular hotels are the Atlantis Oceanfront Inn and the Ocean House Hotel at Bass Rocks. We didn’t stay at these, instead opting for a vacation home. However, these are the two I would consider if we chose a hotel.