Cape Cod is a beautiful summertime destination and while it's just as stunning during the winter, summer months spent at the Cape can be a little bit... crowded. Families and couples alike all flock to this popular New England destination to enjoy seaside rentals pristine beaches, and gorgeous vistas, whenever the weather takes a turn for the best. Typically, this wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that Cape Cod is on such a small piece of land that the traffic during the summer is positively dreadful. In addition to that, especially this year, beach rentals (especially the affordable ones) are gone before most people even have a chance to peruse Airbnb.
While summer prices skyrocket and the cost of gas starts to heavily outweigh sitting in traffic to get to the beach, many people wonder if there's an alternative. It's hard to believe, but along the coast of Massachusetts there is one solid option for those who don't mind swapping out one cape for another, and it's called Cape Ann.
One Of The Prettiest Seaside Towns In The Country
Cape Ann includes Rockport, which is the town on the easternmost tip of the cape. The great thing about the geography of Cape Ann is that Gloucester, a tiny fishing village, is right next door, along with Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea only a short trip away.
Therefore, Cape Ann gives way to a whole slew of towns that could be booked for a summer getaway, each bringing to the table its own unique atmosphere and list of activities. The one common theme is proximity to the water; each town has extensive views of the Atlantic and the waterways in between. Each one of these towns also offers lodging that varies from rentals to seaside inns, any of which will fit a budget if you book early.
What To Do There
One glimpse of Cape Ann on Google Maps will reveal that there's plenty to see and do along this Cape - some would argue even more so than Cape Cod! With a total of three towns that line its ocean-facing tip, there's no shortage of actual areas to explore, either. Rockport is a stunning destination and resembles a classic fishing village, but with access to both rocky scenic shores and crystal-clear water beaches. A walk through the village will reveal plenty of shops to take advantage of, as well, all of which feature local artisans. Visitors can find anything from clothing to nautical gifts that only New England can procure.
If you're planning on spending some time in nature, the list of parks that are nearby is also endless. Spread across the Cape, Dogtown, Coolidge Reservation, Ravenswood Park, Halibut Point State Park, Stage Fort Park, and Tompson Street Reservation are all open for exploration. There's a perfect balance of wooded land and beachside escapes scattered throughout each, so there are plenty of hiking trails leading to each. Hiking is the most popular way to see local flora and wildlife but some trails also allow biking. For those who'd rather be on the water, the calmer waterways around Cape Ann give way to serene landscapes that are perfect for kayaking or canoeing through. If you're keen on beachcombing, Cape Ann's rock shores give way to gorgeous tidal pools that might have a special visitor or two!
If getting out on the ocean is your way of celebrating the summer, consider a charter, sailing, or guided water tour. There are so many options for getting out on the water depending on where you're staying and, depending on the time of the year, you might even get to see some of Cape Ann's resident marine life on something such as a whale tour. Fishing charters are a great way to explore the local water and try your hand at New England fishing, while schooner sailing is a fun way to experience an old-world way of navigating the sea.
If relaxing and just soaking up the coastal views are the only thing you're looking for this summer (and we don't blame you) there are plenty of ways to do that, as well. After a day of shopping, spend the rest of the trip exploring some of Cape Ann's prettiest beaches. And when the sunlight glimmering off the Atlantic swells starts to echo the rumbling in your stomach, head back into town for a bite to eat. Cape Ann is home to many ocean view restaurants which, of course, specialize in the freshest seafood. Classic New England dishes such as clam chowder and lobster rolls are always on the menu, and the best part is that many of the fisherman's boats can be seen from restaurant decks!