Marblehead, Salem, Rockport, Gloucester, Annisquam,
Cape Ann and the North Shore area of Massachusetts is comprised of a predominantly rocky coastline with Salem, Gloucester, and Newburyport harbors as its main shipping ports. Many of the lighthouses built were to protect and guide mariners into these harbors and the surrounding areas. Those affluent communities of Marblehead, Beverly, and Annisquam, provide visitors spectacular shoreline views and 19th century architecture from the many wealthy mariners and merchants who benefited from the growing whaling and shipping industries in the region. Rockport is still one of New England’s main artist attractions with its picturesque harbor painted over the centuries.
North Shore and Cape Ann Lighthouses
You Can Drive or Hike To
Note: The lighthouses mentioned below that you can drive to may also be viewed from various boat tours offered, see Boat Tours below. Ferries that take visitors to the islands are also shown.
Click any lighthouse link below to find out information about each lighthouse including historic snapshots, directions, more photos, and links for places to visit.
North Shore and Cape Ann Lighthouses:
Best Viewed By Boat
I have a lighthouse stories book entitled “New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues, and Other Tales” with over 40 detailed stories and 160 images. Published by Schiffer Books. Check out the Table of Contents.
In the book you'll some local stories from the Boston and North Shore regions, including rescues during one of the worst gale storms in New England, named as the "Portland Gale" for the sinking of the Steamer Portland, the storm of the century called the "Lighthouse Storm" that sent Minot's Ledge Light toppling into the sea, and the ghost keepers of Minot's Ledge Light. You'll also find the famous story of Maria Bray, the keeper's wife who tended Thacher Island Twin Lights during a fierce winter storm in his absence. Also, some amusing stories from one of the last lighthouse keeper's, Paul Baptiste, during his tenure in the area.
Places to Visit:
Boston North Shore and
Cape Ann Regions
Marblehead promotes many sailing events attracting sailors from all over the globe.
The Salem Maritime National Historic Site exhibits marine artifacts from Salem’s early days. You can take the half-mile walk to Derby Wharf to Derby Wharf Lighthouse and enjoy views of Salem harbor. The Friendship is a replica of an eighteenth century trade vessel docked along the wharf, which visitors can also explore.
The North Shore Music Theater in Beverly offers professional concerts for everyone. Lynch Park provides a close view of Hospital Point Lighthouse.
Rockport is a picturesque community painted and photographed by many artists. Visitors can explore Thacher Island to view the two Thacher Island (also known as Twin Lights) lighthouses if they join the Thacher Island Association during the summer months where there are also opportunities for guest accommodations for those that may want to stay overnight.
The city of Gloucester offers plenty of deep-sea fishing and whale watching cruises that pass by Ten Pound Island and Eastern Point lighthouses. The surrounding area heading out towards Eastern Point lighthouse is also a mecca for artists. The Cape Anne Museum, offers exhibits and events in art, history and culture of the Cape Ann area.
Newburyport offers plenty of history, shops, concerts, and great restaurants. You can also book a dinner reservation to have dinner atop the tower of the Newburyport Rear Range Light (brick tower).
Visit the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island for hiking, and bird watching, along with its pristine beaches. On the other side of Plum Island you can visit the grounds of Plum Island Lighthouse, also known as Newburyport Harbor Light.
The Newburyport Whale Watch offers trips to New Hampshire's Isles of Shoals to explore the islands and view White Island Lighthouse. If you enjoy live music, take the Newburyport Blues Cruise. For wildlife and sunset cruises in Newburyport Harbor, try Harbor Tours.
The Newbury Historic District is an outside museum of 27 reconstructed and restored buildings from 1650 to the early 1900's. Visit the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm and explore unfurnished rooms that reveal unique construction techniques used within the past three centuries.
Maudslay State Park features 19th century gardens, and trails along the Merrimac River.
Boat Tours: Lighthouses in Boston North Shore and Cape Ann Regions
Boat cruises and ferries mentioned below may offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some will pass by specific lighthouses as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Weather is also a major factor in New England, especially on sailing excursions. Charters may be available to provide trips to specific lighthouses. Contact info is provided to help you plan your special trips ahead of time and to answer questions before you arrive at any of New England’s destinations. Enjoy!
Boston Harbor Cruises
In addition to providing many types of cruises around Boston Harbor and its nearby lighthouses, they offer a special Northern Lights tour from Boston Harbor up along the North Shore, co-sponsored with the Friends of Boston Harbor Islands.
One Long Wharf
Boston, Mass. 02110
Friends Of Boston Harbor Islands
Besides Boston Harbor tours, there are also the Southern Lighthouse Tour, and the Northern Lighthouse tours offered.
349 Lincoln Street
Hingham MA 02043
Phone: (781) 740 4290
Fax: (781) 749 9924
Lighthouses: Boston Harbor Light, Long Island Head Light, Deer Island Light, Graves Light, Minot's Ledge Light, Marblehead Light, Ten Pound Island Light, Fort Pickering Lighthouse, Hospital Point Light, Eastern Point Lighthouse, Bakers Island Light, Gurnet Light, Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse, Thacher Island Twin Lights, and Scituate Lighthouse.
Mahi Mahi Cruises & Charters
Among daily cruises in Salem Harbor, they provide specialized lighthouse cruises as part of their Early Summer Lighthouse Cruise and the Lighthouse Fall Foliage Cruise.
P.O. Box 3063
Phone: (800) 992-MAHI (6244)
Lighthouses: Derby Wharf Light, Fort Pickering Lighthouse, Hospital Point Lighthouse, Baker's Island Light, and Marblehead Lighthouse.
Sailing Schooner Fame
Replica of an early 1800’s schooner for sailing around Salem Harbor.
Pickering Wharf Marina
Fax (978) 561-3021
Lighthouses: Derby Wharf Light, Fort Pickering Lighthouse, Hospital Point Lighthouse
May Pass By These Lighthouses: Eastern Point Lighthouse, Ten Pound Island Light, Thacher Island Twin Lights
7 Seas Whale Watch
Seven Sea's Whale Watch
63 Rogers Street (next to the Gloucester House Restaurant)
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
May Pass by These Lighthouses: Eastern Point Light, Ten Pound Island Light
Captain Bill and Sons Whale Watch
24 Harbor Loop
Gloucester, MA 01930
(978) 283-6995 or 1 (800) 33WHALE
Fax: (978) 281-6659
May Pass By These Lighthouses: Eastern Point Light, Ten Pound Island Light
Thacher Island Association
Trip offered to explore Thacher Island and guest accommodations are provided to stay overnight on the island.
Rockport, MA 01966
Launch (978) 546-7697
Guest Apartment (617) 599-2590
Lighthouses: Thacher Island Twin Lights
Cape Ann Harbor Tours
In addition to its lobstering and harbor tours, they provide a special Cape Ann Lighthouse Cruise all along Cape Ann.
P.O. Box 719
Gloucester, MA 01930
Lighthouses: Annisquam Light, Eastern Point Light, Ten Pound Island Light, Straitsmouth Island Light, and Thatcher Island Twin Lights.
Newburyport Harbor Tours
Offers various eco, wildlife, sunset and dinner tours that may pass by the lighthouses.
1 Merrimac Landing #26
May Pass By these Lighthouses: Newburyport Harbor Range Lights, Plum Island (Newburyport Harbor) Light
Newburyport Whale Watch
Fishing, whale watching, dinner and fireworks cruises leave the harbor by the range lights and sometimes pass by Plum Island Light.
4 Merrimac Street
Newburyport, MA 01950
Phone: (800) 848-1111 or (978) 499-0832 (outside New England)
May Pass By These Lighthouses: Newburyport Harbor Range Lights, Newburyport Harbor (Plum Island) Light, Isles of Shoals (White Island) Light in NH
Friends of Plum Island Light
Offer periodic tours inside the Plum Island (Newburyport Harbor) Lighthouse, and Newburyport Range Lighthouses.
PO Box 381
Newburyport, MA 01950
Lighthouses: Newburyport Harbor Range Lights, Newburyport Harbor (Plum Island)
Newburyport Blues Cruise
Live music provided and sometimes will pass by the range lights heading out of the harbor.
PO Box 310
Newburyport MA 01950-0310
Phone: (978) 463-7878 | Fax: (302) 371-7878
May Pass By These Lighthouses: Newburyport Harbor Range Lights
Other Types of Tours or Travel
Offers helicopter cruises over Boston, and offer North Shore and South Shore tours where visitors can get aerial views of many of the lighthouses.
Scheduled flights depart from Nantucket and Hyannis
480 Barnstable Road
Hyannis, MA 02601
For All You Massachusetts North Shore Visitors