Other Ideas: Good Harbor Beach; Salem Willows Park; Gloucester Waterfront; Cape Cod National Seashore; Crane Beach
Plum Island is an 11 mile long barrier Island off the shore of Newburyport and Newbury. Once largely a summer getaway, Plum Island is increasingly a year-round community.
The island has many residences, a national wildlife refuge, small shops and restaurants, and of course miles of beautiful sandy beaches.
Plum Island offers miles of public sandy beaches and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, home to over 800 species of birds, plants and animals on 4,662 acres. Sandy Point on the southern tip of Plum Island is a State Park and a wonderful place to swim, sun yourself or go tidepooling. Parking is available at the Refuge, the Point or in private parking lots. Fee Charged. Refuge information (978) 465-5753
There are plenty of fish to be caught in the Merrimack River and off shore. If you enjoy fishing, you can cast your lines off the shore of Plum Island, or sign up for an off-shore excursion on a charter boat. The north end of Plum Island offers spectacular views of the inlet to the Merrimack River, surf fishing, an historical lighthouse, and deep-sea fishing/party boats. Parking is available at the Refuge, the Point or in private parking lots. Fee Charged.
The focal point for many birding trips is the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, a 4,662-acre sanctuary located on Plum Island. The entrance to the refuge is situated less than four miles from Market Square, the historic center of downtown Newburyport. The refuge contains a wide variety of habitats including beaches, sand dunes, saltmarshes, salt pannes, freshwater impoundments, and maritime forests.
There are many parking lots on the Parker River Wildlife Refuge but most are quite small. The largest is Parking Lot # 1 which is on the left just after you pass by the gate house. During peak times there can be a wait to get into the Reservation. Restrooms are available at Parking Lots 1 & 4.
The Plum Island Public Beach has a few parking lots just across from the main beach and one much larger parking lot if you turn left on to Norther Boulevard and follow it all the way to the North Point of the Island by the playground and light house.
Phone: (978) 462-6680
Take I-95 North to Exit 57, Rte 113 East. As you drive through Newburyport, MA Rt. 113 will become Main Street and then will turn back into Rt. 113 as you leave Newburyport and pass into Newbury. You will pass the Newbury Town Green on your right and take a left at the traffic light on to Rolfe’s Lane. At the end of Rolfe’s Lane you will take a right on to Newburyport Turnpike and follow it over to the beach. You will pass the Newburyport Airport on your right and Bob Lobster on the left.
If you want to go to the Parker River National Wildlife Reservation Beach, take a right at the Plum Island Grille, on to Sunset Drive. Keep straight if you want to head to the main public beach.
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