17 Best Outdoor Activities for the Family in Newburyport

17 Best Outdoor Activities for the Family in Newburyport

  • Alissa Christie
  • 10/15/21

There’s plenty to do with your family in the charming town of Newburyport, Massachusetts, whether you fancy the history, culture, or miles of pristine coastline. Between the leafy hiking trails, uncrowded beaches, bustling waterfront, and visits to neighboring Plum Island, living in Newburyport feels like a true escape you can enjoy day-in and day-out all throughout the year.

As you explore the 17 best outdoor activities for the family in Newburyport, take special note of the delicious seafood restaurants, family-friendly beaches, and even the coastal winter fun ideas during the colder months. 

1.  Discover Maritime History at the Dynamic Custom House Maritime Museum

Explore Newburyport’s seafaring heritage through a unique collection of maritime art, model ships, shipwreck artifacts, historical documents, and more. Housed in a historic structure, the Custom House Maritime Museum reflects the rich history of the region from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. 

Credit: Custom House Maritime Museum

2.  Browse the Shops at the Tannery Marketplace 

Newburyport's finest shopping and dining experience awaits at The Tannery Historic Marketplace, where a hub of indoor and outdoor activity brings families together to explore one-of-a-kind treasures. 

Discover creative learning experiences, health, fitness, and beauty experts, industry-leading business services, cafes, dining options, and more. In the meantime, the kids can cozy up to a huge selection of books at The Jabberwocky Bookshop, explore tons of cool finds at the adjoining Eureka toy store, and so much more. 

3.  Indulge in a Whoopie Pie from Chococoa Baking Company 

You can’t visit the Tannery without sinking your teeth into an artisanal, bite-sized whoopie pie from Chococoa Baking Company. (We recommend the Pumpkin with Pumpkin Ginger Cream). The right size for any age, these whoopie pies hit the spot served alone or alongside your favorite ice cream, sorbet, or fresh fruit. Grab one for the road or stay awhile with a cup of coffee while the kids draw on the chalkboard in the children’s play area.

4.  Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Maudslay State Park

Scenic trails, stone bridges, and gardens make up the 400-acre Maudslay State Park, where gorgeous views of the Merrimack River take your breath away any time of year. Visit to walk the trails with your family (including the dog, as long as you bring a leash), bike ride, run, enjoy the equestrian trails with your favorite horse, or sit down for a quick snack over your own family picnic. In the winter, drop by for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, and more. 

5.  Ride along the Clipper City Rail Trail

The 3.3-mile Clipper City Rail Trail runs between Newburyport’s commuter rail station and downtown, showcasing sculptures, a gallery of local paintings, and views over the Merrimack River estuary with great birdwatching. Along the way, keep an eye out for unique, installed artwork and stop by the model train, a popular spot for kids to engage in some pretend play.

6.  Play Pirates and Sea Captains at Cashman Park

Waterfront on the Merrimack River with an enclosed toddler play area and nautical-themed play structures, Cashman Park offers lots of open space, a tennis court, basketball court, ball field, and soccer fields. The kids will love the super-fun playground where slides, swings, pirate ships, and climbable dolphins make the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of adventurous pretend play. 

Located on the Rail Trail, the park is also a great place to play a few games of tennis and basketball, discover local wildlife, and even watch the Route 1 Bridge open to let the boats pass (if you time it just right).

7.  Grab a Cone at Haley’s Ice Cream

Located near the end of the Rail Trail, the 1950s-style Haley’s Ice Cream welcomes you and the whole family to sit down with a scoop of impeccable ice cream. This diner-style eatery offers a taste of the past with its retro stylings and assortment of churned ice creams from Richardson’s Farm in Middleton. 

8.  Walk the Boardwalk at Waterfront Park

A perfect green space, Waterfront Park features an awesome boardwalk that runs along the Merrimack River. With plenty of benches along the way, you’ll find the perfect spot to stop and enjoy sweeping waterfront views (including beautiful sunsets) over the Merrimack River, people and boat watching, and even a quick bite for lunch from The Tuscan Sea Grill or Sea Level Oyster Bar.

9.  Spot Whales and More with Newburyport Whale Watch

Climb aboard the spacious, 106' Captain’s Lady III to ignite your unique and exciting whale-watching voyage, departing from downtown Newburyport, out to the Merrimack River, and into the Gulf of Maine. 

Discover an ocean rich with many species of diverse wildlife from Humpback, Finback, and Minke whales to porpoise, seals, sharks, and sea birds. Take your 4-hour excursion from May through October, traveling from the boardwalk to the feeding grounds of Jeffreys Ledge, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and beyond.  

10.  Take a river cruise on the Yankee Clipper 

Climb aboard the 45-passenger Yankee Clipper for a fun, family-friendly experience where you can explore the Merrimack River and Newburyport Harbor on an Ecotour.

11.  Paddle There Instead, Courtesy of Plum Island Kayak

Plum Island Kayak offers day-long kayak rentals, helping you create your own adventure with an entire fleet including closed cockpit sea kayaks, opened cockpit recreational kayaks, sit-on-tops, fishing kayaks, closed & opened cockpit doubles, and even fun and trendy stand-up paddleboards. 

Credit: Plum Island Kayak

12.  Lace Up Your Skates for Some Ice-Time at the Graf Rink

Public skating is open from September through April, giving your family the chance to practice speed skating, figure 8’s, and more. Bring your own skates or rent some from the rink for an afternoon of fun. 

13.  Go Deep-Sea Fishing

Deep-sea fishing is a favorite pastime aboard the Captain's Fishing, Obsessed Charters, and Erica Lee II Charters. First time out there hoping to reel in the big one? While on your voyage, visit Surfland Bait and Tackle to learn the ropes of fishing Plum Island, the Merrimack River, and Joppa Flats.

14.  Summon Your Inner Dinosaur at Moseley Woods

Moseley Woods Park Loop is a 1-mile loop trail located near Newburyport. Known locally as the “Dinosaur Park,” this park features a river, hiking trails, a covered picnic area overlooking the Merrimack, and a playground built beneath towering pines. Whether the kids want to swing, slide, scale challenging climbing structures (including a giant dinosaur), or catch some air on a zip line, Moseley Woods is the action-packed place to take your kicks for the afternoon. 

15.  Sit Back for a Show at the Firehouse Center for the Arts

The mission of the Firehouse Center for the Arts is to enrich and entertain all segments of the Greater Newburyport region by providing high-quality visual and performing arts experiences. Visit their website for information on upcoming shows, family programming, and more fun times set to happen inside this intimate 191-seat theater located on the waterfront.

16.  Explore Farm Life at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

The grounds of the Spencer-Peirce Little Farm are where families and farm life come together. Whether you want a quick education with hands-on activities dating back centuries of farm-life, or to simply say hello to friendly animals including sheep, goats, chickens, and a horse, saddle up with the family all throughout the year. 

Credit: Spence-Peirce-Little Farm

17.  Appreciate Nature with Merrohawke Nature School

This extraordinary nonprofit aims to inspire lifelong connections to land and sea through multiple nature-based programs designed and customized for the ages and stages of youth in each unique natural setting. Merrohawke Nature School creates experiences connecting us to the earth, ourselves, and our community, inspired by Jon Young and his book, Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature

Sign the kids up for this invisible school where curiosity, exploration, and play naturally lead to deep wisdom by way of direct, personal experience. Merrohawke is where active mentoring leads to personal growth while raising a generation of youth who are in touch with their gifts, follow their passions, and can become strong, resilient, and empathetic adults.

Buy a Newburyport Home with Alissa

My name is Alissa Christie. As a former full-time attorney, I know the importance of trust and experience when it comes to representing clients and closing deals, especially under circumstances that might be complicated or emotional. Buying or selling a home can be a challenge, and if you're doing either for the first time, you don't want to do it alone! 

As a full-time real estate professional, I am dedicated to helping you navigate the process as seamlessly as possible - doing everything I can to help you buy the right home at the right price or to get top-dollar for what is probably your biggest financial investment. These results are always my first priority, and as your agent, I will listen to you and strive to put your needs ahead of all else, because I believe it's what you deserve.

To explore Newburyport homes for sale, contact me today at (978) 494-3807 or email me at [email protected]



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I am dedicated to helping you navigate the process as seamlessly as possible doing everything I can to help you buy the right home at the right price, or get top dollar for what is probably your biggest financial investment.

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