Marblehead, Massachusetts, is a fascinating city with lots of hidden gems, even though most visitors only know it as the neighbor of Salem, the “Witch City.” The well-preserved Old Town of this yachting hub is a dream for historic homes, in addition to having a stunning waterfront. Perhaps you’re asking yourself what makes Marblehead, Massachusetts, so special that it makes sense to come rather than Salem or Boston.

If you’re a history lover, there is much to enjoy in this vibrant ancient city.

Although Marblehead was first a fishing village, it quickly grew to become one of the largest cities in the colonies before the American Revolutionary War.

Their shipbuilding and fishing businesses grew to such an extent that they overtook Boston as the main port of entry for goods in 1774.

This historic city offers enough enjoyment for all visitors. Put your travel bag together and let us take you to the top of the best things to do in Marblehead, MA.

Fun Things to do in Marblehead, MA

1. Visit Marblehead Museum

Begin your list of the best things to do in Marblehead with a visit to the Marblehead Museum. The Marblehead Museum is located on your right; take a one-minute stroll northeast on Washington Street. This small building does not open until 10 a.m., so if you are early, I recommend first walking three minutes to Mookie’s at Mugford for coffee and a cone.

The museum is modest and has little space other than where you enter and find a small donation box. Explore the gallery on the second floor, featuring works by J.O.J. Frost, a native of Marblehead.

Frost had no official training and didn’t start painting until he was 70 years old, but he wanted to capture his early recollections of Marblehead. He depicted both peaceful and terrifying days at sea in his paintings, as well as landscapes of the town when it was still a significant fishing settlement. Although Frost viewed himself more as a historian than an artist, his creations are now prized examples of American folk art.

The Marblehead Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (and occasionally on Saturday) at 170 Washington Street.

2. Fort Sewall

Fort Sewall is a historic coast fortification located at Gale’s Head, Marblehead, Massachusetts, overlooking the entrance to Marblehead Harbor.

Bunkers and underground cells that once held inmates still exist in the “Fort,” which the federal government gave the town in 1922.
The most important moment in the history of the Fort was on Sunday, April 3, 1814, when the United States of America declared war on the British.
Following pursuit by two British frigates, the Navy’s Constitution withdrew into Marblehead Harbor under the shelter of the fort’s guns.

Fort Sewall is a well-liked family vacation spot that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Today a community parkland, the headland offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic, Cape Ann, off-shore islands, Marblehead Harbor, and other tourist destinations.

3. Jeremiah Lee Mansion

Built by American artisans in 1768, the Lee Mansion is a beautiful Georgian house that belonged to Jeremiah Lee, the richest merchant in Colonial Massachusetts. The home, which has been preserved almost exactly as it was, is a monument to the commercial success of Colonial America as well as its close ties to England.

Before leaving the Marblehead Museum, purchase $10 entry tickets to the Jeremiah Lee Mansion at the front desk.

Not all the artifacts necessary belonged to the Lee family, but they represent the craftsmanship of the times.  This includes period wooden cabinets made locally and imported items made from silver, ceramics, and textiles.  One especially cool treasure is a chair that belonged to John Hancock.

The Jeremiah Lee Mansion is located at 161 Washington Street. Tours run hours starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with the last tour leaving at 3 p.m.

4. Enjoy Sunrise Views From Castle Rock

Castle Rock in Marblehead, Massachusetts, is one of the most picturesque locations to visit. This is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of coastline that offers breathtaking sunrises over the ocean.

If you’re not an early riser, though, don’t worry—it’s stunning at any time of day. One of the greatest hidden beauties in town, it was once utilized as a lookout for pirates and French and British invasions.

If you want to feel like you’re above the entire town, you can climb the tallest rock formation or head down to the beach area to enjoy the views from the little shoreline. If you choose to do this, just remember to take your time, be careful, and wear the appropriate shoes.

Additionally, if the rock is damp and slippery, it is not a good idea to attempt this.

Make sure to capture every moment of your trip to this fascinating location.

5. Grab A Lobster Roll At Little Harbor Lobster Company

Little Harbor Lobster Company has the best lobster roll in town, and it’s only a quick ten-minute walk from the historic district’s center.

This tiny seafood shack, which has a wonderful beer selection and overlooks the port, serves up fresh fish of all kinds in addition to lobster rolls. It also sells organic wines.

There’s very little sitting outside and none within. A lot of folks grab their food to go and have a picnic in a neighboring park.

However, there’s a chance you’ll get lucky and grab one of the outside benches to eat your lobster roll and take in the harbor’s fishing vessels.

6. Visit the Old Burial Hill

If you enjoyed the movie Hocus Pocus, you should recognize this cemetery and probably add it to your list of the best things to do in Marblehead, MA, since it was used for filming a few scenes.

It’s one of the top attractions in Marblehead, Massachusetts. However, even if you haven’t seen the film, this is a truly fantastic place to see while traveling. You may be asking why it’s worth your time to visit an old cemetery, but from the top of the hill, this one offers breathtaking views of Marblehead Harbor. Make sure to ascend to the summit and spend some quiet time in the gazebo.

The memorial stone for Wilmot Redd, which was erected in 1998, honors the memory of the sole Marblehead woman who was tried, convicted, and hanged during the Salem Witch Trials.

This is a noteworthy historical marker in the cemetery. Additionally, there are more than 600 Revolutionary War-era graves, many of which remain unmarked.

7. Explore Harbor Light Inn

As one of the best maritime capitals in the world, Harbor Light Inn is unlike any other. It is among the few genuine seaside settlements that still exist on the North Shore of Massachusetts Bay.

Like the steady beat of a mantle clock, the Harbor Light emanates warmth, gentleness, and tranquility and is worth visiting.

The Harbor Light Inn has its own particular taste and personality, as unique as each of its 20 guest rooms, even though it has all the amenities that any first-class Boston hotel should have.

Various elements, such as lighting, handcrafted woodwork, well-crafted furniture, paintings, engravings, and prints, symbolize the wealth and prosperity acquired from several ports and extended periods at sea.

But there’s more: a cozy bedroom fireplace, a heartfelt welcome upon arrival, an abundant breakfast spread with views of the garden and swimming pool, and a true feeling that every visitor is valued.

8. Try A Joe Frogger Cookie At The Muffin Shop

These molasses-based sweets, which resemble gingerbread cookies, were created in the 18th century in Marblehead by Lucretia Thomas Brown, a co-owner of Black Joe’s Tavern. These cookies were created to be pancake-sized and were preserved for a long period by not containing milk or eggs. Due to their ability to be eaten without fear of spoiling or going bad, sailors and fishermen who spent weeks at sea found them to be quite popular.

A portion of the cookies bears Lucretia’s husband, Joseph Brown’s, name; the two of them ran the restaurant together. Though the source of the term “froggers” in the cookie name is still unclear, some claim it originated from the frogs in the neighboring Redd’s Pond.

The historic district’s The Muffin Shop still sells freshly made muffins if you’d like to sample a bit of history. It might be worth visiting Marblehead, MA, just to say you were able to try a Joe Frogger cookie where it was first invented.

9. Buy Packages at Shubie’s Marketplace

Shubie’s has been run and owned by the same family for more than 70 years.

From being a typical package store, they have expanded to provide a wide range of quality wines, spirits, craft breweries, gourmet foods, international cheeses, handmade gifts, and freshly prepared dinners.

Their passion for food and wine has drawn the attention of partners all across the world throughout the years.

Visit Shubie’s Marketplace, which is the neighborhood’s favorite grocery store, at 16 Atlantic Ave., Marblehead, MA, to see why it’s ranked best among the rest.

10. Stroll Around Redd’s Pond

Situated in Marblehead’s historic area, this little yet exquisite pond is well worth taking a stroll around. Redd’s Pond was named after Wilmont ‘Mammy’ Redd, who was a Marblehead resident accused and hanged for the crime of witchcraft on September 22, 1692.  

The pond is used year-round for fishing, model boat racing, ice skating, and hockey games. Anyone interested in fishing Redds Pond or waters within the wider area around Marblehead should consult with local resources before heading out to fish.

It is also conveniently located next to Old Burial Hill, making simultaneous visits to both places simple.

11. Visit Crowninshield Island

The site was previously known as Brown’s Island. Still, it was renamed in honor of Louise du Pont Crowninshield, a leader in the historic preservation movement in America from 1925 until her passing in 1958.

Brown’s Island is a tiny island off the coast of Marblehead, Massachusetts, known as Crowninshield Island, that the Trustees of Reservations have been in charge of since 1955.

Explore the open field, the coastline, and the forested summit of this marine island in Marblehead Harbor.

Approach this remote peninsula, accessible only by boat or on foot across the shallow sea, and then wander up a short, roundabout trail to the summit of a forested hill.

Wander around the spectacular views of the harbor, other tiny islands, and Fort Sewall, and peek into tidal pools rich with intriguing shells and critters.

12. Chandler Hovey Park

Located at the base of Follett Street, off Ocean Avenue, on Marblehead Neck, Chandler Hovey Park is also known as Lighthouse Point.

The 3.74-acre park, which includes the opening of the harbor and the beaches of Beverly and Manchester-by-the-Sea, has pavilions, seats, picnic tables, restrooms, and parking.

It was originally owned by the US government until 1948 when Marblehead resident Chandler Hovey bought it and gave it to the town.

Explore and head over to Chandler Hovey Park if you appreciate taking in the views of the water and moored vessels and ships.

13. Visit Abbot Hall Maritime Museum

Abbot Hall, the town hall of Marblehead, Massachusetts, is a famous and commanding example of Romanesque brick construction, and it is located at 188 Washington Street.

The construction of Abbot Hall took place in two stages, starting in the spring and finishing in the fall of 1876–1879.

Interestingly, there are playgrounds and tennis and basketball courts close by.

Along with the well-known original 1684 Town Deed, the Spirit of 76 painting, a Maritime Museum, several exhibitions and town-related artwork, and a gift shop, the building also houses the offices of the Selectmen, Town Clerk, and Historical Commission.

Along with selling items associated with Marblehead, the Marblehead Historical Commission Gift Shop features displays of Marblehead duck decoys and pottery.

It is open from Memorial Day to October 21st, year-round, including weekends during the tourist season.

14. Grab a Bite at Sea Salt

Sea Salt is a classy American restaurant with a warm atmosphere that serves excellent food and beverages that are obtained locally.

Its objective is to provide its patrons with a genuine dining experience while fostering community engagement.

They try to offer great food and drink in a comfortable setting, whether you want to decompress after a long day, stay in touch with friends, or celebrate a special occasion.

They have a great patio for lounging outside and are about a minute’s walk from the Harbor Ligh Inn.

Your appetite will be sated by Sea Salt’s large food and beverage selection, which is located at 126 Washington Street in Marblehead.

15. Trek through Wyman Woods

On our last list of things to do in Marblehead, MA, is to trek through Wyman Woods. If you’re among those who love the outdoors, Wyman Woods is one of Marblehead’s most thrilling outdoor destinations.

This large woodland has pathways spanning about 50 acres that you may explore on foot or by bicycle.

The nicest natural landscape in Marblehead may also be seen in the woods, and it varies based on the season.

Trekking at Wyman Woods is best done in the fall and spring, when you can enjoy the park’s rich flora. This is also a great location to go bird-watching if you enjoy doing that pastime.

It’s difficult to overlook Wyman Woods’ splendor, which is located along West Shore Drive.


Frequently Asked Questions About Marblehead, MA

What are the best times to visit Marblehead?

The best times to visit Marblehead are during the late spring and early fall, when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities. However, each season in Marblehead offers its own unique charm.

Is Marblehead family-friendly?

Yes, Marblehead is a family-friendly destination with plenty of outdoor activities, parks, beaches, and historical sites suitable for families and children.

Can I go sailing in Marblehead?

Absolutely! Marblehead has a strong sailing culture and is known as the “Yachting Capital of the World.” There are opportunities for sailing lessons, yacht club memberships, and rentals for those interested in experiencing the town’s maritime heritage firsthand.

What are some annual events in Marblehead?

Marblehead hosts several annual events, including the Marblehead Festival of Arts, Marblehead Race Week, the Marblehead Christmas Walk, and various sailing regattas and races throughout the year.

Is Marblehead a good place to visit?

Yes, Marblehead is a fantastic place to visit, especially for history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a peaceful seaside retreat. The town offers scenic views, charming streets, historical sites, and a relaxing coastal atmosphere.

How do I get to Marblehead?

Marblehead is located in Essex County, Massachusetts, about 18 miles north of Boston. Visitors can reach Marblehead by car via Route 1A or public transportation from Boston. The nearest major airport is Boston Logan International Airport.

What is Marblehead known for?

Marblehead is known for its rich maritime history, beautiful harbor, and quaint New England charm. It has a significant legacy in fishing, sailing, and shipbuilding. The town is also famous for its historic architecture and picturesque landscapes.

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