Top 10 Things to See and Do in Rockport, MA
Updated: May 15, 2020
Escape to historic Rockport, Massachusetts. Rockport is a coastal town filled with food, shopping, and seaside allure. This picturesque town captures the essence of coastal life. Craving an authentic New England adventure? Check out my recommendations for the top 10 things to see and do in Rockport:
1. Halibut Point State Park
When visiting Halibut Point State Park you will be able to see Mount Agamenticus, located 81 miles away in Maine. On a clear day you can also see the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire. There is so much to do! You can explore the parks trails and tide pools, picnic on the rocky ledges, and learn more about the history. It was formally known as the Babson Farm granite quarry. The granite that makes up Halibut Point is estimated to be 440 million years old. Take a walk and discover Halibut Point’s rich history for yourself!
2. Motif No. 1
Motif No. 1 is located on Bradley Wharf. It is a former fishing shack known as the most often-painted building in America. Today’s Motif one is a replica that the Town of Rockport rebuilt it after the Blizzard of ’78 destroyed the first one. Over the years, Motif No. 1 has only grown in popularity and to celebrate Rockport hosts an annual Motif No. 1 Day. This special day honors the fishing shack, artist’s studio, and tourist attraction that started it all: an old building right on one of Rockport’s historic wharves, a building painted so often by artists at the turn of the last century that it was given the nickname Motif No.1. Get your camera’s ready, this is a sight you don’t want to miss!
3. Bearskin Neck
Founded in 1695, Bearskin Neck has evolved from a simple dockyard to a bustling little town full of shops, restaurants, and sweet treats. Most famous for Motif Number One, Bearskin Neck still has the charm of the quaint fishing village where it got its start. Definitely a go to for beautiful ocean views, great shopping, and good food!
Stroll down Bearskin Neck to explore one-of-a-kind shops. You will find handcrafted jewelry, fashionable clothing, locally made crafts, specialty household items, imported gifts, tasty treats, and more!
My Place by the Sea features New American cuisine highlighted by fresh local seafood and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Roy Moore’s Fish Shack serves up seafaring standards such as New England clam chowder, seafood classics and some American classics. Grab a table overlooking the water for a great view and a nice, warm meal.
Red Skiff is one of Rockport’s main breakfast hot spots. If you are looking for a delicious pancake, French toast on local made Anadama bread, some savory pork shoulder, or other breakfast favorites this is the place to go.
Top Dog serves up a multitude of delicious hot dogs with a variety of toppings such as chili, cheese, mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, and many others. Finish out your meal with some fries and a soda (or draft beer for the 21+ crowd).
4. The Paper House
The paper house is an actual home made from newspaper. It has been a local attraction since 1929.Elis F. Stenman and his family began the construction of the Paper House in 1922. For 20 years the Stenmans layered and and pasted and rolled approximately 100,000 newspapers to create their two room dream home. The walls are made of 215 layers of newspaper.
5. Historical Inns
Rockport has over 25 B&Bs, inns, hotels, motels and rental properties scattered throughout the town. Explore all the inns and see rates here.
6. Rockport Art Association & Museum
The Rockport Art Association & Museum is one of the oldest art organizations in the country. Rockport Art Association & Museum’s mission is to foster the creation and appreciation of the fine arts through a rich and diverse program of exhibitions and educational offerings. The association hosts wide range of exhibitions throughout the year, including a Contributing Member Show, Artist Member Shows, Museum Collection Shows, and special exhibitions. Learn more about current exhibitions and classes here.
Front Beach is a short walk from the downtown Rockport village, and from many of the inns and hotels nearby. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer.
Long Beach is located off of Thatcher Road. It is a long, protected stretch of ocean and sand, backed by a cement retaining walls. From Long Beach you can easily view the twin lighthouses on Thacher’s Island. This beach has lifeguards on duty.
Pebble Beach is located at the end of South Street. Smooth pebbles and stones cover this beach. There is a rocky reef just offshore where divers enjoy 20 to 30 foot depths.
Cape Hedge Beach is a long, secluded, rocky beach, separated from Long Beach by a footbridge. It is a quiet and relaxing environment. It is not as well known as the other beaches in Rockport.
8. The Headlands
The Headlands are tucked away on a side street in downtown Rockport. Starting at Dock Square, walk up Mt. Pleasant Street and turn left onto Atlantic Avenue. At a sharp bend in the road, you’ll see a sign saying “Way to Headlands.” This short hike is well worth it (it’s about a 3-minute walk on a rocky trail). From the top you can take in views of Rockport Harbor, Sandy Bay, and the northern coastline of Cape Ann.
9. Rockport Music/Shalin Liu Performance Center
On June 10, 2010, Rockport Music opened the doors to the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Since then it has become an important cultural resource for the greater Boston community, attracting well-known performers to cape ann. The design embodies the culture of Cape Ann with naturalistic themes of wood, stone, and water. The floor to ceiling window behind the stage gives guests a stunning view of Rockport Harbor.
This is a venue you don’t want to miss. Grab your tickets for the next performance here.
10. Hike the Atlantic Path
The Atlantic Path is a three-hour public pathway along Rockport’s coastline that extends from Halibut Point State Park to Cathedral Avenue in Pigeon Cove.
Venture to Cape Ann to see all that Rockport has to offer!
Love and lots of coffee,