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Family Itinerary

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CHART A COURSE FOR FAMILY FUN ON
SALEM’S HISTORIC WATERFRONT

Play, discover and learn as you explore Salem’s waterfront treasures and delve into the City’s maritime past. Adventure seekers of all ages will delight in our list of fun things to do at The House of the Seven Gables and nearby on Salem’s waterfront. From hands-on activities and maritime treasure, to tasty treats and great places to relax and play, you’ll find something your entire family will enjoy!

The House of the Seven Gables

Experience Salem’s seafaring past at The House of the Seven Gables!

Step back in time to the Great Age of Sail at this iconic mansion built in 1668 by Sea Captain and wealthy merchant, John Turner I, and his wife Elizabeth. Experience what life was like for families on Salem’s waterfront. Learn about what they ate and where they slept. Climb the mysterious “secret staircase” to see where it leads. And, explore the grounds on a historical-themed scavenger hunt or nautical adventure using a compass to guide your way. No family visit to The Gables is complete without a stop at Kids Cove, a kid-friendly space, featuring hands-on maritime exhibits and activities. Also, make sure to check out the Gables’ family page and event calendar for upcoming programming, including Hands-on History, where the young and young-at-heart can try their hand at old-fashioned games, crafts and activities.

Address: 115 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

Website: https://7gables.org/

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

Ye Olde Pepper Companie

Located right across Derby Street from The House of the Seven Gables is America’s oldest candy company, The Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie. Home to sticky sweet bliss, this popular establishment has been serving up sweets since the 1800s. Stop by and take a bite out of history with one of their old-fashioned hard candies. The Gibralter, the oldest commercially sold candy in America, comes in two flavors – peppermint and lemon — and is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Or, try the Original Salem Black Jack – an old-fashioned molasses stick candy! These mouth-watering candies are made using the original recipes handed down for generations. The store also offers a wide range of handmade chocolates, barks, patties, fudge and more. Yum!

Address: 122 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970

Website: https://www.oldepeppercandy.com/

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Within a 5-minute walk of The Gables is the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, the first national historic site created in the United States. Once an important center for Salem’s flourishing international trade, today, this 9-acre national historic site is a great place for families to explore, learn or simply relax and enjoy scenic views of Salem Harbor. While visiting, tour the Friendship of Salem (1787), a floating replica of an East Indiaman ship located on Derby Wharf. And, explore the expansive stretch of Derby Wharf that leads to Derby Light (1871), one of the only original surviving structures on the wharf. You can also visit the National Park Service’s website for downloadable activities for kids, including a Junior Ranger booklet specific to the site. Complete the activities, get sworn in at the Salem Armory Visitor Center and receive a special badge! Virtual preschooler programming is also available.

Address: 160 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970

Website: https://www.nps.gov/sama/index.htm

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

Pickering Wharf Restaurants & Shops

Treasure hunting on the waterfront can sure make you hungry.

Take a break for a meal or tasty treat on Salem’s Pickering Wharf. Home to some of the finest seafood restaurants in the area, the Wharf offers spectacular waterfront views and fresh local seafood, including New England favorites – lobster, fish and chips, clam chowder, and crab cakes! With many options to choose from, you’ll find something even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy. While there, sit back, relax and enjoy as you watch boats pass by. Or, explore the many boutiques and shops lining the wharf. Special programming is offered throughout the year.

Address: Wharf Street Salem, MA

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

The Peabody Essex Museum

While not directly on the waterfront, the nearby Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is a “must-see” destination for families interested in Salem’s maritime past. The oldest continuously operating Museum in the country, PEM was founded by Salem captains and supercargoes who collected works of art and “curiosities” on their travels. Today, PEM is a museum of art and culture that celebrates Salem’s connections to the world, as well as its seafaring past. They offer a variety of family activities, from hands-on exhibits to weekend festivals and story time. While visiting, be sure to explore the museum’s maritime collections, including elaborate ship models, scrimshaw and cool navigational instruments! And, visit the Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center for kid-friendly activities, discovery drawers, games and computer stations.

Address: Peabody Essex Museum

Website: https://www.pem.org/

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

Salem Willows Park

No family visit to Salem is complete without a stop at Salem Willows Park. This oceanfront hotspot draws families from near and far with its breathtaking views along a 35-acre stretch of waterfront. Named for the European white willow trees planted back in the 1800s, the Park offers an impressive array of outdoor recreation, beaches, a pier, and boardwalk with arcades and restaurants. Spend the afternoon running a mock on the waterfront lawn or relaxing under a shady tree. Ride the old-fashioned, painted horse carousel, or pack a lunch for a family picnic. If you are feeling a daring, try a local favorite – a chop suey sandwich – which has been served up at this seaside park since the early 1900s. Address: Website: Resources: Directions and Distance from the Gables: Parking Info:

Address: 165 Fort Ave, Salem, MA 01970

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

Pirate Adventures along the Salem Waterfront

Did you know there were pirates roaming the coast New England? Some were rogue pirate captains – Kidd, Blackbeard, Bellamy and Quelch – whiles others were privateers commissioned by governments to rob merchant ships and pillage rival country’s settlements. During the Revolutionary War, Salem was among the most active privateering ports in the country. At The New England Pirate Museum and the Real Pirates Museum, you can relive the darker side of Salem and New England’s seafaring past, plus see authentic pirate treasure and engage in a variety of fun, interactive activities.

Address: 274 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970

Website: https://www.piratemuseum.com/

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

The Salem Trolley

From The Gables, families can board the Salem Trolley for an 8-mile ride through the City’s historic past. Narrated by a local guide, this one-hour tour provides an overview of the City’s history and entertaining facts about the people and places that make Salem unique. The Trolley makes 14 different stops at hotspots along the way, so you can come and go as you please. Special themed tours are offered throughout the year. The Tales and Tombstones tour runs at dusk and explores the darker side of Salem, while the lighthearted, interactive Christmas Carol tour (offered seasonally) has been delighting families for years.

Address: 8 Central Street, Salem, MA 01970

Website: https://salemtrolley.com/

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

Winter Island Maritime Park + Campgrounds

Looking for a unique camping experience by the water? Then, Winter Island Park is the place for you! This family-friendly campground is located on Salem Harbor, just minutes from the historic downtown. The Park offers many opportunities for families to explore the waterfront, from both land and sea. Spend the day fishing, boating, or relaxing at the public beach. Or, explore the ruins of Historic Fort Pickering and the Winter Island Lighthouse. An onsite playground is also available for an afternoon romp. Tent and RV rental spaces must be reserved in advance.

Address: 60 Winter Island Rd, Salem, MA 01970

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions

Salem’s Annual Maritime Festival

Celebrate Salem’s maritime past at this weekend-long summer festival at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. This free, family-friendly event is a great way to introduce kids to maritime history through hands-on activities, lively demonstrations, storytelling, live music, harbor cruises and more! So, grab your sun screen, rally the kids and make your way to the shore for memory-making maritime adventures for the whole family will enjoy! Address: Website: Resources: Directions and Distance from the Gables: Parking Info:

Address: Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Directions and distance from the Gables: Diretions