With the weather warm and the gardens in full bloom, it’s finally the perfect time to pack up a picnic and bring delicious food out to beautiful New England views. Here are a few of our favorite spots across the North Shore as well as some great places to grab your food from on the way.
Harold Parker State Forest
This vast forest offers many different trails and paths to wander and features 11 different ponds. Explore the wooded areas and keep an eye out for turtles and salamanders before settling in for your picnic.
133 Jenkins Rd., Andover, mass.gov/locations/harold-parker-state-forest
Enjoy your picnic at the waterfront park, on one of its two beaches, or in the Rose Garden at this beautiful spot.
55 Ober St., Beverly, bevrec.com/the-park
Stop by this Trustees of the Reservations property to enjoy your picnic alongside gorgeous plantings, garden rooms, and a federal-style mansion, lush with over a century of history.
572 Essex St., Beverly, thetrustees.org/place/long-hill
Work up an appetite during a nice stroll up the hill and reward yourself with a picnic looking over pristine views of Crane Beach and the Essex River estuary.
1-15 Island Rd., Essex, thetrustees.org/place/stavros-reservation
Stage Fort Park
Picnic at this oceanfront park overlooking the harbor and lawn. Spread out in the gazebo, on the many picnic tables, or at Half Moon Beach, a tiny, beautiful cove.
24 Hough Ave., Gloucester
This beautiful park with just 10 acres of land still boasts stunning views of the Atlantic with great spots along the trail to stop and relax.
140 Hesperus Ave., Gloucester, capeanntrailstewards.org
Live out your fairy tale dreams at this lovely estate and enjoy perfect spots along the property like the Allee, behind the Great House, or one of the historic, manicured garden areas for your picnic.
290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, thetrustees.org/place/castle-hill-on-the-crane-estate
With stroller-friendly paths, shady spots, farm animals, and quintessential New England views, this local spot makes for a great picnic location for the whole family. Each week, the farm also hosts weekly pizza picnics using their own sourdough and wood-fired oven. If pizza’s not your thing, there is also an onsite farm store available for snacks, drinks, and a variety of fresh produce if you forget anything in your picnic basket.
MA-1A, South Hamilton, thetrustees.org/place/appleton-farms
Old Town Hill
Climb to the open field atop the 168-foot coastal promontory and drink in superb views and dine with your friends and family.
Newman Rd., Newbury, thetrustees.org/place/old-town-hill
Maudslay State Park
Gardens, meadows, towering pines, and views of the Merrimack River make for many lush picnic spots at this local park.
74 Curzon Mill Rd., Newburyport, mass.gov/locations/maudslay-state-park
Right outside of downtown Newburyport, this twenty-one acre park is full of gardens, historic structures, and notable monuments which make for great picnic hideaways.
388 High St., Newburyport
A quick hike on a wooded trail brings you to Coolidge Point with vistas of Massachusetts Bay, beach, woodlands, and salt marshes.
Summer St., Manchester-by-the-Sea, thetrustees.org/place/coolidge-reservation
Feast on the lawn, in the gazebo, or on a bench at the harbor’s edge. Follow Beach Street and turn right at Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream and arrive at this perfect picnic spot. Kids will love the park’s playground and watching trains steam by.
60 Beach St., Manchester-by-the-Sea
Enjoy your next picnic perched above the harbor at the end of Front Street in Old Town. Settle in on the grass or in the gazebo and enjoy your meal with beautiful views of the ocean.
188 Washington St., Marblehead
The Stevens-Coolidge House and Gardens
The property boasts flower gardens with woodland and field views as well as a beautiful historical house. Picnic tables are available on site as well as spacious fields to lay down your blankets.
137 Andover St., North Andover, thetrustees.org/place/stevens-coolidge-house-and-gardens
Halibut Point State Park
This spectacular site of renowned granite quarries features big-sky views up the coast to New Hampshire and is a great spot for bird watching.
Gott Ave., Rockport, mass.gov/locations/halibut-point-state-park
After perusing this picture-perfect New England town, head to the tip of Bearskin Neck and picnic on a stone bench with the ocean ahead.
Bearskin Neck, Rockport
Bradley Palmer State Park
In this 721-acre former estate, paths, meadows, and old carriage roads lead the way for a perfect picnicking spot, which is open from sunrise to sunset.
40 Asbury St., Topsfield, mass.gov/locations/bradley-palmer-state-park
Red Rock Park
Take in the ocean breeze and settle in at this waterfront spot in Lynn with over two miles of land and paths to enjoy.
188 Lynn Shore Dr., Lynn, lynnma.gov/about/lynnshoredrive.shtml
WHERE TO SHOP
The North Shore’s landmark gourmet store, with a great selection of packaged snacks, fine wine, cheeses, meals to go, and sandwiches—two that got our attention are the meatloaf with crispy onions, roasted tomatoes, arugula, and Parmesan cream, and of course, the turkey with basil mayo, both followed by the freshly baked raspberry shortbread cookies.
16 Atlantic Ave., Marblehead, 781-631-0149, shubies.com
Right on the main drag in downtown Ipswich, Coastal Green Grocer looks the part of a neighborhood staple with produce, groceries, and an excellent deli that turns out sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides from a fresh-daily menu and specials.
51 Market St., Ipswich, 978-356-8500
Joppa Fine Foods
Think of it as fine dining meets summer picnic. Everything’s fresh and the menu changes daily, but be on the lookout for the crispy chicken sandwich, homemade cookies, and the prosciutto cotto toast.
50 Water St., Newburyport, 978-462-4662, joppafinefoods.com
This local spot brings sandwich shack to the next level with delicious, homemade meals that are great to bring on the go. Enjoy homemade potato chips with your choice of sandwich or salad and wash it down with a cookie. Favorites include the Chopper Cheese which include fresh chopped beef, cremini mushroom, fried onion, American cheese, and chipotle mayo on a grilled sub.
97 Bridge St., Salem, MA, 978-744-2143, chezcasafood.com
Ipswich Fish Market
Come here for chef Chrissi Pappas’s special creations, from lobster rolls to coleslaw, spanakopita to meatless frittata, to authentic Greek baklava and carrot cake.
Next to Ipswich Shellfish Company, 8 Hayward St., Ipswich, 978-356-6941, ipswichfishmarket.com
Karl’s Sausage Kitchen
All decked out in its shiny new quarters off Lowell Street at Route 95, Karl’s is the place to go for a do-it-yourself picnic feast of housemade cold cuts, cheeses from around the world, freshly baked breads, and European delicacies like cookies, candies, and chocolates.
1 Bourbon St., Peabody, 978-854-6650, karlssausage.com
It may look like an old-fashioned country market, but Vidalias is a serious one-stop shop for freshly baked goods, top-notch produce, unusual groceries, and signature sandwiches to go. Try the eggplant panini with roasted eggplant and red peppers, Kalamata olives, red onions, fresh mozzarella, and garlic mayo, or the Utopia sandwich with hummus, lettuce, tomato, cukes, red onions, shredded carrots, and sprouts.
9 West St., Beverly Farms, 978-998-4814, facebook.com/Vidalias
Open Wednesday through Saturday, the reimagined Duckworth’s is more casual and convenient than the fine dining restaurant of the same name that used to occupy the spot. The new iteration of Duckworth’s offers great meals and desserts on the fly, with a wide selection of sides, sandwiches, and delicious entrees, like the fresh-pressed cubanos, seared soy-glazed tuna, and crispy polenta. Be sure to grab some of their fresh cookies or cakes for a sweet treat.
197 E. Main St., Gloucester, 978-282-4426, duckworthsgloucester.com
Just outside Newburyport and near the beaches of Salisbury is this great, family-owned and operated butcher shop. Grab a delicious specialty sandwich to go or choose from a wide variety of prepared foods. Try The Bucciarelli specialty sandwich, packed with fresh ingredients or the Pollo Panini which features grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and chipotle mayo on ciabatta.
147 Bridge Rd., Salisbury, 978-518-3131, bucciarellisbutchershop.com