Hike into the New Year on the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

December 27, 2023

The end of the year is a great time to promote First Day Hikes across Essex County. For several years, this initiative led by America’s State Parks encourages people to get outside and get healthy while connecting with nature and their community. Enjoy these First Day Hikes and nature spots along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway!

CraneOutdoors: First Day Hike in the Dunes, Ipswich

When: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Crane Beach on the Crane Estate, 310 Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA 01938
Distance: 4 miles
Hosted by: Crane Beach on the Crane Estate 
Details: This hike explores the heart of the Castle Neck trail system, giving you a taste of all it has to offer. It covers approximately four miles, but it will feel like more given the hills and added rigor of hiking in the dunes.

Halibut Point State Park, Rockport

When: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Location: 4 Gott Avenue, Rockport, MA 01966
Distance: 3 miles
Hosted by: Department of Conservation and Recreation
Details: Stroll along trails at the edges of the last glacier. Enjoy the seasonal scenic splendor including wintering ducks and birds along this rocky coastal water. Breathe in the fresh scent of seaside air and start your New Year healthfully! Warm up in the newly renovated Visitor Center with WWII Tower and exhibits! Be prepared for cold weather and wear winter boots. Dogs are welcome on-leash. Meet at the parking lot.

Massachusetts State Parks Self-Guided Opportunities

When: Up to you!
Location: Essex County (and beyond)
Distance: Varies
Hosted by: Department of Conservation and Recreation
Details: Explore your local state park by going on a self-guided tour and creating your own adventure! The DCR has an extensive list of suggested hikes as well as resources to help keep the whole family engaged. Up along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, you can consider Salisbury Beach State Reservation in Salisbury or Maudslay State Park in Newburyport.

After your hike, you may want to pop into a local book shop to find a new read for the new year! Check out our blog post on some of the best little book shops you can explore locally.