Finding Plum Island – A GPS Guided Single-Day Tour

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If there was anything “good” about life before global positioning systems, it was that occasionally it was just plain fun to be lost — at least if you weren’t low on gas and short on time. It’s during these times – when one wanders off the beaten path – that you sometimes find little-known “nuggets” such as Plum Island, Massachusetts.


But modern technology enhances everything – and you can plan a trip instead of stumbling upon a great place.  Plugging Plum Island into your GPS navigation system, you will find it to be a small 11-mile island that is divided between four towns and cities: Ipswich, Newbury, Newburyport, and Rowley. Situated about 60 miles north of Cohasset, Plum Island contains public beaches, small businesses, and private homes. The island also contains pristine saltwater marshes protected by the US Fish and Wildlife Services. The island can only be accessed by one road and charming drawbridge over the Plum Island River.


Okay, new nugget found. Now to use your GPS device to locate the best of things-to-do for your single-day adventure exploring this lovely little island nestled in the heart of New England. Here are some recommended locales to plug into your GPS:



  • Newbury Beach – this beautiful strip of beach is one of New England’s best kept secrets; it’s never crowded and is perfect for long quiet walks. There is a significant undertow, so keep younger children close to you.


  • Newburyport Farmers Market – open on Sunday mornings, this farmer market represents over a dozen local farms, handmade jewelry and clothing by local artisans, as well as scrumptious baked goods.


  • Mad Martha’s – this little gem offers fantastic lunch specials in intimate little space with music apropos, and a friendly staff. Here you will feast on the finest in local flavor.


  • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge – you won’t want to leave this part of the island without stopping here to get a gander of over 300 species of both residential and migratory birds. There are also observation towers for spectacular views, and you may want to look for sand dollars at Sandy Point before you leave.


  • Plum Island Kayak – this friendly, family owned business will take you on a beautiful sunset kayak tour. Safety is first, and you’ll get a quick introduction to kayak safety and maneuvering. They will be hard to top the beautiful sunset over Salisbury Beach.

You won’t want to leave the island without shopping many of the quaint little shops and marketplaces for that hard-to-find treasure. The end to your perfect day must climax in a stop at the Clam Box in Ipswich. Here you’ll get the best in fresh clams to make your adventure complete.


Oh –  and don’t forget to use your GPS to find your way back home. Unless you are looking to “accidentally” happen upon another hidden “nugget” to visit on another day.

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Genevieve Kawecki

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