Playgrounds with a View on the North Shore

Posted by Ann, Ziptivity’s North Shore Community Ambassador

Yes!  Time to get out and play!!!!!  We’ve been hard at work weeding through all the local playgrounds, working to share with you only the noteworthy ones…  there are about 30 that have been posted covering the North Shore area, so you’ll be sure to find one to your liking in your very own community.  Just key word search “playground” to find one near you.

Here are our local faves:

Lynch Park: Playground, Beverly

Lynch Park is a vast, 16 acre oceanfront park just outside of Beverly center that includes a beach, playground, and during the summer months, they host a Sunday evening concerts series.  The playground  Includes two large wooden play structures—one for wee ones, and one for Big Kids. My boys love the climbing tires, the tube slide and especially the challenge of the wooden bridge. Ample parking comes at a price during the summer months – $5 weekdays, $12 weekends (free to Beverly residents). Pack a picnic (or go to the concession stand) to enjoy in the beautifully maintained gardens.  This is one of those parks that you’ll want to spend the whole day.  Restrooms, yes – and relatively clean.

Masconomo Park, Manchester

Another scenic, waterfront park on the North Shore is Masconomo Park.  We met friends here weekly when the boys were a little younger.  It’s a relatively smaller playground area – perfect for toddlers.  They keep it immaculately clean and well maintained.  The space also includes a nice grassy area for sports or picnicking.  A HUGE draw is Captain Dusty’s ice cream just across the street.  Resident sticker parking required for the summer months.

Okay, yes we’re spoiled on the North Shore…  yet another waterfront playground.  Stage Fort Park sits high up on a hill just off the boulevard in Gloucester.  They have loads of hilly lawn for rolling, picnic areas, and very, very cool stone steps built into the gigantic boulders that sit along the waters edge.  Explore the cannons  or take the stone steps down to an “adorable” rocky cove of a beach for some tide pooling.  The playground is a good size and sits just a bit too close to the street for me.  It was recently renovated (2008?) – suitable for all ages.  I do wish they’s remove some of the older, wooden structures – we’ve suffered our fair share of splinters (and try to tell your 4 yo to stay off a very cool wooden truck). There’s a great concession stand known simply as “The Cupboard” at the foot of the hill for fried clams and ice cream. Restrooms, check.  Non-resident parking fees apply.

Endicott Park, Danvers

Endicott Park is a gorgeous, HUGE park.  The playground has two wooden play structures (one for early walkers, one for toddlers and up) is well-kept.  I’m not crazy about the sand as a cushion – I much prefer mulch, but the kids certainly didn’t seem to mind.  The big kids like the “massive” slides, zip lines and a tire climb challenge.  Pack a picnic (no concession stand here) and take in the beauty of the orchard.  Venture up to The Children’s Barn to view and pet the local farm animals.  Restrooms, yes.  Parking cheap: $1 Danvers residents; $3 nonresidents

Wenham Tea House: Playground, Wenham

The playground behind the Wenham Tea House is an adorable wooden playground meant for younger kiddos.  It’s a well-kept secret – never crowded, always kept clean and well-maintained. Visit “The Exchange” (the front building) after your romp, for a snack and some retail therapy in their gift shop. You’ll even have the opportunity to prepare dinner with the purchase of a “to-go” meal at their gourmet shop.  Clean, restrooms, free.

Rockport Elementary School Playground, Rockport

The Rockport Elementary playground was renovated in 2009 to be one of the only accessible playgrounds on the North Shore – the 1st on Cape Ann. It is state of the art with two huge towers, multiple slides for all ages, swings, rock walls, a crazy snake-contraption that you sit (or stand) on and try not to fall off, looong ramps and bridges, swings, a “spider” net – you name it.  Free, available during non-school hours.  No restrooms.

 Honorable mentions:

Patton Park, Hamilton

Pingree Park, Wenham

Eagle’s Nest Playground (Essex Elementary), Essex

Cove Playground (aka Kimball Haskell Park), Beverly

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