Rockport, MA – Downtown Area

Last Visited: Monday; May 28, 2012

What do here:  Rockport is a lovely historic seaside town at the end of Cape Inn just north of Boston.  It really comes alive in the summer and offers many of the joys of a trip to Cape Cod or another beach-side area with a lot less of the traffic related hassles.  It’s very easy to spend a day or weekend here and it has become a very popular area to do just that.  Among the many things to do are the following:

  • Shopping:  Downtown Rockport has tons of nice stores, many with a nautical theme.

    Bearskin Neck - Downtown Rockport, MA

    Bearskin Neck - Downtown Rockport, MA

  • Dining:  There are plenty of restaurants in Rockport both on and off Bearskin Neck.  A personal favorite of mine if Roy Moore Lobster Company on Bearskin Neck for cheap and tasty classic New England seafood dishes.
  • Art Galleries:  There are numerous art galleries in downtown Rockport, it’s pretty easy to spend a few hours going through them.
  • Kayaking and other ocean boating tours:  There are several tour operators and kayak rental businesses that can allow you to see Rockport and part of Cape Ann from the water.
  • Musical Performance Center:  The Shalin Liu Performance Center offers a wide variety of musical performances.  For more information please go to their website.
  • Beach Area & Swimming:  Front Beach is located just a few minutes walk from downtown Rockport.
Front Beach in downtown Rockport, MA

Front Beach in downtown Rockport, MA

  • Millbrook Meadow and Pond Park:  This park is located just a few blocks from Bearskin Neck and Front Beach off of King St.  It is a lovely oasis of green with a great grassy picnic area, pond and playground to enjoy.

    Millbrook Meadow Park Playground in Rockport, MA

    Millbrook Meadow Park Playground in Rockport, MA

  • Scenic Views of Rockport Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean:  All of Downtown Rockport has great views but this is especially true right on the water.  The view from the end of the Bearskin Neck Jetty and Front Beach is wonderful!

Getting here:  Downtown Rockport is right off Route 127.  Take Route 128 and then take a left when you see signs for the intersection of Route 127 a second time.  After that you’ll come to an intersection with Route 127A, that will take you right to Bearskin Neck and Downtown Rockport.

Facilities, Fees and other information:  If you are planning to visit Rockport during the summer season (Memorial Day through Labor Day) parking downtown is very tight.  Every spot is either metered, banned or otherwise unavailable because there are a lot of cars jostling over a limited number of spots.  However, there is a satellite lot right off Route 127 on the way into Rockport that offers free parking and a $1 per person shuttle ride each way into town. This is the way to go as parking in Rockport can be a nightmare that this lot takes care of quite nicely.  There is also parking at the Commuter Rail station, however I’m not sure what the rules are regarding permits, etc.  I parked there on a holiday and had no trouble, I suspect you can get away with it on Sundays and holidays when people aren’t using it to commute but the satellite lot is a much better bet.  To get to the commuter rail lot take a left turn onto Railroad Avenue at the intersection of Routes 127 and 127A and then take a left just a little bit further down where you should see signs for the station.  The address of the station is as follows (if you’re using a GPS navigation device):

17 Railroad Ave.
Rockport, MA 01966

The satellite lot is known as the Blue Gate Lot and is open during the summer season.  You will pass it on Route 127 on your way into Rockport.  The address is:

2 Blue Gate Lane
Rockport, MA 01966

If you’re looking to go straight downtown, I’d recommend using an address on Bearskin Neck in Rockport.

Rockport is also accessible using public transportation.  The Rockport branch of the Newburyport/Rockport line that leaves from North Station in Boston is only a short walk from Downtown Rockport and is an easy way make the trip from anywhere on the MBTA.  For more informaiton go to the MBTA’s website and look up the schedule for the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail line.