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Hiking on Cape Cod National Seashore

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From Boston, take Route 1 north
Cross Sagamore Bridge and continue on Route 6
Take exit for route 16
Continue straight until you reach a large rotary with traffic light
Stay on the right for route 1A, direction Lynn
Follow directions for Nahant
Turn right for Nahant at the rotary after a high-rise building on the right
Continue on Nahant Road over the breakwater that links Nahant proper to the mainland
Drive past Little Nahant and watch for Ocean Street about 0.5 mi after the cemetery
Turn right on Ocean Street and park on the lot on the right just after Valley Road
  Good to know in advance
The gate at the Northeastern University Research Center closes at sunset, but you can walk around it on the beach to get out if you are locked in

Do not try to drive up to the Northeastern research center: the parking lot is for local residents only

Carry out your trash
Pets on a leash
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Nahant - East Point

ID Card

Overall rating: Five-Star Rating Five-Star Rating Five-Star Rating Five-Star Rating Five-Star Rating
Difficulty: 1/5
  Time from Boston: 45 minutes
  Duration: Few hours


  Main activity:


  What do our ratings mean?
Nahant is a narrow peninsula jutting from the North Shore in the Massachusetts Bay. It offers great views on the Boston harbor and the North Shore itself up to Marblehead. Our destination features a short walk that will lead you to a great viewpoint overlooking the ocean.

From the parking lot, walk down on Ocean Street for a few yards and turn left on Willow road along the bay. There are stairs midway on the seawall allowing you to walk on the beach – you can climb back on the street using the boat ramp at the far end of the bay.

At the next large intersection you can turn right on Wharf Street for a short detour to Nahant Harbor, a quaint place that could easily have its place in Maine with its small boats at the anchor in the warm months or parked on the lot in winter.
Go back on Willow road and continue straight, climbing the small hill and turning left, passing a nice church on the left until you reach the intersection with Nahant Road. Follow Nahant Road on the right, walking past very nice houses on the right, and bear left at the next fork. You soon reach the gate of the Northeastern University research center that occupies the tip of the Nahant peninsula.

The Wayside Inn is one of several hotels at Chatham but it is conveniently located in the center of the town, just beside the Kate Gould Park. The Inn includes a restaurant that offers good fare and attentive service at reasonable prices. Many of the inn rooms are recent or have been refurbished recently and most exhibit a cleanliness and tasteful décor rarely encountered at that price level. The service is also quite good, which has made this place our favorite in Chatham.

Walk past the gate and follow the trail past the buildings and beyond a small chain gate. Turn left after for a very short climb that leads you to the plateau overlooking the ocean. A few benches allow you to sit and gaze at the sea, generally in complete solitude. You can also just sit on the grass and enjoy the silence.

To return, walk back to the gate and turn left at the fork on Swallow Cave Road. Continue until the end of the road and turn right on Vernon Street. You then reach Cliff Road again, where you turn left to get back to your car.

If you are not afraid of bad weather, East Point is also a great place to watch the heavy seas when winter storms hit the coast. In these conditions, the place can be very windy, foggy and cold, so always dress accordingly.

Allow about 2 hours round-trip if you stay for a while at East Point to enjoy the view and the marine breeze.


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