Adventure Awaits Outdoors

The warm days and cool breezes of early fall make it the perfect time for outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking or kayaking, there is always something to explore right here in the Merrimack Valley—and just beyond. 


Start your journey in your backyard with the Merrimack River Trail. Connect here in Lawrence and enjoy 11.8 miles of pretty riverfront scenery that is ideal for hiking or biking. And be on the lookout as the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is working to expand it to a 50-mile multimodal recreational trail that will connect six cities and 11 towns. 

Travel a few miles away to Topsfield, where you can find several trails and sanctuaries. Bradley Palmer State Park features 721-acres of pine needled paths and sunny rolling meadows for hiking, biking, horseback riding and leaf peeping. And a visit to the Ipswich Wildlife Santuary is not to be missed. To fully experience the wonder here, be sure to bring birdseed, the birds will fly right to you and eat from your palm. Or you can take to the water in a kayak or paddle boat.

Then head over to the Independence Greenway, a 5-mile route that starts in Peabody and ends at the Ipswich River. Great for cyclists, you can also walk, cross country ski or even use in-line skates on this path. And at one end is the North Shore Mall, so you can cross a few errands off your list before or after you enjoy the greenway. 

And be sure to make your way to the beach in nearby Newburyport. The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, also known as Plum Island, is a pristine coastal habitat for more than 300 species of birds. Here you can walk the sand dunes, hike trails, surf fish and enjoy wildlife observation and photography as well as a variety of interpretive programs. And be sure to stop into the visitor center when you arrive, they can help you plan your visit.