Salem Willows is located at the end of Salem Neck, a mile-long peninsula jutting out between Salem Harbor and Beverly Harbor. The park itself is host to an old-time feeling arcade, several take out options for food, an historic popcorn stand, and beautiful Willow tree lined promenades that look over Beverly Harbor. It offers two beaches for launching. One is at the very end of the peninsula, called Main Beach, and is perfect for launching paddle adventures to several different destinations. The other one is on the Beverly Harbor side of the park, and despite being called Dead Horse Beach, offers beautiful views of the harbor and easy access into protected Collins Cove, or for a paddle up the Danvers River.
We love the park for its historic charm, eclectic food, music, and entertainment offerings, its diverse family friendly atmosphere, and of course, the natural beauty of this seaside park.
One of the best parts about paddling from Salem Willows is that it offers good protection from the wind on almost any direction. It’s coastline is rocky and dynamic, and offers little coves and rocky islands to duck in and out of or play near. Due to the average tidal range of 9.5’, the view while paddling changes dramatically over the course of the 6 hours between high and low tide.
On land, don’t miss the chance to grab some weird and lovely flavored bags of popcorn from Hobb’s Popcorn, or a fried clam roll from the Clam Shack.
On the water, one of our favorite paddles is over to Winter Island. Attached by a causeway to the South East side of Salem Neck, the “island” hosts the beautiful Fort Pickering Lighthouse, sandy Waikiki Beach, and trails with sweeping views of the harbor that lead to some of the best rocks for tide pooling that we know! On the paddle back, a short detour into Juniper Cove provides a chance to float in a secluded cove in the view of charming seaside cottages.
Free parking is available at the beginning of the Willows, near the basketball courts.
Equipment can be dropped at either Dead Horse Beach or further up the park to launch from Main Beach.