How to Spend 3 Days in Salem
On a 3-day trip to Salem, you can soak up the city's colonial history, explore the waterfront, go for a sail, and visit historic homes in the McIntire Historic District, and you’ll still have time to explore the nearby peninsula and enjoy waterfront hikes or a visit to a historic arcade. Here’s how.
Day 1: History Tours and Sound Sailing
On your first day in Salem, get your bearings and uncover the history, legends, and historic architecture of this colonial city. Consider booking a haunted-history tour, cemetery tour, or combo tour to get the most out of a morning exploring. After a historic start to the day, recharge with lunch downtown, and enjoy a stroll to Salem Common, the city's historic village green. End your day with a sailing adventure on Salem Sound. Charter a boat, and let your a captain raise the sails and take the tiller so you can sit back and indulge in the incredible ocean views. Back ashore, enjoy a nighttime stroll in the Derby Waterfront District, and stop by the historic light station at the end of the wharf.
Day 2: Hiking and Gaming at the Arcade
On your second day in Salem, get outside the downtown area and enjoy sights along the coast. Start your day by soaking up the ocean air with a hike at the waterfront Winter Island Park, about a 10-minute drive from downtown Salem. Grab lunch and enjoy the perfect family-friendly afternoon just a stone's throw away, in Salem Willows Park, an attraction with two arcades, bumper cars, and fantastic sandwiches. Another option outside the downtown area is Pioneer Village, a living-history museum that showcases the experience of day-to-day colonial life. End your day back in Salem with a stroll along Washington Street to find the perfect place for dinner.
Day 3: Museum Visits and Haunted Streets
After getting the lay of the land, spend your third day enjoying Salem's museums and cultural institutions. Art enthusiasts should spend the morning at the Peabody Essex Museum, and history fans can stop by the Salem Witch Museum. In the afternoon, take an offbeat museum option with stops at the Wax Museum and Witch Village, both of which offer a fun, engaging take on the city's tense history with witches. In the evening, visit the spooky streets of Salem on a haunted-downtown walking tour. Learn about the infamous witch trials, and take advantage of a stop in Old Burying Point—the oldest cemetery in the city, where the accused witches from the 1692 trails are interred.