5 things to do when visiting Salisbury

New England Travel

From beaches to parks to pizza.

Salisbury Beach in Salisbury.
Salisbury Beach in Salisbury. Emily Concemi

Salisbury, a small coastal beach town north of Boston on the New Hampshire border, is bursting with summer fun, according to Jennifer Roketenetz, parks and recreation administrator for the town.

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“Even though we are such a small town — our population is under 10,000 — I always say we pack such a punch in our offerings,” Roketenetz said.

There are so many ways to fill your day in Salisbury, said Roketenetz, a town resident for more than 20 years.

“We have a little bit of everything to offer,” she said. “We have the food, we have the entertainment, we have the things for the child at heart, we have the good people, we have the most beautiful beaches. We have all the good stuff.”

Ahead, Roketenetz offers her picks for what to do when visiting Salisbury.

Live music at Salisbury Beach. Emily Concemi

1. Enjoy the beach, and other fun

Salisbury Beach is so much more than waves and sand, Roketenetz said.

“We have the Beach Center, which is Broadway, which is what a lot of people think about when they think of Salisbury Beach,” she said. “It’s the heart of Salisbury Beach.”

The family-friendly center offers food, arcades, live music, a carousel, shops, organized activities for kids, outdoor movies, fireworks on Saturdays, and more. Guests can also stroll a 625-foot-long oceanside wooden boardwalk.

“The center has every amenity and entertainment that you can imagine,” she said.

The 521-acre Salisbury Beach State Reservation, operated by the state, offers swimming, a boating and fishing area, children’s playground, and nearly 500 campsites. The camping season runs from May to October.

“Then there are the beaches that are north of the reservation and north of the Beach Center and that’s where people go if they are locals,” she said. “So it’s just all in what you like.”

2. Grab a slice of beach pizza

Do yourself a favor and order a slice — or two — of beach pizza during your time in Salisbury, Roketenetz said.

Cristy’s Pizza and Tripoli Pizza & Bakery both on Broadway, offer the popular square cut, thin crust pizza beachgoers have come to love.

“That’s the age old debate — Cristy’s or Tripoli,” she said with a laugh.

Roketenetz declined to pick a favorite, saying she loves them both. The pizza shops each have a loyal following, she said.

“You can go on a Friday night and the Tripoli’s line could be down Broadway and then you can go on a Saturday and the same can be true for Cristy’s,” she said.

Those looking for a more extensive dining experience with a great view can head to Seaglass, Surfside, or The Deck, she said.

The Deck, at historic Bridge Marina, is the oldest marina on the Merrimack River and offers only outside dining.

“It overlooks the docks,” Roketenetz said. “It overlooks Newburyport. The food is absolutely delicious. They have live entertainment there. It’s a great space with a good vibe.”

3. Visit a park

Salisbury parks have new offerings such as pickleball courts and a skatepark, Roketenetz said.

“The parks in Salisbury have really been getting quite a few facelifts,” she said. “We’re proud of the work we’ve been doing.”

Partridge Brook Park debuted a new skate park on Friday, which has been under construction for the past year.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Roketenetz said.

The Partridge Brook Skatepark features a bowl, half pipes, rails, and boxes, she said. For those who don’t skate, there’s plenty else to do with a dog park, accessible playground, adult fitness equipment, and sports fields.

Pickleball lovers should head to Lions Park, Roketenetz said.

“Last year we renovated the [tennis] courts and now they’re dual purpose, tennis and pickelball, and we have a very robust pickleball program,” she said.

The park also offers fields and courts for softball, baseball, tennis, and basketball. There’s a playground for kids and a pavilion with picnic tables for outdoor gatherings, she said.

The new carousel at Salisbury Beach. Emily Concemi

Visitors can take a spin on Salisbury’s new, historic carousel, which opened on June 30 — a project more than a decade in the making, Roketenetz said.

Those who have visited the seaside town in decades past know it’s not the town’s first carousel.

Salisbury beachgoers rode the Broadway Flying Horses Carousel for much of the 20th century. It opened in 1914 and was sold in 1977.

The town tried to bring back the original carousel, Roketenetz said, but it wasn’t possible, so a carousel from the same era was secured instead.

The new carousel, built by Looff-Mangels, dates back to 1909, and is located inside a new octagonal pavilion on Broadway. It features hand-carved wooden animals such as horses, giraffes, and camels.

Visitors of all ages have been enjoying the new ride, she said.

“The magnitude of emotion that goes into people visiting, it’s just pure magic,” she said. “That’s the best way to describe it.”

5. Hit a trail

Salisbury has an extensive trail network that’s well cared for by volunteers, Roketenetz said. Folks walk, run, bike, skateboard, and push baby strollers along the paved trails, she said.

“The great thing about them is they connect you all around locally,” she said. “So you can hop on a trail and get yourself from Salisbury to Newburyport. Or they can take you over to Amesbury. It is really nice to have safe connections for folks to walk and bike that take you miles and miles throughout Massachusetts.”

Roketenetz recommends checking out the Old Eastern Marsh Trail, a 3.6-mile rail trail that takes guests to the Merrimack River, and the Salisbury Point Ghost Trail, a 2.2-mile rail trail that is part of the Coastal Trails Network linking the towns of Amesbury, Salisbury, Newburyport, and Newbury.

The ghost trail name came from the train cars along the former railroad line that once transported cargo covered with white muslin sheets and therefore were nicknamed “ghost trains.”

“Just a very short distance off the trails, you can hop off and grab an ice cream or a bite to eat,” she said. “There are so many things adjacent to these trails.”

Outdoor games at the Salisbury Beach Center. Emily Concemi

What readers recommend:

Food / beverages:

All American Tavern — @kjoh11

Cristy’s Pizza — @eibaseballwidow

The Deck — @meagrond

Tripoli Pizza & Bakery — @shermthegerm, @lizbarker_, @crispoe, @seanofkelley, @boston.real.estate


Blue Ocean Music Hall — @the_carryon_cruiser

Fishing — @whisperswill

Joe’s Playland — @ellbee228

Salisbury Beach — @wonderlys, @pinkhappycloud, @lizbarker_, @aeblangill

Salisbury Beach Carousel — @seanofkelley

Salisbury Beach State Reservation — @ellensupple

Winner’s Circle for comedy — @pt35mm