Home to Castle Hill and Crane Beach, you'll find biking, hiking and hanging-out options galore

TOWN: Ipswich
WHAT:Located on the Great Marsh, there's more inland, too
WHY:A whole bunch of exploring options packed into a small town

When I was a kid my family visited Ipswich and the name always stuck in my young mind — kind of like Kalamazoo or Poughkeepsie — indigenous names all. After a visit, it may remain in yours as well. 

This is a North Shore town with a wide variety of topologies, from the sandy spit of land called Crane Beach reaching out towards Gloucester to Great Neck's hilltop views towards New Hampshire to Bradley Palmer State Park and Willowdale State Forest's inviting bike paths and hiking trails, Ipswich offers a whole lot for visitors. 

Oh, did I mention a small downtown packed with shops and restaurants, or the fact that this small town sports two well known breweries, a meadery and a rum distillery? Or the spectacular colonial era houses in the village neighborhoods — where were you in 1650?

If you're getting the idea that there are plenty of things to do in Ipswich, you're on the right track!