• Salem is a quintessential spooky destination and one of the best Halloween destinations on the East Coast, with its rich history and Halloween happenings.
  • There are several historic and hair-raising spots located just outside of Salem, such as Rockport, Gloucester, Newburyport, Marblehead, Saugus, Medford, Winchester, Danvers, Peabody, and Manchester-by-the-Sea.
  • These towns offer a mix of historic sites, scenic beauty, and Halloween fun, making them perfect for a fall getaway and for avoiding the crowds in Salem.

When it comes to quintessential spooky destinations that are perfect for fall, Salem undoubtedly tops the list. Nestled on the coast of Massachusetts, about 20 miles north of Boston, this famous New England town is one of the best Halloween destinations on the East Coast. The town of Salem and other Massachusetts cities with Halloween happenings are all the rage in this season.

In addition to Salem's Halloween happenings, the charming coastal city is brimming with beauty at every turn, from its picturesque ocean views to its lush scenery. It's also rich in history, largely thanks to its bustling maritime era and its tragic Witchcraft Trials of 1692. But, while it is home to many museums and historic sites, the area can get busy, especially around All Hallows' Eve. For those looking to avoid the crowds, there are still a number of historic — and hair-raising — spots located just outside of Salem, including these places.

Related: 10 Spine-Chilling & Captivating Facts About Salem, Massachusetts

10 Rockport, Massachusetts

The harbor in Rockport, Massachusetts
Photo by Michael Denning on Unsplash
The harbor in Rockport, Massachusetts

Founded in the late 17th century as a fishing village, this seaside town is among the best spooky spots outside Salem to visit; it's equal parts historic and scenic.

Located a little over 20 miles north of Salem, its lush scenery makes it one of the best places for fall foliage on the East Coast. Plus, it's teeming with ghoulish Halloween fun this time of year.

  • Historic sites: Motif #1 (a fishing shack known for being one of the most painted buildings in the country), the Paper House museum, and the Straitsmouth Island Light Station
  • Other notable attractions: Halibut Point State Park, Thacher Island, Delmater Sanctuary, Pool Hill Forest, Front Beach, and Ocean View Point

9 Gloucester, Massachusetts

Grey clouds hang over Gloucester, Massachusetts
Photo by Michael Denning on Unsplash
Grey clouds hang over Gloucester, Massachusetts

First established in 1623, just three years after the pilgrims reached Plymouth, Gloucester holds the distinction of being America’s oldest fishing port.

And, from parades to ghost tours, the city certainly isn't skimping on Halloween thrills, so be sure to check out the town's upcoming holiday events.

  • Historic sites: Hammond Castle Museum, Eastern Point Lighthouse, Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House
  • Other notable attractions: Cape Ann Museum, Good Harbor Beach, Stage Fort Park, Wingaersheek Beach, Maritime Gloucester, and Niles Beach

8 Newburyport, Massachusetts

An aerial view of Newburyport, Massachusetts
Photo by Brandon Duford on Unsplash
An aerial view of Newburyport, Massachusetts

Nestled on the southern bank of the Merrimack River and the Atlantic Ocean, Newburyport was first settled back in 1635 as part of "Newberry Plantation," which is now known as Newbury.

From leaf-peeping to trick-or-treat thrills, the quaint coastal city is a must-see this fall.

  • Historic sites: Custom House Maritime Museum, Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm and Coffin House (located nearby in Newbury), Swett-Ilsley House, and Plum Island Lighthouse
  • Other notable attractions: Maudslay State Park, Plum Island Beach, Waterfront Park, and Oldies Marketplace

Related: 10 Witchy Things You'll Learn When Visiting Salem, Massachusetts

7 Marblehead, Massachusetts

The historic Marblehead Light in Massachusetts
Photo by Ruth H Curtis on Unsplash
The historic Marblehead Light in Massachusetts

This Essex County gem is an autumnal wonderland and is one of the best towns near Salem to visit in the fall. Since it's only located about 3.5 miles away from Salem, it's the perfect town to visit for those keen on staying away from the witchy crowds.

Take a self-guided walking tour of the Marblehead Historic District to learn about the town's fascinating history. Notable stops include the Old Town House, Old Burial Hill, and Fort Sewall.

  • Historic sites: The Jeremiah Lee Mansion, Fort Sewall, Old Burial Hill Cemetery, Old Town House, Fountain Park, and Marblehead Light
  • Other notable attractions: Wyman Woods, Devereux Beach, Greystone Beach, and Forest River Trails

Visit for a detailed map for taking a self-guided walking tour around the city's historic district.

6 Saugus, Massachusetts

Beautiful blue skies over Saugus, Massachusetts
Photo by todd kent on Unsplash
Beautiful blue skies over Saugus, Massachusetts

For those looking for historic spots outside Salem to visit, Boston is another obvious choice.

However, since it's equally if not more of a tourist hot spot, this Boston suburb is a great option for those looking to embark on a peaceful Massachusetts fall getaway.

  • Historic sites: The Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site and the Boardman House
  • Other notable attractions: Revere Beach, Breakheart Reservation, Rumney Marsh Reservation

Saugus is located about 11 miles north of Boston and about 12 miles south of Salem.

5 Medford, Massachusetts

Medford Square in Massachusetts
John Phelan  CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons 
Medford Square in Massachusetts

Founded in 1630, there's much history to explore in Medford, which is home to the renowned Tufts University. Nestled along the Mystic River, it's home to lovely lush sites like the Mystic Lakes State Park and Wright's Park.

Most notoriously, however, the town is the site of several infamous crimes throughout history, including The Memorial Day Heist of 1980.

  • Historic sites: The Brooks Estate, Royall House and Slave Quarters, Bigelow Block, and Salem Street Burying Ground
  • Other notable attractions: Mystic Lakes State Park, Shannon Beach, Wright's Park, Wright's Pond, Panther Cave, and the Stone Sculpture

Fun fact: Medford is also home to Amelia Earhart’s residence, which can be found at 76 Brooks Street.

Related: Is Visiting Salem Massachusetts On Halloween Worth The Hype?

4 Winchester, Massachusetts

Fall foliage in Downtown Winchester, Massachusetts
Moonshine4711 CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Fall foliage in Downtown Winchester, Massachusetts

This gorgeous city near Salem can be found right next to Medford in Middlesex County. Located just eight miles north of Boston, Winchester is absolutely breathtaking in the fall.

Discover the town's old soul in the Winchester Center Historic District or tour other historic gems like the Stone Obelisk.

  • Historic sites: Wildwood Cemetery, Stone Obelisk, and the Winchester Center Historic District
  • Other notable attractions: Middlesex Fells Reservation (nearby), Shannon Beach, Whipple Hill, Woburn Municipal Waterworks Museum (nearby), and North Reservoir Lookout

3 Danvers, Massachusetts

Former Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts
John Phelan CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Former Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts

Danvers is brimming with witch history and is home to many historical sites, including the Rebecca Nurse Homestead.

The nurse was executed during the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Moreover, Salem's most significant witch trials actually started at the Danvers' archeological site known as the Samuel Parris home.

  • Historic sites: The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, the Samuel Parris home, Israel Putnam House, Salem Village Parsonage, The Church in Salem Village Marker, The Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Endicott Family Burial Ground
  • Other notable attractions: Crane River

2 Peabody, Massachusetts

Peabody City Hall in Peabody, Massachusetts
Fletcher CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Peabody City Hall in Peabody, Massachusetts

Interestingly enough, Peabody, which is located in Massachusett's North Shore region, was actually first settled in 1629 as part of Salem. Later, it was incorporated as part of Danvers before being established as Peabody in 1916.

Although it's often overlooked in favor of other North Shore gems, this fall escape's rich history and natural beauty make it one of the best historic spots outside Salem to visit nonetheless.

  • Historic sites: Smith Barn, George Peabody House Museums, and Peabody City Hall
  • Other notable attractions: North Shore Children's Museum and Brooksby Farm

Related: Here's What Makes Salem, Massachusetts So Charming In The Winter

1 Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts

Water lapping the coast of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, USA
Rizka via CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons
Water lapping the coast of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, USA

With a name like Manchester-by-the-Sea, this charming town is definitely one of the best places to visit in Massachusetts this fall other than Salem.

The coastal town, which is situated on Cape Ann, is only located a little over nine miles away from the City of Witches, making it the perfect destination for enjoying the beauty of the Bay State.

  • Historic sites: Powder House Hill, Manchester Historical Museum, and Sharksmouth Estate
  • Other notable attractions: Singing Beach, Masconomo Park, Lobster Cove Beach, Coolidge Reservation, and Black Beach