Tips for Exploring Outside the City in the Summer


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Melanie Class of '22 Alumni
Authored on August 20, 2019


Every Harvard student knows the common suggestion of leaving the "Harvard Bubble," but leaving the Boston Bubble isn't discussed as often.

Working on campus this summer, I made it my mission to leave the Harvard bubble as much as possible. However, after two weeks of actively going to Boston, I wanted to escape the sight of historical tours and T Stops everywhere. I needed to leave the Boston Bubble.

The great thing about the commuter rail is the ability to go all over Massachusetts from either North or South Station.

The solution to this struggle was a day trip away from the bustling city to the town of Rockport, MA. If you have never been to Rockport it has both the cute small town feel with beautiful coastal scenery. So this is my guide to the perfect day in Rockport, Massachusetts.

To get to Rockport, you should download the mTicket app. Once on there you can buy ticket from North Station to Rockport, MA. I would suggest buying the $10 weekend pass! It is cheaper than a one-way ticket and works for the whole weekend! The train ride is about an hour long from North Station to Rockport, so be sure to have something to do during your trip or a buddy to talk to. To get to North Station you can always take the T (Boston's subway), I suggest getting there early because trains leave on the dot, so don’t be late! 

After purchasing your ticket it’s time to make sure you have everything you’re going to need to enjoy your time at Rockport.

Quarry with trees around and blue water.

Packing is the key for a fun day trip. Backpacks are a must for day trips. If you decide to hike in the Halibut State Park in addition to seeing the town, you should bring the following:

  1. Sunscreen

You are going to want to avoid sun burns and protect yourself from UV rays. Since you will be outside most of the day it is good to bring sunscreen with you to reapply 

  1. Bug Spray

New England is beautiful, but bugs do run rampant. The best way to keep bugs away is by applying a good about of bug spray. It is also good to check yourself every 30 minutes for ticks if you are hiking. They typically don’t bite until being on you for about an hour, so catch them early!

  1. Hat/sunglasses

Nice way to keep the sun out of your eyes and also a way to keep bugs off your head if you are hiking. Bugs on your head are harder to see so a simple hat will do the trick. Sunglasses are also a nice way to keep the sun out of your eyes.

Boy wearing two hats.

  1. Lunch/snacks 

You will walk a lot. Going through the state park there is a lot of walking and balancing on giant rocks along the coast. So odds are with all the physical activity you're going to get hungry. So it is nice to have snacks and a handy PB & J sandwich on you in the middle of your hike. That way you also enjoy your meal with a nice view. 

  1. Water

Walking outdoors for a long time is a lot of physical activity. So stay safe and hydrated along the way. There are not many water fountains once you are in the state park so make sure you go in with enough water for your friends and yourself. 

Waves crashing into rocks along the coast of Halibut State Park

  1. Speaker

From where the train drops you off to the state park there is a 35/40 minute walk to the state park, so walking with music is a move. My friend Noah and I personally loved playing throwbacks our whole walk to the state park and singing along. 

  1. Portable charger

Although you will likely spend a lot of time within the Halibut Point State Park, you should bring along a portable charger to ensure you have enough battery for your whole trip. With so many beautiful spaces, odds are you are going to want to take pictures. Other than that you should keep your phone in your bag and enjoy the environment around you!

Boats on the water with houses along the coast. Sun setting.

  1. Sweater

Although the sun is out and can get warm in the day, at night being along the coast can be very chilly. I suggest bringing a sweater if you do not want to pay for a sweater from one of the town shops. Although you can get a Rockport sweater as a souvenir from your trip.

  1. Money/card

After eating your packed lunch in the middle of your hike in the state park, you may get hungry later in the day. Being in a New England town along the water, I would suggest one of the seafood restaurants in the city. I personally suggest Blue Lobster Grille! More specifically the salmon there if you're a fan of seafood. If not there are plenty of other options.

My last suggestion is to enjoy the trip and don’t stress about school or anything. The amazing thing about day trips is they’re a pretty inexpensive and fun way to get outside and a break from usual routines. Enjoy nature and enjoy the company of the person you're with.


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Melanie Class of '22 Alumni

Hello! My name is Melanie, and I am currently a rising sophomore looking forward to living in Kirkland House (objectively the best house).

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