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The 10 Most Memorable Things To Do on the Massachusetts North Shore

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Spy on Shorebirds at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Great Egret picture - Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Spy on Great Egrets and other migratory shorebirds at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

© 2007 Kim Knox Beckius
Of course, we also enjoyed spending time on our own little island hideaway. Plum Island not only has uncrowded miles of public beach (June and August are the best times to visit; you might run into bothersome greenhead flies during a few weeks in July), it is home to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, a terrific birding spot with its own pristine beaches to explore.

As of 2013, admission to the refuge is $5 per car ($2 per person if you arrive on foot or bikes), and on busy weekends, you'll need to arrive early, as there is a limit to the number of vehicles that can enter the protected property. In the summer, you'll be able to spot magnificent shorebirds without leaving your car. Parker River Wildlife Refuge is also a great place to observe songbirds during spring and fall migrations.

When we visited in June, much of the public beach was closed to protect the nesting habitat of endangered Piping Plovers. More of the beach is usually opened to the public beginning in July.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary dining and services for the purpose of reviewing those services by the following: Schooner Thomas E. Lannon, Lighthouse Preservation Society, Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, Woodman's of Essex, Singing Beach. While it has not influenced this article, About.com believes in full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. Ethics Policy

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