Families that play together, stay together — and the Ipswich River offers countless ways for families and friends to share memorable experiences in nature! Nobody knows the Ipswich River better than the Ipswich River Watershed Association. Our comprehensive guide includes a complete list of parks and other public spaces where you can enjoy the river, as well as the best locations to enjoy your favorite activities:
Other ways to enjoy the Ipswich River Watershed:
Members may use our boats for free!
For a fun family adventure from Riverbend, load up the kids and canoe upstream for a picnic along the river, or turn your canoe downstream and head for the Peatfield Street boat launch, only a 15 minute paddle downstream. You’ll pass painted turtles, ducks, and maybe even a great blue heron on the way. If you take out at the Peatfield Street public boat launch you can walk from there to Riverview Pizza or even to Zumi’s for ice cream and then paddle the kids back to Riverbend!
View Great Places to Have Fun Outdoors in a larger map
Other Recreation Resources in the Watershed:
- Open Space and Recreational Lands
- Community Open Spaces
- Visit the IRWA Store to buy our Ipswich River Canoe Map
This guide was made possible by a grant from REI’s Great Place Program.
New Canoe Trail maps- Google Earth/ Google map files
- Canoe trail on the lower Ipswich (Winthrop Street to Peatfield Street in Ipswich)
- Wenham Swamp Canoe trip (Route 97 Launch to Willowdale Meadow just upstream of Foote Brothers)- in progress
The Ipswich River Watershed Association and writers of this guide assume no liability for anyone engaging in activities, or visiting locations, mentioned in this guide. Landowners permitting the public to use their property for recreation are protected under state law against liabilities for injuries on their land (MGL Ch. 21 S. 17c).
Readers should be aware of state requirements to use approved personal flotation devices (PFD’s) in canoes, kayaks and other watercraft. Children under 12 must wear PFD’s at all times in watercraft, and adults must wear the PFD between September 15 and May 15, and have one for each person in a watercraft at all times. We recommend you use them at all times, and when swimming in a current as well. Wet suits are advised for sea kayaking. You should also be aware of water quality considerations in any water contact recreation.
Be aware of requirements to wear helmets when biking; note we recommend that all bikers should wear helmets and use other appropriate safety gear and precautions.
Hunting is allowed on many state properties. Hunting for some species occurs year-round, but the prime hunting season is from October 1 to February 29, with the deer season from the last Monday in November to the third Saturday in December. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays, nor within 500 feet of a building 150 feet of a paved road or designated bike route (MGL Ch. 151 S. 640).
Lyme ticks are prolific here and outdoor enthusiasts must take precautions to avoid bites and infection. Salt marsh mosquitos are a nuisance even well inland, and greenhead flies are notoriously annoying in July and early August in Ipswich. Poison ivy is very common here, and poison sumac occurs in wetlands.
While you can get away from it all here in the Ipswich River Watershed, most locations noted are relatively close to developed areas, where emergency assistance is available. Please be properly equipped, bring water and food, a map and compass, insect repellent, sunblock, safety equipment, and other necessities. A cell phone with emergency numbers handy may be useful.