Plum Island is a New England barrier island renowned for its bird watching opportunities and beach lifestyle. The island encompasses parts of four coastal New England towns, Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley and Ipswich all in Essex County. The Essex National Heritage Area and The Essex Coastal Scenic Byway both present great opportunities for scenic views and historic sites. Your first stop should be the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The visitor center is on your left as you head into the island.
The three thousand acres of protected salt marsh provide habitat to over three hundred species of resident and migratory birds, see the checklist here.
After visiting the refuge as you continue down Island Drive you will see a pull off to the right. Down a short drive there is a memorial to a marine killed during the Vietnam War and good views of the salt marsh and river.
There are many beaches in the area including one as you proceed down towards the tip of the island.
As you make your way past the summer homes and vacation rentals to the end of the street you will come across the Newbury Harbor Lighthouse (aka Plum Island Lighthouse). Shifting sands leave the lighthouse quite a bit away from the present shoreline.
If you are looking for a beach rental away from the bustle of Hampton or Salisbury Plum Island is a great alternative.