Date Visited: July 23, 2016
Location: 167 Fort Ave, Salem, MA
Hours: The website for Salem Willows shows their hours as being daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. but you can get in to the park before 11. We got their just before 10 and there was already some people there. I think the hours are the hours of operation for the restaurants and other businesses in that area.
Parking: There are about 60 metered parking spots. The meters cost 25 cents an hour. There is also about 50 additional free parking spots in a nearby lot and off street parking is available.
Dog Friendly: Yes
Highlights: Family friendly, arcades, restaurants, willow trees, harbor, scenic walking path, grassy areas to grill, relax and for kids to play, jetty, place to rent surfboards and other aquatic sporting goods
As I entered Salem Willows I couldn’t help but think of my childhood of carnivals and traveling shows. My friends and I would be so excited when the fair came to town. Now, the fair is always in town. In these days of sit down eateries and chain restaurants, it was refreshing. If you d go, try the slushies or get a cone at Cappy’s!
Salem Willows has changed so much since its original opening in 1880. Willows Pavilion which featured a skating rink and restaurant dominated the landscape. Now, the area where the takeout food vendors are located still keeps the name of “on the line”. But, the restaurants are much different. In place of the sit down, grand restaurants stand take out vendors and ice cream shops.
There is also a stage for bands and other entertainers to perform. Named after former Salem resident and veteran, the Robert F Hayes Band Stand holds a summer concert series every year as well as holding other events.
But, there is so much more to Salem Willows than nostalgic stroll past the smell of flour dough and the buzzing and ringing from the vendors and arcades. Salem Willows is also, as the name would suggest, known for all of the willow trees planted to offer shade and beauty to the area.
The mostly shady loop around the bay and back too the parking area is an easy half mile walk. Along the way there are benches to sit on and a jetty to fish off or just enjoy the views. The views from the bay were very pretty. A variety of flowers and scenic views frame the busy blue waterway.
There was a lot of activity on and in the water at Salem Willows. That is a man swimming in the last photos
There is also a place to rent surf/paddle/body boards and other watercraft and flotation devices.
Salem’s love of art is evident even in the most unlikely places. These trash cans and rocks displayed some of the street art of Salem. I especially like the art on the rocks. Each block has a different symbol of the area painted on them.
Salem Willows is a great place to bring your dog for a short walk. Dixie, a 4 year old Maltese, was enjoying the seasonal weather and cool breeze when she stopped to pose for photos for me.
Video of “on the line” from Salem Willows