Rockport, MA 01966
Halibut Point is a uniquely beautiful coastal seascape. Looking seaward on a clear day, the view stretches from Crane Beach in Ipswich to Mount Agamenticus in Maine and the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire.
Formerly the Babson Farm granite quarry, the park is managed for scenic, historic and conservation purposes by the DCR and the Trustees of Reservations. An adjacent property, Sea Rocks, is owned by the Town of Rockport and open for public use. Here you can explore the park's trails and tidepools, picnic on its rocky ledges, enjoy its sweeping views, and learn about Cape Ann's historic granite industry.
Halibut Point itself is made of sheets of 440 million year-old granite that now descend from rocky headland to the tidal pools below. As a result of the shallow soil, constant exposure to onshore winds, and a history of frequent fires, the vegetation includes few trees. Catbriar, bayberry, blueberry, arrowwood, shadbush, and an assortment of wildflowers grow among the ledges. Each winter, many species of seabirds, including loons, grebes, ducks and an occasional puffin, feed in the rich offshore waters.
Beginning in the 1840s, granite was quarried from this area, first on a small scale and primarily along the coast, and then on a much larger scale when the Rockport Granite Company acquired the Babson Farm quarry and expanded its operation. Shortly after the Cape Ann granite industry collapsed in 1929, 17 acres on the eastern side of the quarry were purchased and given to the Trustees of Reservations. The remainder of the area sat unused until late in World War II when a fire control tower (now the park's Visitors Center) was constructed to provide aiming information for the massive coastal defense guns that guarded Boston and Portsmouth Harbors.
Halibut Point State Park is located in Cape Ann in north-eastern Massachusetts.
From the South and West: Take Rte. I-95/128 north to Rte. 128 north toward Gloucester and Rockport. After crossing the Annisquam River bridge, go three quarters around the first rotary, following signs for Rt. 127 north (Annisquam and Pigeon Cove). After approximately 6 miles, turn left at the park sign and the Old Farm Inn onto Gott Ave.
From Downtown Rockport: Drive north on Rt. 127 approximately 3 miles, turning right onto Gott Ave.
- Accessible Restrooms
- Historic Site
- Education, Interpretation & Visitor Services
- Scenic Viewing Area
- Skiing (Cross-Country)
- Walking Trails
Located in a renovated World War II fire-control tower near the edge of the Babson Farm quarry, the center features exhibits related to the park's natural and cultural history. The 60-foot tall structure offers panoramic views that extend as far north as the coast of Maine. The building also serves as the park's administrative headquarters.
Things to know before you go...
The park is open 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day; the parking lot gates will be locked after dark; a parking fee of $2.00 is charged year round. Weekends, from Memorial Day through Columbus Day, tours of the quarry are offered by staff and volunteers; each Saturday morning the tour includes a granite cutting demonstration. Other programs spotlight the park's natural history, including wildflower walks and tidepool programs during the summer and seabird walks during the winter. Check the bulletin boards in the parking lot and at the Visitors Center or call the park for information on the upcoming programs. Most areas of the park and Visitors Center are universally accessible. Assisted-listening devices are available for park tours.