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cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

Ithaca, New York
Level Contributor
24 posts
cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

In August my wife, her parents, and our two teenagers (16 and 18) will be spending two days in Salem as part of an extended New England driving vacation. I'm seeking some advice.

We're on a budget, so an oft-recommended seafood restaurant like Sealevel isn't really prudent for us. Can anyone recommend a cheap-but-good seafood place -- say, around $15 for fried haddock or cod, perhaps?

Activities-wise, my kids go to museums only under duress, alas,but we can't go to a historic place like Salem without sampling some of the history, in my opinion. Right now, I'm thinking that the best bet for my family is the Cry Innocent witch trial re-enactment, which also apparently gives you admission to the (quite small) Salem Museum, The Spirit of Salem film, and the History Afoot walking tour of Salem. Has any done the History Afoot walking tour? Was it good?

Finally, we are seeking a close-by beach -- no less than 15-20 minutes away from Salem by car, ideally (since we will be doing long drives on many other days of the trip). Right now we are thinking Devereaux beach, which seems to have decent waves occasionally (the kids like those) and which also offers Marblehead for a nearby nice stroll for my wife's parents. Is that a good idea? Is there a better beach than Devereaux each withing 20 minutes of Salem?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

7 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
3,236 posts
4 reviews
3 helpful votes
1. Re: cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

Sadly, I think the days of cheap seafood are long past.

I think that's especially true of the nicer, sit down, table service restaurants.

My preference (and always has been) are the road side type seafood stands you'll find.

I don't know Salem well, but maybe something like the Clam Shack out on Salem Neck would fit the bill.

If you find yourselves up near Essex or Ipswich just a few miles north, then maybe Woodman's or The Clam Box. We've been eating here for 40 years.

North Shore, MA
Destination Expert
for Salem
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6,079 posts
182 reviews
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2. Re: cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

I agree with Kevin that it's hard to find inexpensive seafood meals. One place in Salem that you might try is Dube's. I haven't been in years, mostly because I don't think of it. Here's a link so you can check their menu:


I think the prices at Woodman's and the Clam Box are pretty steep, but if you are in Essex, have a look at the Village Restaurant, which often has some good deals on multi-course deals.

One other idea is to go to a fish store and buy some prepared foods and have a picnic. Rowand's just across the bridge in Beverly has lobster, shrimp, or crab rolls. They will also cook lobsters if you want to try something more elaborate.


Cry Innocent is excellent. I've never been on the walking tour and would be interested in your feedback if you decide to do it (History Alive started selling these bundled tickets just a year or so ago).

Chicago, IL
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for Cape Cod
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16,076 posts
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3. Re: cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

At the grocery or fish market the fresh fish is about $20 per pound retail just to give you a point of reference....unfortunately.

Boston, MA
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808 posts
22 reviews
14 helpful votes
4. Re: cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

I think Devereux Beach is a great idea. There are restrooms, lifeguards, and a concession stand, where you can find your fried haddock, possibly even for $15. Other reasonably priced seafood restaurants if you go to Marblehead are Three Cod Tavern and The Barnacle. The Barnacle has an outdoor deck overlooking Marblehead Harbor and if you can score a table there, it’s fantastic.

New Orleans...
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5,876 posts
133 reviews
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5. Re: cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

If someone serves you a cheap fish meal and tellls you it is cod or haddock, it probably isn't cod or haddock. As pointed out above, at retail fish is expensive. What you pay for is a fresh local product that was likely swimming only a day or two before you eat it. Worth the money.

Boston, MA
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for Boston
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27,040 posts
67 reviews
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6. Re: cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

Cappy's at Salem Willows has tasty, inexpensive, fried seafood. Strictly takeout.

There are picnic tables in the park but they appear to agree blue get "washed" by rain. Bring a towel or cheap paper or plastic table cloth to cover them.

Ithaca, New York
Level Contributor
24 posts
7. Re: cheap seafood / walking tour / beach

Thank you, all, for the helpful advice!

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