Signature Parks

Salem Commons

Salem, Massachusetts boasts a diverse array of signature parks that cater to various interests.

Forest River Park, nestled along the shoreline, offers serene walking trails, a picturesque beach, and recreational amenities, making it a favored destination for both nature enthusiasts and families seeking outdoor activities. Palmer Cove Park, with its tranquil waterfront setting, provides a peaceful escape for those seeking a respite from city life, while Pioneer Village stands as a living history museum, offering visitors a glimpse into 17th-century colonial life. Salem Common, dating back to 1667, serves as the heart of the city, providing a historic green space for community gatherings and events, while Salem Willows charms visitors with its scenic seaside promenade, amusement park, and captivating ocean views. Finally, Winter Island Park combines maritime history with natural beauty, housing Fort Pickering and providing breathtaking vistas of Salem Harbor, making it a must-visit destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

Forest River Park

Established in 1907, Forest River Park is 29 acres of parkland with shade trees and beach access. The park’s first pool was built in 1919, and a popular concrete slide was added in 1943. In 2021 the City of Salem renovated and updated the existing pool and bathhouse. Forest River also is now the location of a baseball diamond, walking paths, a playground, a vintage concrete slide, and the location of a seasonal summer camp for Salem children. Future plans for Forest River are to keep the park maintained and beautiful for the community to enjoy.

Past

Established in 1907, Forest River Park is 29 acres of parkland with shade trees and beach access. The park’s first pool was built in 1919, and a popular concrete slide was added in 1943.

Present

In 2021, the City of Salem renovated and updated the existing pool and bathhouse. Forest River also is now the location of a baseball diamond, walking paths, a playground, a vintage concrete slide, and the location of a seasonal summer camp for Salem children.

Future

Future plans for Forest River are to keep the park maintained and beautiful for the community to enjoy. 

Palmer Cove Park

Established in 1913 Palmer Cove Park is in the Point neighborhood of Salem that provides greenspace to Salemites of all ages with a beautiful view of the water. Presently, the park will have a new multi-use field, improved lighting and pathways. Future plans are to improve landscape features to mitigate climate change related flood risks.

Past

Established in 1913 Palmer Cove Park is in the Point neighborhood of Salem that provides greenspace to Salemites of all ages with a beautiful view of the water.

Present

Presently, the park will have a new multi-use field, improved lighting and pathways.

Future

Future plans are to improve landscape features to mitigate climate change related flood risks.

Pioneer Village

Built in 1930 to mark the Tercentennial of Massachusetts, Pioneer Village is America’s first living history museum. The city is working with designers to relocate the village to the Camp Naumkeag location due to current threats of rising sea levels from climate change. The futurere located Pioneer Village will also have expanded opportunities for events and indigenous interpretation of Salem’s post contact period.

Past

Built in 1930 to mark the Tercentennial of Massachusetts, Pioneer Village is America’s first living history museum. The Village sits on three acres of land and contains various examples of colonial architecture.

Present

The city is working with designers to relocate the village to the Camp Naumkeag location due to current threats of rising sea levels from climate change.

Future

The future located Pioneer Village will also have expanded opportunities for events and indigenous interpretation of Salem’s post contact period.

Salem Common

Right in the heart of downtown Salem, this 9 acre park has been a common area since the 17th Century. The Salem Common Bandstand was built in 1926 in commemoration of the city’s tercentenary. There have been many improvements to accessibility of the common in recent years, along with improvements of the Washington Arch and the planting of new trees. Future work will be to complete the Bandstand restoration and maintenance of the historic fence as well as ongoing upkeep of the space.

Past

Right in the heart of downtown Salem, this 9 acre park has been a common area since the 17th Century. The Salem Common Bandstand was built in 1926 in commemoration of the city’s tercentenary.

Present

There have been many improvements to accessibility of the common in recent years, along with improvements of the Washington Arch and the planting of new trees.

Future

Future work will be to complete the Bandstand restoration and maintenance of the historic fence as well as ongoing upkeep of the space.

Salem Willows

The home of various festivals and cultural celebrations within the community, Salem Willows, located on Salem Neck became a public park in 1888.Currently the Willows has received improved parking, walking trails and tennis courts. The pier restoration project will start in the winter of 23/24. Future plans are to renovate the northeast area of the park to increase greenspace and reduce pavement in the park.  

Past

The home of various festivals and cultural celebrations within the community, Salem Willows, located on Salem Neck became a public park in 1888.

 

 

Present

Currently the Willows has received improved parking, walking trails and tennis courts. The pier restoration project will start in the winter of 23/24.

Future

Future plans are to renovate the northeast area of the park to increase greenspace and reduce pavement in the park.

Winter Island

Winter Island is a 45 acre maritime park that includes a boat ramp and seasonal campgrounds, along with a public beach, an historic fort, outdoor venues and walking trails. The city’s current plans are to identify erosion concerns, survey the wetlands and gauge public opinions. Future work will be implementing improvements based on those currently done studies, and potentially renovating the restoring the Hanger and Barracks of Fort Pickering.

A black and white photo of Winter Island Park in Salem, MA from the year 1940

Past

Winter Island is a 45 acre maritime park that includes a boat ramp and seasonal campgrounds, along with a public beach, an historic fort, outdoor venues and walking trails. 

Present

 The city’s current plans are to identify erosion concerns, survey the wetlands and gauge public opinions

Future

Future work will be implementing improvements based on those currently done studies, and potentially renovating and restoring the Hanger and Barracks of Fort Pickering.