Family Vacations: Salem

The Salem Witch Museum chronicles and dramatizes Salem's Witch Trials. See more pictures of Massachusetts vacation destinations.

Salem calls itself "The City of Witches," so named for that harrowing seven-month period in 1692 when the townspeople put 19 innocent people to death. Today, the town commemorates its history with a number of ghoulish attractions.

There are numerous places devoted to witches and their kind -- witch museums, palm readers, cemetery tours, ghost tours, shops selling magical curios, and more. The high school sports teams are named the Witches, and the Salem Evening News logo is a silhouette of a sorceress. The caricature of a pointy-hatted witch on a broomstick is everywhere, even on police cars.

The Salem Witch Museum, housed in a 19th-century Romanesque-style stone building, has the look of a haunted castle. It brings visitors back to early Salem through a dramatic presentation using stage sets with life-size figures, lighting, and narration. It also gives visitors an excellent overview of the Salem Witch Trials.

Other witchy attractions include the Salem Wax Museum with characters from the witch trials, the Witch Dungeon Museum, and the New England Pirate Museum. Some of these may be a bit scary for children under age seven. For more information on the town of Salem and its many attractions, see the contact information below.

Destination Salem: The Office of Tourism and Cultural Affairs

Address: 54 Turner St. Salem, MA

Telephone: 978/744-3663 or 877/SALEM-MA

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Boston City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit this New England metropolis.
  • Massachusetts State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Massachusetts, as well as other recreational activites.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.