Salem is a popular destination around Halloween, and rightfully so. It’s home to the infamous Salem Witch Trials that took place in late 17th century, where 200+ people were accused of witchcraft, and 19 were found guilty and hanged. The Trials are now known as a case of mass hysteria, and all those accused eventually had their names cleared. That said, the legacy of such a traumatic event leaves an unsettling and spooky association with the town of Salem.
While many tourists flock to Salem in October for the witchy and haunted activities, I’ve frankly never been much of a Halloween person, and never liked “scary” things. In middle school, I went to a Halloween party where we watched The Lovely Bones, and I went home and cried and was afraid to sleep alone for months. So, it should come as no surprise that I participated in no spooky activities when I went to Salem last month haha.
Salem is actually quite a lovely town in general, with lots of family-friendly activities. If you’re also not a huge fan of the haunted houses and witch museums, or if you’re just looking for non-spooky things to do, here are my suggestions.
(I want to add a quick disclaimer that I think the history of the Salem Witch Trials is super important, and that the Salem Witch Museum isn’t actually that spooky–it’s more focused on the history of witches in general and the Trials. I’d already visited the museum before my last stop in Salem, so I didn’t go again. If you haven’t visited though, I would definitely recommend it!)
Getting to Salem
5 Non-Witchy Things to Do in Salem
1. Play classic arcade games at Salem Willows Park
2. Camp at Winter Island Park and visit Waikiki Beach
This looks like an anachronistic vintage ad gone wrong LOL
You can reserve a tent or RV site on ReserveAmerica. Non-electric tent sites start at $35 (plus $3 booking fee), which is what we paid. Also be aware that the hand dryers in the bathrooms are SUPER loud, so get a site further away from the bathrooms if you’re a light sleeper.
There is also a beach in the park called Waikiki Beach (like the one in Hawaii lol). According to TripAdvisor reviews, it’s small but relatively well-maintained. You may have to pay $5-15 for parking and entry to the park if you’re not camping there.
3. Browse the specialty stores (local gifts, antiques, cheese, plants)
4. Nerd out and eat specialty (vegan) pizzas at Flying Saucer Pizza Company
5. Grab a beer at the Notch Brewery (and run the Salem Road Race)
Map of Non-Witchy Things to Do in Salem
I hope this gives you some ideas of things to do in Salem that aren’t witch-related or haunted. If you’ve been to Salem, let me know if there’s anything you’d add to the list!