Recreation & Safety

Chebacco Lake (drone video) provides outstanding recreational opportunities for a wide range of enthusiasts. On summer and weekend days in particular, kayakers, rowers, canoeists, paddle boarders, swimmers, sailors, skiers, and motor boaters will be found sharing the lake. Please ensure your safety and that of others at all times! Chebacco is a residential lake and sound travels very well across water, especially at night, so please respect your neighbors.

Important phone numbers:

Massachusetts Environmental Police  (800) 632-8075

Essex Harbormaster – Dan Fialho  (978) 768-6628

Use this form to report an environmental law and regulation violation to the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

State Boat Ramp

A state boat ramp is located at the southeast corner of the lake with space for 14 vehicles and boat trailers. The Chebacco Lake & Watershed Association maintains a portable toilet at the ramp from spring to fall.

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!
Prevent the transport of nuisance species. Clean all recreational equipment.


Personal watercraft (AKA “jet skis”) are prohibited.

Due to the lake’s irregular shape and tight geometries, boaters are asked to traverse the lake in a counterclockwise direction at all times.

Keep a sharp lookout at all times and maintain a safe speed and distance. Follow the Massachusetts Boating Law Summary and the Massachusetts Boating Safety Handbook.

Watch the Safer Paddling Video Series for safety, skills, and gear tips for kayaking, canoeing, and other paddle sports. And remember: a life jacket is required for every person on every type of watercraft.


Fishing is a popular sport on the lake and MassWildlife provides a fishing overview and bathymetric map. The following fish species were identified during MassWildlife surveys: Largemouth Bass, Brown Bullhead, Yellow Perch, Chain Pickerel, Black Crappie, White Perch and Pumpkinseed.

Centennial Grove – Essex Town Beach

Centennial Grove contains the Essex town beach, pavilion, and related recreational facilities. Park hours are from sunrise to sunset. The facility is rented exclusively to Camp Dory between the hours of 9am and 1pm when the camp is in operation. For further information, contact the Selectmen’s office at 978-768-6531.

Gordon Rowing Center

Gordon Rowing was founded in 2015 with the desire to grow the sport at Gordon College. What started out as a student club with just a few athletes and occasionally no coach has grown into one of the most successful collegiate sculling programs in the US. The Rowing Center, which serves as a boathouse, training center, and home base for the program is also home to a community club program, Gordon Rowing Association.

Chebacco Woods

An extensive and well-maintained trail system goes through evergreen and deciduous woodlands and along two large ponds. The trails in the woods wind up and down glacial eskers and connect to other trails on the Gordon College property. The trails along the ponds are wide and smooth, with beautiful views (see trail map). The entrance is on the west side of Chebacco Road with space for about 8 or 9 cars. There is a sign. There is also parking at Gordon College. Owner: Chebacco Woods Land Management Committee.