The Cape Ann Transportation Authority runs buses linking the two communities, with routes traveling along the coast or city streets.
Don’t worry if you can’t find a bus stop. Just wave at a bus driver and you’ll be picked up.
The Gloucester Trolley is due to start rolling Saturday for the summer, $1 for a one-way fare or $3 for an all-day pass.
A Rockport shuttle is already operating, leaving every 15 minutes from the parking lot on Blue Gate Lane on Route 127. The cost is $1.
“We’ll get people to where they want to go,” said Bob Ryan, general manager of the authority.
Certainly, no visit to Cape Ann would be complete without sampling local fare, especially if it crawls in the water.
Boiled lobster is served right out of the pot at Roy Moore Lobster Co. (39 Bearskin Neck, 978-546-6696) in Rockport.
“This was swimming this morning, you’ll be happy to know,” said Ken Porter, the proud owner of the rustic shack with a back deck overlooking the harbor.
“I love to sit out back and have a few oysters,” said Doreen Corazzini, 58, of Waltham, who was in town for a concert at Shalin Liu Performance Center. (37 Main St., 978-546-7391, www.rockportmusic.org). “It’s a great view.”
It’s not just the scenic harbor, fresh seafood, or souvenir shops that draw visitors to Rockport.
“I love to walk along some of the side streets and smell the wild roses,” said Donna Bruno, 50, of Waltham.
Bruno, a travel agent, lived in town until she was 10. She comes back every year to visit, reminded at every turn of a childhood spent by the sea.
“I’d play down on the rocks and I’d collect beach glass, which is now called ‘sea glass,’” Bruno recalled with a smile.
Her companion, Bob Hildreth of Waltham, looks forward to their annual trek to the town at the tip of Cape Ann.
“It’s just a nice, peaceful place to come,” Hildreth said.
More quiet and stunning seascapes beckon about 3 miles away, at Halibut Point State Park (Gott Avenue, 978-546-2997, www.thetrustees.org).
A dirt-and-stone path leads the way to the quiet of the cool quarries, and waves crashing against the Atlantic coast.
“The rocks go right down to the ocean,” said Owen Knight, 67, of Malden, on a Saturday trip to the park. “The foam from the ocean is right there, at your feet.”
Knight and his wife, Diane, head to Halibut Point a couple of times a year.
“We tend not to come in the summer, when it can be very crowded,” said Diane, 57, a dental hygienist.
A sunny, clear spring day is a perfect time for a visit, they said.
Follow the rocky coast along Route 127 into Lanesville in Gloucester. Tiny inlets and hidden coves are perfect spots to play on the water.
Discovery Adventures (1077 Washington St., 978- 283-3320, discoadventures.com) offers kayaking, paddle boarding, and other sea sports at Lanes Cove, off Duley Street.
“We do wall jumps, too,” said Stacey Johnson, program manager. “Adventure is our name.”
Less adventurous folks can soak in the city’s long ties to the sea on Stacy Boulevard, home to the iconic Fisherman’s Memorial.
“There is just so much history here,” said Carla Marshall, 53, of Bethany, Okla.
Marshall was on her first visit to Gloucester, where her grandmother was born. She planned to snap a photo with the statue, then pop in to the Crow’s Nest (334 Main St., 978- 281-2965, crowsnestgloucester.com), the waterfront bar featured in “The Perfect Storm.”
“I’m hoping Mark Wahlberg will be there,” Marshall said with a laugh.
In the movie about the storm, the Dorchester-bred actor played Bobby Shatford, a fisherman who died on board the Andrea Gail fishing vessel in 1991.
But long before Hollywood sprinkled stardust on Gloucester, marine artist Fitz Henry Lane painted its busy harbor and luminous sky.
A bronze statue of Lane, his eyes fixed on the sea, is perched on a rock beside his granite house at the Harbor Loop.