Manchester is a residential community encompassing 7.7 square miles in Essex County on the northeastern Massachusetts coast. It is bordered on the west by Beverly and Wenham, on the northwest by Hamilton, on the north by Essex, on the east by Gloucester, and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. Located 32 miles from Boston, the town's chief access roads are state highways 128 and 127. Frequent train service is provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).
The town's land surface ranges from 100 to 160 feet above sea level. The soil, poor and stony, with considerable areas of wetlands, is a result of New England's glaciers. A 12.8 mile tidal shore line provides several beautiful beaches, a renowned yachting harbor, and commercial lobstering.