Cape Cod is a wonderland of fun and unusual things to do
Cape Cod has something for the whole family lodging options
near the water, major attractions, great food, shopping and outdoor recreation. Browse museums, galleries and gardens. Find a place to hunker down near the beaches
with scenic views and ocean breezes or get some pampering at a day spa. Do some contra dance at the tip of Cape Cod, take in some live theater, enjoy the sophisticated sounds of the Cape Cod Jazz Festival. Walk wildlife refuges and bird sanctuaries, play tennis and golf. Get out on the water for boating, fishing and whale watching. Bike to the beaches, walk the dunes.
Historic Shore Street
Falmouth, MA, 02541
An old-fashioned Cape Cod vacation like your grandparents remember
If you want to experience Cape Cod the way your grandparents remember it, the place to stay is ShoreWay Acres Inn in Falmouth. We're family owned and family run. The main part of our inn is an historic sea captain's home, built in 1806 and located in downtown Falmouth. That means we're within walking distance to everything -- the beach, the village, bird sanctuary, day spas, shops, galleries, museums, churches, trolley stop, library, and more than twenty restaurants, pubs, and sidewalk cafes. With short notice we can prepare a traditional Cape Cod clam bake -- with lobster, steamers, corn on the cob, and watermelon -- or a cook out, with hot dogs, hamburgers, and BBQ chicken. These meals are served on the lawn, so it's come as you are. Bare feet and bathing suits are fine.
75 Falmouth Heights Road
Falmouth, MA, 02540
Great places start with a great journey.
As if Martha’s Vineyard wasn’t enough of a great place to travel to, getting there only adds to the fun. From May through October, climb aboard the Island Queen in Falmouth, MA on ol’ Cape Cod and settle in for a sweet 35 minute mini cruise across beautiful and historic Vineyard Sound. The sea along the Massachusetts Coast is your soothing backdrop for 35 minutes of relaxation, conversation and a refreshing touch of sun, sky and salt air that fills the lungs and lifts the spirit. Passengers only are welcome aboard along with their bicycles, kayaks, paddle boards and pets. Reservations are not accepted. Group Bookings available for 20 or more passengers.
Route 28 on Pleasant Bay
Chatham, MA, 02633
Tots to teens to Moms and Dad’s will find something to make their day
The family friendly resort features tennis, eighteen holes of championship golf, two beaches and two magnificent pools. Private cabanas offer views of Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and all the relaxing extras. The Annual Cape Cod Jazz Festival, free and open to the public, has a lineup of the region’s hottest jazz artists and is one of the most anticipated events of the summer. The Children's Center offers educational, fun and whimsical programming for children 2-12. The kids will love the high tech amenities, a nautical themed playground with a "tot lot" for the youngest children and "children's area" for those over five. During the summer there is an aquatic playground as well as Drive-In Movie Family Fun Night, Teen Gaming Night, tennis, swimming and sailing lessons.
Real Pirate History and the Loot to Go With It
The Whydah Pirate Museum
, opening June 2016 at 674 MA-28 in West Yarmouth
, is a 12,000-square-foot treasure house, so to speak, of pirate history and pirate lore. The brand-new interactive science museum welcomes people to see, touch, and handle authenticated pirate treasure, discovered in 1984 off the coast of Wellfleet. The Whydah was a fully-rigged British ship that traveled between Africa, the Caribbean, and Great Britain. In 1717, it was captured by the pirate Samuel Bellamy and used over the next year to board 53 vessels, collecting their riches and treasures. During a storm off the coast of Wellfleet the Whydah ship sunk in 1717. The Whydah Pirate Museum provides an interactive and fun learning experience for children and adults. Open daily.
Contra Dance at the Tip of Cape Cod
Come and join the contra dance
, happening the third Friday of every month, at different locations around the Outer Cape, like Wellfleet and nearby towns. If you can walk you can dance, or alternately, sit on the sidelines and just enjoy the music. You don’t need to bring a dance partner; everyone mixes around the group. There is a community potluck beforehand at 6:30 p.m. and dancing starts at 7:30 p.m. Contra dancing is the old time dance of New England; music – performed by live musicians -- is exuberant reels and jigs from the traditional repertoires of the British Isles, Canada and America. Everyone is welcome, including children. This is an alcohol-free event.
During JFK’s Centennial, Walk the Places He Loved
In 1928, Rose and Joseph Kennedy, Sr. purchased their Hyannis Port summer home, less than three miles from Hyannis
. It became a summer playground for generations of that star-crossed family. In 2017, the centennial of John F. Kennedy’s birth, come walk the 1.6-mile, self-guided Kennedy Legacy Trail
of 10 sites that were important to the Kennedys. At each site a sign and links to video and audio tells the stories and history about the Kennedys on Cape Cod. Brochures with a map of the sites are available at the JFK Hyannis Museum at 397 Main Street, Hyannis.
Wet Paint All Winter at Dyer’s
Does life stand still in Provincetown during winter? Summer visitors might think so, but, no, it does not. Many lodgings close down, but Dyer’s Beach House
landed on the brilliant idea of inviting an artist to live and work at the guest house all winter. The artist’s work is displayed in guest rooms and sold at the guest house the following summer. In 2017, come enjoy the work of guest artist Peg Reynolds
. Provincetown has a long history of innovative art. 508-487-2061.
In the Footsteps of Pilgrims
Pilgrim Spring Trail and Small's Swamp Trail
, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, are easy loop trails about one mile long, accessible off Route 6 at the Pilgrim Heights area sign in North Truro
. The trails wind around a kettle swamp and marsh and offer wonderful views of Pilgrim Lake, sand dunes, the salt meadow, and the Atlantic Ocean. A stone marker identifies the site of the first fresh water the Pilgrims found. Trails are marked with information about local history and nature. This is a fine, easy walk for people of all ages, with views of typical Cape Cod landforms and living creatures.
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
The Pilgrim Monument
, a granite obelisk dedicated in 1910, is a visual icon of the Provincetown waterfront, visible from land and sea. The Monument, on High Pole Hill road, commemorates the history of the Mayflower Pilgrims, who landed at Provincetown before moving on to Plymouth. From May through October, visitors can climb to the top for a glorious view of the sweeping curve of the coastline. The adjoining Provincetown Museum
describes the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims, the town’s maritime history, the early days of American theater in Provincetown, and the building of the monument. There’s a re-creation of a 19th century sea captain’s parlor at home and his quarters at sea and a scale model of the first theater of the Provincetown Players. 508-487-1310.
Dune and Beach Walks Near Provincetown
Never dismiss the Outer Cape as a romantic winter destination. Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet all have a core group of restaurants and bars dishing up warmth and sustenance. You will be looking for both after a vigorous walk onto the Province Lands
, north of Provincetown. On a bright winter day, the views are glorious. Start at the Province Lands Visitor Center on Race Point Road, off Route 6. Walking routes can be adjusted for shorter and longer distances, with wonderful views of the Province Lands, Race Point Lighthouse, the Coast Guard Station, and more.
Art Shanties and Live Music Sparkle on Hyannis Harborfront
A gaggle of artists’ shanties
lines Ocean Street along inner Hyannis Harbor in Hyannis
, beckoning to visitors to enjoy manmade art on one side and the beauty of the harbor on the other. Eight-five artists will rotate in and out of the shanties during the season; many work there and enjoy talking with visitors. Stroll the boardwalk and visit artists and plan to eat a picnic in the park. Live music nearby on Thursdays and Saturdays at 6 p.m. and lunchtime Fridays at 11:30 a.m. In 2017, shanties are open weekends starting May 5 and all week starting June 12, through Columbus Day. 508-862-4767
Climb Toward the Light
In earlier centuries, the dangerous sandbars off the shore gave Cape Cod the nickname of the Grave of the Atlantic. Early lifesaving techniques and lighthouses were the first weapons against tragedy on the sea flanking the Cape. Highland Light
, Cape Cod’s oldest light house, built in 1797 (and rebuilt twice since then), on Highland Light Road, stands as a beacon looking eastward over the Atlantic from the cliffs of North Truro
. It was built by permission from President George Washington, and it stands 120 feet above the ocean, shining a beam of light 174 feet above sea level. Visitors (above 48 inches tall) may climb the lighthouse every day from mid-May to mid-October; tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Who Loves a Riddle?
Escape from screens and virtual life and lock yourself and a group of friends into Cape Cod’s only escape room, Riddle
, at 61 Market Street in . Riddle offers six different games; players are locked in a room and have 60 minutes to complete a mission by solving a series of puzzles, riddles and connecting clues. Riddle games all have their own theme, and puzzles work with the story line. Spark up your creativity and problem-solving skills to flow through the game. Who’s the brain in your huddle? 508-648-7664.
Old-Time General Store is a Cape Cod Favorite
The Brewster Store
on Route 6A in Brewster
was built as a church in 1852 and converted to a general store in 1866. It has served residents and visitors to Cape Cod for more than 140 years. The Brewster Store features a broad assortment of merchandise: coffee, pastries and morning newspapers, penny candy, t-shirts and sweatshirts, toys, lamp parts, kitchen gadgets, original Coke in glass bottles, books, greeting cards and many unusual gifts. Put a quarter in the old nickelodeon to hear an old time tune, enjoy the roasted peanuts, or just sit on the benches and watch the world go by. Phone: 508-896-3744.