Cape Cod is a sand-covered peninsula that makes up most of Barnstable County in southeast Massachusetts. Bartholomew Gosnold, an English explorer who traveled to Cape Cod in 1602, brought aboard a “large stock of codfish,” which gave the region its name.
Cape Cod is brimming with tourist attractions, including charming towns, breathtaking beaches, incredible historical sites, stunning lighthouses, fantastic restaurants, and much more. If you are wondering about the things to do in Cape Cod, have a peek at this post before visiting the place.
Amazing Things to do in Cape Cod
1) Cape Cod Rail Trail
Ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail as it passes through six Cape Cod towns. The rail trail begins at Yarmouth’s long-awaited extension, completed in 2017, and connects to a local cycling route near Peter Homer Memorial Park.
You can visit state and national parks anytime you like, and there is a lot to see along the 25-mile circuit. Other exciting activities include horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and biking.
2) Cape Cod Museum of Art
Beautiful landscaping and a sculpture garden surround the Cape Cod Museum.
The museum maintains the work of the region’s finest artists while also celebrating the region’s particular aesthetic identity. It is a prominent center of the region’s cultural life. A film screening room in the museum adds to the charm of the museum.
3) Cape Playhouse
As the nation’s longest-running professional summer theater, The Cape Playhouse has a special place in American theater history. The Cape Playhouse is dedicated to equal opportunity in education and employment. The Cape Playhouse also provides a fun and instructive Children’s Theater.
A summer theater close to Boston and the wealthier Cape villages was the creator Raymond Moore’s dream in the 1920s. He came across the long-abandoned Nobscussett meetinghouse. The enormous meetinghouse was miraculously transported by Moore to its current site down the street.
4) Sandwich Glass Museum
The museum exhibits items and information about the history of the glass industry in general. Collectors can marvel at rare pieces of glass on exhibit, while the general public can be impressed by complex glass sculptures. Regular glassblowing demos are held at their on-site furnace. A select few are even allowed to press glass directly from the furnace.
Sandwich’s history is intertwined with the production of American glass. This short presentation is drawn from the Museum and Historical Society’s glass collection and old photos.
5) Race Point Beach
The Race Point beach is located in Provincetown, near the end of Race Point Road, off Route 6. It is a north-facing beach that receives sunlight all day. Race Point is distinguished by a national park ranger station perched on a grassy knoll above the beach. The beach is located directly over the Provincetown Airport. It also has a large length of grasslands separating the beach from the parking lot, and if you have a lot of gear, it is a pretty good journey across to the beach. The beach is wider and steeper than other Cape beaches.
The parking area, stairs, restrooms, and bathhouse are all in good condition. The Province Lands Visitor Center is nearby. The Provincetown town center, Pilgrim Monument, and Provincetown Museum are all within walking distance.
6) Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard is a Massachusetts island located 8 miles off the Cape Cod coast.
It was once a whaling station, but it has become a vacation attraction and a favored summer hideaway for many celebrities.
7) Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
The Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex consists of eight refugees, including Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is a haven for habitats for migratory birds, horseshoe crabs, tiger beetles, gray seals, and other animals.
Waterfowl (duck, geese, and coot) hunting is permitted on roughly 3,080 acres, subject to hunting access, habitat, and conditions, and in line with Massachusetts regulations. You need a state hunting license.
Monomoy is designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Regional site and an Important Bird Area because of giving importance to migratory shorebirds. The refuge provides a trail map and a self-guided stroll on Morris Island.
8) Edward Gorey House
Edward Gorey, an American novelist, artist, playwright, and set and costume designer, purchased the 200-year-old sea captain’s mansion at 8 Strawberry Lane on Cape Cod’s Yarmouth Port Common in 1979. After he died in 2000, the House was turned into a museum honoring Gorey’s life and work, and his commitment to animal care.
Gorey owned and resided in the house, which celebrates his memory by showcasing his diverse and exceptional talents and capturing his character.
9) Art Galleries
Exploring art galleries is one of the most amazing things to do in Cape Cod. Some of the popular art galleries of Cape Cod are:
Falmouth Art Center
The Falmouth Art Center is home to the Falmouth Artists Guild. This center is committed to the visual arts and offers year-round educational and exhibition opportunities. They have a comprehensive schedule of classes and workshops.
Cortile Gallery, located in the heart of town, houses one of the most extensive and diversified collections of unique modern local artwork, and pieces by regional and national artists. Oils, acrylics, woodcuts, found object art, and jewelry is all included in the impressive collection of work at Cortile Gallery.
10) Chatham Marconi Maritime Center (CMMC)
The museum showcases various genuine devices and antennas from that period and is located in the original structures constructed for Marconi. Experience the adrenaline of being at the forefront of this emerging science, experimenting with cutting-edge antennas, and pushing the frontiers of the developing electronics industry.
The original antenna field is still visible outside and is currently being converted to Amateur Radio. It originally covered 18 to 19 acres. The museum’s location, which still has all of its original brick structures, is where Marconi established one of his radio communication centers.
The structure where World War II Navy soldiers previously watched communications from German U-boats patrolling the Atlantic now houses a Morse Code class and a recording of the SS Marine Electric’s distress call.
Before you leave, climb the hill behind the station. You may learn more about some of the antennas used over the station’s existence along the route, and you can also visit the 350-foot antenna mast’s base, which was assembled with five other masts when the station was established.
11) Flying Horses Carousel
In Oak Bluffs, Flying Horses is located near the start of Circuit Avenue. It is the country’s oldest carousel, still in operation. It was constructed in 1876.
Real horsehair is used for the horses’ tails, and their glass eyes have tiny lead creatures set in them. The horses are hand carved. The Flying Horses have carried countless generations who have clung to the brass ring in search of the elusive free ride. The Flying Horses are listed as a historic site on the National Register.
12) Cape Cod National Seashore
Visitors looking for sanctuary amid the beautiful white sand beaches, dunes, swamps, and marshes that are home to a variety of wildlife are invited to visit the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Any day or season is appropriate for exploring the park. It is crisscrossed by hiking, biking, and horseback riding routes and is supported by visitor centers at each end. Guided canoe excursions in Salt Pond Bay, self-guided bike tours on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and sunbathing and swimming at any of the six public beaches are all popular summertime activities.
Even though it may be colder and windier at the Cape during the winter, you may still go shelling, fishing, or visiting the lavish Captain Edward Penniman House from 1868.
13) Kennedy Hyannis Museum
A historical museum called the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is situated at 397 Main Street in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Learn more about President Kennedy’s legacy and his close ties to Cape Cod by visiting it, where he spent memorable occasions with his loved ones.
The former Hyannis Town Hall building now houses the museum. The town occupied the structure until the 1980s when they relocated to the former Hyannis State Normal School building. The Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame and Museum was housed in the museum’s basement from 2008 to 2017.
The Kennedy Compound’s main residence is not accessible to the general public since prominent Kennedy family members still reside there. The JFK Hyannis Museum’s three galleries contain a variety of multimedia displays and memorabilia about JFK, Jacqueline Kennedy, other members of the Kennedy family, and the Kennedy compound.
Walter Cronkite JFK’s experiences in an orientation film. The JFK Hyannis Museum presents a variety of museum activities all year long, including talks, book signings, movies, live webcasts, and more.
14) Whydah Pirate Museum
On Cape Cod, near the town of West Yarmouth, sits the Whydah Pirate Museum. The museum, which houses authentic pirate artifacts and loots from the pirate Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy’s flagship the Whydah, is about an hour’s drive from the Palmer House Inn. The world’s only authenticated pirate treasure, found in 1984 off the shore of Wellfleet, is a must-see sight for people of all ages.
The ship’s models can be found here. The entire collection of so far found artifacts is on display. The excavation procedure and the technology utilized to conserve and restore these unique gems are also available for visitors to learn about.
The Whydah Pirate Museum now boasts the only authenticated pirate ship treasure collection at a museum anywhere in the world, offering kids and adults a fun and engaging educational experience.
15) Race Point Lighthouse
The Race Point Lighthouse is located at Cape National Seashore, Provincetown, Massachusetts. One’s deepest instincts and emotions are always touched by the tempting idea of complete relaxation away from the stress of everyday life while taking in the spectacular natural beauty seen at a remote location like the Race Point.
The 40 feet tower was built in 1876. A distance of 16 nautical miles can be observed by its white light, which flashes every 10 seconds.
16) Shining Sea Bikeway
The cycling path follows the Atlantic Ocean coastline. The Town of Falmouth bought the right-of-way in the early 1970s, demolished the railway, and opened the 3.3-mile Shining Sea Bikeway in 1975.
Because more than a fourth of the bikeway passes through protected natural areas, you may get to see swamps, salt marshes, and cranberry bogs up close.
Be on the lookout for various species along the bike route. Ospreys soar high over the water in the summer, and great blue herons hunt in the marsh. Along the bikeway, foxes, deer, and turtles are frequently seen.
17) Chatham Railroad Museum
The magnificently restored 1887 railroad depot, which served Chatham’s citizens and guests for nearly fifty years, is now home to the Chatham Railroad Museum. It was founded in 1960.
Among the many railroad-related things on display here are the New York Central model locomotives that were utilized during the New York World’s Fair in 1939.
Other exhibits include authentic, working Western Union telegraph equipment, lanterns, badges, signs, tools, menus, passes, timetables, original paintings and prints, calendars, and a 1910 caboose that has been restored.
The red caboose with wooden sides is popular with children and train enthusiasts and is located on the track side of the Chatham Railroad Museum. A train’s whistleblowing, brakes screeching at stops, and rolling along the track are all realistically reproduced by an audio system. The conductor’s desk, dome, and lockers have all been restored.
18) Cape Cod Bay
Cape Cod Bay has a wide variety of complex and intricate coastal and marine habitats, making it an ecologically rich area. The Bay was designated a state ocean refuge in 1970. Cape Cod Bay is on the southernmost point of Massachusetts Bay. It is bordered to the south and east by Cape Cod, to the west by Plymouth County, and the north by Massachusetts Bay and the open ocean.
Endangered bird species, including the Roseate Tern and the Piping Plover, use the Bay’s natural resources. The highly endangered North Atlantic right whale uses Cape Cod Bay as a feeding area.
19) Heritage Museums and Gardens
You can find 100 magnificent acres of trees, bushes, beautifully landscaped gardens, stunning flowers, and expansive lawns at Heritage Museums and Gardens. Any time of year is a pleasure to visit the gardens. Dexter rhododendrons and flowering trees are springtime highlights. Heritage Museums and Gardens is located at 67 Grove Street, Sandwich.
There is also a museum of historic cars and a gallery of American folk art here.
With over 800 daylilies in almost every color imaginable, the daylily garden is a visual feast. Toward the end of the month, hydrangeas also start to bloom.
20) Commercial Street
Explore Provincetown’s Commercial Street for a day on your next trip to Cape Cod. The hub of activity in the neighborhood and the place to go for entertainment, pleasure, and food is bustling Commercial Street.
There are many things to do here, such as exploring the gift shops, restaurants, whale-watching excursions, art galleries, and parades. Take a stroll and browse the local shops for homemade gelato, touristic sweaters, jewelry, unusual books, and board games. View the oddball art on exhibit in the courtyards and alleyways. Stock up on trinkets and bring some fudge or saltwater taffy from the area home.
21) Cape Cod Canal
A man-made waterway connecting Buzzards Bay in the south to Cape Cod Bay in the north, the Cape Cod Canal is a section of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.
There are a variety of enjoyable activities available both on and off the water, such as motorcycling, fishing, and animal viewing. A line can be cast from the canal’s banks if you enjoy fishing. Herring, mackerel, and striped bass are all frequently seen in the water.
The Bournedale Hills Trail is a fantastic place to go hiking if you want to see the canal and some of its natural beauty. For expansive views of the sea and the east entrance of the canal, you can also hike up Sagamore Hill.
You can always organize a picnic lunch at Midway Recreation Area. You can find a sizable picnic pavilion complete with tables, grills, and a fireplace can be found here. Even some temporary restrooms are available.
22) Boat Trip
Because they offer the chance to view areas of the Cape that the average visitor won’t see, boat trips are among the most well-liked.
One such service provider is Blue Claw Boat Tours, which runs charter boat trips from Meeting House Pond to Pleasant Bay, Chatham Harbor, and certain Cape Cod National Seashore areas. Some of their tours include Seal Watching Tours, Sunset Cruise, and River Life Cruise.
23) Vincent House
This small house, constructed in 1672 for William and Susanna Vincent, previously stood on 20 acres of farmland by Edgartown Great Pond. The Vincent House, also known as a Cape, was built utilizing traditional methods from medieval England. It was continually owned by the Vincent family up to 1940 and is the island’s oldest standing home.
Each spring, a tiny group of apple trees in front of the Vincent House burst into a riot of pink blossoms. This little orchard reminds me of the little grove of fruit trees that used to be close to where the house at Edgartown Great Pond once stood.
24) Herring Cove Beach
The Herring Cove beach is to the right at the end of Route 6 in Provincetown. In addition to having a snack bar and nighttime performances in July and August, Herring Cove has an accessible beach where lifeguards may provide beach wheelchairs. Whale watching is a well-known attraction at Herring Cove Beach.
The Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown Museum, and the town center of Provincetown are all close by. Race Point Beach, the Province Lands Visitor Center, and the Beech Forest are destinations further away from here.
25) Truro Vineyards
Truro Vineyards is a business owned by the Roberts family, welcoming guests and wine enthusiasts from all around the world. There are both a tasting room and a gift shop. You can have lunch at the food truck operated by Blackfish Restaurant or try the hand-crafted run that is produced right on the premises. Summertime outdoor wine tastings take place close to the verdant vines under the pavilion.
26) Sandwich Antiques Center
The Sandwich Antiques Center is located just over the Sagamore Bridge. Every visitor can find something special, from jewelry and home decor to excellent furniture and great art. Visit the center often because there are frequently new pieces.
The building’s more than 5,300 SF have been divided into several showrooms where an elegant collection of antiques and collectibles are shown.
27) Cahoon Hollow Beach
Cahoon Hollow, a well-liked summer beach location, is surrounded by 75-foot dunes. The sand is white and the sea is chilly. Located in Cahoon Hollow is the renowned Beachcomber Restaurant.
The Outer Cape’s dark skies also make Cahoon Hollow and its nearby beach, Newcomb Hollow, one of Massachusetts’ top locations for stargazing. A nice area to take your dog for a stroll while you take in the ocean’s sights, sounds, and colors as the sun sets over the dunes. This beach also allows bonfires, but you must first get a permit from the Beach Department.
28) Wellfleet Drive-In
Since it opened in 1957, the theater has expanded to accommodate more than just the drive-in. The theater currently offers vintage films. The drive-in also boasts fantastic amenities like a great snack bar and toilets. In addition, the property has a mini-golf course that was constructed in 1961.
Nantucket is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 48 kilometers (30 miles) south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, the United States. The Muskeget Channel separates it from Martha’s Vineyard.
The homes of sea captains and other colonial structures, lighthouses, bicycling routes, museums, art galleries, and yachting facilities all draw tourists to Nantucket. Add visiting this island to your list of things to do in Cape Cod.
It is important to acknowledge the majesty of Cape Cod, a beach town that borders the Atlantic Ocean. If you are thinking about visiting Cape Cod soon, remember to check out some of these incredible sights mentioned in this article.
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