Cape Cod

Things to do in Cape Cod

This vibrant tourist destination is always thrumming with activity and offers a selection of sights and activities for every type of traveler. Nature lovers looking for things to do in Cape Cod should begin by taking in the spectacular sand dunes, salt marshes and cranberry bogs of the Cape Cod National Seashore, with its miles of pristine beaches. Then, charter a fishing boat to try your luck or take a whale-watching cruise from Provincetown, which rides out to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, the feeding ground for humpback whales. Cap off an active day by renting a bike and cycling along the popular Cape Cod Rail Trail, which passes through some of Cape Cod’s most spectacular scenery.
Culture lovers looking for things to do in Cape Cod can enjoy a show at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, where a young Bette Davis once worked as an usher, or indulge in a little nostalgia by visiting an old-fashioned drive-in movie theater in Wellfleet. Visit some of the peninsula’s many museums and galleries, from the hundred-year-old Provincetown Art Association and Museum, which collects works from hundreds of artists inspired by the Lower Cape, to the small galleries in Wellfleet, which sell fine art and handcrafted trinkets from local artisans. Enjoy the history lesson at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, where you can climb to the top of the nation’s largest all-granite structure and then become immersed in the history of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Most importantly, don’t forget to relax on one of Cape Cod’s many beautiful beaches, like Sandy Neck Beach, Craigville Beach, or Lighthouse Beach.

In a small outbuilding with an honesty box, the farm shop sells a heavenly lavender-lemon marmalade.

Peter O’Donovan relocated from Ireland to open Chatham’s Nantucket Wild Gourmet & Smokehouse, where he cures heavenly organic salmon on-site.

The four-mile Shining Sea Bike Path, from Falmouth to Woods Hole, follows the ocean and runs through woodlands, marshes, and salt ponds.

In addition to being the oldest community on Cape Cod, the town of Sandwich is also known for its long history of glassmaking.

One of the hidden gems of Cape Cod is Falmouth’s Spohr Gardens, laid out in the 1950’s by Margaret and Charles D. Spohr and now owned by a charitable trust. An ideal place for quiet contemplation, the six acres of daffodils, rhododendrons, and daylilies edge placid Oyster Pond.

Map

Map sells clothes and gifts, and has guest DJ’s like the writer Michael Cunningham.

One of the secret springs left over from the Ice Age, hidden deep in the Wellfleet and Truro woods. The water is exquisitely clear and silky.

This sweet shop serves fudge in every flavor, from plain vanilla to Marshmallow Fluff to Reese’s.

Owners Missy Smith and Sarah Rhinesmith Buckley have a great sense of style. One of the front rooms in their ship captain’s house is devoted to sea-inspired clothes from Tory Burch, Trina Turk, and Calypso.

The six-mile-long, dune-capped Sandy Neck Beach, in West Barnstable and Sandwich, is populated by more piping plovers than people.

A bronze statue of John F. Kennedy stands in front of this brick Colonial building, a museum dedicated to his Cape Cod life. It looks as if he had stepped from the curved white-columned portico for a barefoot stroll through the plumed grasses to his beloved beach.

Rent a bike at Gale Force Bike Rentals in Provincetown, pick up a map, and ride five miles along scenic High Head Road to the Cape Cod Highland Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Cape.

Jobi Pottery, in Truro, has been making its retro pieces, decorated with small black fish, since 1953.

All the rooms at Eastham’s Whalewalk Inn & Spa are furnished with antiques; the most romantic is the tiny Salt Box Cottage. Ask the owners about the best hike and they’ll send you to a place most locals have never heard of.

With its relatively flat terrain and its network of paved bike trails, the Cape is perfect for family cycling outings. The seven-mile path along the Cape Cod Canal is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Enter at Pleasant Street in Sagamore.