Cape Cod Travel Guide

This summer, act like a kid again in one of the most famous sun and fun destinations in the country: Cape Cod. This special destination in Massachusetts is known for its historical charms, family adventure, and rolling dunes. If you’re looking to combine a laid-back atmosphere with long sandy beaches, than Cape Cod rentals are the perfect match for you.

This Cape Cod travel guide will go far beyond the beaches of this coast to reveal more options for fun including kayaking, art galleries, summer theater, and golf. If you think this classic summer getaway might be right for your family, let show you how affordable and luxurious the Cape can be when you choose a holiday home.

What to Do in Cape Cod

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Active Family Fun

Many families plan Cape Cod travel not only for days on the beach, but for a variety of family friendly activities. If you’re looking to get active, you can choose from biking, kayaking, or hiking. The Cape Cod National Seashore is 27,000 acres of paradise for hikers while the 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail is perfect for cyclists. Pack your hiking boots and strap your bikes to the top of the car for an unforgettable adventure.

There are 15 distinctive towns to choose from during Cape Cod vacations, and they all offer close proximity to adventure. Treat your family to a whale watching tour along Stellwagen Bank, a traditional feeding ground for whales. With over 550 miles of coastline, the Cape has endless opportunities for fun on land or on sea. In the evening, don’t miss the chance to bring your kids to the Wellfleet Drive-In Movie Theater for a classic American experience. Don't forget the popcorn!

Another American favorite pastime is fishing. Whether you want to head out on your own or hire a fishing charter, there are many options for beginners and experts alike. If you prefer on-land adventures, take a family bicycle ride past the picturesque lighthouses of Cape Cod.

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Romance, Culture and a Playground for Adults

Beyond family fun, any quality Cape Cod travel guide will also focus on the offerings that will appeal to adults only. Cape Cod is known for its sophistication, from the gray-shingled, gable-roofed houses to the many art galleries and fine-dining restaurants. If you’re thinking about leaving the kids at home this year, Cape Cod vacations have everything adults need to relax and be entertained!

Start off your day by playing 18 holes at one of Cape Cod’s 27 public golf courses. An additional 15 private facilities provide even more options for a day on the greens. After some morning exercise, spend some quality time together by exploring the Provincetown Artists’ Colony or the historic town of Sandwich. After a relaxing lunch, catch some summer theater at the Cape Playhouse or pick up some tickets to see the Cape Symphony. From jazz to the Chatham Chorale, Cape Cod travel will be full of music!

What better way to spend quality time together than over a gourmet meal you won't soon forget? Whether you choose a Cape Cod clambake or an elegant waterfront restaurant, cuisine is central to the Cape Cod experience. From art galleries to museums, heritage sites to historic lighthouses, Cape Cod can easily be referred to as a playground for adults!

A Day at the Beach

With over 550 miles of coastline, it will be difficult to decide where to get cozy in the sand. Many visitors plan Cape Cod travel after hearing gushing praise for the local beaches, which are often considered some of the best in the country. In Outer Cape Cod, there are 40-miles of unspoiled sandy beaches that are especially well-known for its beauty: the Cape Cod National Seashore. Wherever you put down your beach chair and umbrella, you will enjoy the pleasures of sunshine, surf, and a good book!

Each of the 15 towns of Cape Cod boasts great beaches. During Cape Cod vacations make it your mission to find your own favorite beach! Get your feet in the sand this year at Kalmus Beach in Hyannis, Sagamore Beach in Bourne, or Breakwater Beach in Brewster. For an off the beaten path location, spend a day at North Beach off Chatham, accessible only by boat. From Dennis to Eastham, you will be impressed by the long, sandy beaches of Cape Cod.

cape cod vacationsPack a good book and get ready to soak up the sun from Falmouth to Provincetown. Choose a vacation rental right on the beach and enjoy close proximity to the refreshing water’s edge. At night, watch the stars come out from your own balcony. With a vacation rental, you will experience Cape Cod as it was meant to be seen!

Hit the Water

Any quality Cape Cod travel guide will suggest that you hit the water and explore the surrounding islands. Beyond Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket offer plenty to see and do. Climb aboard the Martha’s Vineyard Island Queen and spend an afternoon exploring the quaint streets of the Cape’s neighbor. From art galleries to historic houses and coffeehouses to antique shops, you'll get a greater feel for the atmosphere of this section of Massachusetts by exploring Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

If you would rather stay closer to the Cape, don’t miss the opportunity for a whale watching tour. Whether you are in Provincetown or Barnstable Harbor, you will be able to join a whale watching expedition. Don’t forget your camera! Other opportunities to hit the water include kayaking, sailing, and chartering your own fishing boat. With options for every budget, there is no excuse not to enjoy the water during Cape Cod travel!

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What to See in Cape Cod

cape cod vacationsBeyond the beaches, waterfront restaurants, and adventure, a good Cape Cod travel guide will always point you in the direction of heritage sites and important landmarks. To truly understand the Cape, plan an afternoon to explore the Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich. See antique and classic cars, a carousel from 1912, and a variety of art. The history of the Cape will come alive at these museums.

Kids are sure to love the underwater experience of the Aquarium or the Oceanographic Institution both located in Woods Hole. If you’re in Hyannis, don’t miss the John F. Kennedy Memorial and Museum. From the historic lighthouses to the gray-shingled buildings, there is a story behind almost every building in Cape Cod!

Cape Cod travel wouldn’t be complete without seeing some of the art that the region has become known for. Visit the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod in Centerville or one of the many galleries spread throughout the 15 towns. Attend the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival in the summer or get tickets for the Cape Cod Opera. By the end of your trip, you are likely to have discovered many reasons to stay for another week!


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Where to Shop and Eat in Cape Cod

cape cod vacations

Bring Home Something Special

Prepare to be tempted by shops during Cape Cod vacations. With over 2,000 shops spread throughout the 15 towns, there will be plenty of opportunities to bring home something special. Antique lovers will be on cloud 9 driving along Old King’s Highway with its range of specialty shops. From outlet stores to boutiques and bookstores to small art galleries, you will almost be praying for a rainy day to force you into the shops!

Hit the old-fashioned Main Street in Chatham to browse through the inviting storefronts, including craft shops with one-of-a-kind treasures. Wellfleet is known for its art zone, especially Cherrystone Gallery. If you’re looking to satisfy a serious shopping craving, head straight for Provincetown where a 3-mile strip has earned a reputation for great clothing, jewelry, art, and antiques.

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Find Out What the Culinary Fuss Is All About

If you consider yourself a foodie (or not!) you most likely have heard about the outstanding restaurants on offer in Cape Cod. Any thorough Cape Cod travel guide will tell you that quality is excellent across the board, from modest seafood restaurants to award-winning fine-dining options. Be sure to bring your appetite on Cape Cod vacations!

Seafood and fresh produce form the foundation of any meal in the Cape. From the Dan’l Webster Inn in Sandwich to the Cape Cod Central Railroad restaurant in Hyannis, you will experience fresh flavors and a laid-back atmosphere. Don’t miss the Beacon Room in Orleans or the Cape Sea Grille in Harwich Port. Cape Cod travel wouldn’t be complete without a stop at a local farmer’s market or fish market—be sure to stop in and pick up some ingredients to cook up your own locally-inspired feast!

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When to Visit Cape Cod

The most popular time to visit Cape Cod is during the summer months of June, July, and August. It is important for a Cape Cod travel guide to also highlight the shoulder season in the Cape, including the spring months of April and May and the autumn months of September and October. If you’re looking to enjoy the sights and restaurants of the Cape without the crowds, traveling during the shoulder season will be best.

You will also be more likely to find deals and discounts, as prices spike during the peak summer months. While summer is the best time for swimming, it is possible to enjoy golf, hiking, and shopping beyond these months.

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What to Bring to Cape Cod

Cape Cod travel is known for its laid-back attitude. Comfortable clothes, a hat, sunglasses, and sandals are all you really need to enjoy the Cape. Bring along bathing suits, towels, and a good book to enjoy the sandy beaches. The lighthouses and long coastline provide beautiful scenery for family photographs, so bring along your digital camera as well. There are many elegant restaurants and art galleries along the Cape, so bring along a few nicer outfits, but nothing too fancy is ever required.

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Local Services in Cape Cod

Cape Cod vacations have been delighting visitors for centuries. Over time, the Cape has adjusted to the seasonal flux of visitors and their needs. During the summer months, expect local services to be at their peak. Farmers markets, grocery stores, and pharmacies will be available in almost every town. ATMs, banks, and post offices are also widely available. During the shoulder season and off season, you may experience brief opening hours or some restaurants being closed.

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What to Know About Cape Cod

A car is essential for exploring Cape Cod. The beauty and charm of the small towns is bound to make you want to see more, and the convenience of a car will make all of this possible. The Cape is known as being a safe, friendly environment, making it the perfect destination for families. The best vacation rentals are reserved far ahead of the summer months, so be one step ahead of the pack and make your reservation as early as possible!

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Getting to Cape Cod

Whether you arrive by car or air, Cape Cod is simple to navigate. The Cape is only 75 miles from Logan Airport in Boston, and in easy reach from TF Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island. From both of these airports it is possible to rent a car and continue your journey independently. Remember a good map or use a GPS! There is also a small municipal airport in Barnstable that handles flights from New York, Boston, and Providence. From this airport it is also possible to rent a car.

If you’re arriving from nearby, driving is handiest. Many visitors say Cape Cod travel wouldn’t be complete without arriving over the picturesque bridge, the place where Cape Cod vacations begin! Ferries provide easy access to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket as well. Don’t expect to get anywhere too quickly, just sit back and enjoy the ride!

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Why Cape Cod Vacation Rentals?

Some things don’t change over time for a reason. Cape Cod is a great example; this summer destination with its beachfront houses was perfect to begin with, so why change a good thing? People have been escaping the city for a cozy house on the Cape for decades, and the pleasures haven’t diminished over time. Become part of this tradition by reserving your own vacation rental and provide your family with all the fun and relaxation that a beachfront rental allows.

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