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All About the Cape Cod Canal

The beauty of Cape Cod cannot be understated. There’s a good reason why it’s one of New England’s most popular tourist destinations! You’re able to truly escape on a visit to Cape Cod, and there’s always something to explore between the mouthwatering food, rich history, unique culture, and gorgeous waters.

If you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity for the day, visit the Cape Cod Canal. Not only can you come learn about the history of the area, but you’re also able to bike or walk along the Canal for a bit of fresh air and exercise. It’s an ideal family-friendly attraction conveniently located near our Cape Cod vacation rentals

cape cod canal

About the Canal

The Cape Cod Canal connects Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay as part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The fascinating history of the canal dates back to 1623, when the first considerations of a canal were made, but no official attempts at building were made until the 19th century. Those attempts were largely unsuccessful, but in 1909, the canal finally got its true start, and it was opened on a limited basis in 1914. 

The canal was expanded between 1935 and 1940 to a width of 480 feet, making it the widest sea-level canal of the time. It also played a role in World War II when the USS Stephen R. Jones sank in the canal. The canal was non-operational between the crash date of June 28, 1942, and July 31 of the same year.

Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center

The Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center gives guests an insight into the history of the canal thanks to fascinating exhibits and photos. The Center is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and hosts various programs throughout the year in addition to the permanent exhibits. Visitors can board a retired 40-foot patrol boat, watch films about the history and wildlife of the canal, or captain a virtual boat ride!

The Visitor Center is located at 60 Ed Moffitt Drive in Sandwich. They are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. from May 1 until October 28. Admission is free.

walking trails on the cape cod canal

Bike or Walk Along the Canal

The Cape Cod Canal is also a great place to get your exercise, as there are approximately 7 miles of biking and walking trails through sections of Bourne and Sagamore. You’ll get to explore the stunning shoreline scenery with quaint, unique homes and gorgeous nature. The path is flat and wide, perfect for casual cyclists or families taking a leisurely stroll. 

There is also a self-guided tour you can take to learn even more about the area and the Canal’s place in Cape Cod’s rich history. Navigational lighting poles along the path are numbered with fun facts. You’ll also find plenty of park benches so you can rest and enjoy the scenery. Finally, stop at the Bourne Recreation Area for a picnic lunch and to check out the information booth.

It’s easy to understand why the Cape Cod Canal has been such a popular tourist destination. Athletes can enjoy a view with their workout, nature lovers will stand in awe of the scenery, and children will love the interactive exhibits at the Visitor Center. This is truly a destination for all!

Plan Your Visit


The Cape Cod Canal is close to many of our vacation rentals, so you can get out the door in a hurry. We strive to create a comfortable and personalized experience for every guest, which is why our staff is always available to address any question or concern. Contact us today to learn more about our Ocean Edge rentals and all of our available accommodations!