Cape Cod is an incredible place. There’s earth-shatteringly good seafood at every turn. The ocean cascades quietly in the background, and every small town or city has a long list of peculiar and fascinating traits and characteristics.
Cape Cod has 15 towns across three distinct regions, and every single one of them is worth visiting.
So where to?
We try to break down Cape Cod for you, giving you a detailed look at the top family-friendly activities in Cape Cod and what makes the towns so special.
You are bound to fall in love with Eastham when you first visit. It is home to one of the Cape’s most riveting and glorious lighthouses, Nauset Lighthouse. It hugs the Cape Cod National Seashore, with its 100s of acres of untapped and untampered beauty. Three Sisters Lighthouse is a Cape Cod oddity, while the Captain Penniman house is a spectacle of construction and design.
You can find some acclaimed restaurants here, like Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar and Karoo Restaurant. Arnold’s adopts a very laid-back and casual atmosphere. There’s even a mini-golf course on site. Karoo brings incredible and vibrant South African cuisine, with a distinct northeastern influence. Eastham makes for an ideal day trip from the vacation rentals near Cape Cod.
Hyannis is known for its sightseeing, making it an ideal day trip for locals. It features some instantly-identifiable landmarks, like the John F. Kennedy Memorial and the Gallery Artrio. You also have one of the Cape’s finest and quietest beaches. It isn’t uncommon to find Kalmus Beach completely deserted. Its convenient location combined with its relative isolation makes it a quintessential romantic stop.
Hyannis even has an adorable downtown boutique area where you can enjoy art galleries, ice cream shops, and even live music.
Historic Sights of Orleans
Take a stop at Orleans and see the definitive coastal town. The Orleans Historical Society is a nice introduction to the area while the French Cable Museum is an enthralling journey through centuries of America’s northeast history. You can also easily dip on over to Brewster and see The Crosby Mansion and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History for a nice two-for-one.
Martha’s Vineyard, South of Cape Cod
Martha’s Vineyard is the capstone to your Cape Cod experience, whether you stay for a day or a decade. If you want to hop on a ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard for a day, you’ll definitely get a different feel than the rest of the Cape. Situated just south of the mainland, you’ll find harbor towns, lighthouses, beaches, and more. Explore Oak Bluffs and its iconic carousel, or go to the other end of the island and find Edgartown—filled with delicious restaurants and cute boutique shopping options.
Like Nantucket, Cape Cod has friendly and welcoming neighbors more than happy to introduce you to some of the most magical and exciting living in the whole world. By staying on Cape Cod, you are surrounded by wonder.
Navigating Cape Cod
If you want to show the locals you know how to get around the Cape, and understand directions, there are a few things you should know. First, always refer to being “on” the Cape, not “in” the Cape. When talking about the different areas of the island, you should know the difference between the “upper,” “lower,” “mid,” and “outer” Cape.
The Cape is shaped like a person’s arm from the shoulder and curling up to a fist. The ‘shoulder’ is located next to Massachusetts and is the Upper Cape. Each successive area is to the east. The Mid-Cape is next, then the Lower Cape (near the elbow), and the last section or the hook is the Outer Cape. Remember, start next to the mainland of Massachusetts and move east.