By Dana Perkiss
Boasting beautiful beaches, a relaxed atmosphere, and fascinating history, Cape Cod is one of the main attractions in New England simply bursting with activities to enjoy. Unsure where to start? No problem! We’ve got you covered with some of the best things to do when you travel to Cape Cod.
Cape Cod National Seashore
If you want beaches in Cape Cod, you’ll find no shortage! Spanning about 40 miles, the Cape Cod National Seashore boasts pristine sand beaches, diverse natural habitats, and iconic historical landmarks. You can hike along one of the many trails to snap photos of unique wildlife, marvel at outstanding lighthouses like the Highland Light, or simply lounge on the beach and soak up the sun!
Cape Cod Rail Trail
Anybody looking for great things to do outdoors in Cape Cod should definitely check out the 25-mile-long Cape Cod Rail Trail. Spanning across seven Cape Cod towns including Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet, this spectacular trail is best for cycling but also welcomes walking, rollerblading, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Bike rentals are available here, while most of the path is completely paved and flat making it quite accessible for visitors.
Most popular for its vibrant music and arts scene, Provincetown is a lively town filled with beautiful spaces and interesting history. If you remember history class, this is where the Pilgrims landed on the Mayflower in 1620 – and you can honor this historic moment at the 252-foot tall Pilgrim Monument. You can visit the informative museum at the bottom, or even climb the granite monument to enjoy spectacular views from the top!
One of the absolute best things to do in Cape Cod is to go whale watching! There are tons of whale watching tours in Cape Cod, where you can feel the refreshing breeze of the sea as you marvel at humpback and minke whales. The best time of the year for whale watching here is from mid-May to October, so try to plan your trip perfectly to catch this astounding natural wonder.
Looking for something a little more old-school? Visit one of the only drive-in movie theaters still running in the U.S. in Wellfleet! Opened in 1957, the Wellfleet Drive-In has progressed to include indoor movie theaters, a mini-golf course, a snack bar, and a flea market – meaning you don’t need a car to fully enjoy this gem.
Easily accessible by ferry, Nantucket is an island just 30 miles south of Cape Cod, with the town of Nantucket being the main attraction. There are many beaches in Nantucket including the popular Jetties Beach, while you’ll find the famous Sankaty Head Light in the Siasconset Village. Other popular things to do in Nantucket include visiting the Whaling Museum, catching a show at the Dreamland Film and Performing Arts Center, and hiking the wildlife-filled trails at the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge.
Whydah Pirate Museum
If you’re interested in checking out cool museums in Cape Cod, be sure to visit the Whydah Pirate Museum! This is the world’s first authentic pirate exhibit featuring the remains of an 18th-century slave trader ship. Visitors can come to learn the true story behind the Whydah and walk through a replica of it, as well as marvel at unique artifacts, explore the gift shop and bookstore, and even check out the museum’s onsite conservation laboratory.