The 11 best things to do in Cape Cod, Massachusetts – hand luggage only


Located on the beautiful coast MassachusettsCape Cod is a dreamy peninsula to visit while exploring northeast of the United States. Not only does it have a bunch of beaches, stunning towns, but it also has a lot of history worth seeing. Trust me, there are so many epic and best things in Cape Cod that you won’t want to leave!

We love visiting Massachusetts and it’s the kind of American state that’s much more than that Boston!! Yes, it’s amazing (and one of our favorite cities in the U.S.), but the state still has a lot to see and do. From some of the best hikes to explore, to the beautiful rural forest areas of Mount Washington State – it is a type of state that is filled with diversity …

… and this is no truer than in Cape Cod!

So to help you get the most out of your time, I wanted to share some totally epic gems you shouldn’t miss while visiting Cape Cod.

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Check out the best things you can do in Cape Cod below. Have fun exploring Massachusetts. We love it!

1.) Martha’s Vineyard

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Probably one of the more famous islands of the East Coast, Martha’s Vineyard is a completely stunning little place to explore located south of the Cape Cod Peninsula. Best of all, it’s completely easy to visit Woods Hole (Falmouth) or Hyannis and is perfect for a few days of travel.

When you get here, you have to walk the streets of Oak Bluffs (where boats usually arrive). Once you enter the unusual harbor, head to the Flying Horses carousel. It is the oldest, still working carousel you can ride across the country. Dating back to the 1800s, it’s an epic piece of history you can’t miss.

If you are looking for beaches, head to Joseph Sylvia State Beach. This beautiful shower of sandy soil that is perfect to visit. We love the area near Edgartown.

For a great sunset, head to Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook. The views of Vineyard Sound and the Atlantic are breathtaking.

In addition, you can easily visit the Gay Head Lighthouse which is just steps away from the view.

Finally, for a cold (and totally tasty) snack, move on Shanty Seafood Edgartown. Their New England clam chowder is everything!

Read more: The best things in Boston

2.) Cape Cod National Seashore

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

A visit to the national seashore is easily one of the best things about Cape Cod. After all, this peninsula is known for its stunning coastal routes and protected coastline that is too beautiful to miss.

Honestly, if you drive across Cape Cod, it’s kind of hard to miss the National Coast. You see, it’s right on the route between Namskaket and Provincetown and Cape Cod Bay. In fact, you’ll definitely spot it if you’re already following Route 6 in the car.

With over 40 kilometers of coastline, Cape Cod National Seashore is the place you will create for beautiful beaches. Some of the most beautiful are; Head of Meadow Beach, Highland Beach and Race Point Beach (closer to Provincetown).

Although, to be honest, the whole coast is stunning and you can’t go wrong with any of them!

For the most beautiful trails, head towards Lighthouse on a tree which dates back to the 1800s. From here you will head towards Long Point Beach.

In addition, in nice weather you can cross the rocky Provincetown Causeway which stretches across the bay from Provincetown to Wood End itself.

Read more: The best places to visit in the northeastern United States

3.) Hyannis

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Part of the cluster of villages that make up the wider Barnstaple area, Hyannis may seem like a sleepy little place, but that’s its charm.

Plus, it has a bunch to see and is easily one of the best things in Cape Cod if you want more time in its cities.

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Upon arrival, visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial. It is one of the most famous museums in Cape Cod that cannot be missed.

JFK - activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Are you becoming peckish? Go to Spanky’s Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon for a freshly made lobster biscuit and roasted oysters that are all hunted locally. It’s so delicious for lunch.

Finally, you can easily jump on one of Hy-Line cruises from the port of Hyannis, too. They are great for a harbor tour or for a trip to Martha’s Vineyard. It’s all simple!

For a place on the beach in the village, walk to the pleasant beach of Kalmus. It is one of the popular white sand beaches in Cap Code located in the village itself.

Yes, it’s smaller than most (and not as breathtaking as the beaches around the national coast, but it’s still worth a look if you’re already in Hyannis.

If you are planning a longer stay in Hyannis (or in the Barnstaple area), visit Cape Cod Museum of Art, also. It is a cult place that exhibits quite amazing seasonal collections.

Read more: The best hikes in Massachusetts

4.) Sandwich

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

At the very beginning of the Cape Cod Peninsula (facing Cape Cod Bay), Sandwich is a cluster of small settlements that you will almost certainly pass through during your trip.

It’s one of the best things to do in Cape Cod if you like a bigger city or don’t want to drive all the way to Provincetown itself. Although, to be honest, I would always recommend going to Provincetown.

After spending some time walking the streets, take a tour Sandwich glass museum. It is a completely fascinating museum featuring historical and modern glass art exhibits as well as 6000 pieces of glass produced in the 19th century!

You will learn and explore the history and techniques of making glass and sandwich glass that are quite unique.

And not only that, in Sandwich you can explore heritage museums and gardens that are so peaceful and worth a walk. The gardens are a beautiful and classic collection of car lifts!

Get ready for a hearty lunch Sam’s Seafood; their lobster rolls can’t be missed on Tuesday!

5.) Cape Cod Railway

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Not everything in Cape Cod is all about cities and beaches; there are also a bunch of trails that follow that crisis cross across the peninsula itself.

The Cape Cod railroad track is one of these!

Connecting Dennis and Wellfleet, this 25-mile (or slightly more) trail is one of the best things in Cape Cod if you’ve brought a bike. You see, the trails are well paved with bikes and are perfect for a pleasant afternoon bike ride.

Oh, and don’t forget to include Shining Sun Bikeway in Falmouth as well. It’s a great little place to find more coastal routes on two wheels!

Read more: The best things in Boston

6.) Provincetown

Places in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Probably the most famous city in Cape Cod, Provincetown is located at the end of the Cape Cod Penisular and is completely picturesque to visit.

With the charm of an old school and capricious alleys, it is a place that seems to belong to story books. Yes, I know how cheesy it sounds, but it’s true!

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

After driving, away from Cape Cod National Seashore, park in one of the private car parks near MacMillan Pier. I think we used it Grace Hall Parking and it was completely easy and not very expensive like some others.

As you wander, be sure to explore the city’s long history at the Pilgrim Monument and the Provincetown Museum. Both are amazing to visit and somehow you can’t miss them when you’re in the area.

Provincetown in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

In addition, the Pilgrim Monument is the tallest building you can climb and see stunning views of the wider Cape Cod area.

If time does not hold, enter the Provincetown Museum which features an exhibition of the city’s long history.

A lobster pot in Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

For a delicious treat, go for it A lobster pot; which is something like an institution in the city. Completely relaxed, it serves some of the most delicious seafood and lobster pies in all of Cape Cod.

Read more: The best hikes in Massachusetts

7.) Race Point Beach

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Easily a favorite beach in Cape Cod, Race Point Beach on the peninsula is well known for having one of the best beaches. It’s totally amazing.

At certain times of the year you can even spot some seals and whales from the shore itself. Oh, and in this connection, always watch out for the wild animals on the shores here; they can be rays, and sometimes sharks that often lead.

In addition, as it is within easy reach of Provincetown, you can completely jump out for a half-day wander before returning to the city.

Read more: The best places to visit in the northeastern United States

8.) Marconi Beach

Beaches in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Speaking of beaches, don’t forget to stop by Wellfleet and visit Marconi Beach. It is about a mile from the historic Marconi Wireless Station and is completely easy to visit as you drive across Cape Cod Bay.

Martha's Vineyard in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Not only is the beach itself a total gem, but the dunes here are unique. Theirs are so tall and amazing to explore on foot!

Although it can be windy on certain days, so always carry layers with you.

9.) Falmouth

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

It is really easy to visit before or after a boat trip to Martha’s Vineyard, Falmouth is a beautiful town to explore in Cape Cod.

It’s the kind of place that has something for everyone, especially with the historic Nobska Lighthouse, Falmouth Beach and another seafood Sam (if you haven’t filled a sandwich).

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Also, for a delicious dinner, book a table at Landfall Restaurant. Their fishing salary is a total treat.

10.) Nickerson State Park

Best Activities in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Do you want to stay away from the coast? Then park in Nickerson State Park. Located between Brewster and Namskaket, it is a quiet little place to explore on foot or even camping for a few nights.

The whole area around Cliff Pond is beautiful and seems a million miles away from nearby towns. It’s almost like a small retreat in Cape Cod, especially when walking the Cliff Pond Loop.

Read more: The best things in Boston

11.) Chatham

A windmill in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Orienting south, overlooking the sea to Nantucket, a visit to Chatham is one of the best things in Cape Cod during its century of history.

It is a place that dreamers can visit, especially with protected places and museums lining the streets. Once here, go through Chatham Lighthouse and Godfrey Windmill (built in the 1700s).

Oh, and don’t forget to visit the Chatham Railway Museum and the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, which is north of the capital.

Also, come across some of the best oysters on this side of Massachusetts Shameless oysters. Their fresh oysters and turtle doves are too good to miss.

Read more: The best hikes in Massachusetts

15 best trips to Massachusetts

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