Cape Cod is a beautiful place to visit, with a diverse choice of activities and attractions.
Just an hour from Boston, MA, the peninsula offers beautiful beaches, colorful sunsets, wedding venues, restaurants, a diverse choice of outdoor activities, picture-perfect lighthouses, and unique historic attractions. My insider’s guide will help you pack for an unforgettable trip filled with fun things to do on Cape Cod.
Btw, I hope that you’re a food lover like me. And if you are, go and check out the best Cape Cod restaurants for an amazing culinary tour.
- 8 Best Things To Do in Cape Cod
8 Best Things To Do in Cape Cod
Cape Cod National Seashore
The Cape Cod National Seashore is an American treasure, and the first National Seashore created on the Atlantic coast. It offers 40 miles of pristine sandy beaches, lighthouses, stunning landscapes, and outdoor activities from swimming to sailing. Whether you’re visiting for a day or planning your next summer vacation, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this beautiful piece of paradise.
The National Seashore encompasses over 3,500 acres of beautiful beaches, marshes, and sand dunes. The National Park Service provides scenic views of sunrises and sunsets through five lighthouses. You can also take a tour at the Herring Cove Beach or walk along with one of the many hiking trails in the park.
The Salt Pond Visitor Center is Cape Cod National Seashore’s main visitor facility. The museum includes an orientation film, exhibits on the history of the Cape and the Cape’s natural environment, and a gift shop with books, videos, gifts, and memorabilia about the area.
The Province Lands Visitor Center is located at the northern end of Cape Cod National Seashore in Provincetown, two miles south of the Salt Pond Visitor Center. From late spring until early winter, access to Province Lands is available by private watercraft. The paved trail extends 1.25 miles, with two accessible picnic areas and a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean from the cape’s highest point.
For beautiful vistas from sunrise to sunset, make sure to visit the Cape Cod National Seashore. It’s one of the best attractions in Cape Cod.
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Open your door to the world of boating with a private, one-hour trip to famous seabird colonies and the abundance of wildlife on their migration path. This is one of the best things you can do in Cape Cod if you’re a sailing fan.
The experienced tour guides will provide interesting information on the land and sea as you sail to these famous destinations with stunning Cape Cod views. Your cruise to see whales or simply enjoy the scenery and fresh salty air will be something you talk about for years to come.
Led by trained naturalists, the tours last two-and-a-half to four hours, and offer opportunities to spot finback, humpback, and minke whales as they swim among seals, porpoises, and other marine life near the island of Nantucket.
A variety of narrated marine cruises depart from Woods Hole, offering the opportunity to see whales’ migratory routes and learn about marine mammals. Excursions with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution vary, so be sure to ask what the theme and focus of each outing is before boarding. For a larger than life experience in Cape Cod, make sure to check out the whale-watching and other marine tours.
Visit Nickerson State Park
Located in the heart of Cape Cod, Nickerson State Park is known for its kettle ponds, rolling hills, and dense pine woods. Glaciers created 70 ponds, encompassing 45 miles of shoreline, over 10,000 years ago. The landscape is home to a variety of wildlife, and is an excellent place to hike or paddle over quiet ponds.
The pristine beauty of Nickerson State Park is a rare treasure in Cape Cod and a great example of the unique topography created by retreating glaciers over 10,000 years ago.
The park comprises three kettle ponds, salt marshes and tidal flats, pitch pine woodlands, and rolling meadows with beautiful views of Mount Tom.
Nickerson State Park is a 1,913-acre camping park in the heart of Cape Cod. Encompassing ponds and trails, including the 200-foot crescent-shaped East Pond and the 400-foot long West Pond, this popular destination offers plenty of fun for all ages – including swimming and kayaking, fishing, hiking, birding, biking, and nature watching. For memorable outdoor activities in Cape Cod, be sure to visit Nickerson State Park.
Go to Nantucket
Nantucket makes for some enchanting visits. Explore the cobblestone sidewalks, sample seafood at restaurants and bars, and soak up the sun on miles of sandy beaches. Walk along the shoreline with its beautiful views and various historical sites. Visit the Nantucket Whaling Museum to learn about the island’s incredible whaling history.
This charming Cape town, a popular destination for shopping and lodging, features many 18th century homes, a 13th century whaling church, and many quaint shops and boutiques.
From the rocky shores of Provincetown to the cranberry bogs of Wareham, you’ll find that Nantucket is more than just shells and sailing. Journey back in time as you explore the many museums, gardens, and nature preserves around the 14-mile long peninsula.
Once a seasonal playground for artists and writers like Henry David Thoreau and Edith Wharton, along with the famous female astronomer Maria Mitchell, you can visit her home, an observatory, and an aquarium of local marine life.
Most visitors now arrive by ferry or plane to experience the delights of this natural wonderland. Make sure to include a Nantucket visit when planning things to do in Cape Cod.
Catch a Sunset at Island Queen
Take a 35-minute ride to Oak Bluffs for a day of shopping, or spend the day at one of the three beaches on the island. Travel across to Edgartown and visit one of the many charming shops or dine at one of the island’s finest restaurants. All these Cape Cod activities begin with a relaxing ferry ride aboard the Island Queen.
Hop on the ferry and take a trip as you cruise from Falmouth to Oak Bluffs aboard the Island Queen. Explore Oak Bluffs Harbor and beach, or head over to Lobsterville Beach, with its beautiful views of Dike Rock and Gay Head Cliffs. If you want to explore Martha’s Vineyard, hop on a car ferry, such as The Steamship Authority, to travel the island’s east side.
The Island Queen is the choice for tourists looking to tour Martha’s Vineyard. Sailing from April to October, the fast and reliable vessel is equipped with comfortable seating, space to roam around, and state-of-the-art safety equipment.
Travelers will find plenty of parking near the boarding area at Falmouth, and can bring along their bikes to explore the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard on two wheels. This is a must-do as you plan your list of Cape Cod activities.
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The Edward Gorey House is a beautifully preserved 200-year-old home located on the village green in Yarmouth Port. The house was once the home of American author, illustrator, playwright, and set and costume designer Edward Gorey.
Now open to visitors, the Edward Gorey House features an art gallery and bookstore with a collection of rare first editions and limited editions from Edward Gorey’s oeuvre.
Located in the beautiful village of West Tisbury, MA, the Edward Gorey House is one of Cape Cod’s premier attractions. Visitors can purchase high quality reproductions of all of Gorey’s work, including hand-signed original drawings and prints, cards, and books.
Visitors come to the Edward Gorey House and Museum to see its eclectic collection of art, literature, and memorabilia related to its namesake. The third annual Fantastagorey event was held recently on a sunny afternoon, with cat headbands, face painting, and other activities for children.
The Edward Gorey House is a museum and gallery devoted to the work of Edward Gorey, with a focus on Gorey’s home in Cape Cod. The art collection features Edward Gorey’s publications, original art works, original letters, and small manuscripts from Gorey’s archives.
It also houses the main branch of the Museum Store and the Studio Shop, providing Mr. Gorey’s fans with unique keepsakes while raising money for the museum.
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
The Pilgrim Monument is the tallest structure on the Cape, and the second-tallest free-standing masonry structure in New England. At 252 feet, the Monument, built between 1907 and 1910, offers a breathtaking view overlooking Provincetown Harbor, the Chatham Strait, and its surrounding landscape.
It was at this location that the Pilgrims landed in 1620, sailing on the Mayflower. You can drive or walk to the top of the Monument, where you’re rewarded with awesome views of the harbor and the Atlantic. At the crown sits a 19th Century museum with exhibits on Provincetown’s fascinating history, and great whale watching from February to November.
The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum offers daily guided tours that provide a unique perspective on the history and geology of Cape Cod. It was recently named by Trip Advisor as one of “America’s Most Popular Attractions” in 2013, and a must-see attraction in Cape Cod.
Located in Provincetown, the Cape’s most popular resort, our summer vacation spot boasts a thriving art and music scene. At the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is located at the end of a sandbar, which protects it from big waves – perfect for lounging on the beach all day.
There are so many fun things to do in Provincetown that you won’t know where to start!
Whether you’re a returning visitor or someone who’s discovering the beauty of the islands for the first time, this article aims to bring new places, activities, and things to your attention, so that you can explore every corner of these breathtaking islands and find the best places to visit in Martha’s Vineyard.
With its diverse artists and businesses and unique artistic history, Martha’s Vineyard is an ideal destination for art lovers. From Provincetown to Hyannis, explore contemporary art and live performance art while enjoying the natural beauty of the Cape’s beaches.
Martha’s tourism industry, along with the whole of Cape Cod, thrives with activities for people of all ages. Touring the Cape’s historic sites will keep you busy for days.
From the early industry at the Sandwich Glass Museum to inspiring art at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, there are many ways to experience Cape Cod’s rich cultural history. To explore even deeper, stop by The Cape Cod Room in the JFK Hyannis Museum.
Are there places to camp in Cape Cod?
The answer is, absolutely yes. You can camp in Cape Cod anywhere you want, and if you plan to go far on the shore make sure to get enough supplies for your way back. Everyone likes to get disconnected once in a while.
What about renting a bike?
Consider taking advantage of a bike rental during your Cape Cod activities. As you may have guessed, there are companies and individuals that will rent you a bike for the duration of your stay on Cape Cod. You can check them out here.
How to get there?
Use this fast ferry option for the easiest access.
What are the warmest/hottest days in Cape Cod?
The hottest months in Cape Cod are in July and August with temperatures ranging from 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit (high) and 58-63 degrees (low).
Can you surf in Cape Cod?
Yes, in Cape Cod, there are many places to go surfing. If you’re one of those people that isn’t afraid of the waves, definitely go ahead and take a surf in the water. Visit the five best surfing places in Cape Cod.
With respect to your time, I only mentioned eight things to do in Cape Cod. Of course, there are many more places to be visited, but these are the ones that were the most remarkable to me.
To conclude, I can say that every dollar you spend in Cape Cod is pretty much worth your money and time. Having a camera or a decent phone is a good thing, so that when you go back to your hometown, you have something to show your family and friends, and next time bring them with you.
There are many worthwhile things to do in Cape Cod and the islands. Select from a list of things to do, including beaches, golf, museums, shopping, historic tours, and more. Summer is coming. What are you waiting for?
Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.