A travel and tourism guide to Cape Cod’s stunning scenery, popular activities and attractions, and charming towns.
With its charming towns, beautiful beaches, and one-of-a-kind scenery, there’s little doubt why Cape Cod has become one of America’s most popular vacation and travel spots. It’s important to understand, however, Cape Cod’s unique culture and way of life to have the best trip possible. This travel guide explores Cape Cod’s culture and highlights the region’s main tourist attractions and sites of interest.
Cape Cod is an arm-shaped peninsula in southeastern Massachusetts. The “Cape,” as it is commonly referred to both by locals and tourists, is divided into fourteen towns and three sections. The “Upper Cape,” ironically the part closest to the mainland, contains the towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth and Mashpee. Further east is the “Mid Cape” and its towns of Barnstable, Yarmouth and Dennis. The rest of Cape Cod, the “Lower Cape,” holds the towns of Harwich, Brewster, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown. It is important to remember the counterintuitive nature of the Upper Cape/ Lower Cape divide.
Cape Cod’s climate is temperate but subject to the whims of the ocean. Culturally it is firmly New England territory, as evidenced in its local accent, colonial New England architecture and small-town feel. The summer months are very tourism heavy so make sure to schedule any hotel or restaurant reservations well in advance.
Activities & Attractions
Cape Cod contains a number of tourist attractions and sites of interest. The Cape is well known for its pristine beaches, especially Cape Cod National Seashore. With its 40 miles of beaches and walking paths in and around Provincetown, the Cape Cod National Seashore is truly a natural gem and a must-see for all visitors.
Outdoor activities are also a popular option on Cape Cod. Travelers will find plenty of beach trails, bike trails, fishing spots, prime boating areas, and golf courses. Cape Cod in fact boasts 27 public and 15 private golf courses.
Whale watching is another popular activity. The waters off Cape Cod hold many kinds of whales, including Humpback Whales, Fin Whales and North Atlantic Right Whales. It is almost guaranteed that you’ll see at least some whales, and sightings are often thrilling and spectacular. These whale watch excursions are based out of Provincetown and Barnstable.
Shoppers will find plenty of outlets in Cape Cod. Provincetown, Orleans, Barnstable and Sandwich are the best places to shop on Cape Cod, but all towns have plenty of unique stores of every kind, from antiques to souvenirs to books and games.
Cape Cod is also well known for its famous lighthouses. Race Point in Provincetown, Cape Cod Light in Truro and Sandy Neck Light in Barnstable are three of the best known, but there are even more to explore as well.
Cape Cod offers many art galleries, museums and cultural experiences as well. Pay a visit to the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, and the countless art galleries of Provincetown. Additionally, the Naukabout Music Festival is usually held in the first weekend of August in the village of East Falmouth.
Cruises and water sports are also popular activities for vacationers. Try parasailing in Provincetown, Yarmouth, and Falmouth. Chatham offers seal cruises as well, and don’t forget about ferry service to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Cape Cod’s towns are also attractions in and of themselves. Barnstable serves as The Cape’s main commercial and transportation center, while Sandwich is widely known for its antique shops and Truro for its breathtaking cliff dunes and stunning scenery. Perhaps the most popular town in all of Cape Cod is Provincetown, located at The Cape’s tip. This eclectic town, commonly called “P-Town,” is home to a plethora of art galleries, unique shops, and beautiful beaches. Check out Pilgrim Monument for stunning views of the area and explore the Provincetown Museum to take in the town’s rich history and culture. Provincetown is well known for its large gay and lesbian population, so keep an open and tolerant mind while visiting.
Visit Cape Cod
With its charming towns, stunning scenery, and gorgeous beaches, Cape Cod is a great place to visit. All of these attractions and more await visitors to this unique region. Whether you go in the height of the tourist-heavy summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day or the less crowded spring or fall, just remember to schedule enough time to see all of Cape Cod’s great attractions!