What are the best things to do on Cape Cod?

Visit the Cape Cod National Seashore, which was designated as protected in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. It offers 40 miles of pristine sandy beach, marshes and ponds. There are 27 public and 15 private golf courses on the Cape, running the gamut of skill levels with courses that are pristine, scenic, challenging and fun. Guests of Wequassett have golf privileges at Cape Cod National Golf Club, one of the finest, most prestigious golf clubs in the nation. The championship-quality 6,954-yard, 72-par course, with 18 challenging holes, was designed by Brian Silva.

Cape Cod is known for its spectacular beaches. A few area beaches are Lighthouse Beach in Chatham, Nauset Beach in Orleans and Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. The Cape Cod Rail Trail offers 30 miles of paved bike paths from Dennis through Nickerson State Park to the Cape Cod National Seashore. The beautiful islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are perfect for day trips, just a ferry ride away.

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    What are the best kid-friendly restaurants on Cape Cod?

    Wequassett's Outer Bar & Grille is a casual setting, overlooking the pool and beach with both indoor and outdoor seating. It has a great children’s menu that is presented on a toy sailboat. The resort also offers family theme-night dining, including clambakes and barbecues.

    The Chatham Squire on Main Street in Chatham has a pub-like feel and is a great place for lunch or dinner while in town.

    The Delmar in Chatham serves wood-grilled pizzas and a variety of nicely prepared local fish. It is a lively atmosphere, and children are given crayons for the paper tablecloth.

    The Lobster Claw in the nearby town of Orleans is known as a great family restaurant. It serves lunch and dinner daily and features fresh local seafood, including lobster, steamed clams, haddock, swordfish and salmon. A children's menu offers fried clam strips, shrimp, scallops and chicken tenders.

    Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham is about a 20-minute drive from the resort. It’s a great clam shack for lunch or dinner. The restaurant is casual, and you can come right from the beach or ride your bike — the Cape Cod Rail Trail runs through the property.
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    Where can you go to watch sports on Cape Cod?

    You can watch sports at the resort, both at LiBAYtion, the poolside bar, and at Thoreau's, the cozy lounge adjacent to Twenty-Eight Atlantic.
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    Where can you go to watch sports on Cape Cod?

    ©iStock/oversnap Though there’s no big city on Cape Cod with professional teams to cheer for, the area does have plenty of places to watch sports, particularly when it comes to baseball. The Cape Code Baseball League has teams located throughout the area in Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Cotuit, Falmouth, Harwich, Hyannis, Orleans, Wareham and Yarmouth/Dennis, and all of the teams play weekly during spring and summer. The league is non-profit so while you won’t have to pay for tickets to a game, you might be asked to make a donation or drop a few bills in a baseball hat when it makes its way around the field among the spectators. The Cape Cod League posts schedules and times on its website and updates daily with any new changes.
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    Where are the best places to hear live music on Cape Cod?

    Wequassett is home to the annual Cape Cod Jazz Festival, and there are complimentary performances under the stars every Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in July and August. The Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis presents up to 60 national and international concert events between June and August. The Cape Cod Symphony is the second-largest symphony orchestra in Massachusetts and performs regularly at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center. It also holds two special summer concerts, one at Mashpee Commons and the other at Eldridge Park in Orleans.
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    Where are the best places to hear live music on Cape Cod?

    One of the best things Cape Cod has to offer is its rich and lively music scene, which hits its crescendo in the summer months with dozens of live performances. Nearly all of the communities on the Cape have a town green (public park space) where bands play free weekly concerts. The Sandwich Town Band performs every Thursday evening from 7:30 to 9 p.m.; a 45-piece Brewster town band performs every Sunday in July and August at 6 p.m.; Chatham’s brass band performs every Friday night at 8 p.m. from July to Labor Day; and the town of Truro hosts weekly concerts at 6:30 p.m. on their town green every Thursday. The Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis hosts international artists who perform there between June and August. This is the Cape’s largest arena where you might watch the likes of Tony Bennett, the Beach Boys, Sugarland and others perform throughout the summer. Tickets for the shows at Cape Cod Melody Tent can be purchased online. The Cape Cod Jazz Festival takes place every weekend in July and August at the Wequassett Resort & Golf Club. The shows range from jazz to blues to Latin-infused music. The festival is free but there is a two-drink minimum per person. If you want premier seating next to the stage, book a pre-jazz dinner at the resort’s Twenty-Eight Atlantic restaurant for $55 and you’ll get prime seats.
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    Where is the best nightlife on Cape Cod?

    The Cape has many fine restaurants, local theater, musical performances and a great jazz scene. Close to the resort are the Academy of Performing Arts, Chatham Drama Guild and Monomy Theatre. The Cape Playhouse in Dennis is about 20 minutes from the resort and is one of the most famous summer theatres in the country, featuring Broadway comedies, musicals, mysteries and dramas. The Cape Cod Melody Tent is about a 30-minute drive from the resort and features national and international concert events.

    Wequassett is home to the annual Cape Cod Jazz Festival, with performances every Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in July and August. The resort offers a weekly schedule of evening activities, including poolside music Thursday through Monday, clambakes, barbecues and a manager's cocktail party each week.
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    Where is the best nightlife on Cape Cod?

    As relaxed and reserved as Cape Cod can be, it also has a few lively outlets for great nightlife. The majority of the fun takes place in Provincetown, where you’ll find most of the clubs and late-night bars. The Atlantic House (also known as the A-House), is a three-level dance club open all year. Also in Provincetown is the Cape Cod Cabaret, featuring weekly shows that bring a bit of Broadway to the area.

    The majority of evening events happen around the Cape at bars and taverns. The British Beer Company, located in Falmouth, Hyannis and Sandwich, is one of the more popular pubs on the Cape, and serves up live music during the summer season. The atmosphere here is very casual and friendly, so belly up to the bar, order a brew and kick back for the night. One of the Cape’s favorite hangouts is in Wellfleet at the Wellfleet Beachcomber. Surfers, boarders, sun-tanners and general beach-goers make their way to the Beachcomber during the summer for live music, innovative cocktails, and general mixing and mingling on Cahoon Hollow Beach. If you’re looking for something more spectator-focused, take advantage of nightly shows at the Barnstable Comedy Club, the Cape Playhouse, the Provincetown Theater or the Cape Cod Melody Tent.
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    What are the best hotels on Cape Cod?

    ©iStock/cstewart The best places to stay on Cape Cod are far beyond the spate of old-fashioned motels and inns that line the seashore and tiny towns. While you can throw a stone and find a place to lay your head, if you want something more upscale that offers all the amenities of a resort with direct access to the beach and water activities, consider these places:

    1. Wequassett Resort & Golf Club. This gated luxury resort is a favorite among families returning for summer vacation on Cape Cod and our Forbes Travel Guide editors. Located in Chatham, the Four-Star Wequassett sits on Pleasant Bay, and plays host to a variety of water activities and children’s activities during the summer months. There’s a children center, tennis courts, fitness facility, pool, and three restaurants on property. Guests of Wequassett also enjoy golf at the private Cape Cod National golf course, located just a few miles down the road.

    2. Ocean Edge Resort. It goes without saying that this resort is very family-focused. Located in Brewster, the mansion-turned-inn offers a golf course private beach, pools, tennis courts, fitness center, children’s center, bike rentals, four restaurants and direct access to the Cape Cod Bike and Rail Trail. There are one, two, and three-bedroom villas available for rent.

    3. Chatham Bars Inn. One of the more historic inns on Cape Cod, the Chatham Bars Inn is good for families and couples. The inn spans 25 acres and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and is also within walking distance of the shops and restaurants on Chatham’s Main Street.
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    What are the best Cape Cod museums?

    There are museums for just about every interest in Cape Cod, from the Sandwich Glass Museum to the Cape Cod Museum of Art, the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum and even a museum and Hall of Fame dedicated to the Cape Cod Baseball League.
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    What are the best Cape Cod museums?

    The best Cape Cod museums are scattered throughout the peninsula, and cover every topic from art to natural history, while offering children’s programs, garden tours and lectures. If a rainy day happens when you’re visiting the Cape, or you just need a little time out of the sun, visit a few of the best museums, including:

    1. Cape Cod Children’s Museum. Located in Mashpee, the Cape Cod Children’s Museum features an indoor planetarium, hands-on exhibits, a pirate ship, puppet theater, and more.

    2. Cape Cod Maritime Museum. The nonprofit organization based in Hyannis is dedicated to all things maritime. The museum offers exhibitions, public events and educational programming, as well as tours that provide a glimpse into marine life in Cape Cod.

    3. Cape Cod Museum of Art. You’ll find works of art from local artists at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis. The museum’s focus on local artists from the Cape and the islands makes it a favorite spot for art lovers to find new and unique ideas and furnishings. There’s also a screening room that shows independent films, and a special children’s program called ArtQuest that keeps kids engaged through interactive projects and exhibits.

    4. Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. Located in Brewster, the Cape Code Museum of Natural History has two floors of exhibits showing off everything from whales, indigenous birds and crustaceans to coastal changes and landscaping. There are also three nature trails and guided field walks are offered year round.

    5. Sandwich Glass Museum. Follow the history of the glass industry and its influence on Cape Cod at the Sandwich Glass Museum, located in Sandwich. There’s also a museum store where you can buy glass art.
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    What is the best way to see Cape Cod in two days?

    ©iStock/DenisTangneyJr The best way to see Cape Cod in two days is to devote a weekend to exploring the charming towns and coastline that dot the length of the cape. Begin in Provincetown at the tip of the cape, where you’ll find great art stores and galleries. If you’re hungry, stop at the legendary Lobster Pot for an authentic lobster roll before heading toward the other towns on the Cape. Visit the Cape Cod National Park and Seashore in Eastham and enjoy one of the six beaches that make up this shore, as well as the park’s wealth of nature trails, sand dunes and ponds.

    A little further along Route 6 is Chatham, which makes a good stopping point for dinner. Walk along the town’s Main Street, where you’ll find three miles of antique stores, art galleries, homemade candy shops and ice cream parlors. End your day at the Chatham Bars Inn’s famous Sacred Cod Tavern for some traditional New England clam chowder or lobster rolls. Start day two off in Hyannis (about 20 minutes from Chatham) and hop a ferry to get a seaside perspective on the Cape. The boats will take you along Cape Cod seashore and out into the Atlantic, where you’ll wrap around Martha’s Vineyard, see Nantucket and head back into Hyannis. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a whale or two on your excursion.

    Following your cruise, head into Wellfleet (about 20 miles west of Hyannis) and take a walk along the end of the Cape Cod Bike Trail, which will take you past some of the more picturesque points on the Cape. Since you’re already in Wellfleet, find yourself a seafood shack (they’re all fabulous and fresh) and enjoy some fresh-shucked oysters. Or obtain a permit from Wellfleet’s town hall and give oystering a shot yourself — the sea floor here is ripe with bivalves that can be harvested during low tide. Slurp away and then end your day full and refreshed after seeing all the Cape has to offer in two days.
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