5 Things to Do in Cape Cod
Featured destinations: Cape Cod
Published 22 November 2016
Cape Cod, situated just south of Boston, is a uniquely shaped peninsular that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Having heard all about its strong pilgrim history, charming architecture, rugged beaches and fresh lobster rolls, I was eager to get out and about to explore. Here are my top five things to do in this popular holiday region:
Gorge on seafood
Clams clams clams. Stuffed clams, clam strips, clam chowder. There are clams everywhere. Not only are there clams, there are crabs, scallops, oysters, mussels, lobster rolls and fish galore being sold in abundance and they are DELICIOUS! The seafood is fresh and everything is served with a friendly New England smile. I would fly back tomorrow for one more lobster roll.
Martha's Vineyard Lighthouse image: Lucy Tolley
Explore Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard, a small island located just south of Cape Cod, is easily accessed via ferry from Yarmouth. It is Barrack Obama’s choice of summertime holiday location and it is easy to see why. As the ferry heads to the port you have wonderful views of the rugged coast and the sailing boats anchored at the marina, and then, once at port, you can either explore using the regular buses, or you can hop on a bike and cycle your way around. The island is quite big but it has custom-made cycle paths which meander around the charming towns and along the coastal roads.
You could do a whistle-stop tour in a day, or stay overnight and spend a few lazy days eating lobster rolls.
Top Tip: Visit Edgartown and stop off at the Seafood Shanty, a restaurant with cool vibes and a terrace overlooking the marina.
House in Cape Cod image: Lucy Tolley
Drive Route 6A
If you need to get across the cape in a hurry, Route 6 is the road for you. If however, you fancy a casual day taking in the leisurely atmosphere, hop onto Route 6A, otherwise known as the Old King's Highway. You will discover what Cape Cod was like before tourism hit and if you want to stop of at some of the quaintest shops in New England, this is the way to go. Take a break at the historical town of Sandwich and enjoy the view across the salt marshes, cruise along to the Jonathan Young Windmill in Orleans and enjoy the views of Sandy Neck in Barnstable. Cape Cod is full of pilgrim history and fantastic colonial buildings, so the towns here are charming; it is easy to lose a day exploring at a leisurely pace and catching up with the locals who are lucky enough to call this place their home.
Seals in Cape Cod
Set sail on a sea safari
Cape Cod’s 559 miles of cold Atlantic coastline are home to a variety of sea creatures. Great white sharks use these waters as a nursery and pupping ground and colonies of grey seals laze on the sandbanks of this prime whale watching spot.
If you don’t fancy getting on a boat and heading out to sea to look for whales, spend some time on one of the many beaches. Take binoculars and keep your eyes open for sea creatures – humpback whales can sometimes be spotted off Race Point Beach; when we were there we were lucky enough to glimpse some in the distance.
Off Lighthouse Point at Chatham, the sandbanks are literally grey with seals. Because seals are a tasty snack to the infamous great white shark, it makes it a hotspot for these terrifying fish. When we were there in September we were informed by a friendly deli owner that 19 sharks had been tagged off the coast of Chatham already that year!
If you want to get up close and personal with the seals, drive to the fish market. There, you’ll find a viewing platform where you can watch the fishing boats unload their haul and spot the mischievous seals that hang about hoping to get a few scraps from the boats.
As well as sharks, whales and seals, it is also possible to see other sea life, such as sun fish, dolphins and turtles.
Top Tip: Take a pair of good binoculars to check out those distant fin sightings.Cycling in Cape Cod image: Lucy Tolley
There are many paths along the cape designed for walking: nature paths, coastal paths, wooded paths. There are also many cycle trails, with cycle rental shops found dotted about the cape.
Alternatively, you can hit the water and splash about in kayaks or on paddle-boards. If you don’t fancy risking the fresh Atlantic waters, there are many inland lakes and estuaries to paddle on. It’s also a great way to see wildlife. With a superb climate and long summers why not get moving and start burning off those lobster rolls?
Cape Cod marina image: Lucy Tolley
There is such an enticing charm surrounding Cape Cod, it would have been easy to spend weeks there; the endless coastline, sunshine and gorgeous buildings give it an organic feel and make it such a perfect holiday destination.
Follow in Lucy's footsteps and spend two nights in Cape Cod with Round the World Experts' New England Encompassed holiday, which can be tailor-made to suit your requirements.