Perched within the gorgeous coastline of Massachusetts, Cape Cod is a dreamy peninsular to visit whilst exploring the northeast of the USA. Not only does it have heaps of beaches, stunning little towns but it also has a load of history that’s well worth a gander. Trust me, there are so many epic and best things to do in Cape Cod that you won’t wanna leave!
We love visiting Massachusetts and it’s the kind of US states that’s so much more than Boston! Yes, it’s incredible (and one of our favourite cities in the US) but the state has heaps more to see and do. From some of the best hikes to explore, to the gorgeous rural areas of Mount Washington State Forest – it’s the kind of state that’s filled with diversity…
… and this is no more true than in Cape Cod!
So, to help you get the most out of your time, I wanted to share some totally epic gems you can’t miss whilst visiting Cape Cod.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Cape Cod. Have an amazing time exploring Massachusetts. We love it!
1.) Martha’s Vineyard
Probably one of the East Coast’s more famous islands, Martha’s Vineyard is a totally stunning little spot to explore that’s just south of Cape Cod Peninsular. Best of all, it’s totally easy to visit from Woods Hole (Falmouth) or Hyannis and perfect for a few days trip.
Once here, you have to stroll the streets at Oak Bluffs (which is typically where the boats arrive). After taking in the quaint little harbour, head over to the Flying Horses Carousel. It’s the oldest, still working carousel that you can ride in the whole country. Dating back to the 1800s, it’s an epic slice of history you can’t miss.
If it’s beaches you’re after, then head across to Joseph Sylvia State Beach. This gorgeous spit of sandy land that’s perfect to visit. We love the end near Edgartown.
For a great sunset, head over to Aquinnah Cliffs Overlook. The views across Vineyard Sound and the Atlantic are just breathtaking.
Plus, you can easily visit Gay Head Lighthouse which’s a stone’s throw from the overlook itself.
Finally, for a chilled-out (and totally yummy) bite to eat, head over to the Seafood Shanty in Edgartown. Their New England clam chowder is everything!
2.) Cape Cod National Seashore
A visit to the national seashore is easily one of the best things to do in Cape Cod. After all, this peninsular is famed for its stunning coastal routes and protected shoreline that’s just too beautiful to miss.
Truthfully, if you’re driving across Cape Cod, it’s kinda hard to miss the National Seashore. 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-miles of shoreline, Cape Cod National Seashore is a spot you make for the gorgeous beaches. Some of the loveliest are; Head of Meadow Beach, Highland Beach and Race Point Beach (nearer Provincetown).
Though, to be honest, the whole shoreline is stunning and you can’t really go wrong with any of them!
For the most gorgeous trails, head over to Wood End Lighthouse that dates all the way back to the 1800s. From here, you’ll get to ramble towards Long Point Beach.
Plus, in good weather, you can cross the rocky Provincetown Causeway that stretches across the bay from Provincetown to Wood End itself.
Part of the cluster of villages that make up the wider Barnstaple area, Hyannis might seem like a sleepy little spot but that’s its charm.
Plus, it’s got heaps to see and is easily one of the best things to do in Cape Cod if you want more time within its towns.
After arriving, make sure to visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial. It is one of the most iconic museums in Cape Cod that can’t be missed.
Getting peckish? Head into Spanky’s Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon for their freshly-made lobster bisque and fried oysters that are all caught locally. It’s so yummy for lunch.
Finally, you can easily hop on one of the Hy-Line Cruises from the harbourfront at Hyannis, too. These are great for their Harbour Cruise Tour or taking a trip to Martha’s Vineyard. It’s all totally easy!
For a beach spot in the village, stroll on over to the cosy Kalmus Beach. It is one of the popular white-sand beaches in Cap Code that’s within a village itself.
Yeah, it’s smaller than most (and not quite as breathtaking as the beaches around the national shoreline but still worth a look if you’re already in Hyannis.
If you’re planning a longer stay in Hyannis (or the Barnstaple area), make sure to visit the Cape Cod Museum of Art, too. It’s an iconic spot that exhibits some pretty incredible seasonal collections.
Just at the start of the Cape Cod peninsular (facing into Cape Cod Bay), Sandwich is a cluster of little settlements that you’ll almost certainly pass along your road trip.
It’s one of the best things to do in Cape Cod if you fancy a larger town or don’t fancy driving all the way around to Provincetown itself. Though, to be honest, I’d always recommend getting to Provincetown.
After spending a little time strolling the streets, head over to tour the Sandwich Glass Museum. It’s a totally fascinating museum featuring historical and modern displays of glass art, as well as 6,000 pieces of glass produced in the 19th century!
You will learn and explore the history and techniques of glassmaking and sandwich glass that’s pretty unique.
Not only that, in Sandwich you can explore the Heritage Museums & Gardens that’s so peaceful and well worth a stroll. The gardens are gorgeous and a classic car collection to boot!
For a hearty lunch, get yourself over to Seafood Sam’s; their lobster rolls can’t be missed on a Tuesday!
5.) Cape Cod Rail Trail
Not everything in Cape Cod is all about the towns and beach; there’s also heaps of trails to follow that crisis-cross the peninsular itself.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is one of these!
Connecting Dennis and Wellfleet, this 25 mile (or so) trail is one of the best things to do in Cape Cod if you’ve brought your bike. You see, the paths are well-paved bike and is perfect to have a nice afternoon bike ride.
Oh, and don’t forget to include Shining Sun Bikeway in Falmouth, too. It’s a great little spot to find more coastal routes on two wheels!
Probably the most famous town in Cape Cod, Provincetown is right at the end of Cape Cod Penisular and totally picturesque to visit.
With an old-school charm and whimsical little streets, it’s the kind of place that feels like it belongs in storybooks. Yeah, I know how cheesy that sounds but it’s the truth!
After driving up, beyond Cape Cod National Seashore, park up at one of the private lots near MacMillan Pier. I think we used Grace Hall Parking Lot and it was totally easy and not quite as expensive as some others.
As you wander, be sure to explore the town’s long history at Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. Both are amazing to visit and you kinda can’t miss them when in the area.
Plus, the Pilgrim Monument is the tallest structure which you can climb and see the amazing views of the wider Cape Cod area.
If the weather isn’t holding up, pop into the Provincetown Museum which features the exhibition of the town’s long history.
For a tasty treat, head into The Lobster Pot; which is something of an institution in the town. Totally relaxed, it serves up some of the tastiest grilled halibut and lobster pot pie in all of Cape Cod.
7.) Race Point Beach
Easily a favourite beach in Cape Cod, Race Point Beach is well known on the peninsular for having one of the best beaches. It’s totally amazing.
At certain times of the year, you might even spot some seals and whales from the shore itself. Oh, and on that note, always watch out for wildlife on the shores here; there can be rays and sometimes sharks that frequent the waters.
Plus, as it’s within easy reach of Provincetown, you can totally pop over for a half-day wander before heading back to town.
8.) Marconi Beach
Talking of beaches, don’t forget to stop off in Wellfleet and visit Marconi Beach, too. It’s around a mile away from the historic Marconi Wireless Station and totally easy to visit as you drive across Cape Cod Bay.
Not only is the beach itself a total gem but the dunes here are one-of-a-kind. Their so tall and incredible to explore by foot!
Though, it can get windy on certain days so always take layers with you.
Really easy to visit before or after a boat trip to Martha’s Vineyard, Falmouth is a lovely town to explore in Cape Cod.
It’s the kind of spot that’s got a little something for everyone, especially with the historic Nobska Lighthouse, Falmouth Beach and another Seafood Sam’s (if you didn’t get your fill in Sandwich).
Also, for a tasty dinner, book a table at Landfall Restaurant. Their fisherman’s platter is a total treat.
10.) Nickerson State Park
Fancy staying away from the shoreline? Then park up at Nickerson State Park. Nestled in between Brewster and Namskaket, it’s a tranquil little spot to explore by foot or even camp for a few nights.
The whole area around Cliff Pond is lovely and feels like a million miles away from the nearby towns. It’s almost like a little retreat in Cape Cod, especially when strolling the Cliff Pond Loop Trail.
South facing, overlooking the sea to Nantucket, visiting Chatham is one of the best things to do in Cape Cod for its centuries of history.
It’s a history buffs dream spot to visit, especially with the protected sites and museums that line the streets. Once here, take a gander around the Chatham Lighthouse and the Godfrey Windmill (that was built in the 1700s).
Oh, and don’t forget a visit to the Chatham Railroad Museum and the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center that’s just north of the main part of the town.
Also, for some of the best Oysters this side of Massachusetts, pop into Impudent Oyster. Their fresh oysters and littlenecks are too good to miss.