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Spend a Summer Getaway in Cape Cod

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Chatham Lighthouse, built in 1808, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Chatham Lighthouse, built in 1808, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The summer is the perfect time to start planning your holiday getaway. One of the top summer getaway destinations in the US is Cape Cod. Cape Cod is a gem in New England that provides perfect summer weather, beautiful beaches, quaint towns, and much more.

Cape Cod is a scenic destination as you drive along the Atlantic shoreline to reach landmarks and accommodations designed to give you an authentic stay. There are many things to do in Cape Cod that make it an ideal setting for your next vacation.

If you enjoy the outdoors, learning about history, or hanging out in a small-town setting, Cape Cod should be at the top of your bucket list. It’s a place where everyone gets treated like a local.

We’ve put together a guide on the best things to do in Cape Cod and the best towns to check out that will give you a memorable vacation experience.

Things to Do:

  • Visit the Beaches

Cape Cod is a favorite summer retreat destination, so you can’t help but spend time at the beach while you’re there. The beach is a great way to go for a refreshing swim, fishing, or lounge in the sun.

Scenic beaches line the entire coast of the cape with views looking towards the Atlantic Ocean or the Cape Cod Bay. You’ll have beaches perfect for hanging out with friends and family, or a more secluded beach all to yourself.

The best beaches in Cape Cod are:

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  • Nauset Beach
  • Coast Guard Beach
  • Race Point Beach
  • Marconi Beach

The picturesque scenery of each of the beaches makes them a go-to spot for sunrise.

  • Explore the Picturesque Lighthouses

Lighthouses are one of the iconic landmarks in New England, and Cape Cod has plenty of them to check out. You’ll get to take some of the most beautiful photos with the lighthouses in the backdrop amidst the crashing waves. Many of the lighthouses also include small museums in the keeper’s house to learn more about their respective history.

The most famous lighthouses in Cape Cod are:

  • Nauset Lighthouse
  • Chatham Keegan Lighthouse
  • Race Point Lighthouse

Each of the lighthouses is unique, and frequent tourist stops while exploring the cape. If there’s time, visit all of them and find which is your favorite!

  • Fun with boating

One of the most common sights while traveling around Cape Cod is to see boats lining the coast. It seems like everyone has a boat, so you should consider joining in on the fun. If you don’t own one, there are boat rentals available as well as boating experiences.

You’ll find yacht rentals and charters in many of the top cities along the cape. Rent them out for the day to take out into the ocean, or even reserve them for accommodations. Kayaking is also a fun activity – you can rent kayaks to ride along the coast for incredible views.

Cape Cod also has lots of boating tours, such as whale watching or sunset dinner cruises.

  • Check out the local museums

Cape Cod is a historical area that first began as a major maritime area before transitioning into a popular getaway destination. Many notable people, like past President John F. Kennedy, have spent lots of time on the cape, and it’s even the first place where the pilgrims landed when arriving in the new world. It also inspires some of the most beautiful works in American Art.

You can learn details about everything Cape Cod from the past to the present in several local museums:

  • Cape Cod Maritime Museum
  • JFK Hyannis Museum
  • Cape Cod Museum of Art
  • Pilgrim Monument

Checking out these museums gives a better appreciation of the cultural and historical significance of Cape Cod.

  • Cape Cod National Seashore

Established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Cape Cod National Seashore is one of the most visited areas in Cape Cod. It’s a vast region of preserved landscape extending more than 40 miles long and covers over 40,000 acres. 

The landscape is diverse – it contains many of the top beaches in Cape Cod, rolling dunes, marshes, and historical landmarks. It’s a place where nature remains untouched.

Cape Cod National Seashore is excellent for outdoor recreation. Some of the favorite activities include swimming, hiking, biking, and viewpoints along the Atlantic Coast.

Where to Stay in Cape Cod?

Cape Cod is a region in New England established on a peninsula of Massachusetts. The cape consists of multiple small towns and villages lining the coast, so you’ll have plenty of options for places to stay.

The favorite tourist destinations in Cape Cod are:

  • Provincetown
  • Hyannis
  • Chatham
  • Wellfleet

Each of the small towns showcases incredible New England architecture and seaside cottages. The atmosphere is very welcoming to tourists and becomes bustling centers during the busy travel season.

These towns offer quick access to some of the local attractions like museums, beaches, and lighthouses, but also, it’s easy to go for a short drive to a nearby town for a more diverse experience.

There are several options for staying in Cape Cod, but you won’t find any major hotel brands. The seaside cottages provide accommodations, and some even have bed & breakfast offerings. You can also find vacation home rentals or even stay on a yacht.

Best Time to Visit Cape Cod

The best time to visit Cape Cod is during the summer. Most tourists arriving during the season come from the nearby major cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston – visitors treat it like their summer getaway.

Summer is the peak travel season for the cape when most of the seasonal activities are up and running, and the towns are busy centers filled with vacation-goers. It’s the best time to enjoy outdoor activities like visiting the beach or going on a hike, thanks to the ideal weather.

You’ll have warm days and cool, refreshing nights during the season.

If you’re looking to escape the crowds, you could also visit Cape Cod during the late spring or early fall. You’ll still benefit from warmer weather, and it’s when seasonal attractions are just opening up (or right before closing). You’ll find the best rates for accommodations if you’re visiting outside of the peak travel times.

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