Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is an interesting peninsula. Forget about the fact that it looks like a crooked arm reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean. But, do you know that the shore keeps adjusting depending on the rising sea?
In terms of history, the Wampanoag were the original inhabitants of Cape Cod. That was before the European settlers arrived. Then came American pilgrims who did not stay too long because they found Cape Cod Bay too sandy.
At first, whaling was the main economic activity. But dwindling populations of whales made it impossible to continue. Cape Cod tourism took off in the 19th century and continues to be a significant source of income for the area.
So, if you decide to vacation in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, it helps to know some must-visit places. We will share some fantastic destinations to check out.
Chatham is a must-visit location if you like to explore hidden gems. What you get is a place that has managed to hold on to some of its old-time charms. That means you can expect a lot in terms of history. Other exciting tours include:-
- The Chatham lighthouse, or twin lights as the people referred to it back in the 1800s. Today the lighthouse is the national coast guard living quarters and station. Get ready to climb an 8-foot ladder and 44 steps to reach the very top.
- Chatham Main Street for some of the best shopping experiences. You will also find plenty of restaurants offering excellent dining.
- Chatham lighthouse beach is gorgeous. Do come in early to catch the sunrise. The simple pleasure of watching daybreak will be worth the early morning.
- The Godfrey windmill continues to stand firm over 200 years later.
If you are concerned about accommodation, don’t be. The Chatham inn and Bars is the best Cape Cod resort offering family-friendly facilities. True to the spirit of rich history and old-time charm, the inn has been around since the early 1800s.
But it has, over the years, undergone significant renovations and updates. You will love its location, which is right at the shorefront. The inn also has a private beach, offering many kid-friendly activities.
2. Cape Cod National Seashore
The Cape Cod national seashore is a protected area covering over 40 miles. It continues to maintain an untouched feel about it. The terrain mainly consists of ponds, uplands, marshlands, and plenty of beaches. The landscape is a beautiful combination of white cedar, bird nesting grounds, hiking trails, and more.
Make time to visit Nauset, Race Point, Marconi, and Herring Cove beaches. Indeed these are some of the best beaches in the whole of Cape Cod. You can also take part in many activities. These include canoeing, biking, and snorkeling.
Do sign up for the art’s Dune tours from Provincetown. You can visit the Cape Cod national seashore any time of the year. But make sure you get the relevant parking stickers for your bicycles, motorcycles, and cars.
If you want to know more about the park, there is a visitor’s center where you can get all the information.
3. The Pilgrims Monument and Provincetown
The pilgrim’s monument in Provincetown is a tribute to the Mayflower pilgrims. It took three years, between 1907 and 1910, to complete the architectural marvel. Standing at 252 feet, it maintains the distinction of being the tallest building in the United States. Indeed it is the first thing you will notice as you come into Princeton from whichever direction.
But the main splendor is what you see once you get to the top. You get stunning views of the whole of Cape Cod. Please note that it is a pretty popular destination and event location. Don’t be surprised if you find a wedding in progress.
Since you’re already in Provincetown, there is much more to do. The area is vibrant and full of theaters, art galleries, and boutiques. Despite its Pilgrim roots, Provincetown is very open to the LGBTIQ communities. The town accepted the community and embraced them without judgment. You will for sure find an eclectic mix of people here.
Many artists use the remote fishing shack that initially belonged to the whalers. The location of the shacks makes them perfect for the creative process. The artists can concentrate on their work without distractions.
4. Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard is 65 miles to the south of Cape Cod. You can access it by car or even one of the many passenger ferries.
The Vineyard is a collection of six small towns, each having its unique personality. Other than sandy beaches, other attractions include lighthouses, farmers’ markets, and some of the best resorts.
You will also love the colorful gingerbread cottages that bring a nostalgic feeling every time you look at them.
Other popular destinations include:-
- The Edgartown Lighthouse has been around since 1828. In 1939, it underwent a renovation to incorporate cast iron into the structure. Plan your visit for the 4th of July to see some amazing fireworks.
- Katama beach is only 3 miles long but quite popular with surfers. There is also a protected salt pond for swimmers.
- Menemsha hills cover 211 acres in a nature reserve. On it is Prospects hill, which stands at 308 feet high. The climb to the top is worth it because the scenery is fantastic. Some of the natural habitats include woodland Groves, marshy areas, and Wetlands. Menemsha Hills is also great for hiking, fishing, picnics, or a moment of solitude.
- Martha’s Vineyard Museum has an interesting accumulation of photographs, objects, documents, and more. If you want to know about the heritage and culture of the island, then this is a must-visit destination.
- The old Whaling Church is the perfect example of Greek revival architecture. Wealthy Methodist whalers put up the structure in 1843. One way to describe the church is imposing. You will also love the bell tower and town clock. The old whaling church hosts many community events like lectures, meetings, weddings, and more.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is a fantastic vacation destination. The rich history will uncover things you never knew about the place. Bring the kids along to experience fun and education in one neat package.
There are also excellent family resorts that will take care of your accommodation needs. Your itinerary will be full of beach visits, hikes, museum tours, and more.