Endless sandy beaches, historic towns, quaint fishing villages, long bike trails and some of the best seafood in the country – it’s little wonder that Cape Cod is America’s summer playground. Discover the unspoilt nature of the Cape Cod National Seashore, with its 40 miles of beaches, nature trails, dunes, forests and marshes. When night falls, gather round the campfires that spring up on the beaches.
Many of Cape Cod’s towns give you a glimpse of 1950s America, with drive-in movies and old-fashioned diners. Carry on to the furthest tip of the peninsula to Provincetown, a bustling town that combines one of the US’s liveliest LGBT scenes with miles of empty beaches.
Where to Stay in Cape Cod
Fall asleep to the sounds of the sea in a beachside hotel in South Yarmouth, or choose a quaint waterfront inn in Hyannis. Go back in time with a stay in a colonial bed and breakfast with graceful balconies and columns. There’s accommodation for all budgets, from a casual motel to a 19th-century oceanfront resort with glorious sea views.
Things to Do in Cape Cod
Choose from numerous beaches that frame the towns of Barnstable and Hyannis. The towns are also launching points for boat trips to the nearby islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re into antiques, you’ll be spoilt for choice among the 100 or so antiques shops around Cape Cod. Have a leisurely trawl through the antiques shops along the Old King’s Highway, which is America’s longest historic district.
Don’t miss the chance to do some Atlantic Ocean seal spotting -- head down one of the many places on the Cape Cod seafront and enjoy an hour or so watching the seals in action. At low tide, a good place to see them is on the sandbars in Chatham, but you could also take a boat tour around the peninsula. You could also hop on a whale-watching excursion around Cape Cod.
Where to Eat in Cape Cod
You’ll be in seafood heaven in Cape Cod, where the daily catch turns up on all sorts of menus – from the smallest beachside shack to a Michelin-starred restaurant. Tuck into fresh lobster served in a fish market cafe, or feast on clams and scallops by the water’s edge. Make a beeline for one of Cape Cod’s best foodie destinations, Chatham Fish Pier Market, where you can savour a steaming bowl of chowder while watching the fishermen unload their catch.
Getting around Cape Cod
Hiring a car is an easy way of getting to know the Cape Cod peninsula at your own pace, and there are plenty of places offering free parking near the cape’s countless beaches. One of the most pleasant ways of exploring the peninsula is by renting a bicycle and cycling along some of the 22 miles that make up the Cape Cod Rail Trail. On what was an abandoned railway line, the path takes you through forests and pretty villages and goes past sandy ponds where you can stop and have a refreshing swim.