Cape Cod beach panoramic view, Massachusetts

Things to do in  Cape Cod

Happy as a clam

Endless beaches wrap the shoreline of Cape Cod, a Massachusetts peninsula dotted with fishing villages, miniature golf courses, picture-perfect lighthouses, motels, and quaint art galleries. It’s the starting point for trips to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and a longtime magnet for artists and other creatives. Head all the way to the tip and you’ll reach the LGBTQ haven of Provincetown, whose lively drag bars coexist cheerfully with whale-watching tours and hiking trails.

Top 6 attractions in Cape Cod


Perched at the very tip of the Cape Cod peninsula, Provincetown is one of New England's most beloved vacation destinations. Affectionately known as P-Town, the charming town offers more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) of pristine beaches, a vibrant art scene, chic boutiques and restaurants, eclectic nightlife, and a welcoming LGBTQ+ scene.More

Cape Cod Canal

Designed to connect Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay, the Cape Cod Canal is a 7-mile-long (11-kilometer) artificial waterway built in 1914. Visitors and locals use it for both commercial and recreational boating and fishing, as well as walking and cycling along scenic paths on both sides.More

New Bedford Whaling Museum

For an experience that combines history and economics, science and seafaring, head over to the New Bedford Whaling Museum and get an up-close look at the Massachusetts whaling industry. Check out the whale skeletons and the robust scrimshaw collection, featuring objects carved from whalebone—then hop aboard a large model ship.More

Sandwich Glass Museum

Detailing the long history of glassmaking in Sandwich, Massachusetts, the Sandwich Glass Museum allows visitors to explore locally made glass on display and see artisans blowing glass by hand in the workshop. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in glassmaking or the town’s history.More
John F Kennedy Hyannis Museum

John F Kennedy Hyannis Museum

The JFK Museum in Hyannis offers a fascinating insight into the life of America’s 35th president. Dedicated to preserving the legacy of John F. Kennedy, who spent many summers on Cape Cod, the museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Kennedy: the man and the president.More
Cornelia Carey Sanctuary (The Knob)

Cornelia Carey Sanctuary (The Knob)

This compact wedge of marshland, beach grass, and beach swings out into Buzzards Bay, and its nature trails offer a quiet haven even when the rest of Cape Cod is chockablock with visitors. At its tip is “The Knob,” a promontory that, on a clear day, has views stretching to New Bedford, the Elizabeth Islands, and the Cape Cod Canal.More

All about Cape Cod

When to visit

Summer visitors flood Cape Cod with traffic in July and August, but the peak vacation energy during this month is wonderful for beach days. Shoulder seasons are the best of both worlds: In-the-know travelers aim for May–June or September–October to enjoy sunny days without the crowds. Winter in Cape Cod is quiet but a beautiful time to bundle up for beach walks, hikes, and visiting antique shops.

Getting around

Many Cape Cod visitors come by car, but summer’s legendary traffic jams require a strategic approach—try to avoid busy Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings. The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority has buses that link major destinations, and the summer-only CapeFLYER train links Boston with Hyannis. Alternately, take a ferry straight to Provincetown, with seasonal departures available from Boston and Plymouth. Once there, cycling is a popular option, especially along the 25-mile (40-kilometer) Cape Cod Rail Trail.

Traveler tips

Beach parking fees can be up to $30 USD—and that’s if you can find a spot at all. Cycling to the beach in Cape Cod is a budget-friendly way to avoid that hassle. Fortunately, some of the cape’s very best beaches—including Trunk River Beach, West Dennis Beach, Coast Guard Beach, Head of the Meadow Beach, and Herring Cove Beach—are located just off bike paths and cycling-friendly roads.

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People Also Ask

How do you spend a day in Cape Cod?

Beautiful beaches along Cape Cod National Seashore are a must on any Cape Cod day trip. Then, in Wellfleet or Provincetown, get a taste of local culture: Quaint art galleries and small-town charm are Wellfleet’s draw, while LGBTQ-friendly Provincetown has drag shows, tourist shops, and restaurants along bustling Commercial Street.

What is Cape Cod best known for?

Cape Cod is known for having some of America’s most beautiful beaches. Its Cape Cod National Seashore includes some 40 miles (64 kilometers) of shoreline, ensuring the most scenic spots remain open to the public. Located in Eastham is Coast Guard Beach, which often tops lists of best US beaches.

What is the prettiest part of Cape Cod?

Any list of Cape Cod’s prettiest places includes its 14 historic lighthouses, but the 1876 Race Point Lighthouse might be the most scenic of all. It’s located on the peninsula’s farthest point, and most visitors reach it by following a 1.8-mile (2.8-kilometer) sandy road from the Race Point Beach parking lot.

Is it worth visiting Cape Cod?

Yes, it’s worth visiting Cape Cod. Nature is a major draw, with beaches, sand dunes, and whale-watching opportunities throughout the peninsula. Small-town charm brings visitors to historic villages like Wellfleet and Chatham, while Provincetown’s status as an LGBTQ hot spot ensures a diverse crowd that can feel like a summer-long party.

What is the quaintest town on Cape Cod?

With its shingled houses, pretty beach, and white-painted lighthouse, Chatham is a classic Cape Cod village. Browsable shops and galleries line Main Street, and the town’s Cape Cod Baseball League team—the Chatham Anglers—plays all summer at Volunteer’s Field. No wonder many locals call Chatham Cape Cod’s quaintest town.

What is the prettiest beach on Cape Cod?

Flanked by dunes and stretching over 20 miles (32 kilometers), Coast Guard Beach is among the prettiest beaches in America. Swimmers flock here during the warm summer months, when gray seals bask on nearby sand bars. Stroll here in the spring to see pink-blossomed beach roses blooming alongside sandy trails.

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