Cape Cod is a peninsula on the coast of Massachusetts, consisting of 15 towns, including Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown and Nantucket. Cape Cod is a popular summertime vacation destination, offering a variety of beaches, shopping, dining (especially seafood) and sophisticated nightlife. Visitors to Cape Cod may stay in one of the many quaint villages or sample a few of them for variety. Let’s look at some of the most interesting destinations in one of New England’s most picturesque regions.
Towns to Explore on Cape Cod
- Provincetown -The home of several beaches, the most popular of them being Herring Cove Beach. Apart form the beach, one of Provincetown’s most interesting features is Commercial Street, which is known for its art galleries, restaurants and boutiques. Another place worth visiting is MacMillan Wharf, a scenic spot that maintains the town’s heritage as a fishing village. Provincetown is crowded in summer, but you can also enjoy the ambiance any time of year. In fact, many visitors prefer the lower key atmosphere off-season. Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch, which operates out of Provincetown, offers one of the Cape’s best opportunities to view dolphins and whales.
- Chatham -Chatham is another charming town on The Cape. Chatham Pier and Fish Market is a place where you can walk on the boardwalk, observe fishermen bringing in the day’s catch and perhaps watch seals playing in the pier. Cape Cod has a number of interesting lighthouses and one of the most famous of these is Chatham Lighthouse, which you can visit along with Chatham Lighthouse Beach.
- Falmouth -One of Cape Cod’s larger towns, you can find several nice beaches here, including Old Silver Beach and Wood Neck Beach. Falmouth is also a good place for bike riding, as it’s the home of Shining Sea Bikeway, a scenic bike path along an estuary. The Island Queen Ferry provides a fun form of transportation to take you from Falmouth to Martha’s Vineyard.
- Martha’s Vineyard -Beaches on Martha’s Vineyard are mostly in Edgartown; these include Lighthouse Beach, Chappaquiddick, South Beach and Katama Beach. Another natural highlight of Martha’s Vineyard s Aquinnah Cliffs, which has dramatic scenery all year and eateries and shops nearby during summer. Also here is Gay Head, which has a beach and lighthouse. For shopping, restaurants and nightlife, the center of the action is Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
- Nantucket -Although it’s a small and isolated town, Nantucket is known for its beaches, history and shopping. One of the most popular beaches is Surfside Beach, which, like many beaches on the Cape, tends to get crowded in summer. If you want more privacy, try Siasconset Beach. One of Nantucket’s most interesting attractions is the Whaling Museum, which offers exhibits and artifacts from one of the area’s most important industries. Lighthouse enthusiasts will want to check out Great Point Lighthouse, Sankaty Head Lighthouse and Brant Point Lighthouse.
Dining and Entertainment
Cape Cod is full of great cafes, restaurants, bars, theaters and other entertainment. As a historical fishing area, many dishes focus on seafood, but you can find all times of cuisine here. One of the most popular restaurants in Provincetown is Jimmy’s HideAway on Commercial Street, which serves fresh seafood as well as dishes such as filet mignon, pork tenderloin, and free range organic chicken. Another good choice in Provincetown for all-around great Cape Cod style dining is The Mews Restaurant, also on Commercial Street.
Some notable eateries in Martha’s Vineyard are The Red Cat Kitchen at Ken N’Beck, in Oak Bluff, which has a casual and friendly atmosphere and Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company, famous for its incomparable chowder and also offering a complete menu, including burgers, steaks and gluten-free selections.
Glass Onion on North Main Street is one of the best places to get excellent seafood in Falmouth. Also in Falmouth is Simply Divine Pizza Co., which has a beer and wine bar in addition to offering mouthwatering pizza.
Dune, located in a historic house in downtown Nantucket, offers a creative and contemporary menu that is divided into small plates and large plates, with vegetarian and vegan options also available. The place to go for breakfast in Nantucket is Fog Island Cafe, where you can also get wraps for lunch.
Cape Cod has lots of choices for entertainment, from bars with live music to plays and concerts. Provincetown in particular is a good place to see live performances. Some of the leading venues here include Provincetown Theater, Post Office Cafe & Cabaret and Art House. Commercial Street in Provincetown has lots of bars offering evening entertainment, such as Club Euro and The Crown & Anchor.
Where to Stay
Many people enjoy staying in quaint and historic inns and B & B's. Some of your choices for these include The Inn at Cape Cod in Yarmouth Point, easily recognizable for its thick columns; Salt House Inn in Provincetown, conveniently located near Commercial Street; Candleberry Inn on Cape Cod, a friendly B&B on Main Street in Brewster.
If you want lodging near the beach, you have a few options as well, such as Surf Side Cottages in Wellfleet, which are only a short walk to LeCount Hollow Beach or Beachside Village in Falmouth, a hotel and timeshare near the beach. Seaside Cottages in South Yamouth, only steps away from the ocean, give you the experience of being on your own private beach.
For those seeking a luxury hotel or resort experience, Chatham Bars Inn Resort and Spa is one of the best choices in Chatham. Golfers and anyone appreciating a luxurious environment will appreciate The Mansion at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club in Brewster. Provincetown Inn Resort & Conference Center is a large historic hotel in Provincetown that’s open throughout the year.