The Beach Times

Heading to Downtown Onset Village on Your Cape Cod Vacation
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Naturally, if you're lucky enough to book a Cape Cod vacation rental, you'll want to spend most of your time at attractions near the property. After all, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better vacation destination than the Cape.

Your vacation is also the time for a bit of exploration, though, and there are a few off-Cape spots that are worth checking out.

Downtown Onset is only five miles from the Bourne Bridge, making it an easily accessible off-Cape destination to visit for the day. Once in Onset, you'll have access to various activities that will provide a bit of a change-up from the rest of your vacation.

Here's a look at what you expect after crossing the Cape Cod Canal and heading into Onset, a small community in the town of Wareham, Massachusetts.

Two Great Beaches

Onset has some of the East Coast's most scenic beaches. Although these oceanfront areas are relatively small, especially when compared to Sandy Neck and the Cape Cod National Seashore, they feature beautiful white sand and shallow, calm water that make them a hit with local families.

Onset Beach is the community's main oceanfront area, sitting near the Onset Town Pier. There's a bit of parking in the area, although your best bet is to head a couple of blocks north on Union Avenue because it has a larger lot.

There's a green space with picnic areas right at the beach and an additional grassy area with a bandshell across the street. The bandshell hosts the Onset Summer Concerts series, giving you a reason to stick around into the evening if you visit the area.

Shell Point Beach is the other waterfront area in Onset. It's more rustic, as it doesn't have the same amenities, but you'll find a small parking lot and plenty of sand to explore upon arrival. The views at Shell Point Beach are incredible, and it's far quieter than the main beach, even in the summer.

If you're making the trek to downtown Onset in the summertime, there's a good chance you're doing it to access these two beaches.

Kayak Rentals

Another activity you might consider when spending time in Onset is kayaking. There's a rental shop called the Nemasket Kayak Center across the street from Onset Beach, making it easy to get on the water.

There's a lot going on at the Nemasket Kayak Center, as they rent kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and canoes. You can also sign up for a guided tour into Onset Bay or Buttermilk Bay, both of which offer outstanding wildlife-viewing opportunities.

Speaking of tours, the Cape Cod Canal's only sightseeing tour departs from the Onset Town Pier through Hy-Line Cruises. There are a few different options, including 90-minute, two-hour, and three-hour sailings, cocktail cruises, and live music nights, so you can choose the tour that best suits you.

Depending on the cruise you select, you could see landmarks like Gray Gables, the Aptucxet Trading Post, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy along the way.

Plenty of Restaurants

Of course, you'll need to eat while spending your day on Onset, and, fortunately, the downtown area is loaded with dining options.

One of the most scenic venues is Stash's Onset Beach, which sits right on the water. There's also Marc Anthony's La Pizzeria, Quahog Republic: Waterfront Eatery, and the Pier View Restaurant across the street. Keep in mind that Pier View is a breakfast or brunch restaurant, while Marc Anthony's is open late.

Cape Cod Lobster Rolls and the Stonebridge Bar and Grill are two other restaurants within walking distance of Onset Beach, while you can grab an ice cream or other treat at Nana's Ice Cream Parlor and Candy Shop or Guido's Ice Cream and More.

This tiny area is sure to keep you well-fed, as you won't have to worry about where your next meal will come from after leaving the Cape.

The Off-Cape Experience

No one would blame you for spending your whole vacation on the Cape. The area is gorgeous and loaded with activities that are sure to keep you busy for your entire visit.

If you want to explore a little further, though, Onset has many of the same features as Cape Cod, like scenic beaches and excellent dining. It also has excursions into the Cape Cod Canal that you won't find anywhere else, in addition to an active kayaking scene.

There are countless things to do in this part of the world, and the small community of Onset is yet another piece of the puzzle that is worth your time during your Cape Cod vacation.

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