The Beach Times
What's Open on Cape Cod?
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 27, 2020
There's a lot of uncertainty around the globe, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces closures to numerous businesses and makes air travel far more challenging and risky.
This issue has led to many people putting off their travel plans for the near future, choosing to stay close to home.
If you live somewhere in the Northeast, you're likely within driving distance of Cape Cod, and the good news is that many outdoor venues are open to visitors.
Here's a look at some of the top activities you can participate in while following social distancing protocols and staying safe on Cape Cod.
If you're going to be around people during a COVID-19 outbreak, you should stay outdoors, and the beaches of Cape Cod provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the weather. All six beaches on the Cape Cod National Seashore are open for visitors, as are other popular destinations like West Dennis Beach, Kalmus Beach, Bank Street Beach, and Breakwater Beach.
Depending on the beach you visit, you can also rent a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or jet ski, giving you even more activities during your time on the Cape.
Cape Cod has enough beach space that you can spread out without feeling overcrowded, allowing you to enjoy your vacation without the risks of higher density locations.
There are hiking and walking trails everywhere on Cape Cod, and you can walk all day in some of these areas without encountering another human being. These trails are maintained by groups like Mass Audubon, MassWildlife, the Barnstable Land Trust, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and various local groups, giving you all kinds of variety.
Some of the paths, such as Great Island Trail, go through coastal marshes while others, like the Lowell Holly Reservation, take you through the woods around the area's kettle ponds. Other hiking areas that you'll want to explore include Beebe Woods, Sandy Neck Beach Park, and the Knob, depending on how far you want to walk and your preferred destination.
The trails on Cape Cod aren't all reserved for hiking, as there are over 114 miles of bike paths to explore that will take you through some of the region's most secluded environments.
The biggest name of this list is the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs 25.7 miles between South Yarmouth and South Wellfleet, passing ponds and forests along the way. The trail makes it easy to socially distance while seeing some of the Cape's most beautiful locations.
For a more urban bike ride, you can cycle on the Cape Cod Canal's 7 miles of trails. These paths are on both sides of the canal, as are easily accessible for beginners because they're mostly paved.
In the Falmouth area, the Shining Sea Bikeway takes you from North Falmouth to Woods Hole while providing Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound views. The trail is less than 11 miles long, with numerous access points throughout Falmouth.
Smaller bike trails like Head of Meadow Trail in Truro, Nauset Marsh Trail near Coast Guard Beach, the Chatham Loop, and the Province Lands Trail in Provincetown also provide excellent opportunities to explore Cape Cod's natural environment and avoid the crowds.
You might think that going to the movies is out of the question when socially distancing, but Cape Cod has a solution for you: the drive-in.
For years, the Wellfleet Drive-In was the only venue of this nature on the Cape, and it's still the only permanent one. However, there are pop-up drive-ins in West Yarmouth, Hyannis, and Falmouth that provide another way to spend your time in the evening on the Cape.
The cost of these venues varies, but they're generally an affordable way to see a movie without the risk of sitting beside a stranger in a crowded theater.
Fishing and Whale Watching Charters
If you're driving to Cape Cod, you'll have the opportunity to bring a boat with you, if you have one at home. Otherwise, there's still the opportunity to get on the water because numerous fishing and whale watching charters are open for business.
As for fishing charters, most of the boats are currently operating, including Affordable Cape Cod Charter Fishing in Chatham, Reel Deal Fishing Charters in Truro, and Helen H Deep Sea Fishing in Hyannis.
Check around because many other charter companies are operating with enhanced sanitizing and safety procedures in effect.
Staying Close to Home
Cape Cod isn't closed for tourism, as many businesses have taken it upon themselves to keep their customers safe during this challenging time.
The Cape's beaches and parks are also open and offer a low-risk destination on your vacation.
Remember that there could be quarantining protocol in effect if you're from outside of Massachusetts, but many other northeastern states are considered "safe" by state officials.
COVID-19 has made travel more difficult, but several of the Cape's top attractions are up and running, giving you the rare opportunity to experience some of the country's most beautiful locations without the crowds.
Activities Beaches Biking Drivein Movie Things To Do On Cape Cod Whale Watch
A Guide to Shellfishing on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, November 13, 2019
During your Cape Cod vacation, you might be tempted to try some shellfishing. After all, being able to take the freshest clams, scallops, oysters, and quahogs available anywhere back to your vacation rental for dinner is too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Before heading out to dig, however, you'll need the right permits and tools, as well as awareness of the licensing requirements in every town. It's also essential to figure out where exactly you can dig so that you don't end up on private property.
Here's how shellfishing works on Cape Cod and what you can expect when you get out there.
The Necessary Equipment
Before heading out to do some shellfishing, you'll want the right equipment. Luckily, you'll only need a clam rake, bucket, clam gauge, and shellfishing permit to get started.
You can pick all of this gear up once you get to the Cape, as there are bait shops everywhere, including Chatham, Hyannis, and Falmouth.
While you're grabbing your gear, you might also consider buying some rain boots or hip waders, just to make your experience more comfortable. If you're fine digging and stepping in the mud without them, however, nothing is stopping you.
Getting a Permit
Every town has different permits, so you'll want to figure out where you'll be spending your time first.
In Wellfleet, non-residents can grab a seasonal permit for $85 and an annual pass for $210, while in Truro, non-resident passes are $25 for a week and $100 per year. Brewster will sell non-residents a one-week pass for $20 and an annual permit for $125, and Yarmouth offers annual licenses for $80.
Every town on the Cape has unique licensing requirements, so make sure you don't accidentally cross into another town while fishing.
All licenses are only available at the Town Hall or Town Clerks Office in the town in which they are issued. You can also pick up a list of each town's rules and regulations while you're there, so you don't end up breaking the law.
Generally, permits are good for seven days, although some towns allow you to buy seasonal and yearly passes. It all comes down to how much time you're going to spend on the Cape and how often you'll be clamming during your time here.
When to Head Out
The best time to go clamming starts an hour before low tide. You can look at the tide chart online to see when the best fishing time in your area begins. Look for areas in the water with mounds of sand that have a hole on the top. These mounds are where you'll find clams. You might have to dig about a foot down, but you'll definitely find something if you put the effort in.
Once you find your first clam, you'll likely find a bunch more in the same area. Generally, you'll be able to grab about 15 clams per hour, so it'll take you a couple of hours of digging to come up with enough for dinner.
Remember to use your clam gauge to measure the size of the clams you're keeping, as you're required to put any small clams back.
Feel free to ask locals where the best clamming is located, but don't be surprised if you're not given a straight answer.
Where You Can Dig
Speaking of where the best clamming is found, you'll want to learn where you're even allowed to dig.
In Wellfleet, for example, you can only go shellfishing on Chipman's Cove, Indian Neck, Duck Creek, and the Herring River.
There are seasonal restrictions, as well, as Indian Neck is only open on Sundays and Wednesdays in the summer, but every day during the offseason. Likewise, Chipman's Cove is only accessible between late October and April 30, while Duck Creek is available between December and late April.
Check the website of the community you plan to shellfish in to figure out what types of restrictions you'll be dealing with during your time on the Cape.
Try Some Shellfishing on Cape Cod
While it's perfectly fine to stop by a local fish market to grab some shellfish to enjoy at your vacation rental, there's something special about getting out to Cape Cod's beaches to gather clams and oysters for yourself.
Making an effort to dig some shellfish on the Cape provides you with the freshest seafood available anywhere, and provides you with the satisfaction of knowing that you caught the meal yourself.
As long as you're prepared to get the right permits and follow Cape Cod's shellfishing laws, gathering dinner on the beach can provide you with hours of entertainment.
Activities Cape Cod Cape Cod Fishing Things To Do On Cape Cod
The Top 5 Fun Places for Kids in Falmouth
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, June 3, 2019
As you first enter Cape Cod over the Bourne Bridge, take Massachusetts Route 28 to the south, and you'll quickly end up in the town of Falmouth, a community with about 30,000 residents, great beaches, and amazing access to the Cape's waterways. In fact, Falmouth has beaches on both Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound, making it the only town on Cape Cod to boast those features.
Those visiting Falmouth with their kids will also love the plethora of available activities in all parts of the town. You'll have no problem keeping your kids occupied because of the following top five fun places for kids in Falmouth.
1) Cataumet Crossing Light Mini Golf
Mini golf is always a hit with the kids and just outside of North Falmouth is where you’ll find Cataumet Crossing Light Mini Golf. The great thing about this venue is that there's more than just mini golf, as they have bumper boats, batting cages, and an assortment of rides for young children. There's also Lazy Sundaes Ice Cream, made at the world famous Richardson's Dairy, so your kids can have a treat after playing in the sun.
Although not officially part of the business, Cataumet Crossing Light Mini Golf shares a parking lot with Daily Brew Coffee House and The Parrot Bar & Grill, allowing you to easily step out for a cup of joe or take the family for dinner at the end of the day.
2) Uncle Bill's Country Store
Just down the North Falmouth Highway from the mini golf place sits Uncle Bill's Country Store, a fascinating location for old and young alike. To be clear, the main reason why your kids will like Uncle Bill's is because of its old fashioned penny candy, but older children might appreciate the handcrafted furniture, ship models, artwork, and jewelry sold there, as well.
This gift shop is attached to the Silver Lounge Restaurant, which is home to one of Cape Cod's best lobster rolls and features an extensive children's menu, so you can easily make a stop by Uncle Bill's after your meal.
3) Shining Sea Bikeway
The Shining Sea Bikeway is a 10.7-mile path that heads through cranberry bogs, marshland, and farms while providing remarkable views of West Falmouth Harbor, Salt Pond, and Oyster Pond. Riding or walking along the path is an excellent activity to do with your kids because it provides free entertainment and allows them to get outdoors for the day. The main parking areas for the path are in North Falmouth and Woods Hole, although you can enter and exit the bikeway in numerous locations along the way.
If bringing the bikes on your Cape Cod vacation is impossible, you can rent from Bike Zone or Art's Bike Rental near the trailhead in North Falmouth or Corner Cycle in downtown Falmouth. Art's Bike Rental has trailer bikes, pull-behind trailers, and bicycle baby seats, while Bike Zone features kids' bike rentals and pull-behind wagons. There are swimming areas, restaurants, washrooms, and information centers as you head along the Shining Sea Bikeway, as well.
4) Woods Hole Aquarium
The Woods Hole area has one of the country's top oceanographic institutions and also features a world-class aquarium to explore with your kids. The aquarium is small but gives children the chance to get up close with and even touch lobsters, clams, small fish, starfish, and shells, while learning about marine mammals, sea turtles, and other species native to the Cape Cod area.
Admission to the Woods Hole Science Aquarium is by donation, and since the venue dates back to 1885, it's the oldest marine aquarium in the entire country.
5) Highfield Hall
Deep in the woods just outside of downtown Falmouth is where you'll find Highfield Hall & Gardens. The hall sits in a restored Victorian home from 1878 and is surrounded by 400 acres of conservation land, providing plenty of space for your kids to wander around and explore. Of particular interest to the young ones are the trails through Beebe Woods and the family-friendly events featuring bands, artists, and activities held through the year.
Highfield Hall & Gardens is open from the middle of April until the end of October every year and is free for kids under 12. Many special events are free for adults, as well, although regular admission is $8 for non-members.
So Many Children’s Activities
The Cape is full of notable things to do with your kids, and if you’re staying in the Falmouth area, you won’t have to travel far to find them.
Cape Cod truly is a destination for the entire family, as there are very few places in the country where you can hike, bike, play mini golf, eat at delicious restaurants, visit the beach, and check out a renowned aquarium over the course of a few days, but that is precisely what you can expect in Falmouth.
Activities Aquarium Bike Paths Biking Country Store Falmouth Highfield Hall Kids Mini Golf Shining Sea Bikeway Whoi Woods Hole Aquarium
Should You Bring Your Ice Skates on Your Cape Cod Vacation?
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Saturday, December 8, 2018
Well, you don’t have to bring your skates, even if you want to do some skating, because most ice rinks offer rentals. If you have room in your suitcase, however, pack your skates and save yourself some money, as you’ll have plenty of chances to visit the skating rinks on Cape Cod.
Public skating events provide affordable fun for the entire family, and some arenas even let you rent to whole building for a short period, should you have a large group or want the privacy of skating by yourself.
While ice skating isn't unique to Cape Cod, it is a quintessential winter activity on the east coast and is well worth trying if you're only here for a short time.
Gallo Ice Arena
Those staying in Bourne might want to go for a skate at the John Gallo Ice Arena. This rink hosts skating lessons, hockey classes, and sessions by the Bourne Skating Club starting in the fall, and also has public skating ice times available. Generally, skating is open from noon until 1:30 PM Monday to Friday, although there are exceptions if an event or lesson is occurring at that time. Sunday skates are also possible when the rink is free.
The cost for a skate is $4 for adults and $3 for students. You can rent skates for $3, as well. Keep in mind that there isn't an ATM on-site and it's a cash-only building, so make sure you hit a bank machine prior to arrival to avoid having to make another trip.
Tony Kent Arena
Tony Kent Arena in South Dennis is home to various Cape Cod hockey teams and hosts clinics, lessons, and programs throughout the year. It also has public skating on most Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, along with pick-up ice hockey on Saturday nights.
Skating at the rink costs $6 for adults, $5 for children 11 and under, and $2 for seniors over the age of 55. If you don't end up bringing your skates on vacation, you can also rent them here for $4. If the ice isn't being used on a particular day, you can rent a private ice time for your group with rates starting at $180 for 50 minutes.
Charles Moore Arena
The Charles Moore Arena in Orleans has figure skating lessons, hockey camps, learn-to-skate programs, and now, in 2018, a curling league. Of course, this arena also offers public skating throughout the winter, with ice times available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM and Sundays from 1:30 – 3:30 PM. The cost is $5 for adults and $4 for kids under 12, with skate rentals being $2.
Falmouth Ice Arena
The Falmouth Ice Arena is home to Falmouth High School's hockey teams, Falmouth Youth Hockey, and the Falmouth Figure Skating Club. There are two rinks here, an NHL rink and a mini rink, so there is plenty of ice to go around. The mini surface has multiple public skating times on Tuesdays and Thursdays and additional openings on some Wednesdays. The larger rink has ice times on most Friday nights, with some Wednesday sessions, as well.
Hyannis Youth & Community Center
The newest and most impressive facility on this list is the Hyannis Youth & Community Center, a multi-use complex owned and operated by the Town of Barnstable. The building features two skating rinks, a gymnasium, meeting rooms, a skate park, an indoor walking track, and a game room, so there's plenty to do there throughout the year.
Public skating is available pretty much every day at the facility, with weekday public skating taking place between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, Sunday skates running from 2:10 – 4:00 PM, and Saturday skates going from 4:00 – 5:20 PM. There are also stroller skates, family skates, and stick practices on various days throughout the week.
The cost of a public skate at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center is $7 for adults, $5 for kids 17 and under, and $2 for seniors aged 62 and up. Skate rentals are available for $5, and skate sharpening costs $6 per pair.
Outdoor Skating Rinks
Although the ponds on Cape Cod occasionally freeze over during the winter, local officials do not recommend skating on them. The main reason is that most of these bodies are kettle ponds that have currents and are fed by streams, making it difficult for them to freeze evenly. If you find yourself on a thin section of ice, you could easily fall through and end up in serious trouble, so it's a good idea to stick to safer sheets of ice.
Some towns set up free public outdoor rinks in the winter, with Brewster and West Yarmouth being recent examples. It remains to be seen if we'll have any outdoor skating in 2018, as it's always weather-dependent. Check the website of the town you’re staying in closer to your arrival date for more information on outdoor skating availability.
Some Real Winter Fun
If you’re coming to the Cape in the winter, experiencing some winter activities is a must, and ice skating is a pleasant way to start. If you’ve never skated before, a public skating time at a local rink is a great way to ease yourself into it, but remember to bring a helmet with you for safety’s sake.
You should also be aware that public skating schedules are dynamic, as special events, private rentals, and hockey tournaments can disrupt their timing. As a result, always check the calendar on the rink’s website before heading there.
Cape Cod has so much going on in the winter that you’ll never be short on things to see and do. Book your vacation rental today and don’t miss out on experiencing winter like it’s meant to be.
Activities Cape Cod Ice Skating Things To Do On Cape Cod
Cape Cod's Top Family-Friendly Activities
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, September 17, 2018
There's something for everyone on Cape Cod, and if you choose to bring the little ones or even teenagers on your vacation, you'll never be short on things to do. Obviously, the Cape is full beaches, bike trails, marinas, hiking paths, and other great family-friendly places, but there are also amusement parks and fun centers for you to enjoy throughout your stay.
When it’s chilly or raining, or if you just want your kids to entertain themselves for a little while, these attractions are a great place to spend a few hours or an entire day. And since you can find an amusement park pretty much anywhere on Cape Cod, you'll never have to travel far to get there.
The following is a list of family fun centers and amusements parks that are waiting for you on Cape Cod.
Water Wizz of Cape Cod
Although it’s technically just off the Cape in Wareham, Water Wizz was the Cape Cod area’s only waterpark until 2018 and brings in roughly 100,000 visitors annually. The park is mostly made up of waterslides, although there is a lazy river and a wave pool, as well. There is also an area with slides and activities for smaller children, should you travel with very young kids.
Water Wizz is a large park where you'll probably want to spend an entire day, so plan accordingly. You won’t have to pack a lunch or leave the park to eat, either, as there are numerous on-site restaurants and a shop with all of the essentials.
Ryan Family Amusements
You'll come across Ryan Amusements locations in Falmouth, Hyannis, South Yarmouth, and Buzzards Bay, in addition to other communities throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Most of these centers have bowling alleys, while all of them offer video games and party rooms.
Ryan Amusements is a great place to let the kids play indoors when the weather doesn't cooperate, and since you only pay for the games you play, it’s possible to get away without spending a whole lot of money. The fact that this is a chain of fun centers is also helpful because you know precisely what to expect at each location.
Cape Cod Inflatable Park
The Cape Cod Inflatable Park is the most extensive attraction of its type in the world and has four distinct areas. First, there's the original Inflatable Park, which is basically a series of themed bouncy castles. Each apparatus provides a different experience for children and adults alike, and your kids are likely to spend hours navigating through the park.
Next, there's the Challenge Zone, which is an adventure park with zip-lining, rock-climbing, a trapeze, a tightrope, and numerous other tests for your endurance and strength. Older kids will spend hours trying to get through the various courses and challenges, and parents are allowed to participate, as well.
Thirdly, there's The H2O, an attraction that just opened in 2018 featuring a waterpark, a lazy river, some waterslides, and a private pool with cabanas. If you rent one of the cabanas, you can spend the entire day relaxing by the swimming pool, or you can just fill your time enjoying the other water-based activities.
Finally, there's the Shark Tank, which is the largest arcade on Cape Cod. With over 50 games and a climate-controlled environment, the Shark Tank is a pleasant place to kill an afternoon if you’d rather be indoors.
All of these attractions come together to create a park where you can spend multiple days without your kids ever getting bored. Pricing depends on which parts of the venue you’ll be using, but you can decide what you want to experience after you arrive at this one-of-a-kind park.
Various Mini Golf Courses
There are many different places to play mini golf on Cape Cod. Depending on where your vacation rental is located, you can choose Cape Escape Adventure Golf, Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf, Skull Island, Wild Animal Lagoon, Putters Paradise, or Harbor Lights Mini Golf, just to name a few, to play a round.
The great thing about there being so many different courses is that each one offers something different. For example, Cape Escape Adventure Golf, in Orleans, has fishing boats and koi fish, while Harbour Lights in Brewster features a waterfall and serves world famous Gifford's Ice Cream. Putters Paradise in Yarmouth is a Cape Cod-themed course and Skull Island, also in Yarmouth, takes you to a deserted island that is protecting a pirate's treasure. You’ll have the chance to experience all different forms of mini golf during your time on the Cape.
Grand Slam Entertainment
There's a little bit of everything at Grand Slam Entertainment, as you can ride the bumper boats, take a few swings in the batting cage, hit the zip line, or climb the rock wall. The center is located right on Main Street in Harwich and is close to Bud's Go-Karts and the Trampoline Center, so you can spend the entire day in this area while trying a variety of different things. There are plenty of restaurants nearby, as well.
Grand Slam Entertainment is a cash-only facility, and you must pay for each attraction individually. As a result, you want to make sure you visit an ATM before arrival.
Cartland of Cape Cod
Almost right next to Water Wizz of Cape Cod in Wareham is Cartland of Cape Cod. This amusement park is known for its go-karts, and for good reason because it has three different styles, but it also features bumper boats, mini golf, batting cages, boxing robots, and water balloon fights.
Cartland isn't the largest amusement park on Cape Cod, but it's certainly worth taking the kids to if they're into go-karts. Remember, however, that this park is entirely outdoors, so it's only an option when the weather isn’t an issue.
Cap'n Kids Fishing Adventures
Getting your kids out fishing is always a good idea, and Cap'n Kids Fishing Adventures makes it extremely easy. This fishing vessel is specially geared towards children, as it takes two-hour trips into the ocean on a boat certified by the U.S. Coast Guard and provides everything they'll need throughout the day. If you want to get your kids out on the water, this is probably the best way to start.
Keep in mind that at least one responsible adult must accompany the kids on the boat, but you’ll be able to relax while the professionals teach them how to fish and keep them thoroughly entertained throughout the ride.
Keeping the Kids Occupied
When traveling with kids, it’s vital that you have a plan to keep them occupied each and every day. While it’s nice to have free attractions like the beaches on Cape Cod, taking them somewhere different on occasion also makes for an enjoyable day.
Take the time to research a few of these fun centers on Cape Cod before your arrival and figure out a plan based on what your children enjoy. You'll be happy that you're aware of all the choices Cape Cod has to offer throughout your vacation.
Activities Childrens Activities Family Fun Kids Mini Golf Water Parks
Cape Cod National Seashore: More Than Just Beaches
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, February 5, 2018
With nearly 40 miles of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod National Seashore is, rightly so, known for its beaches. The area has six main beaches, Coast Guard, Nauset Light, Marconi, Head of the Meadow, Race Point, and Herring Cove, in addition to smaller, lesser known ones, but there is so much more to the area than the waterfront.
In total, the National Seashore is 43,607 acres in size, and there are countless activities to be found in the space that are sure to keep you occupied throughout your vacation.
Want to go hiking? No problem!
Interested in history? We’ve got you covered!
Love seeing animals? You’ll never run out of opportunities!
Yes, by all means, hit the beaches when you visit Cape Cod National Seashore but don't forget to explore the other sites and activities that this beautiful and diverse area has to offer. We’re confident you’ll love what you see.
A Little Bit of History
On an official basis, Cape Cod National Seashore is relatively new, as it was given its national park status in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy and his family spend plenty of time vacationing on Cape Cod, and he wanted to preserve this exceptional region for future generations.
Overall, however, the land has been in use for about 9,000 years, when it was first inhabited by American Indians.
The first Europeans made their way to the region in 1620, spending about a month here before finally settling in what is now Plymouth. The area was attractive to settlers in future years because of its abundance of fresh water, fertile land, and protective landscape.
Cape Cod National Seashore has deep colonial roots that become clearer and clearer the more you spend time here. But first, you’ll want to get to know the natural environment, which is why so many people visit in the first place.
Hiking and Biking Trails
Feel like going for a hike? There are plenty of places to do so. In the South Wellfleet area sits Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail, a moderately challenging hiking area that goes through an oak and pine forest before coming out in a swampy area with a boardwalk. The trail is just over a mile in length, so it can be completed quickly.
Pilgrim Spring is another short hiking trail in North Truro. The path is relatively simple, with a moderate grade and plenty of on-site parking, and is only 0.7 miles long. The site leads to the place where the pilgrims first tasted fresh water on Cape Cod, making it a historically significant trail, as well.
For a biking experience, Nauset Marsh Trail provides a comfortable ride with the option to extend the trip to Coast Guard Beach. The actual trail is a 1.3-mile loop and is peaceful, with very few elevation changes, and has some breathtaking views along the way.
While you're out and about, keep an eye out for some of the area's unique wildlife. More than 450 animal species live at Cape Cod National Seashore, including 25 protected species and 32 endangered or rare species.
On the coastline, you could encounter large marine mammals, turtles, gulls, and waterbirds. As you move inland, you are more likely to see the land mammals and reptiles that live in the woodland, swaps, and grasslands. One particular animal to keep an eye out for is the piping plover, a rare bird that nests in the sand. About 5% of the world's population of piping plover live at Cape Cod National Seashore.
The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is one place worth checking out nearby because it has salt marshes and woodlands that are a hot spot for wildlife sightings.
You might also consider taking a boat trip out into the ocean if you have your heart set on seeing some sea mammals up close. If you're lucky, you might even come across the endangered North Atlantic right whales that feed off Race Point.
Landmarks and Sights
Sitting in Eastham between Coast Guard Beach and the Salt Pond Visitors Center is Doane Rock, a large boulder left behind by the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which covered most of Canada and large chunks of the United States, about 15,000 years ago.
As the story goes, when the glaciers melted, they left behind some geological abnormalities and one of them is this rock. It is named after John Doane, a deacon who was one of the first settlers in the area. He lived on this land in 1644, in a time when very few Europeans were around. The rock’s appearance might not blow you away, but it’s worth having a look at if you have the time because of its history.
After that, swing by The Three Sisters Lighthouses or Nauset Light while in Eastham, The Pilgrim Monument and Race Point Light in Provincetown, and Highlands Light in Truro. There is something that draws people to lighthouses and monuments, and these are some of the most prominent on The Cape.
Museums and Visitor Centers
We mentioned the history of the area before and what better way to learn about the history of Cape Cod National Seashore than by spending time at a museum?
In the north, you have options like Provincetown Museum, which is right at Pilgrim Monument, and Old Harbor Life-Saving Station Museum, on Race Point Beach.
Moving further south, Highland House in Truro and The 1869 Schoolhouse Museum in Eastham are worth a visit, especially if Cape Cod's history excites you the way it does for many other people who spend time here.
The area’s visitor centers are top-notch when learning about what makes the district so distinctive. The Salt Pond Visitor Center is perhaps the top choice, as it is full of interactive displays and shows educational films. There is also an on-site museum and bookshop.
Further north is The Province Lands Visitor Center, a smaller building that also shows educational films in its indoor theater and has a bookstore. The building has an observation deck, as well, which provides panoramic views of the ocean, sand dunes, Pilgrim Monument, and Race Point.
Embrace Life Away From the Beach
Of course, you’re sure to get plenty of beach time in when visiting Cape Cod in the summer. After all, that’s probably the reason why you’re visiting this area in the first place. At the same time, it’s good to know that there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied when spending time at Cape Cod National Seashore.
If you ever need a day away from the beach to let your sunburn heal or relax away from the heat, the National Seashore has you covered. So, plan your next Cape Cod Vacation around the Cape Cod National Seashore and you will soon notice that Cape Cod National Seashore is unlike the other National Parks you have visited in the past.
Activities Beaches Cape Cod Eastham Hiking Provincetown Truro Vacation Wellfleet
Activities for Kids of All Ages on Cape Cod!
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, January 22, 2018
When you think of Cape Cod, you might envision lounging on a sunny beach, eating at elegant restaurants, and enjoying a quiet drink on a secluded patio somewhere near the ocean. In short, your initial thought might not include your children.
The good news, should you want to bring your kids, is that Cape Cod is perhaps one of the most family-friendly destinations on the East Coast. In fact, it doesn’t matter if it is sunny or rainy, summer or winter, or anywhere in between, Cape Cod has your kids covered throughout your vacation.
Tons of Outdoor Activities
If you’re coming to Cape Cod during the summer months, expect to spend most of your time outdoors. People head to the Cape to enjoy the natural environment, and it’s no different when travelling with children, as various kid-centric activities exist throughout the area.
Kid’s Fishing is a company that operates fishing boats just for children. The company provides all the necessary equipment, and since the vessel heads out into protected waters, you don’t have to worry about your little ones on the sea. The 90-minute excursion leaves from Main Street in Hyannis and is sure to be a highlight of the summer for your kids.
West Yarmouth is home to the Cape Cod Inflatable Park, a large amusement center with water slides, bouncy castles, and obstacle courses. There is a challenge zone for older children, a toddler zone for the young ones, and even a mini golf course and arcade. The park is the type of place where you can spend an entire day, and your kids will enjoy every second. They’ll get a day full of exercise, as well.
When in Sandwich, check out The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens. Here, the kids can walk between the trees on specially constructed bridges and complete over 65 different challenges in the adventure park before finishing up with some zip lining from platform to platform.
One of the top destinations for kids on Cape Cod is Skull Island Adventure Golf & Sports World in Yarmouth. This amusement complex is known for its pirate mini golf course, but it also has go-karts. Other go-kart facilities on Cape Cod include Bud's Go-Karts in Harwich and Cartwheels in South Dennis.
Fancy a swashbuckling adventure with your kin? Welcome aboard Cape Cod Pirate Adventures, matey! This pirate ship takes kids on a treasure hunt into Hyannis Harbor and includes face-painting, the hoisting of a pirate flag, and a number of other activities to keep them entertained the entire time. Landlubber parents are also welcome.
Some Indoor Activities, Too
Nothing ruins family vacations faster than poor weather, and although the weather usually works out on the Cape, there's a chance you'll run into a rainy day or two in the summer. As a result, preparation is vital. Luckily, there's more to Cape Cod than the outdoors, as you're sure to find something for your kids to do inside on those days.
Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis has an indoor water park that is the only one of its type in the area. The park is over 30,000 square feet in size, so it's sure to keep your kids occupied, and has two high-speed water slides that are about 160 feet long. There are a river ride and wave pool, as well, along with a kiddie area. Keep in mind that this park has a retractable roof, which will open up if weather permits.
You might not think of a library as a happening place to hang out in the summer, but if you can't be outside, Provincetown Public Library is worth checking out. The building was constructed in 1874, offers over 40,000 books, and organizes events for kids throughout the year. It’s cheap, convenient, and, best of all, educational for your children.
Coming in the Winter?
Just because you're coming to Cape Cod in the winter doesn't mean you should leave the kids at home. After all, as we’ve covered before, the area is a proverbial winter wonderland and has some of the top Christmas events anywhere in New England.
The fun doesn't stop after Christmas, however, as Cape Cod regards its winter activities seriously. Try taking the family ice skating at one of the many rinks on The Cape. You'll find Tony Kent Arena in South Dennis, Charles Moore Arena in Orleans, and Gallo Arena in Buzzards Bay, so no matter which part of The Cape your vacation rental sits, there’s ice skating nearby.
Don't worry if the weather gets too cold or snowy to head outside, as indoor activities are abundant. Ryan Amusements, which has locations in Buzzards Bay, Falmouth, and South Yarmouth, just to name a few, features bowling and arcade games, making it a great place to escape the cold.
The Cape Cod Children's Museum in Mashpee is another option to consider because of its interactive exhibits and special events for kids.
Your Kids Will Love It
The entire Cape Cod area is set up for families to enjoy and, as you can see, there is no shortage of activities for children young and old. Whether your kids want to learn about the area's natural history or spend an afternoon going on a whale watch excursion, Cape Cod has something for everyone.
Combine the unique activities mentioned here with traditional Cape Cod pastimes like hiking, bike riding, and swimming and you’ll quickly see why the area has been popular with families for decades. Start planning your Cape Cod Vacation now!
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Getting to Know Cape Cod’s Performing Arts Scene
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, January 15, 2018
One of the great things about Cape Cod is that there is so much to do outdoors. While you're here, you'll probably spend hours lounging on the beach, hiking the dunes, or biking the scenic trails.
At the same time, you might want to mix things up a little when spending time on the Cape this summer and, luckily, the area’s performing arts scene has you covered.
Cape Cod is home to prominent theater companies and lively concert series that add diversity to a summer holiday in the area. Experience the cultural, art-eccentric events that set the community apart from others regions of the East Coast to make the most of your time here.
Cape Cod Summer Theater
If you love the theater, Cape Cod is the place to be this summer. Everything from Broadway musicals to small local productions are present at the many performing arts venues scattered up and down the coast, leaving you with all kinds of variety when choosing an event to attend.
Located on Main Street in Orleans, The Academy Playhouse is perhaps the preeminent performing arts center on Cape Cod. The theater puts on nine different productions annually, and although it runs all year round, summer is when things pick up. The venue often hosts Broadway musicals, although comedies and dramas are also quite common.
It doesn't get much better on Cape Cod than the Cape Playhouse in Dennis Village. Since its opening in 1927, this venue has hosted performances by legends like Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda, Bette Davis, and Ginger Rogers, giving it the moniker, Where Broadway Goes to Summer. The Playhouse manages to pack its entire season into the summer months, with performances taking place almost every day.
The Cotuit Center for the Arts features two different venues, the main stage, which is outdoors, and the Black Box Theater. The theater company presents various performances throughout the summer, including Broadway productions with nationally recognized performers in an intimate setting. The shows put on by the Cotuit Center for the Arts positively contribute to the distinct feeling around Cape Cod in the summer.
Summer Concert Series on Cape Cod
Of course, if you’d prefer to check out some musical performances, rather than a play, Cape Cod has the perfect event for you through its various concert series and music festivals. As with many events on The Cape, you’ll find yourself outdoors for much of the experience, providing something far different from your basic concert.
Summer in Hyannis means the Cape Cod Melody Tent is sure to make an appearance. The Melody Tent is a circus tent that hosts some of the top musical acts to visit The Cape in any given year. The venue provides a uniquely intimate atmosphere, as the stage is directly in the middle of the tent and surrounded by seating. As a result, the view is outstanding from any seat. This one of only two continuously-operated music tents in the entire country, so make sure you check it out.
Even though the Provincetown Jazz Festival doesn't have the same history as many of the other performing arts events on Cape Cod, as it only came into existence in 2005, the gathering is a favorite among locals and visitors alike because of its diverse nature. Performances are held all over the area, with many of them taking place right along the ocean. The festival is relaxing, the events are affordable, and there's even a free shuttle into the area for those not staying in Provincetown.
The Cape’s Operas and Symphonies
If you’re looking to experience a little culture and some acts that you won’t see anywhere else in the country this summer, keep watch for the events presented by the orchestra and opera companies on Cape Cod.
The Cape Symphony Orchestra has been around since 1962 and is among the most extensive groups of its kind in all of Massachusetts. The orchestra plays at Barnstable Performing Arts Center in Hyannis, although outdoor events are common during the summer. For example, the group has performed a free show at the amphitheater at Salt Pond Visitor Center for the past couple of summers, providing a unique environment in which to experience their renditions of pop hits and classical favorites.
Classical music is also abundant at Cotuit Library through the Royston Nash Music Appreciation Series, a group of events that attracts well-known musicians to this small venue during the summer.
The Highfield Theatre in Falmouth is home to College Light Opera Company, which has been in business since 1969. The company has 32 singers and an 18-piece orchestra, providing the full opera experience for attendees. In fact, the theater company scours the nation every year to find the best up and coming performers to join, so you can be positive that you'll see outstanding performances by some of the country's best talent every time you visit.
Start Planning Your Cape Cod Vacation Today
It’s never too early to start organizing your Cape Cod summer vacation because, in all honesty, the area fills up quickly. There’s a reason why vacations rentals are booked months in advance, so if you want to get up close and personal with Cape Cod’s complex and surprisingly intimate performing arts scene, the time to book is now.
There's more to Cape Cod's performing arts scene than has been detailed here, as the Cape Cod Theatre Company, the Barnstable Comedy Club, the Cape Sands Ballroom are other popular places to enjoy weekly performances and special events on Cape Cod.
Do your research before you arrive to ensure that you come at the right time during the community's busy summer months.
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Thinking Ahead to Summer on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, January 3, 2018
With cold temperatures causing problems throughout much of the northern United States, planning your summer vacation might not be a priority. After all, even though we know the cold isn't permanent and sunny days will come again, it's tough to get in the mood to book a beachfront vacation home if you've just finished shoveling six inches of snow.
The truth is that there's no better time to book your vacation than right now because you'll find more rentals available and you can get an early start on planning your activities. In addition, organizing a vacation immediately gives you something to look forward to as you suffer through a few more months of winter.
To help get you in the mood, we're going to use this space to remind you of just how exquisite Cape Cod is in the summer. Here are a few of the things that you can look forward to on the Cape in 2018.
Hit the Beaches
No matter where you choose to stay on the Cape this summer, you are sure to find a beach nearby. Some beaches are busier and livelier than others, but you are sure to find the exact seafront experience you are looking for if you plan early.
As part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Race Point Beach features a scenic shore, bike trails, and sand dunes. Swimming and surfing are both possible at the beach, although there is a bit of a dropoff, so it might not be ideal for those with small children. This particular beach gets sun all day long in the summer, making it a sunbather's dream.
Mayflower Beach in Dennis is one of the calmer beaches on The Cape and is popular with families because of its shallow water. The beach also has a boardwalk, making it easy to get to the water from its expansive parking lot. If you have children and are staying in Dennis, this is your best bet.
Sitting in the Orleans area, Nauset Beach is a 10-mile-long stretch of sand featuring calm water that is great for swimming. Surfing and off-roading are possible at the beach, as well, making it a choice for those who wish to relax and those who want adventure alike.
Visit Museums and Monuments
Of course, it's not all fun in the sun when visiting Cape Cod, as your vacation can be educational, as well. Since this part of the country is where the pilgrims first settled, you won't find more history anywhere else.
Located in Sandwich, Heritage Museums & Gardens is a former plantation that is now a scenic garden that is open to the public. The museum has a collection of classic cars, an art collection, and working historic carnival rides.
Built sometime between 1907 and 1910, Pilgrim Monument is part of the Provincetown Museum and was created to commemorate the landing of the pilgrims in 1620. The monument remains the tallest granite structure in the entire country.
Like pirates? Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth is one of The Cape's newest museums and contains real treasure from an 18th-century shipwreck. The museum is loaded with history and is well worth checking out during the summer.
Experience the Annual Events
Cape Cod is known for its annual events and festivals, giving locals and visitors alike something special to do during the summer. If any of these events excite you, book your vacation rental now, so you don't miss out.
Concerts, animals, food, and carnival rides, the Barnstable County Fair truly has it all. The fair takes place in late July every year and provides fun for the entire family.
In mid August, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra comes to town for the annual Pops by the Sea concert at Hyannis Green Village. You'll want to buy your tickets to this event well in advance, particularly if you plan on attending the pre-concert luncheon.
Provincetown becomes a party town every August during Carnival Week. This annual festival attracts 90,000 people to the area for its parade, cruises, and dance parties. Costumes, floats, and food vendors make the events taking place over the course of the week well worth a visit.
Do Some Hiking, Fishing, and Boating
Of course, getting out there and keeping active in the outdoors is all part of a Cape Cod summer. Going for a bike ride on the Shining Sea Bikeway, hopping aboard the Island Queen Ferry, which travels between Falmouth and Martha's Vineyard, or renting a boat in Wellfleet Harbor are well worth doing during the summer.
No matter which part of Cape Cod you end up staying on, you'll have easy access to some of the best hiking, fishing, and boating opportunities in the entire country.
Look Forward to Warmer Weather
Every day that goes by means we are closer to summer on Cape Cod. While you still have a few months to go, the countdown is on, and before you know it, you'll be relaxing on the beach, enjoying fresh seafood, and taking in everything that summer on the Cape has to offer.
Start planning your Cape Cod summer vacation early in 2018, and you can avoid missing out on the perfect vacation rental on the ideal part of The Cape. By putting your vacation together now, you can make the most of your time on Cape Cod this summer. Visit Kinlin Grover Cape Cod Vacation Rentals and book now. You'll be glad you did!
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3 Ways to Enjoy Oyster Season on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Cape Cod has always been oyster country, as even before the arrival of the pilgrims in 1620, French explorer Samuel de Champlain noted the abundance of the shellfish in areas like Wellfleet Harbor. And while the oysters of Cape Cod are known internationally, it is becoming more challenging to get your hands on them unless you come to The Cape.
The quality of Cape Cod oysters has spawned an entirely different type of visitor to the area, as people will rent a vacation home just for the opportunity to try some of the heavenly, fresh oysters found here.
Typically, Cape Cod oyster season runs from October until sometime in February or March, depending on when the supply starts to get low. Since oysters are one of the region's most valuable natural resources, officials regularly monitor the stock and adjust the season accordingly.
Keep in mind that oysters are commonly part of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals on Cape Cod, so if you want to do the holidays the Cape Cod way, make sure you track some down.
Once you arrive, you’ll find some different ways to get yourself some oysters, depending on how adventurous you are and how badly you want the freshest shellfish available on The Cape.
Do Some Oyster Picking
Feel like spending your vacation digging in the sand? For a small fee, non-residents can pick up a shellfishing permit to do their own oyster picking on many of Cape Cod’s beaches.
Before you head out on your recreational shellfishing excursion, make sure that you are aware of any town-specific rules that are present. These laws govern how many oysters you can harvest per day, the minimum size of the oysters you can pick, the times that you can be out in the water, and even the water temperature that you can be out in.
The rules are in place to prevent the supply of oysters from eroding too quickly and keep you safe, so either give the local town hall a call or ask about the rules when picking up your permit.
From there, you'll want to grab the right equipment. While you might luck out and find some oysters right along the beach, most are out in the water. You don't need anything fancy like a lobster trap, as just a few pieces of equipment will make you more comfortable as you venture into the ocean during Cape Cod oyster season.
Start by picking up a pair of chest waders, as you won't want to venture into the frigid Cape Cod waters without the necessary protection and these waders allow you to go into deeper water. A wetsuit jacket and a pair of waterproof gloves are advisable, especially when visiting in the winter. A floating bucket is also a good idea because it allows you store your catch without returning to shore.
There isn't a specific technique involved with harvesting oysters; all you have to do is search the shallow waters along the beach. Oysters don't bury themselves and are relatively easy to spot, so you shouldn't have much trouble as long as you end up in the right location.
Finding the perfect spot can be a challenge, as very few locals are willing to give theirs up. Look for other people searching for oysters because as long as they’re in a public area, you’re free to harvest there, too.
Find an Oyster Farm
The oysters of Wellfleet are known the world over, and there's no better place to get them than through the Puffer family at Wellfleet Oyster and Clam. Farmers catch wild oyster seed and then raise the oysters the same way that they would be in the wild. The result is some of the world's best oysters. You can order some by calling the company directly.
East Dennis Oyster Farm has a store in East Dennis where you can buy oysters by the box. You can also call ahead to place an order and schedule a pickup, which makes sense if you are staying in town or a neighboring community like Barnstable.
Chatham Shellfish Company has been in business since 1976 and sells its oysters throughout stores in the area. It is possible to order oysters directly through the company’s website, and they will be delivered right to the door of your vacation rental in a matter of days.
Visit an Oyster Bar
Of course, no visit to Cape Cod is complete without stopping by an oyster bar. In Wellfleet, Mac's Shack is the place to go. This restaurant doesn't allow reservations, so make sure that you get there early for access to incredibly fresh Wellfleet oysters, in addition to an extensive wine list. Keep in mind that this location doesn’t open until the very end of oyster season.
It doesn't get much better than Oyster Company Raw Bar & Grill in Dennis Port, which has been around for a long time and remains a favorite for locals. The restaurant harvests its own oysters, and clams and other shellfish are available there, too.
Sitting right on Main Street in Hyannis, The Naked Oyster Bistro & Raw Bar harvests oysters from its own farm, ensuring that you have access to the freshest shellfish available in any restaurant.
The World’s Best Oysters
As you can see, you won’t have any trouble finding somewhere to try some of the world’s best oysters on Cape Cod. What you might struggle with is figuring out which variety you like the best, as the oysters from each location differ slightly in their flavor.
Take some time exploring the local oyster scene to see if you can tell the difference between the varieties or, better yet, get out there and harvest your own this winter.
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Cape Cod Bike Paths
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, December 4, 2017
This is the first in a series of articles about cycling on Cape Cod. Expect in depth articles on individual bike paths in the upcoming months. Bike trails and paths are everywhere on Cape Cod, and this isn't by accident. The presence and design of the trails are purposefully done, as those who planned the bikeways studied similar coastal areas, such as those found in California, and tried to emulate their scenery and accessibility.
The natural beauty of the area means that visitors want to spend their time outdoors and there’s no more convenient or exciting way to experience the environment than by choosing a route and following it for a few miles.
Cycling is popular from early spring through the autumn. Basically, if you don’t see snow on the ground, you are sure to come across locals and tourists alike using the bike paths. While cycling has always had a place on Cape Cod, it really took off following the 1978 purchase of part of the old Pennsylvania Central Railroad grade by the Department of Environmental Management. This purchase provided the land necessary for the Rail Trail, which has become very popular and has helped to create the cycling culture that is present today.
In fact, the popularity of biking has risen to the point where if you visit The Cape and don't get some cycling in, expect some serious questioning from friends and family as to why when you get home.
So get out there and enjoy nature on your next visit to Cape Cod!
Activities Along the Trails
Heading out for a cycle on Cape Cod doesn’t stop at choosing a destination and then starting your journey, as each trail has its own story and a unique set of activities along the way.
Many trails have picnic spots, complete with tables and shade, providing you with everything that you need for a quick meal. These points, which often sit in a state park, are fabulous because you can pack a lunch, eat along the trail, and then return to your vacation rental for dinner.
Some paths, such as those along the National Seashore or in Nickerson State Park, have swimming opportunities, as well. Be sure to pack your swimsuit because you can work up a sweat along the trail and then cool off in the water.
The great thing about accessing a beach via a bike path is that they tend to be away from the roadways and, therefore, are secluded and less crowded. Locals will tell you that the best place to relax on the beach and enjoy the dunes is along an oceanfront trail.
Cycling or Mountain Biking
Don’t know which type of bike to bring to Cape Cod? Well, in short, it depends on the type of bike trail you wish to take. There are numerous paved paths in the area, which you can easily navigate with a road bike. These pathways are well-maintained and smooth, so you won’t have any trouble travelling from place to place.
If you plan on trying some of the unpaved trails in the region, however, a mountain bike is a must. These trails offer a more technical and challenging ride, but the payoff is always worth it.
View, View, and More Views
And when speaking of the payoff, of course, we mean the views. Each bikeway has a different landscape and, therefore, a unique scene to offer those who complete it. One trail might present a panoramic look at a lake, while another might get you up close and personal with a cranberry bog.
There are woodlands, parks, canals, flowers, wildlife, and anything else that you could hope to see on Cape Cod along these trails.
You can also get close to history while taking a bike trip, as bridges, homesteads, and museums seem to pop out of nowhere, allowing to experience one-of-a-kind attractions while out for your cycle.
Rules and Regulations
Before embarking on a cycling journey on The Cape, make sure that you are aware of the rules.
Most of the rules are common sense, as all riders under the age of 16 must wear a helmet, but it is advisable that all bikers have one.
Riders should stay in single file and announce themselves when passing others. It is critical that you don’t ride too fast, either.
Finally, riders should keep to the marked trails because it is illegal to ride your bike off the paths.
Following the rules and guidelines ensures that you'll have fun, and stay safe at the same time.
Go For a Ride
That’s it! You’re now ready to take on the breathtaking and accessible bike trails that line all areas of Cape Cod. It doesn't matter if you're staying in Woods Hole or South Dennis, there is a scenic trail at your disposal.
Just don’t forget to bring or rent a bike on your next visit.
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