The Beach Times
Places to Stop Along the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, September 21, 2020
The Shining Sea Bikeway is a 10.7-mile paved trail that runs between North Falmouth and Woods Hole, passing through West and downtown Falmouth along the way. Part of the path follows the former route of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, adding historical significance to the journey.
Additionally, the path takes its name from the song "America the Beautiful," written by Falmouth native Katharine Lee Bates.
Taking a ride on the Shining Sea Bikeway is well worth the effort on your Cape Cod vacation because you'll get to see some sights that most visitors won't have access to at all.
While you're riding, you might want to get off the trail for a few minutes to relax or have a bite to eat, so here's a look at some of the most accessible spots to stop along Palmer Avenue near downtown Falmouth.
The most accessible place to stop on the bikeway is the Coconut Hut, a snack shack sitting in a hidden location between the trail and Carlson Lane.
The Coconut Hut doesn't have much in the way of food, but you can grab some fresh coconut water, organic ice cream, fruit sorbet, and other refreshments. They also sell crackers, hummus, guacamole, and flatbread if you're hungry.
In addition to food and beverage sales, the Coconut Hut has games like cornhole, Jenga Giant, and Tiki Toss, along with Caribbean-style music and white rocks that mimic the appearance of sand. Visiting this venue is like temporarily stepping into a tropical vacation, making it worth a visit during your ride.
If you're into making a more extended stop, you could head to Goodwill Park, which sits on the shores of Grews Pond. You'll have to ride down Palmer Avenue for a short distance to reach the park from the Shining Sea Bikeway, but it's worth the trouble if you want to cool off.
That's because there's a beach at Goodwill Park, so you can head into the water for a quick dip before continuing on your way. Other amenities at the park include a large playground and a picnic area.
Many riders stop at Goodwill Park at the end of their journey on the Shining Sea Bikeway because it creates a beautiful place to escape the heat and enjoy a picnic.
When a snack from the Coconut Hut just won't cut it, you'll be happy to know that there are all kinds of dining options in this area, starting with Crabapples Restaurant.
The great thing about Crabapples is that it's right beside Goodwill Park, making it easily accessible during your ride. You'll also be happy to know that this is a family-operated restaurant that serves fresh seafood and uses as much local produce as possible.
Crabapples has both indoor and outdoor seating, along with a bar featuring an extensive wine list and an impressive beer menu. It's also open at 7:30 AM every day of the week, so if you plan to get an early start on your ride, this restaurant is an option for you.
Cape Cod Bagel Cafe
For lighter fare, the Cape Cod Bagel Cafe is an alternative that's further south on Palmer Drive. To reach this establishment, you can exit the Shining Sea Bikeway on Ter Heun Drive and cross the road at the lights.
As its name suggests, the Cape Cod Bagel Cafe serves bagels and cream cheese, but you'll also find muffins, cookies, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, soups, salads, yogurt, and fruit on the menu.
And as a bonus, all of this food is ready exceptionally quickly, allowing you to get back on the path as soon as possible.
A final restaurant in this area is Seafood Sam's, a trendy eatery that's open for lunch and dinner every day of the week. The venue has indoor and outdoor dining sections and an outstanding selection of seafood items on the menu.
A local favorite at Seafood Sam's is the lobster roll, which comes with lemon mayonnaise and Sam's secret seasonings. The restaurant also has fried seafood, broiled dishes, clam chowder, burgers, fish tacos, pasta, and salads, offering anything you could want from a clam shack.
There are daily specials at this restaurant, too, so you can save some money on one of their top seafood dishes depending on which day you visit.
Getting to Seafood Sam's is incredibly easy because the bike path passes directly behind it. All you have to do is keep an eye out for the restaurant, and you can exit the trail, lock your bike outside, and head right in.
So Many Options on the Shining Sea Bikeway
There's no doubt that your Cape Cod vacation will be full of special activities, and if you're planning a bike ride at any point, the Shining Sea Bikeway is worth a look.
The bonus when taking this path is that there are plenty of places to stop along the way, and if you head further south, you'll also have the chance to head to the beach or downtown Woods Hole.
Endless activities are available all over the Cape, so be sure you fit in as many of them as possible on your next vacation.
Bicycles Bike Paths Falmouth Where To Eat In Falmouth
Where You Can Rent a Bike in Brewster, Massachusetts
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, September 14, 2020
As part of a socially-distanced Cape Cod vacation, you might look for outdoor activities that take place in open spaces. Riding bikes on the Cape Cod Rail Trail is a great way to stick within your family bubble, avoid crowds, and see large chunks of the Cape in a single day, and there's no better place to begin your journey than the Brewster area.
The great thing about getting a vacation rental in Brewster is that the Rail Trail runs through the middle of downtown and passes Nickerson State Park, making it easy to visit its top attractions.
You'll also find numerous bike rental shops in Brewster and its surrounding towns, so you don't even have to bring your bike to Cape Cod.
Here's a look at some of the bike shops that make it easy to explore the trails around Brewster, Massachusetts.
You'll find Brewster Bike on Underpass Road, which sits between Long Pond Road and Main Street. The shop is small, but there's an excellent selection of bikes for the entire family.
Under normal circumstances, you can rent bikes from this location for at little as two hours and as long as a week. The rates are competitive, with adult bikes costing $16 for two hours and $100 for a week-long rental.
COVID-19 has brought changes to the business model at Brewster Bike, however, as you must rent your bike for at least 24 hours. Helmets are usually included in the rental cost, as well, but they're currently asking customers to bring their own helmets for sanitary reasons. Bike deliveries remain available.
Once you get your bike, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is steps from the shop, so you'll be riding in minutes. Many people will take the Rail Trail up to Nickerson State Park to explore the area's kettle ponds.
Rail Trail Bike Shop
The Rail Trail Bike Shop is also on Underpass Road, so it has easy access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail, too. This shop is taking shorter-term reservations, despite COVID-19, so you can grab a bike for as little as three hours at an affordable rate of $20. Full-day and week-long rentals are also available.
Besides their selection of mountain bikes, this venue carries tandem bikes, road bikes, and trailers for the kids. There are car racks available for rent if you plan to travel away from the Rail Trail for a ride elsewhere on the Cape.
While you're at the Rail Trail Bike Shop, make sure you have a look at their kayak and paddleboard rentals. The shop will deliver these boats directly to any of the area's kettle ponds, so you can spend a day on the water without having to arrange transportation.
Rentals in Dennis
Those with a vacation rental on the west end of Brewster might consider heading to Dennis to rent a bike. Dennis Cycle Center and Barb's Bike Shop are easily accessible via Slough Road and Airline Road, as you can take either route under the Mid-Cape Highway to an industrial zone in South Dennis.
Once there, you can rent bikes at reasonable rates for a few hours or up to an entire week. Helmets are included in the rates, and e-bike rentals are available, as well. Dennis Cycle Center also offers bike deliveries for an additional fee.
Both of these shops are right along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, making it easy for you to head for a ride in one of the Cape's most scenic locations.
Rent a Bike in Orleans
If your vacation rental is on the east side of Brewster, a quick trip over to the bike shops in Orleans might make more sense for you. Luckily, Orleans has three downtown options that are seconds from the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
The bike shops in Orleans are also appealing because they're relatively close to the Cape Cod National Seashore. Even if you have to drive for a few minutes to reach Orleans, it's well worth the journey because of its access to the scenic beaches and highlands.
More specifically, Idle Times Bike Shop and Orleans Cycle are on Main Street in the heart of downtown Orleans. Idle Times recommends reserving ahead of time, but Orleans Cycle runs on a first-come, first-served basis.
Idle Times also offers free delivery to most towns on the Cape, although there's a fee if you're staying in Sandwich, Barnstable, Mashpee, or Falmouth. You'll find e-bikes and recumbent bikes at Idle Times, as well.
Another rental option on the north side of Orleans is Mike's Bike Trail Rentals, which has direct access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Mike's is a family-friendly venue with an ice cream shop next door and a mini-golf course across the street, so you can spend even more time in the area after riding the trail.
Get on the Cape Cod Rail Trail
If access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail is an essential factor for you when selecting a vacation rental, Brewster is an outstanding option because the path runs through the middle of town, and it has numerous bike rental shops.
You're also an easy drive from Dennis, Orleans, and other places with Rail Trail access and more bike shops, giving you multiple places to start your journey.
Cape Cod is full of great activities for the entire family. Still, with social distancing measures in effect throughout the country, it makes sense to explore the bike trails as a family and keep yourself safe throughout your vacation.
Bicycle Rentals Bike Paths
Riding the Old Colony Rail Trail
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, September 30, 2019
While the Cape Cod Rail Trail gets most of the attention, there is another pathway that provides an excellent ride through some scenic parts of the Cape. The Old Colony Rail Trail runs from Harwich to Chatham, and if you're strategic about planning your route, you can make it all the way to Chatham Harbor on your bike. You'll also find some great places to stop along the way, should you want to have a bite to eat or explore some local Cape Cod shops.
Here is more information on how you can navigate the Old Colony Rail Trail
About the Trail
The Old Colony Rail Trail is completely paved and sits on the route of a former railroad. It's about eight miles long, making it possible to complete the entire thing in a single ride. While much of the trail is self-contained, there are sections where you'll cross or enter a road. Therefore, it's essential to be aware of traffic when you reach those segments. You'll also have to ride along the road for a short distance if you want to reach Chatham Harbor because the trail ends just before the water.
The Route You'll Take
The Old Colony Rail Trail doesn't have an official western trailhead. If you need somewhere to park on the west end of the trail, there are spaces along Depot Street in Harwich, not to be confused with Depot Road in South Harwich, that are for the Cape Cod Rail Trail. You'll then have to ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail for a short distance before coming to a fork that is marked by a statue. Head right at the statue to start on the Old Colony Rail Trail. If you aren't concerned about completing the entire trail, you can start your ride on Pleasant Lake Avenue in Harwich. There is a parking lot here, along with a rental service, if you didn't bring your bike on your Cape Cod vacation.
Now that you're on the trail, you'll head through some residential neighborhoods in Harwich Center, also passing Brooks Park. The residential areas slowly begin getting less dense, taking you into a forest as you exit Harwich Center on your way to South Harwich. Before you reach South Harwich, you'll notice that the trail changes direction slightly. That's because you're now heading south instead of east. There's another residential neighborhood in South Harwich before you come into South Chatham.
Things get a little more interesting in South Chatham because you'll pass a few restaurants and shops. If you're just looking for a quick snack, Short 'n' Sweet Ice Cream is right on the trail after crossing Meetinghouse Road, and there are a few shops to check out just south of the path. Continuing through South Chatham, you'll go through another forested area before coming out at Chatham Municipal Airport.
The airport is where things get confusing because it appears as though the trail ends. This is not the case, however, as the Old Colony actually continues on the other side.To get there, you'll head south on George Ryder Road for 0.3 miles. The road has a bike lane, making it an easy journey. When you see the crosswalk head left and you're back on the trail.
The next section of the Old Colony Rail Trail loops around the airport before heading north and then east. After the airport, however, you should be aware that you're now on Wilfred Road, which is shared with motor vehicles. The bike path re-forms when Wilfred Road turns into Stepping Stones Road.
The End of the Trail
After the reformation of the separate bike trail, you'll pass Monomoy RMS Baseball Field before heading south. This south-heading section is the final part of the Old Colony Rail Trail, as it comes out right by Branches Grill and Cafe.
You don't have to end your journey here, however, because there are a couple of roads on which you can continue. Start by heading south on Crowell Road until you reach the crosswalk. There, you'll see Tip Cart Drive, which has some signs that mark it as a bike route.
To stay on the official bike route, follow Tip Cart Drive to its end and take a right on Hitching Post Road. This road will then take you to Veterans Field, which is the end of the sanctioned route. You can take a left on Depot Road, a right on Highland Avenue, and another left on Seaview Avenue, however, to reach the ocean. Keep in mind that cars park along Seaview Avenue, however, making it quite narrow for cyclists.
Your other option is to take the first left off of Tip Cart Drive onto Barcliff Avenue. While this road isn't designed with cyclists in mind, it has a shoulder and will take you directly to the Chatham Pier. You'll also pass some of the most impressive houses on Cape Cod along the way.
Once you're on the water, you'll have all kinds of entertainment options to check out before turning around and heading back to your vehicle, especially since you're just a few blocks from downtown Chatham.
A Different Way to Ride
If the Cape Cod Rail Trail seems a bit long or doesn't visit the areas of the Cape that you wish to explore, it's nice to know that you have the Old Colony Rail Trail, as well. As a visitor to Cape Cod, you'll probably want to see as much of the region as possible, and this trail provides an excellent way to experience parts of Harwich and Chatham that you'd otherwise miss.
Bike Paths Chatham Harwich Old Colony Rail Trail
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
The Extension of the Cape Cod Rail Trail
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, May 27, 2019
There's no better way to explore the Cape than by taking a bike along the Cape Cod Rail Trail. The trail follows the route of the Old Colony Railroad and is paved all the way through, making it a smooth ride that even novice riders can enjoy. The trail also has wide lanes, plenty of places to stop for food and drinks, and is incredibly well maintained.
In November 2018, local officials put the finishing touches on a new section of trail, expanding the CCRT to from its original western trailhead in Dennis to a new area in Yarmouth. This expansion should make the path more accessible for those staying in Yarmouth and improve access to parking, as well.
There are bike shops in multiple locations along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, giving you the chance to get out there and explore from your Cape Cod vacation rental.
New Section of Trail
Adding a new section of trail was actually a massive undertaking because the updated route crosses Route 134, near the Dennis Trailhead, and the Bass River. The solution was to create two bridges, one over the highway and another over the river, to ensure that riders could cross these obstacles without having to deal with vehicle traffic.
The bridge over the Bass River is incredibly scenic and adds an entirely new element to the trail. Keep in mind that this new section is close to Route 6, however, so it isn’t as quiet as other parts.
Along with the new trail, there is now a large parking lot on Main Street in South Dennis, just west of the parking area on Route 134.
Connecting with Other Trails
Perhaps the main benefit of the expanded trail is that it meets with an existing section of path in Yarmouth. While the latest extension of the Cape Cod Rail Trail ends at North Main Street in Yarmouth, it reaches an additional segment of pathway that has a bridge running over Station Avenue and goes all the way to Peter Homer Park. There is a large parking area on Station Avenue, just before the bridge, and further spaces available at the park, so riders will have plenty of options when driving to the trailhead.
From the park, you can also get on a paved, but narrower and less maintained, trail that goes past Bayberry Hills Golf Course and ends at Higgins Crowell Road in West Yarmouth. In fact, thanks to these trails, you can almost get to Hyannis Harbor and the Barnstable Municipal Airport from Wellfleet without having to ride on any roads. Improvements to the section of trail between Peter Homer Park and Higgins Crowell Road, including integrating it into the CCRT, are expected in the coming years.
Possible Extensions in the Future
There is already talk of expanding the Cape Cod Rail Trail to a parking lot just south of Cahoon Hollow Road in Wellfleet, about two miles from the current northeastern trailhead near Lecount Hollow Road in South Wellfleet. The expansion would see the trail run right alongside Route 6 and approach downtown Wellfleet. Opponents of the development believe running the trail along the highway brings unnecessary danger, however, and would prefer to wait until they can agree on a safer expansion route.
The goal is to have the trail eventually reach Truro, where it will meet with existing trails heading into Provincetown, but many locals want to see the expansion head along the Cape Cod National Seashore, rather than following Route 6 the entire way. This leg hasn’t even entered the planning stage, so it remains at least a few years away.
Another expansion into Barnstable is a little further along, with officials saying the new route is about 25% designed and due for completion by 2022. This route will see another bridge built over Willow Street, with the entire track finishing up at Independence Park in Hyannis.
From there, eventually, the Cape Cod Rail Trail will run from Sandwich to Truro, with connecting trails heading into Provincetown, giving locals and visitors the chance to ride the entire Cape. There is no set timeline on the completion of the whole project.
Spend Your Vacation Exploring the Trail
Even if you’re unable to bring your bike to Cape Cod, it’s easy to rent one, as there are shops near most of the main trail entry points. Don’t miss out on one of the Cape’s top activities, especially now that the Cape Cod Rail Trail is more accessible than ever.
No matter where on the Cape you book a vacation rental, you’re never too far from the Cape Cod Rail Trail and all of its amazing scenery, views, and history.
Bike Paths Biking Cape Cod Rail Trail Rail
Cape Cod Rail Trail Bike Rentals and Parking
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, September 24, 2018
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is something that you’ll surely want to check out during your vacation, but it makes sense to go over the logistics of the outing before you arrive. Are you driving to the Cape? If so, you can always throw a bike rack on your vehicle while you make the journey. But what if you’re flying into the area or you’re unsure if you want to haul your bikes all the way to Cape Cod?
The good news is that not having a bike with you doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the scenery and history of the Cape Cod Rail Trail. All you have to do is locate one of the bicycle rental shops near the trail, and you’re all set.
It’s also smart to learn where the largest parking areas along the trail are positioned. That way, you won’t spend your morning looking for a space when you could be pedaling through the woods or trying one of the great breakfast places near the path.
Here are some of the bike rental shops near the Cape Cod Rail Trail’s various access points.
Barb's Bike Shop
Right at the South Dennis Trailhead is Barb's Bike Shop, a full-service store offering bike rentals, repairs, and sales. Every bike rental at this shop comes with a free helmet, and they also have a bike delivery service to locations in Harwich, Yarmouth, and Dennis. The service means you can request a delivery to your vacation rental, so you don't have to worry about transporting it yourself.
Dennis Cycle Center
A short distance down the trail in Dennis is the Dennis Cycle Center. This store also offers deliveries, which are free if you rent the bike for more than a day. Repairs and sales are available at the shop, and they even have adult tricycles, tandem bikes, and electric bicycles from which to choose.
Old Colony Bikes
There is an area in Harwich where the Cape Cod Rail Trail comes to a fork. If you head north, you'll continue on the Rail Trail, while heading east takes you on the Old Colony Trail. The first section of this secondary trail is also where you'll find Old Colony Bikes, a shop specializing in bike rentals. You can rent for anywhere from half a day to an entire week, depending on how much riding you want to do.
Bike Rentals in Brewster
As you come into Brewster, you'll reach Rail Trail Bike & Kayak Shop and Brewster Bike, which are steps from each other. At Rail Trail Bike & Kayak Shop, you can not only rent a bicycle but a kayak or paddleboard, as well. The great thing about this location is that you can leave your vehicle in the parking lot when you head out on the trail before returning at the end of the day. Brewster Bike offers a wide selection of bikes and has a delivery service, as well.
Idle Times Bike Shop
If you're planning to enter the trail from Eastham, Orleans, or Wellfleet, Idle Times Bike Shop has you covered. These shops offer rentals, in addition to deliveries throughout the Outer Cape. The Orleans location is right downtown, while the two spots in Eastham are near the Rail Trail and less than a block from each other. The Wellfleet store is north of the Wellfleet Trailhead.
Heading to downtown Orleans, you’ll come across Orleans Cycle. This shop is convenient because it sits right where the Rail Trail and Main Street cross, making it easy to access. It's also across the street from Idle Times, so you'll have plenty of options. Keep in mind that for single-day rentals, you must drop the bike off at least an hour before closing time.
Mike’s Bike Trail Rentals
A unique place to rent a bicycle is Mike’s Bike Trail Rentals, which runs out of a small trailer at Cape Cod Adventure Golf. This store is just off the Rail Trail and has a large parking area, so you can leave your vehicle while you head out and enjoy the sights. This location doesn't have the same inventory as the others, but if you're looking for a basic bike for a short ride with the family, they've got you covered.
Wellfleet Bike Rentals
It’s very simple to explore the trail from Wellfleet Bike Rentals because the bikeway run right behind the shop. The store is in a secluded area on Route 6 that also provides access to the Cape Cod National Seashore, should you want to try something different. Ebikes and electric bikes are offered, too.
Little Capistrano Bike Shop
Another shop with multiple locations is Little Capistrano Bike Shop, as it has stores in Wellfleet and Eastham. The Wellfleet shop is right at the trailhead, making it convenient if you’re starting from there. The Eastham store is about a four-minute ride from the trail at the Cape Cod National Seashore Salt Pond Visitor Center, so it’s also a handy spot to head out on the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
Where to Park
If you do bring your own vehicle or have a rental car that you wish to leave near the trail, you’ll have a few free options, depending on where you start and end your ride.
The South Dennis Trailhead has a sizable parking area right where the trail begins. There are also a few dining options nearby. Other official Cape Cod Rail Trail parking locations can be found in South Yarmouth, Harwich, Brewster, and Orleans. There is a brand new lot in South Yarmouth right near Stop & Shop. The lot in Harwich is near Hinckleys Pond, the Brewster spaces are across the street from Ferretti's Market, and the Orleans parking area is in the heart of downtown.
If you start in the north, the Wellfleet Trailhead also has a large parking lot. You can also park at the Cape Cod National Seashore at the Salt Pond Visitors Center or in the Marconi Beach area for free.
As was mentioned, some bike shops will let you leave your vehicle there while you head on the trail. Inquire prior to arrival if parking is an important feature for you.
Getting Out on the Trail
You’ll have so many options when choosing where to start your Cape Cod Rail Trail journey that it can be overwhelming. Your best bet is to figure out how far you want to ride and go from there. If you’re only looking to head out for a few hours, you can start from anywhere, but if you want to complete the entire trail, you’ll have to be a little more strategic.
The great thing about having a Cape Cod vacation rental to call your own is that you can split the journey up into multiple days and take advantage of the various parking spots up and down the trail. As you experience more of the sights and sounds of the path, you’ll clearly see why it is a favorite place to spend a day on the Cape.
Bike Paths Biking Cape Cod Rail Trail
Dining Options Along the Cape Cod Rail Trail
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, September 10, 2018
We’ve previously examined the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which is a 22-mile-long bike path between South Wellfleet and South Dennis, but as you’ll quickly learn if you decide to make the journey, this isn’t just any old trail.
Once you embark on your ride or jog on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, you’ll pass through areas of complete wilderness, in addition to rural, suburban, and urban parts of the Cape. You'll also see the Cape Cod National Seashore, Nickerson State Park, and numerous city centers. Basically, if you complete the trail, you’ll see everything that Cape Cod has to offer, including a variety of restaurants that have set up shop just off the path.
The following is a list of some of the top restaurants near the trail so that you can determine where to stop along the way. Once you see some of the available options, you’d be forgiven for wanting to turn your Rail Trail cycling excursion into a multi-day event.
Restaurants in South Wellfleet
Those who start or finish their ride in Wellfleet will have a number of dining options from which to choose, both at the trailhead and further south.
Right near the trailhead in South Wellfleet is PB Boulangerie Bistro, a French restaurant with a built-in bakery. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, allowing you to pop by for a bite no matter what time you're in the area.
Van Rensselaer’s Restaurant and Raw Bar is a family-run business with a menu made up mostly of seafood dishes. The eatery is casual, making it the perfect place to finish your day, and has many craft beers available, as well. There is a kids' menu if you choose to travel with the little ones.
Those in the mood for something a little more upscale will love Bocce Italian Grill. This restaurant serves a variety of Italian favorites, along with high-end wines, and has an outdoor area to enjoy on warmer evenings. Keep in mind that grill is only open for dinner.
At the far southern end of Wellfleet is Marconi Beach Restaurant, which serves southern-style BBQ food, along with local seafood. The restaurant is a fairly unique concept because you can either dig into a BBQ rib dinner or go with a clambake with lobster, depending on your mood.
After making your way through Wellfleet, you come upon Eastham, which also has a wide selection of restaurants. Much like Wellfleet, there are various cuisine types, so you can make your decision based on what you feel like eating at that moment.
As you first enter Eastham, you'll see a cluster of restaurants, including Local Break Restaurant and Bar. This pub-style establishment has a large bar, and many of its menu items come from local sources. There's a sizable beer menu, as well, should you want a drink after your long ride on the trail.
Karoo Restaurant serves authentic South African cuisine, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Many dishes also feature Indian and European influences, making the menu extremely diverse. If you're looking to try something different, Karoo is the place to do it.
Steps from Karoo is Red Barn Pizza & More, another family-friendly restaurant with pizza, an arcade, mini-golf, and an outdoor dining area with picnic tables. They're open for lunch through dinner, and the casual atmosphere means you'll always feel right at home.
You'll probably encounter a line-up if you visit Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar during peak hours, but depending on your schedule, it’s probably worth the wait. This iconic seafood spot is known for its lobster rolls, and it also has ice cream, mini-golf, and outdoor seating.
Downtown Orleans Restaurants
The Cape Cod Rail Trail goes right through the heart of downtown Orleans, where you’ll find shops, boutiques, and, of course, restaurants. Some of these restaurants are a block or two off the trail, so make sure you know where you’re going before heading into town.
One of the restaurants a bit off the trail is The Knack, which specializes in burgers and hot dogs, but also has some sandwiches and seafood on the menu. Everything available at the restaurant is from local sources and as an added bonus, you can order online before your arrival and pick it up when you get there.
Sir Cricket's Fish & Chips is also a couple of minutes from the Rail Trail along Route 6A. This stop is one of the more basic options on this list, as it is a take-out counter offering lobster rolls, chowder, and fried fish, but you won't be disappointed by the quality. There is a small non-seafood menu available, as well.
Not everything in Orleans is away from the trail, as Mahoney's Atlantic Bar and Grill is right where the path crosses with Main Street. This eatery is only open for dinner, but it's a chic spot to stop for a drink and some classic New England cuisine, including seafood. You'll also be happy to know that there's a bike rack right outside the restaurant.
No, it isn't a Swedish restaurant, but ABBA does provide a unique dining experience along the Cape Cod Rail Trail because it is housed in a barn from the 1830s. The menu is also unique, as it is made up of Mediterranean dishes that you won't find anywhere else in the area.
Food in Brewster
After Orleans, the trail goes through Brewster, including a stretch of Nickerson State Park. The pathway is also about a block from the Old King's Highway, which is where pretty much everything in Brewster is located.
Cobie's is a casual counter-style eatery that has been around since 1948. It's also a favorite with cyclists because all you have to do is walk up to the counter, rather than finding a place to park your bike and waiting for a table. New England-style seafood favorites are on the menu, but they serve ice cream if you're just looking for a treat.
A similar counter-style diner is JT's Seafood Restaurant, which also serves seafood and has an outdoor seating area. Unlike Cobie’s, however, you can sit inside at JT’s as long as seating is available. If you're starving, give their specialty, the Jumbo Hot Lobster Roll, a try.
Those looking for a drink or a quick bite might consider Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters. The muffins, scones, croissants, and granola on the menu are sure to give you the energy you need between meals to make it through the next leg of your journey. And if you're not in the mood for a coffee, they have a selection of cold drinks.
Peddler's Restaurant is only open for dinner, and its romantic setting might not seem ideal after a long cycle. At the same time, the classic French cuisine and local seafood create an enjoyable menu, and the wine list is excellent. Just make sure you bring a change of clothes if you plan to stop in during your cycle.
Dining in Harwich
Remember how we mentioned that you'd pass through some rural and secluded areas? Once you get into Harwich, you'll find that dining options near the Rail Trail are a bit scarce. Having said that, you can still find a meal at Local Flavor Lunch and Bagel. A quick detour up the Old Colony Rail Trail will also take you to Ruggie's Breakfast and Lunch, should you get especially desperate for some food.
South Dennis Eating Options
As you head into South Dennis, you'll reach the Cape Cod Rail Trail's other trailhead. Here, you'll see a brewery, movie theater, shopping mall, and numerous restaurants. When completing your journey, it’s nice to know you have a few different cuisine types from which to choose.
Just south of the Rail Trail parking lot in South Dennis is Morrell's Restaurant & Catering, which is a seasonal eatery with a bar and great daily specials. This family-owned business uses locally-sourced seafood, making it ideal for a meal at the end of your ride.
Heading north from the parking lot you’ll come across Bangkok Thai Cuisine II, which, as the name suggests, serves Thai cuisine. Locals love the food here, as it is healthy and affordable in a casual environment. It's a pleasant place to stop after putting in some substantial miles.
Jason's Tavern is north of Bangkok Thai Cuisine II and is another laid-back venue to grab a quick meal. The tavern is known for having some of the best burgers on Cape Cod and also has seafood, sandwiches, chicken, and salads on the menu. If you get there early enough in the day, there are discounts before 6 PM.
Red Cottage Restaurant is a couple of blocks from the trailhead, but is one of the most popular dining options in South Dennis and is worth visiting at some point during your vacation. This 50s-style diner is open for breakfast and lunch all year long and dinner in the summer, from June until August, between Wednesday and Sunday. The restaurant is cash only, so you'll want to hit the ATM before stopping by.
Plenty of Food on the Rail Trail
You’ll never be short on dining options as you travel the Cape Cod Rail Trail. The Cape is known for its outdoor lifestyle and exploring this scenic bike path allows you to experience much of what makes the area such an attractive place to live and visit while sampling some famous local cuisine along the way.
Whether you want to head out on a quick jaunt on the trail to find some lunch or plan to complete the 22-mile distance, be sure to pack your bike this vacation so that you can get out there and taste some of the Cape Cod Rail Trail’s top restaurants.
Abba Arnolds Lobster Clam Bar Bike Paths Bocce Italian Grill Cape Cod Rail Trail Cobies Jasons Tavern Jts Seafood Restaurant Karoo Local Break Local Flavor Mahoneys Atlantic Bar And Grill Marconi Beach Restaurant Morrells Restaurant Pb Boulangerie Bistro Peddlers Restaurant Red Barn Pizza Red Cottage Restaurant Ruggies Breakfast And Lunch Sir Crickets Fish Chips Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters The Knack Van Rensselaers Restaurant
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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