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.

The Beaches

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.

Hiking Trails

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.

Bike Paths

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.

Pop-Up Drive-Ins

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.

Cape Cod Whale Watch in Provincetown and Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises are operating with enhanced safety protocols, giving you the chance to see rare sea mammals in their natural environment.

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

Spending a Special Evening at the Wellfleet Drive-In
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, June 15, 2020

After a day spent experiencing the Cape Cod National Seashore, biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, or exploring Wellfleet Town Pier, you might want to wind down with a quiet activity in the evening.

Luckily, the Wellfleet Drive-In is an option. This historic movie theater allows you to enjoy a double feature from your vehicle, enabling you to avoid the lines and crowds associated with an indoor cinema. 

The Wellfleet Drive-In is located on Route 6 in South Wellfleet, making it easily accessible from most vacation rentals in the area, and a relaxing place to finish a day on the Cape.

Here's some information on this venue and the other activities it has on the premises. 

The Drive-In's History

The Wellfleet Drive-In is a historic theater that first opened in 1957, with renovations the following year adding supports to the screen. The original speaker boxes remain in place, or you can listen to the films through your car stereo if you aren't into the vintage experience.

The theater added a mini-golf course in 1961, giving families who arrive early an activity while waiting for the feature to begin. Other additions to the venue include the Flea Market, which opened in 1974, and the indoor theater, which appeared in 1986.

Today, the Wellfleet Drive-In has digital projectors that provide a state-of-the-art viewing experience combined with the nostalgia of watching a movie in your car. This facility is the only drive-in theater on Cape Cod, and one of only 300 left in the United States, so make sure you check it out while on the Cape.

About the Drive-In

The protocol for the drive-in itself is rather simple, as tickets generally go on sale two or three days before the showing. The theater is open every day of the week during the summer, with shows starting once the sun goes down.

You can arrive at the drive-in starting at 7:00 PM, and organizers recommend that you get there as early as possible for the best spots. Two features will play every night, with the second movie usually getting started before 10:00.

When you pay for a ticket, you're paying for both films. You can leave after the first film, however. You'll also have the opportunity to show up for only the second movie, space permitting, but advanced tickets are not available in this scenario.

Keep in mind that the Wellfleet Drive-In generally plays older films, as they reserve new releases for the indoor theater.

The Indoor Cinema

The indoor movie theater is on the same property as the drive-in and plays new releases all year long. This indoor cinema is about the same price as the drive-in, except it isn't a double feature.

You can buy tickets in advance online for any show, which is a good idea during the busy season.

The theater also has a concession and offers a much more personal experience than the major chains that own many of the country's cinemas. 

Mini Golf and Ice Cream

As we mentioned, you'll want to show up well before the first movie begins to get yourself a good viewing location.

So how do you spend your time?

The Wellfleet Drive-In has a mini-golf course, so you can play 18 holes while you wait. The course is mostly unchanged from 1961, giving it a vintage feel that your kids won't experience anywhere else.

If you aren't into mini-golf, you can also spend some time at the Dairy Bar. You can grab an ice cream, sundae, root beer float, milkshake, or frozen yogurt to enjoy at the indoor, air-conditioned lounge or outside on the patio.

It's usually painful to pass the time while waiting for a movie to begin, but the Wellfleet Drive-In makes it just as much fun as the film itself.

An On-Site Flea Market

A final addition to the Wellfleet Drive-In is the Wellfleet Flea Market, the largest one on the entire Cape. The Wellfleet Flea Market doesn't operate at the same time as the drive-in but is instead a way to use the space during the day.

You'll pay an admission fee of about $3 per car to enter the Wellfleet Flea Market, and from there, you'll have access to over 150 vendors selling everything from antiques to Cape Cod memorabilia.

If you're looking for a rare item to bring home from your Cape Cod vacation, this market is one place to visit.

There's a snack bar and beer garden at the Wellfleet Flea Market, too, if you aren't into the shopping aspect of things.

A One-of-a-Kind Cape Cod Destination

You won't find many venues like the Wellfleet Drive-In elsewhere in the United States because this type of facility is a dying breed. As a result, it's good to check out this locally owned and operated outdoor movie theater while staying in Wellfleet because you never know when you'll have another opportunity.

The Wellfleet Drive-In provides an excellent mix of 1950s nostalgia and modern convenience, making it a must-visit location while experiencing everything the Cape has to offer.

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