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Dennis History

Dennis was first settled in 1639, by John Crowe (later Crowell) and Thomas Howes, as part of the town of Yarmouth. The town officially separated and incorporated in 1793. It was named after resident minister, Josiah Dennis. There was not enough land for farming, so seafaring became the town's major industry in its early history, centered around the Shiverick Shipyard.

Dennis, named an All American Town in 1978, combines its traditional New England heritage with modern day conveniences. The villages of East Dennis, Dennis and South Dennis feature scenic historic districts hailing back to whaling days, while tranquil tree-lined streets meander through Dennisport and West Dennis. Sixteen inviting beaches lie on the warm waters of Nantucket Sound to the south and on the crisp refreshing waters of Cape Cod Bay to the north. Numerous recreation trails offer healthful relaxation, and well developed business districts throughout the villages provide ample goods and services.

Dennis Today

Currently, Dennis is a popular seaside resort town, notable for its stately colonial mansions along the northern Cape Cod Bay coastline, and its picturesque, warm water beaches along the southern Nantucket Sound.

Whether you're traveling solo or with your family, you'll find plenty of fun in Dennis year round. For culture buffs there's the Cape Cod Museum of Art with its art openings, Music & More Concerts and independent film series along with the world renowned Cape Cinema, as well as several other fabulous art galleries and artisans along Route 6A. For the active visitor there's kayaking, canoeing and so much more. We have it all in Dennis.

The Cape's Bay Colony Rail officially ends in the town. The ending point is also the starting point of the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a bicycle trail which runs "down" the Cape to Wellfleet along the former right-of-way of the rail. There are also several other bicycle trails in town.

Dennis is known for having the best beaches on Cape Cod. We're also famous for some of the best seafood restaurants around with family recipes that go back generations.

Dennis is the cultural center of the Cape, with the eclectic Cape Cod Museum of Art, the historic Cape Playhouse, and the eccentric Cape Cinema all within the same complex and many art galleries and antique shops nearby.

Dennis has two challenging 18 hole golf courses and is just a short drive to a dozen others. We also have fun miniature golf courses for the whole family. You can charter a fishing boat from Sesuit Harbor or Bass River, climb Scargo Tower for breathtaking views of Cape Cod bay, rent a kayak and drift along Swan River, or take your bike for a scenic ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

Things to Do in Dennis

Browse a list of Dennis activities and attractions for your next Cape Cod vacation.

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