10 Best Things To Do When You Visit Cape Cod in 2024

cape cod marsh

Cape Cod invites travelers with its quintessential New England coastal charm. Envision pristine beaches, quaint villages, historic lighthouses, and a bounty of fresh seafood – all waiting to be explored. Whether you crave relaxation on the sand, adventures on the water, or a taste of local history, Cape Cod has something for everyone.

Here are 10 unforgettable experiences to curate your perfect Cape Cod escape:

1. Beach: Sun, Sand, and Seashells

Cape Cod boasts a stunning coastline punctuated by miles of pristine beaches. With roughly 600 miles of coastline and over 100 beaches, there are definitely one for even the pickiest beachgoer. From the expansive shores of Nauset Beach in Orleans to the family-friendly waters of Craigville Beach in Centerville, there’s a beach paradise waiting for you.

Sunbathe and Swim: Unwind on the warm sand, soak up the sunshine, and take a refreshing dip in the cool Atlantic waters. With so many bodies of water, you even can find right water temperature within 6 miles driving.

Hit the Waves: Experienced surfers can catch some waves at spots like Nauset Beach or Coast Guard Beach in Eastham.

Go for a Beach Walk: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shore, collecting seashells and breathing in the fresh ocean air.

Go diving: always wanted to try diving? You can do it right here on the Cape. And if you experience diver you can also go for a private or a group dive.

2. Explore Charming Villages: A Step Back in Time

Cape Cod’s villages offer a glimpse into New England’s rich history and maritime heritage. Quaint streets lined with colorful houses, local shops, and art galleries create a picturesque and inviting atmosphere. You can choose different one and they all will have different vibe.

Provincetown: This vibrant town at the tip of the Cape boasts a thriving art scene, eclectic shops, and a lively harbor with whale watching tours.

Hyannis: The bustling hub of Cape Cod, Hyannis offers a variety of restaurants, souvenir shops, and the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, dedicated to the 35th president’s legacy.

Chatham: Renowned for its charming shops and harbor cruises, Chatham also features lighthouses and wildlife refuges. There you can down to the beach and spot seals right off the shore.

Sandwich: Steeped in history, Sandwich is the Cape’s oldest town and boasts the Heritage Museums & Gardens, showcasing the area’s rich past, as well as famous Sandwich boardwalk.

3. Lighthouses: Guardians of the Coast

Cape Cod’s iconic lighthouses stand as sentinels, guiding ships through treacherous waters for centuries. These historic landmarks offer stunning views and a glimpse into maritime history.

Cape Cod National Seashore: Explore several historic lighthouses within the National Seashore, including Nauset Light, Highland Light, and Three Sisters Lights.

Chatham Lighthouse: Climb the spiral staircase of this iconic lighthouse for breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline.

Provincetown Harbor Lighthouses: Spot the twin lighthouses at the entrance to Provincetown Harbor, offering a picturesque backdrop for photos.

4. Embark on a Whale Watching Adventure:

Cape Cod is a renowned whale watching destination, offering the chance to witness this majestic creatures in their natural habitat. From humpback whales and fin whales to dolphins and sea turtles, a whale watching tour is an unforgettable experience.

Provincetown: Several whale watching companies operate out of Provincetown Harbor, offering tours led by experienced marine biologists.

Barnstable: Depart from Barnstable Harbor for a thrilling whale watching adventure, spotting a variety of marine life. It will be a longer boat ride from Barnstable, but if you’re staying not on outer Cape, then you will save yourself a drive.

Choose Your Tour: Options range from half-day excursions to longer deep-sea trips, catering to different interests and budgets.

5. Hike and Bike Through Scenic Landscapes:

Cape Cod offers a variety of scenic trails perfect for hiking and biking enthusiasts. Traverse rolling hills, explore salt marshes, and discover hidden beaches along these picturesque bikeways and trails.

Cape Cod National Seashore: The National Seashore boasts numerous trails perfect for all levels, including the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail and the Nauset Beach Trail.

Cape Cod Rail Trail: This scenic 27-mile paved trail winds through forests, ponds, and charming villages, perfect for cycling or a leisurely stroll.

Shining Sea Bikeway: 12 miles long and just perfect for a day. You will pass a few beaches along the way to take a dip and refresh.

6. Local History and Culture:

Cape Cod’s rich history comes alive through its museums and cultural attractions. Discover fascinating stories about the area’s maritime heritage, Native American settlements, and artistic traditions.

Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum: Learn about the arrival of the Mayflower pilgrims and explore Provincetown’s artistic legacy.

Whydah Pirate Museum: Uncover the fascinating story of the Whydah, a pirate ship that sank off Cape Cod in 1717, through interactive exhibits and recovered artifacts.

Sandwich Glass Museum: Delve into the world of American glassmaking with a tour of the Sandwich Glass Museum, showcasing historic techniques and exquisite glassware.

Edward Gorey House Museum: Located in Yarmouth Port, right off route 6A, you can find house of this famous artist and spend some time.

7. Fresh Seafood Delights

No Cape Cod adventure is complete without indulging in the area’s renowned seafood. Sample the freshest catches of the day at local restaurants, harborside shacks, and lively seafood markets. There a lot of places to visit in each town, but this is what you should try during your time on a Cape.

Lobster Rolls: A quintessential Cape Cod dish, savor a succulent lobster roll overflowing with fresh lobster meat on a toasted roll.

Oysters on the Half Shell: Enjoy a taste of the ocean with freshly shucked oysters, served with a squeeze of lemon. Many towns have their own oysters and they do taste differently.

Chowder: Warm up with a steaming bowl of New England clam chowder, a creamy and flavorful seafood stew.

8. Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding: Explore by Water

Glide along the calm waters of Cape Cod’s bays and coves on a kayak or paddleboard. This is a fantastic way to experience the coastline from a unique perspective and spot marine life in their natural habitat. With so many ponds (Cape Cod has over 800 ponds!) you can opt for a calm freshwater adventure, rather then salty ocean.

Guided Tours: Embark on a guided kayaking tour through salt marshes or explore hidden coves with a knowledgeable guide.

Rentals and Lessons: Many locations offer kayak and paddleboard rentals, along with lessons for beginners. Check Bass River for kayaking, but mind the tides.

9. Take a Sunset Cruise: A Romantic End to the Day

End your Cape Cod adventure on a high note with a captivating sunset cruise. Watch the fiery hues paint the sky as you sail along the coastline, creating a picture-perfect ending to a memorable day. You can find them in Hyannis or Provincetown.

Dinner Cruises: Combine breathtaking scenery with a delicious dinner on a sunset cruise, offering a truly special experience.

Island Ferry: Instead if going on the dinner cruise, you can take a sunset ferry to Nantucket or Martha (or go in the morning and return by the evening). This way you will kill 2 birds with one stone.

Private Charters: For a luxurious experience, consider a private sunset charter for a romantic evening or a special occasion.

10. Shop for Unique Souvenirs: Treasures to Take Home

From handcrafted keepsakes to locally sourced products, Cape Cod offers a variety of shops to find the perfect souvenir to remember your trip.

Art Galleries: Discover one-of-a-kind pieces by local artists in Provincetown’s vibrant art scene.

Specialty Shops: Find unique nautical-themed décor, handcrafted jewelry made with seashells, and locally produced jams and jellies.

Farmers Markets: Support local farmers and artisans by browsing vibrant farmers markets offering fresh produce, baked goods, and handcrafted items.


Cape Cod keeps attracting people year after year with its charm and beauty. With this guide we hope you will spend some nice time and will enjoy your little getaway (or whole vacation) on Cape.

And if you need to work during your stay, you can visit Cape Space in Hyannis and Mashpee and use our hourly meeting rooms or daily coworking space passes.