Best Things to Do Cape Cod

Top Attractions & Activities on the Cape

Just a hop and a skip from both Boston and Providence, Cape Cod is one of the favorite weekend spots of New England residents. The Cape, as locals call it, is a 70-mile sand spit stretching out into the Atlantic and shaped, some say, like a flexed arm. Although it is a relatively small region distance-wise, the Cape's size can be confusing to first-time visitors who assume the whole of the region can be covered in a day.

It's normal to pass through more than one town on a day of sightseeing — within a 70-mile stretch, the Cape has more than 20 towns and villages. Route 6, a four-lane roadway that cuts through the center of Cape Cod, eases the congestion on the two-lane beach roads that cover most of the region. However, 28, the Cape's other main roadway, becomes a giant traffic snarl in high season and should be avoided as much as possible.

In the off months, travel is a breeze, but during summer and autumn when the local population swells almost to bursting, the pace slows to a crawl. Don't worry, all it takes is a little careful planning and you can see the bulk of the region within a few days. Although steeped in American history, Cape Cod is also a welcoming place for simply spending a weekend basking at the National Seashore that runs up the Cape's outer "arm." If the dunes are calling, don't be afraid to scrap your itinerary for a quiet place in the sun.

Note that Cape Cod's high season runs from Fourth of July through Labor Day. A seasonal destination, most of the Cape's shops and restaurants are in full swing by the end of May and stay open for visitors through the end of October, but after Labor Day, visitors are advised to call ahead before making plans. Parking at many beaches is restricted to locals or fee-based during July and August. However, during the autumn months, the beaches are far easier to navigate.

The Cape has a vibrant dining scene, but nightlife is not this beach community's strongest suit. With the exception of Hyannis, the Cape's largest town, where a brewpub, coffeehouse and an assortment of karaoke bars stay open late, most communities go to bed when the restaurants close for the night. The one exception is Provincetown, where a vibrant gay community parties until dawn. But while Provincetown may call to the young and energetic, most visitors to the Cape find themselves falling into the slower pace of catching rays in the day and z's at night.

Take a look at GAYOT's Best Things to Do in Cape Cod to discover the best attractions, and find suggestions on where to eat and book a room. 

And, don't miss GAYOT's Complete Guide to Cape Cod for more information on restaurants, hotels and attractions.