What to do in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

My sister Liz lives in Falmouth, Massachusetts, which is situated on the gorgeous Cape Cod coastline. Over the years, my family has had many fun-filled adventures in the region (for example, our excursion last summer to Martha’s Vineyard), and each time we go down to visit, we make a point of staying in a different town, exploring a new part of the coast. If you’ve never been to Cape Cod, you’re in for a delight – miles of white sandy beaches, ample seafood restaurants, and lovely seaside attractions, from whale watching to deep-sea fishing.IMG_8268With so many adorable seaside towns to stay in, and so many beautiful sunny beaches to choose from, it’s often hard to know where to begin when mapping out a visit to Cape Cod. So here’s my guide on where to eat, what to do, and how to bunk on the Cape – all based on my own personal explorations over the years!

{ EAT }

1) The Lighthouse Inn – Recommended for its seaside deck and mile-high blended drinks, The Lighthouse Inn is a scenic food-spot located right on the ocean. The meals are a bit pricy, and the portions are a bit on the small-side (beware – the $10 bruschetta is literally one piece!) but the grounds are beautiful and the lobster tortellini and tall fruity beverages (topped with whipped cream!) are not to be missed.

2) Lookout Tavern – A favorite from last year’s trip out to Martha’s Vineyard, lunch at the Lookout Tavern is both local and exotic – serving Americana classics, fresh raw bar favorites, and an extensive sushi menu – with everything from peanut butter burgers to endless platters of sashimi. In addition to a strange and delicious burger menu and a mile-long sushi list, the Lookout Tavern have an extensive, mouth-watering taco selection, featuring sautéed lobster tacos, mahi mahi tacos, and sautéed cajun shrimp tacos, to name only a few.img_1340

4) Silver Lounge – This is my sister’s favorite dinner spot in the Cape. The Silver Lounge has an intimate and homey tavern vive, with dark wood beams that run across the ceiling and checkered table cloths that adorn each table. The Silver Lounge’s menu is deliciously surf and turf, from rich baby back ribs and char broiled steak, to lighter lobster salads, and an out-of-this-world clam chowder.

4) Villa Roma – Sure, when you’re in Cape Cod, you may initially crave seafood, but after three or four days of shellfish gluttony, you’re sure to want a break from the norm! Villa Roma is a cozy Italian restaurant, serving up all the classics. I can personally vouch for the veal parmesan, the antipasto salad, and the chicken marsala, which are all divine. And if you’re not sick of seafood yet, try the calamari – it’s the absolute best!

5) Twenty-Eight Atlantic – The Wequassett is a meticulously landscaped hideaway with lavish guest rooms, magnificent pools, private beaches, tennis courts, a golf course and a lovely, upscale eatery with panoramic views of the Atlantic. If you’re craving a posh and memorable meal on the Cape, consider booking an evening at Twenty-Eight Atlantic, a four-star, four-diamond premier dining experience. Their menu features local oysters, lobster & tarragon ravioli, prosciutto wrapped monkfish (my all-time favorite), and soft-baked maple cheesecake for dessert. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, or simply get a craving for foie gras while in the Cape, consider booking a meal at Twenty-Eight Atlantic.

{ DO }

1) Take the ferry out to Martha’s Vineyard – On a sunny day, hop aboard the Island Queen Ferry and cruise on over to Martha’s Vineyard. Visit the rocky Gay Head Cliffs, the historic Edgartown Lighthouse, and the adorable Gingerbread Cottages. Rent a bike to explore the island, and if you have some time to spare, relax on South Beach and enjoy the silky sand and big waves. img_1256

2) Visit the Cranberry Bogs – Cape Cod is home to over 14,000 acres of working cranberry bogs. The bogs are a sight to behold – the growing season lasts from April to November, and by the time the cranberries are ripe for harvesting in mid-October, the bogs are red and lush for miles on end. You can take a more formal bog tour (90 minutes / $15 for adults) or simply visit a farm to purchase fresh cranberries, bog-side honey, or cranberry jams and marmalade. Check out a map with all of the Cape Cod bogs listed here.

3) Walk through the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory – If you’ve ever purchased snackfood in New England, you’ve surely gazed upon a package of Cape Cod Potato Chips. Since 1980 the company has been headquartered in Hyannis, Cape Cod, where they now welcome visitors on short, self-guided tours through the factory. It’s a fun, free, and quick stop if you’re passing through the area, a trip best kept for a rainy day. Perhaps the best part is the gift shop at the end, where you can stock up on all your favorite Cape Cod Potato Chips to munch on at the beach.img_1331

4) Stroll through Provincetown – Provincetown is located at the extreme tip of Cape Cod. It’s approximately a 2 hour drive or a scenic 90-minute ferry ride from Boston. Wander down Commercial Street, which is lined with beach shops, restaurants, and bars, visit the lighthouse at Long Point, or set out for an afternoon of whale watching. Provincetown is known for their eclectic LGBT community, so don’t be surprised if you accidentally wander into a gay bar – which would surely inspire an awesome night of dancing!

5) Lounge on the Beach – While there are many sights and attractions in Cape Cod, from whale watching to cranberry bogs, the Cape’s lure would be hollow if it were not for the hundreds of the white sandy beaches. Some of my personal favorites are Chatham Lighthouse Beach, which is ideal for an evening walk, Old Silver Beach, which has stunning views of the bay and delightfully ‘warm’ water, and Bass Hole Beach, which has a long boardwalk across the grasslands, a picnic area, and spectacular views of the sunset.img_1416

{ STAY }

1) Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown – Ask for a water-view room at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, where you can wake up at sunrise to watch America’s day begin, framed by the Edgartown Lighthouse, right outside your window. Rooms start around $500 a night during the high season.

2)  The Wequassett in Harwich – As mentioned, the Wequassett is a meticulously landscaped hideaway with lavish guest rooms, magnificent pools, private beaches, tennis courts, a golf course and a lovely, upscale eatery with panoramic views of the Atlantic. During the high season, the ‘cheapest’ room will set you back around $600 a night, but the Wequassett is a posh spot with all the bells and whistles to make your holiday relaxing and premium.img_1374

3) Captain’s House Inn in ChathamThe Captain’s House is a romantic inn with 16 elegant rooms, all decorated in an English country-style. Tucked away in a residential neighbourhood, the quiet inn is a perfect escape for two, with small, luxurious touches such as fireplaces and soaking tubs, and other luxury amenities such as two beautifully landscaped gardens, a full gourmet breakfast, an afternoon tea, a fitness center, and a heated outdoor pool. During the high season, one night is about $300.

4) The Inn at Swan River in Dennis – This time around we stayed at the Inn at Swan River. The rooms are clean, the beds are amazingly comfortable, and there’s a cute outdoor pool area with BBQ grills for guests to use. It’s not on the water or in a quiet residential area, but for this reason it’s slightly less expensive, coming in at about $280 for a Queen Suite on a weekend night (seriously, those beds!!!) img_1305

5) Campresort & Cabins in Falmouth – If you’re on a budget, never fear, as there are also many family friendly campground down in the cape. Check out Campresort & Cabins, which has a lake for swimming, fishing, and boating; a clubhouse; three swimming pools; and great rates, where tent sites can be rented for $50 a day during the high season, and cabins can be rented for $1,000 a week.

This summer we bunked in Dennis, which is comprised of five small villages – Dennis, Dennis Port, East Dennis, South Dennis, and West Dennis. Dennis has shoreline on both northern and southern coasts, with stunning colonial mansions to the north, and famous, warm water beaches in the south on Nantucket Sound. Upon arriving, we were pleased to find that Dennis boasts of miles of sandy beaches for basking, numerous seafood restaurants for gorging, and a plethora of adorable shingled cottages, surrounded by hydrangeas for photographing.IMG_8239We were able to visit many of the attractions on the list above, including a leisurely dinner on the deck at The Lighthouse Inn (pictured above). 
IMG_8244IMG_8240 copyWe sat on the deck outside, and were treated to lovely views of the ocean as the sun set in the distance. 
IMG_8266IMG_8259The chowder was to die for, while the bruschetta was delicious but dispassionately small – we ordered a few starters for the family to share, and our waitress should have mentioned that the $10 was only one piece, not fit for sharing.  IMG_8256However, the rest of the meal was divine, with my lobster quesadilla and my mom’s lobster tortellini clearly stealing the show :)IMG_8268IMG_8274We also stopped by Pizazz, a super cool gift shop with aisles and aisles of pool toys, many of which (swans, flamingos, pizzas, pretzels) I was dying to take home!! 
IMG_8224We also ate at Villa Roma (as mentioned on the ‘eat’ list above) which had the best calamari EVER (ever, ever, ever!)IMG_8207These last two shots are from our hotel. We stayed at The Inn at Swan River in West Dennis, which had an adorable blue pool, complete with matching deck chars and hammocks.IMG_8235There was also a cozy fire pit area, complete with BBQ grills and firewood.IMG_8232

Surely, I will wind up in Cape Cod again next year :) So more recommendations to come, as the holiday time spent in the Cape expands and the to-do list grows!

And incase you want to pin it:

Visiting Cape Cod_1

Have you ever been to Cape Cod? What are your favorite things to do there?

xo Ali

8 Replies to “What to do in Cape Cod, Massachusetts”

  1. My dear wife Karen and I have rented The Happy Cottage in Dennisport, bordering Harwich, for a week five years running now, Ali. It’s in a clump of cottages on a private drive, a mile or so from the ocean, two blocks from the quaint village strip block of shops, and has a fenced yard so we can bring Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle. We always take a day to stroll P-Town, which is very dog friendly, and also walk the shops of Chatham, and take an afternoon at the lake and pond of Nickerson State Park.

    The outdoor cafe at Sesuit Marina on the Sound looks like a rustic fishermen’s secret, and is divine.

    It’s the perfect early June, pre-tourist rush vacation getaway from Syracuse.

    Thanks for your tour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome – we actually spent quite a bit of time at the beach in Dennisport this time around :) And funny you should mention that about Ellie – when we were on the beach I saw a family get fined for having their god on the beach. it was such a bummer because the dog was just laying there in the shade – it makes me sad the WHOLE family can’t enjoy a day at some beaches! Will check out Nickerson State Park next time I’m in the area.


      1. Good point about dogs and beaches at the Cape, Ali! Even though our friends leave a beach pass for Dennisport, we know we can’t bring Ellie there. We know she is allowed at the Cliff Pond landing at Nickerson and the beaches in Provincetown, though. That is a bummer for the calm dog just hanging out — and its family. Now I know they mean business with those posted rules, and I’m glad that we’ve followed them.


        1. The police actually stood there and watched until the dog was escorted out, and the poor dog had NO idea what was going on, and was all smily and happy (haha!)

          I’m glad you know of some spots that are dog friendly :)


  2. Hi,

    We are getting ready to travel this way and I saw your blog post on Pinterest. I love the photos of the houses in the distant with all the grass. Where is that exactly?

    Thank you

    Lauren Hier


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