People’s love affair with Cape Cod and its natural beauty has been ongoing for centuries. Ever since the mid-1800s, Cape Cod has been attracting tourists from all over the country. On the day that love is at the front of everyone’s mind, we take a look at people’s love affair with Cape Cod and what keeps tourists coming back year after year.
How Did Cape Cod Become a Tourist Destination?
In order to understand Cape Cod’s roots in the tourism industry, we have to go all the way back to the 18th century. The original settlers learned how to strip and process blubber from beached whales. This was the main source of income for the area at the time.
The 18th and 19th Centuries
However, by the mid-18th century, the nearshore whale population had begun to decline due to the increased population and rapid growth of the nation. That’s when the Cape decided to switch its tactics towards attracting tourists.
In the first half of the 19th century, the only way people could reach Cape Cod from Boston was via stagecoach or packet boat. Therefore, while the Cape was an extremely appealing tourist destination it was hard to reach and inconvenient to travel to at best.
That all changed when the first train service from Boston to Sandwich began in 1848. The ease of access now attracted many more tourists to Cape Cod and train service was extended all the way to Provincetown by 1873.
The 20th Century to Present Day
In 1914, the appeal of Cape Cod was made even greater with the private construction of a canal connecting the bay and the sound. However, the canal was narrow and only allowed for one-way traffic.
In 1928, the canal was purchased by the US government and the canal was widened with three bridges constructed, allowing for car and railroad access.
In 1950, the Mid Cape Highway was constructed. This sparked the biggest boom in tourism that the Cape has ever seen.
Finally, in 1961 President John F. Kennedy signed legislation that established the Cape Cod National Seashore to ensure that the beauty of Cape Cod was protected. Ever since then the tourism industry along Cape Cod and its surrounding islands has been booming.
What Keeps People Coming Back to Cape Cod?
It’s one thing to have the infrastructure to allow people to visit the Cape, but it’s a completely different challenge to keep tourists coming back year after year. While Cape Cod has about 220,000 people living there year-round, over 4 million people visit the cape each year. What keeps tourists coming back year after year?
The Cape Cod beaches are well known for their beauty. They’ve been well preserved and are a great place to spend a relaxing summer day.
Coast Guard Beach, located in Eastham, was even named on a list of the top 10 beaches in the US in 2017. Beach bums are a huge reason for enhancing people’s love affair with Cape Cod.
Thriving Main Streets
While everyone loves a great beach day, people love something fun and exciting to explore in the evening. Each Cape Cod town has its own picturesque main street filled with unique shops and restaurants for guests to explore.
Speaking of restaurants, Cape Cod has established itself as one of the best places to get seafood on the east coast. Fantastic clam chowder or delicious lobster rolls are just some of the culinary delights you can find on the Cape.
If you are looking for a great place to try some fresh local seafood on the Cape try out one of these wonderful restaurants.
Lighthouses and Cape Cod have become synonymous with each other. The beautiful coastal landscape paired with a historic lighthouse only enhances people’s love affair with Cape Cod.
The best part is it’s extremely hard to see them all in just one visit. Check out our list of the 27 Historic Lighthouses located along the Cape and the Islands to see which ones you haven’t seen yet.
There aren’t many places where you can spend one day relaxing on the beach and the next on a boat ride searching for whales.
Cape Cod has some of the best whale watching in the world. While you are almost always guaranteed to see a whale when going on a tour off Cape Cod, it’s also guaranteed that no two tours will be the same.
Bike and Walking Trails
Cape Cod has an abundance of walking and hiking trails. There’s nothing better than exploring the Cape Cod wildlife while taking in some fresh coastal air.
One of our favorites is the Shining Sea Bikeway. This is a 10-mile trail that runs all the way from Falmouth to Woods Hole.
While the towns of Cape Cod have enough to keep any tourist entertained for a week or two, the appeal of a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket or Plymouth attracts tourists as well.
It’s always nice to know that if you are looking for a change of pace, there is an entirely new town just a short boat trip away.
Cape Cod is the location where some of the first Pilgrims built their homes in the US. This coupled with the Cape’s unique maritime history makes it a great place for any history buff to visit.
Reputation of Luxury
Everyone loves to feel like they are experiencing the finest things in life. Cape Cod’s long history of tourism has earned it a reputation for being a luxurious vacation spot.
This reputation attracts some of the most famous people in the world, which in turn attracts even more visitors to want to visit. Regardless of which town you choose to stay in on the Cape, you can rest assured that you’re staying in one of the most luxurious vacation spots in the US.
People’s Love Affair with Cape Cod
While most people use Valentine’s Day to celebrate personal relationships, we suggest taking some time to consider people’s love affair with Cape Cod.
Its beautiful beaches, plethora of activities, and luxurious nature is something that everyone can swoon over.