Things to Do in Cape Cod
The “Must See and Do” places and activities on Cape Cod covers the most sought-after places in the fifteen towns of the island that attract the most visitors based on crowd sourcing. This island of beaches, marshlands, sand dunes, rivers, and kettle holes provide refuge to both tourists and wildlife. If you are looking to cut through the chase and visit the most desirable places on Cape Cod, this is your guide.
Peaked Hill Bars Historic District at the Cape Cod National Seashores provides a fragment of the past, that includes artist and poets who sought utter creativity by seeking isolation in the windswept dunes of the outer beaches of Cape Cod. These 19 weather gray dunes shacks appeared unstable and sometimes hidden by their embracing grass cover dunes and overgrown brushes. On the other hand, some of the dune shacks have the fortune of sitting atop a sandy hill providing an incredible and magnificent view of the sprawling beaches and cliffs battling against the great Atlantic.
Built to commemorate the European pilgrims’ first landing in the New World in 1620 at what is now Provincetown, Pilgrim Monument is a 252-foot stone tower overlooking Provincetown Harbor and the Cape Cod shoreline. Join a scheduled tour to climb its 116 steps and 60 ramps and see the incredible view. If you’re visiting in the off-season you are in for a special treat as the tower is decorated with thousands of lights each November that remain up into the month of January.
Part of Cape Cod National Seashore, Herring Cove Beach has great views, fantastic sunsets, and is a favorite of swimmers and sunbathers. In season, the beach has lifeguards, restrooms, and snacks. Parking fees apply or you can use your annual National Seashore pass, and four-wheel drive vehicles with permits are allowed on the beach. A secluded section, hidden Herring Cove Beach, is generally considered to be “clothing optional.”
Provincetown is, to many, the center of the Cape Cod arts scene. The town’s vibrant Commercial Street area is all about shopping, art appreciation and dining. Home to the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the Provincetown International Film Festival, several bars and nightclubs, and an abundance of galleries and studios, Provincetown attracts artists and aficionados from around the world all year long.
Provincetown is one of the most popular places to set off on a Cape Cod whale watching tour. Several professional operators depart from MacMillan Pier and the neighboring marina. Touring options include everything from sailing on an iconic schooner to cruising on a state-of-the-art eco-friendly vessel with a sundeck, climate-controlled cabin, and comfortable seating. Get face-to-face with humpback whales and say hello to thousands of harbor and gray seals while you enjoy excellent views of sandy beaches and lighthouses.
No visit to Provincetown is complete without a stop at MacMillan Wharf. Provincetown Harbor is deep enough for cruise ships and large boats so you’ll see all types here. Ferries and fishing boats come and go all day long, sailboats of all sizes frequent the area, and you’ll often see reconstructions of historical vessels staged on the harbor. The pier is also home to the Expedition Whydah Pirate Museum and gift shops full of souvenirs and memorabilia.
At Art’s Dune Tours, your hosts combine a 4×4 tour of the Cape Cod National Seashore with your choice of kayaking, sailing, boating, or fishing adventures. Art’s also offers awesome sunset tours fully outfitted with dinner and a bonfire, a sunrise tour for fabulous photo opportunities, and an art tour with a painting class for anyone so inspired by the stunning views and breathtaking colors of the Cape.
Sitting on a hill along the Cape Cod National Seashore and overlooking the Highland Links golf course, Highland Light is an iconic Cape Cod lighthouse. Come early to catch a colorful sunrise in front of the lighthouse, or in the evening to see the lighthouse framed by the sunset or the moonrise framed by the charming tower and keeper’s house. The shop offers Cape-centric books and art, informative exhibits, and tours of the lighthouse tower.
Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod is renowned for exploring, experimenting with, and perfecting the art of growing grapes in the maritime climate and soils of Cape Cod. Their wines feature big, bold flavors and lush character and their distillery produces rums and gins worthy of Cape Cod’s history and atmosphere. Visit the tasting room staged in a splendidly restored farmhouse built in the 1830s for a trip back in time and samples of the vineyard’s tasty wines and spirits.
Near the end of North Pamet Road by the Environmental Education Center and summer hostel managed by Hostelling International USA, a 0.6 mile trail leads through the woods and the old cranberry bog. Several fire road extensions adjacent to the trail make for miles of hikeable path. Along the trail, Bearberry Hill offers spectacular views of the landscape and the Atlantic Ocean, with displays and trail markers describing the area’s history, geography and wildlife.
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