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7 Must-Do Day Trips On Cape Cod

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If you are anything like me, you are itching to make plans and get away this year. I didn’t travel anywhere last year for obvious reasons but I am hoping restrictions will ease and things will open up soon so that I can at least make a quick, driving trip to Cape Cod for a summer vacation.

Up until 5 days ago, the weather here had been glorious. Bright and sunny almost every day, lawns still green and I never had to wear a jacket for a quick trip to the store. This is the mildest winter I can remember. Ever. Up until now.

This week I have been slapped by ole man winter, hard. I can’t seem to get warm and I actually had to shovel snow. Well, I didn’t but it’s annoying reminding the men in the house to get out there and do it.

The only thing that has been able to warm my old bones is to think about the summer and our yearly visit to Cape Cod that we had to forego in 2020. I absolutely love Cape Cod for many, many reasons. It is great for families, couples or even as a single traveler.

Why I love day trips on Cape Cod

There is so much to do and because the island is so small, day trips on Cape Cod are a breeze. You can go out and explore and still get back to your motel/hotel for the night. I absolutely hate a vacation where I have to constantly pack and unpack, never mind the “get out by 11am but you can’t check in till 3:30pm” rules of most accommodations. Plus, I think it makes for a much safer vacation during these times.

When is the best time to visit Cape Cod?

My favourite time to go to Cape Cod is off-season. If you can arrange it, try to go in June or late August. Prices are drastically reduced and you don’t have to deal with the massive crowds that descend on the Cape during high time. Be sure to pre-plan attractions. Frequency of tours and hours of operation vary greatly by season and of course this year will be even more unpredictable. You can’t fly by the seat of your pants if you want to cross everything off of your “must-do” list in the off-season or post-covid for that matter.

Do you need a car?

You definitely need a car for your vacation on Cape Cod. We could fly and rent a car if we wanted to but we prefer to make the nine-hour car ride. We rarely make stops on the way there because we are so anxious to get there but on the way home, there are many side trips we usually do to extend the vacation for just a little bit longer.

I can not explain the feeling of peace and serenity that envelopes us both once we cross Bourne Bridge. It joins Cape Cod to the rest of Massachusetts. It is like entering a different world. Calm, relaxed and friendly. Welcome to Cape Cod.

The perfect summer destination for families or couples. Easy to navigate and so many attractions within driving distance, makes for easy day trips on Cape Cod

 

7 Best Cape Cod Day Trips

1. Explore Lighthouses

The perfect summer destination for families or couples. Easy to navigate and so many attractions within driving distance, makes for easy day trips on Cape Cod.

If you are a lighthouse enthusiast, you will be in heaven. There are over 14 lighthouses on Cape Cod. Many are open to the public and have tours. I love taking tours because you always learn so much. Most tour guides are locals that have lived on Cape Cod all of their lives and they love sharing information and answering questions.

I highly recommend making a day of it and visiting as many as you can. Bring your camera because you will get some amazing pictures. Here is a map of lighthouses on Cape Cod.

2. A Different Beach Every Day

The perfect summer destination for families or couples. Easy to navigate and so many attractions within driving distance, makes for easy day trips on Cape Cod

Where land meets the shore, there is a beach. If your idea of a vacation is sitting on your tushy and watching the sun cross the sky, this is the perfect place for you. Cape Cod is literally framed by beaches. Far too many to mention. Each has its own characteristics.

You can choose the ocean side for more active waters during the day and then take a walk on the cove side for a calm and relaxed evening stroll. It’s amazing how you will experience sunset differently on each beach as you can see from my picture above. You can click here for a list of Cape Cod beaches.

3.Provincetown And Whale Watching

The perfect summer destination for families or couples. Easy to navigate and so many attractions within driving distance, makes for easy day trips on Cape Cod

First of all, P-town, as locals call it,  is an event in itself. Quaint little shops, great little art galleries and fabulous places to eat. Whether you are looking for a street vendor, a pub or a proper restaurant, you will enjoy the best food on the island.

Provincetown also hosts fairs and street parties, so be sure to check the town’s Chamber of Commerce site before you go.

An absolute must is whale watching. There are many different charters that can take you out and they all have websites that update sightings from each tour daily. Many guarantee you will see whales. I have to admit, we have never had a no-show and we go whale watching every time we visit Cape Cod.

I recommend however, that you put your camera away. Above is the best pic I took of a minke whale we were following and while most people were catching all the breaching, I wasted so much time trying to get the whale centered in my frame that I missed most of it.

Most tours have a photographer and videographer on board every cruise and you can purchase prints at their land office within hours. Don’t miss the beauty of these animals because you are trying to get the perfect shot.

4. The JFK Museum in Hyannis

The perfect summer destination for families or couples. Easy to navigate and so many attractions within driving distance, makes for easy day trips on Cape Cod

Hyannisport is where the Kennedy compound is and you will want to check out the museum in Hyannis. I love the old pictures and memorabilia. If you are a historian, make this one of your stops.

Spend the rest of the day in Hyannis exploring the boutiques, gift shops and restaurants.

5. Get Married!

The perfect summer destination for families or couples. Easy to navigate and so many attractions within driving distance, makes for easy day trips on Cape Cod

Could anything be more romantic? The very first time I went to Cape Cod, I got married on Nauset Beach! It is so easy to do. You register for a marriage license at the court-house in Barnstable, wait three days, pick it up and you are ready to go.

There are many officiants on-line that offer services on Cape Cod. All you have to do is pick what kind of ceremony you want, a place and a time.

6. Ghost Hunting

The perfect summer destination for families or couples. Easy to navigate and so many attractions within driving distance, makes for easy day trips on Cape Cod
Old Jail Barnstable MA 2014 by Kenneth C. Zirkel

No trip would be complete without taking a walking ghost tour in Barnstable which includes the oldest jail in America. Build in 1620 it is widely known as one of the most haunted places in the world. The tour guides are fabulous and each time we go it is unique experience.

 

7. The Ferry To Martha’s Vineyard

The perfect summer destination for families or couples. Easy to navigate and so many attractions within driving distance, makes for easy day trips on Cape Cod

Martha’s Vineyard is a beautiful island and like a world on its own. The ferry ride is about 45 minutes. Once you arrive, there are many ways to get around the island. You can rent a car or a scooter or you can take the local bus, a taxi or an air-conditioned bus tour that has regular stops at attractions. You can not get around the island without transportation so make sure you plan and budget for it. Many people bring bikes with them on the ferry.

Edgartown is the main attraction of the island and it was the back drop for the movie Jaws. It is a real town with shops and restaurants. You can visit the docks, beaches, sheriff’s house and more locations that were used for the movie. There are also bus tours that cater specifically to Jaws movie enthusiasts.

Plus you can buy every kind of shark souvenir there is.

I hope I have inspired you to plan a trip to Cape Cod this year.

Have you started planning your summer vacation yet?

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Carol Cassara (@ccassara)

Sunday 13th of March 2016

Here's what is so crazy... I have never been to Cape Cod. So darn overdue! Maybe we'll rent a house next summer ...yeah, maybe!

Klaudia

Saturday 12th of March 2016

Awww , that looks gorgeous . Need to start bothering Google now , your post has made me really curious , where is Cap Cod ? I am living on a very touristy island myself , the same here with the prices . So much cheaper off season , yet so unfair for families who aren't flexible in choosing their vacation time . Thanks for this lovely post , Elena . Amazing photos , it looks so 'cozy' there .

Danie Botha

Sunday 24th of January 2016

Cape Cod here we come! One day. Elena, you realize my to-do-list just grew with another serene place to visit. Seems totally away from the hustle of city-life. One can live there. Thanks, for the post!

Elena

Friday 5th of February 2016

You must go! I am telling you, all of your problems will drift away. Ok, maybe just on hold.

Elena

Monday 18th of January 2016

You must make the trip but I know it is a long way for you to come.

herheadache

Sunday 17th of January 2016

Just shared this on my travel Facebook page. This lace is one of the US locations on my bucket list. Love lighthouses, ghost tours, and whales.

Elena

Monday 18th of January 2016

Thank you so much lovely! You must go check it out yourself too.

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