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Cape Cod, the arm-shaped peninsula along Massachusetts' coastline, is the quintessential New England summer playground, with gray-shingled cottages, lobster shacks, historic lighthouses, and dune-filled beaches. Its collection of maritime towns, including Chatham, Wellfleet, and Provincetown, offer plenty of fabulous seafood restaurants and waterfront inns and hotels. Read on for the best things to do in Cape Cod.
Beach Hop Along the National Seashore
Discover Cape Cod's Many Museums
Sip a Cranberry Martini at Wequassett Resort
The Wequassett, a classic New England resort, boasts two beaches, two pools, and an 18-hole golf course. After a butter-braised lobster dinner at the waterfront Twenty-Eight Atlantic, sip a cranberry martini by the outdoor fire pit overlooking Pleasant Bay.
Stroll the Quaint Streets of Provincetown
On the tip of Cape Cod, P-town is a charming artists' colony and tourist town with a large LGBT community. Along Commercial Street, you'll find art galleries, souvenir and saltwater taffy shops, and seafood restaurants (and super fun drag shows at night!).
Dine on Seafood at the Chatham Bars Inn
At the posh Chatham Bars Inn, you can lounge on a private beach, play a few sets of tennis, shop on Chatham's Main Street (Range Rover rides are provided), then settle in for a dinner of local little necks and Cape Cod scallops in its Stars fine dining restaurant.
Put on Your Bib for a Lobster Dinner
Just about every town has its go-to lobster spot. The Lobster Pot, with its large red neon sign outside, is pretty famous in P-town and a must-visit during your trip. Order your crustacean pan-roasted, steamed, or baked and stuffed — either way, it's all delicious!
Overnight in a Fun Retro Hotel
The Harbor Hotel Provincetown is a retro-glam roadside hotel just outside P-town. Cape Cod Bay is across the road, and, if you're feeling lazy, there's an onsite pool, as well as a large fire pit — the perfect spot to sip a glass of wine and snack on gooey s'mores.
Indulge in Gourmet Coastal Fare at Abba
Abba, in a historic house in Orleans, combines Mediterranean-Thai flavors with the Cape's stellar bounty from the sea. Wellfleet oysters in a Thai lemon sauce and poached lobster in a vegetable curry sauce are just a few of the creative dishes you'll find on the menu.
Fuel Up for the Day at Wicked Oyster
The Wicked Oyster, a local favorite, is a top spot for breakfast. You can't go wrong with the three-egg veggie omelet or the brioche French toast, while dinnertime options include seared scallops and fish and chips (along with a plate of Wellfleet oysters, naturally).
Sign Up for a Whale Watching Tour
From the pier in Provincetown, you can sign up for a whale-watching tour, where you'll head far out into the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of seeing a humpback, finback, or minke whale — and maybe a dolphin or two along the way.
Snap Photos Beside Nauset Light
Take a tour of Nauset Light on the Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham. If this historic red-and-white lighthouse looks familiar, it's because it was the inspiration for the Cape Cod Potato Chips logo (the company's factory is in Hyannis and offers tours).
Play a Round of Mini Golf
A summer's night in Cape Cod isn't complete without playing a few rounds of mini golf. One of the peninsula's most popular is Pirate's Cove, a pirate-themed complex in South Yarmouth, which has two courses, as well as a marketplace for soft-serve ice cream.
See a Movie in a Drive-in Theatre
Bring the family to the Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre for a nostalgic night at the movies. This Wellfleet institution, which was built in 1957, is the only drive-in in the Bay State. Before the flick starts, stock up on popcorn and candy at the concession stand.
Catch the Sunset at the Chart Room
A nice spot to watch the sunset is from the outdoor area at the Chart Room, located on a repurposed barge on Red Brook Harbor. Order some steamers and summery cocktails like the Planters Punch or the Salty Dog, sit back, and feel the stress melt away.
Bike Along the Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a 22-mile flat paved path that takes you through the heart of the Cape from South Dennis to Wellfleet. The trail, which follows an old railroad route, passes ponds, salt marshes, and forested woods, as well as Nickerson State Park.
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