When locals talk about Cape Cod, it often sounds like a Dr. Seuss book: Lower cape, upper cape, outer cape, inner cape. While it’s true that each part of the cape has its own unique characteristics, the most important thing to know as a visitor is that Cape Cod offers the freshest seafood and the most perfect, natural escape from the hustle and bustle.
The biggest draw in Cape Cod is the relaxed lifestyle buttressed by a deep connection with nature.
The Cape Cod National Seashore makes up about 40 miles of seashore on the outer cape - all the way from Provincetown on the upper cape to Chatham on the lower. It includes 68 square miles of woods, lakes, ponds and beaches. Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet on the Atlantic side is simply beautiful. Come here to relax and grab a drink and some fresh clams at the Beachcomber bar. Marconi Beach, also in Wellfleet, features more crowds but stunning sunsets. Head to the beach at Chatham on the lower cape to tour the quaint Chatham Lighthouse. There are also plenty of bayside beaches in Truro and Provincetown.
As it is situated in a unique coastal and bay ecosystem, Cape Cod has several important wildlife sanctuaries that are great for an educational visit. Schedule in a visit to Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, the Wellfleet Audubon Sanctuary or Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham to learn about the local ecosystem and protection efforts.
What To Do
If you’re on the upper cape, check out the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum for a dose of interesting history. On the inner cape catch a film at the old-timey Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre and grab some ice cream to go with at the nearby Wellfleet Dairy Bar and Grill. Wine-lovers won’t want to miss a visit to the fabulous 5-acre Truro Vineyards where you can sample Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to go where presidents in the past have been, pay a visit to the John F. Kennedy Memorial in Hyannis and then head to Falmouth to take a ride on The Island Queen Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard - a favorite island of presidents through the ages.
Dining and Shopping
It goes without saying that they know how to do seafood right on the cape. If you’re on the upper cape, eat at the The Lobster Pot, a landmark seafood shack in Provincetown, which serves up no-nonsense deliciousness. You’ll have great views of MacMillan Wharf and can delight in the classics like steamed littlenecks, lobster rolls and clam chowder. A more upscale P-town eatery with a stunning view is Fanizzi’s By the Sea, which serves up classics with an Italian twist.
If you’re on the lower or mid cape, delicious meals can be had at Blackfish in Truro, the Chatham Pier Fish Market (where you can also do some seal watching), Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham and the delightfully named The Wicked Oyster in Wellfleet.
The hands-down best place for shopping on the Cape is Commercial Street in Provincetown. You can find everything here from upscale boutiques, shops selling artisanal crafts and more funky options like Marine Specialties, Inc. a kooky surplus store, or The Shell Shop, which sells tens of thousands of unique shells.
Bring your swimsuit, sunscreen and appetite in preparation for the perfect Cape Cod vacation.