10 Best Things to Do on Cape Cod

One of the things we most enjoy as innkeepers is sharing our insider info about our favorite places on the Cape. After living here for decades, it’s tough to winnow down the list, but here are the top 10 standouts.rock harbor sunset

  1. Catch a Sunrise or Sunset: There is something serene and otherworldly about taking in a sunrise or sunset on a beach. Early birds will love watching the sunrise on Nauset Beach, and for an after-dinner event brought to you by Mother Nature, head to Rock Harbor (shown) or Skaket Beach.
  2. Catch a Movie at the Wellfleet Drive-In: Remember how much fun it was to lay out a blanket under the stars and munch on popcorn while taking in the latest movie? Recapture your childhood with a visit to the Wellfleet Drive-In Theater, one of just four remaining drive-ins in Massachusetts.

    Eldredge Field.
  3. Hit an Orleans Firebirds’ Game: Chris Sale, Aaron Judge, George Springer, Buster Posey, Kris Bryant: What do they have in common? Yes, they are all major stars of Major League Baseball. They also played in the Cape Cod Baseball League. Orleans’ hometown team is the Firebirds and they play at Eldredge Park, right up the street from the inn. (Photo via Cape Cod Baseball League.)
  4. Visit Cape Cod National Seashore: With more than 44,000 acres of protected land and shoreline, Cape Cod National Seashore is one of the great gems of Cape Cod. Stretching from Orleans to Provincetown, with several ocean beaches including Coast Guard Beach (top), countless kettle ponds and lakes, an expansive bike trail, hiking trails and historic sites, the Seashore is considered a must-do by many visitors.

    The dunes at Cape Cod National Seashore’s Herring Cove Beach.
  5. Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail: If your itinerary won’t allow you to devote a day to the Seashore, make the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail the one thing you explore. It is surreal!

    MacMillan Pier in Provincetown.
  6. Take a Daytrip to Provincetown: A Portuguese fishing community for centuries; an artists’ colony since the 1920s; a colorful, calamitous destination every day (and we mean that in a good way!), Provincetown never fails to delight. Shop and dine on Commercial Street, climb the Pilgrim Monument, visit Herring Cove Beach and, if time permits…
  7. Go on a Whale Watch: Provincetown is considered the whale watching capitol of the World. A short, picturesque boat ride with the Dolphin Fleet takes you out to Stellwagen Bank, the feeding grounds for multiple species of whales, for the greatest show at sea.

    The fishing fleet at Rock Harbor.
  8. Climb Aboard a Boating Excursion: When you’re visiting the Cape, it’s only natural to want to spend time on the water, and you’ll find lots of options. Blue Claw Boat Tours, which offers seal watches and sunset cruises, is just minutes from the inn. Rock Harbor’s charter fishing fleet (shown) is renowned throughout New England. And for sunset sails, there is Outer Cape Sailing in Wellfleet, and the Lobster Roll Cruises out of Sesuit Harbor in East Dennis which offers lunch cruises as well.

    Kayaking off of Priscilla Landing.
  9. Kayak & Paddleboard: With multiple coves and ocean inlets, Orleans is kayaking and paddleboarding nirvana. Check out some of our favorite spots here. You can rent either a kayak or an SUP at the Goose Hummock Shop in the center of Orleans. It’s right on Town Cove, a great place to put in.
  10. Pedal Away the Day: From the Cape Cod Canal Bikeway to Province Lands Bike Trail, and everything in between, if you’re a bicycling enthusiast, Cape Cod is the place to be. The “everything in between” includes the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs through Orleans, Nickerson State Park Bicycle Trails in nearby Brewster, and the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth.

 …and finally (because who doesn’t love a bonus round?)

Service with a smile at Sundae School.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry: If you think part of what makes a great vacation is a variety of exceptional nearby dining options, you will love Orleans. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite restaurants ranging from clam shacks to fine dining. Looking for a place to enjoy a sunset cocktail? Our list includes some perfect places, such as Outer Bar & Grille (shown). A fudge sundae or banana split? No problem! Sundae School is minutes away from the inn.

Orleans Vacation Guide

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