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Endless beaches wrap the shoreline of Cape Cod, a Massachusetts peninsula dotted with fishing villages, miniature golf courses, picture-perfect lighthouses, motels, and quaint art galleries. It’s the starting point for trips to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and a longtime magnet for artists and other creatives. Head all the way to the tip and you’ll reach the LGBTQ haven of Provincetown, whose lively drag bars coexist cheerfully with whale-watching tours and hiking trails.
Summer visitors flood Cape Cod with traffic in July and August, but the peak vacation energy during this month is wonderful for beach days. Shoulder seasons are the best of both worlds: In-the-know travelers aim for May–June or September–October to enjoy sunny days without the crowds. Winter in Cape Cod is quiet but a beautiful time to bundle up for beach walks, hikes, and visiting antique shops.
Many Cape Cod visitors come by car, but summer’s legendary traffic jams require a strategic approach—try to avoid busy Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings. The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority has buses that link major destinations, and the summer-only CapeFLYER train links Boston with Hyannis. Alternately, take a ferry straight to Provincetown, with seasonal departures available from Boston and Plymouth. Once there, cycling is a popular option, especially along the 25-mile (40-kilometer) Cape Cod Rail Trail.
Beach parking fees can be up to $30 USD—and that’s if you can find a spot at all. Cycling to the beach in Cape Cod is a budget-friendly way to avoid that hassle. Fortunately, some of the cape’s very best beaches—including Trunk River Beach, West Dennis Beach, Coast Guard Beach, Head of the Meadow Beach, and Herring Cove Beach—are located just off bike paths and cycling-friendly roads.
Beautiful beaches along Cape Cod National Seashore are a must on any Cape Cod day trip. Then, in Wellfleet or Provincetown, get a taste of local culture: Quaint art galleries and small-town charm are Wellfleet’s draw, while LGBTQ-friendly Provincetown has drag shows, tourist shops, and restaurants along bustling Commercial Street....More
Cape Cod is known for having some of America’s most beautiful beaches. Its Cape Cod National Seashore includes some 40 miles (64 kilometers) of shoreline, ensuring the most scenic spots remain open to the public. Located in Eastham is Coast Guard Beach, which often tops lists of best US beaches....More
Any list of Cape Cod’s prettiest places includes its 14 historic lighthouses, but the 1876 Race Point Lighthouse might be the most scenic of all. It’s located on the peninsula’s farthest point, and most visitors reach it by following a 1.8-mile (2.8-kilometer) sandy road from the Race Point Beach parking lot....More
Yes, it’s worth visiting Cape Cod. Nature is a major draw, with beaches, sand dunes, and whale-watching opportunities throughout the peninsula. Small-town charm brings visitors to historic villages like Wellfleet and Chatham, while Provincetown’s status as an LGBTQ hot spot ensures a diverse crowd that can feel like a summer-long party....More
With its shingled houses, pretty beach, and white-painted lighthouse, Chatham is a classic Cape Cod village. Browsable shops and galleries line Main Street, and the town’s Cape Cod Baseball League team—the Chatham Anglers—plays all summer at Volunteer’s Field. No wonder many locals call Chatham Cape Cod’s quaintest town....More
Flanked by dunes and stretching over 20 miles (32 kilometers), Coast Guard Beach is among the prettiest beaches in America. Swimmers flock here during the warm summer months, when gray seals bask on nearby sand bars. Stroll here in the spring to see pink-blossomed beach roses blooming alongside sandy trails....More
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