If there’s one reason why people flock to Cape Cod, it’s because there are plenty of things to do. Whether you take a romantic couple’s getaway or a vacation for the whole family, there are activities for every interest and at any time of year. Take a look at our picks for the best things to do in Cape Cod throughout the year.
Best Activities to Do in the Spring and Summer on the Cape
Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich
The Heritage Museums & Gardens is the biggest public garden in Southern New England, encompassing 100 acres. Typically, the flowers in the gardens are in bloom between Memorial Day weekend and mid-June. They include internationally important rhododendron collections, the most comprehensive hydrangea collection in the country, and more than 1,000 varieties of daylilies, other flowers, trees, and shrubs.
On top of that, there are a few trails on the banks of Shawme Pond. The Hidden Hollow discovery area is a great place to explore the outdoors, and three galleries house exhibits that include a working carousel, world-class antique automobiles (some dating back to 1900!), and American folk art. Heritage provides a range of programs for all ages too, including Cape Cod kids activities.
- photo via Heritage Museum & Gardens
Cape Cod Rail Trail from Yarmouth to Wellfleet
Stretching for 22 miles, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is a paved trail that passes through six towns in Cape Cod. Along the way, it connects to several other trails within those towns. You can use the trail for walking, biking, running, or rollerblading.
During the winter, it’s open for cross-country skiing. The trail has scenic viewing areas, restrooms, and bike rentals as well. Candleberry Inn is located at the approximate midpoint of the Rail Trail. You can learn more about the trail here.
Skull Island Sports World in Yarmouth
One of the top things to do in Cape Cod with kids is visiting Skull Island Sports World. It’s the premier sports complex for fun and excitement, and you could spend an entire day there. The complex has:
- Adventure miniature golf with island landscaping, rock sculptures, and waterfalls
- Go-karts with single and double seats
- A golf driving range
- Arcade with 68 video game systems, air hockey, and iceball
- Fully automated softball and baseball batting cages
- Kickball and whiffle ball
The Cape Playhouse in Dennis
If you’re interested in performing arts, The Cape Playhouse is the most famous summer theater in America. It’s the longest-running summer theater where famous actors perform, such as Julie Andrews and Betty White. The performers aim to educate, entertain, and inspire with their shows, which are usually held between June and September.
- photo via Michelle M
Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre in Wellfleet
There’s nothing like watching a movie in a drive-in, and you can get that experience at the Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre. Since 1957, this theater is one of only about 300 in the country and the last drive-in on Cape Cod. However, there’s more to do than watch a movie. You can also play a round of miniature golf on a well-maintained, 18-hole vintage course, and grab hard and soft-serve ice cream, floats, milkshakes, or frozen yogurt at the dairy bar.
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham
Established on Monomoy Island in 1944, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is an 8-mile habitat for migratory birds, such as the red knot, roseate tern, and piping plover. The refuge features freshwater and saltwater marshes, ponds, and dunes. Only a few boat operators are specially permitted to take observers and hikers to the wilderness. In addition, the headquarters on Morris Island consists of a beach, trails, and visitor center.
Art’s Dune Tours in Provincetown
You can explore one of the most one-of-a-kind landscapes in the United States during an off-road experience with Art’s Dune Tours. The company offers one-hour tours of Provincetown’s dunes within the Cape Cod National Seashore from March to mid-November. It combines the tours with sunsets, beachside dinners, boating, and private celebrations.
- photo via Tiffanie M
Best Things to Do in Cape Cod During the Fall and Winter
We also go more in-depth on the best things to do on Cape Cod in the Fall.
Gardens Aglow in Sandwich
From late November to late December, Heritage Museums & Gardens hosts Gardens Aglow. This huge celebration of light displays is a holiday tradition and one of the best things to do on Cape Cod in the winter. The event includes:
- Marshmallows roasting over fire pits
- A reindeer scavenger hunt
- Festive treats
- Hot beverages
- Games and music
- A visit with Santa Claus
- photo via Heritage Museums & Gardens
Cobwebb Farm in West Barnstable
There’s nothing like picking your own pumpkins during the fall, and you can do that at Cobwebb Farms. Along with raiding the pumpkin patch, the farm offers hayrides around the patch and pond. During the holiday season after Thanksgiving, you can visit the farm for fresh Christmas trees, decorations, and handmade wreaths. The farm has bonfires, moonlight wagon rides, fresh doughnuts, apple cider, and visits with Santa as well.
Cape Cod’s Haunted & History Tour Co in Barnstable
For one of the most unique things to do in Cape Cod, join Cape Cod’s Haunted & History Tour Co. In October and November, it runs tours in Barnstable Village. There are more than 10 stops during the two-hour tour, and eight have ghost stories. Some of the stops include Cobb’s Hill Cemetery, Barnstable Tavern & Restaurant, and the “Old Jail,” which was built in 1690. Also, three-hour ghost hunting tours are available.
- photo via Cape Cod Haunted & History Tour Co
Annie’s Crannies in Dennis
You can learn how cranberries are cultivated at Annie’s Crannies, which has been in the cranberry-growing business for over 200 years. In fact, it’s the original cranberry cultivation site in Massachusetts. The farm gives bog tours during harvest season through October and November, and you can see how beeswax candles and honey are made.
Cranberry Bog Tours in Harwich
At Cranberry Bog Tours, you get to see how the biggest organic cranberry bog on Cape Cod operates. Although the tours run from April through fall, harvest time is the best time to go. The tours educate you on the equipment used for cultivation. The farm has animals that you can visit too, and don’t forget to stop by the gift shop.
- photo via Nancy C
Wellfleet OysterFest in Wellfleet
Aside from cranberries, Cape Cod is well known for its seafood, and Wellfleet OysterFest is a wonderful showcase. This two-day event has been held in mid-October since the late 1990s and has become a premier festival celebrating oysters, clams, and shellfish traditions. It features:
- Arts and crafts
- Cooking demonstrations
- Walking tours
- An oyster shucking contest
- Live music
- Children’s activities
Best Cape Cod Activities for Any Time of Year
Woods Hole Science Aquarium in Woods Hole
Founded in 1885, the Woods Hole Science Aquarium is the oldest public aquarium in the nation. It has about 140 species of Northeast and mid-Atlantic fish and other marine wildlife on display. You can take a self-guided tour of the main exhibits, and the aquarium offers behind-the-scenes tours. The touch tanks of crabs, small fish, sea stars, and whelks are popular with kids.
Sandwich Glass Museum in Sandwich
Collecting and preserving the history of Sandwich, the Sandwich Glass Museum demonstrates the town’s involvement in American glass production. It hosts glassmaking presentations every hour. You can feel the heat from the glass furnace as you watch the glassblower twist and turn the hot glass into amazing forms.
- photo via Sandwich Glass Museum
John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum in Hyannis
The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is designed to inform and inspire visitors through the legacy of this iconic and beloved president. Actually, it’s one of the most educational things to do in Cape Cod for history buffs. The museum has interactive exhibits and gets involved with the community. We go into more detail in this blog.
- photo via JFK Hyannis Museum
Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port
Built in 1979, Edward Gorey House was the home of an American author, costume and set designer, illustrator, and playwright. Since his death in 2000, the home has become a museum dedicated to his various talents. The displays reflect his personality and honor his devotion to animal welfare as well. You can see the exhibits from April through December.
Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis
Protecting work by the finest artists on Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Museum of Art was founded in 1981 by artists. It’s a hub for the region’s cultural life and has an outstanding collection of works, which are displayed throughout seven galleries. Surrounding the museum is a sculpture garden.
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has three facets — natural history museum, nature education center, and conservation land steward. The museum side preserves and exhibits natural history artifacts, while the education center engages all ages with classes, films, and interactive exhibits. As a land steward, the museum monitors and protects 400-plus acres of salt marshes, beaches, and Wing’s Island. Additionally, it has an aquarium with freshwater and saltwater habitats.
Cape Cod National Seashore
Exploring the Cape Cod National Seashore is one of the most diverse things to do in Cape Cod. The shoreline runs along the eastern side of the peninsula. Because of that, there are 40 miles of beaches and several lighthouses that are worth seeing.
Also, this area has several hiking trails, three designated biking trails, and ranger-guided activities. If it’s rainy, cold, or snowy, you can spend the day at Salt Pond Visitor Center, which is open all year. The Province Lands Visitor Center is open between May and October.
- photo via Cape Cod National Seashore
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
No matter how you travel to Provincetown, you can see the Pilgrim Monument as you approach. The 252-foot monument is the tallest all granite structure in the country and commemorates the history of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Provincetown Museum highlights the arrival of the pilgrims, early American theater, and the rich maritime history of the town. It has a diverse mix of other artifacts too.
Where to Stay on Cape Cod for Sightseeing
No matter what you decide to do on Cape Cod, Candleberry Inn is in a central location from where you can visit everything. We offer a variety of accommodations, including guest rooms in the main house and cottage accommodations in the Carriage House. Check our availability to start planning your next Cape Cod getaway.