Introducing guest blogger Mary Ware from Essential Cape Cod
Cape Cod, with its picturesque landscapes and charming coastal towns, is a perfect destination for a family getaway. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, interactive experiences, or simply indulging in delicious treats, Cape Cod offers a wide range of activities that the whole family can enjoy.
Cape Cod is an iconic and captivating peninsula located on the eastern coast of Massachusetts, United States. Extending into the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod is a popular vacation destination known for its pristine beaches, charming coastal towns, and rich maritime heritage.
The peninsula is roughly shaped like an arm and is connected to the mainland by two bridges, making it easily accessible for visitors from nearby cities such as Boston. With its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and recreational activities, Cape Cod offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers seeking relaxation, adventure, and a quintessential New England coastal escape.
Here are some of our favorite free and low-cost family-friendly things to do while visiting or camping on Cape Cod, each offering a unique and memorable experience for all ages
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of locals
Hit the Beach: Great Options for the Entire Family
Cape Cod is renowned for its pristine beaches, and there are several family-friendly options that offer a perfect combination of natural beauty and amenities.
One of the best beaches for kids Cape Cod has to offer is Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, which boasts breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, gentle waves, and ample space for families to spread out and enjoy the sun. If you are looking for waves for body surfing, this is where you want to go.
Another excellent option is Mayflower Beach in Dennis, known for its expansive shoreline and warm tidal pools that are perfect for children to splash around in.
For those seeking calm waters, Corporation Beach in Dennis provides a peaceful atmosphere and shallow, clear waters ideal for young swimmers.
We love visiting bayside beaches. The changing tides bring dramatically different experiences all in one day. From waves to play in during high tide to a seemingly endless stretch of flats and tide pools during low tide, it is perfect for little explorers (and makes for some epic sunsets).
Lastly, Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable offers a unique experience with its long stretch of sandy dunes, marshes, and even the opportunity to go on guided nature walks.
These family-friendly beaches on Cape Cod provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all ages to soak up the sun, swim, build sandcastles, and create cherished memories by the sea. Keep in mind that each beach has its own parking/sticker requirement, and parking lots fill up quickly, so do your research and get there early!
Hiking: Discover Nature’s Wonders
When it comes to outdoor exploration, Cape Cod provides an abundance of scenic trails and natural beauty for families to enjoy.
Lace up your hiking boots and venture into Cape Cod’s vast wilderness or choose one of the many family-friendly (and yes, even stroller-friendly) trails. The Cape Cod National Seashore, comprising pristine beaches, captivating dunes, and lush forests, offers an array of hiking trails suitable for all levels of expertise.
Explore the Great Island Trail in Wellfleet, a family-friendly path that winds through salt marshes and offers breathtaking views of the coastline. Wander through Nickerson State Park in Brewster, or take the family to The Knob in Falmouth for stunning views.
Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy amidst the captivating surroundings.
Miniature Golf: A Classic Family Pastime
For a dose of friendly competition and laughter-filled moments, head to one of Cape Cod’s delightful miniature golf courses. Putt your way through creatively designed courses adorned with whimsical themes, challenging obstacles, and vibrant landscaping.
Tee off at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf in South Yarmouth (arguably the locals’ favorite place to go), where you’ll find a swashbuckling pirate ship and cascading waterfalls.
Or try Cape Escape Adventure Golf in Brewster, featuring a picturesque Cape Cod village setting. Engage in some lighthearted family rivalry as you putt your way to victory!
Eat Ice Cream: Sweet Treats for All
Indulging in delicious ice cream is a quintessential part of the Cape Cod experience. Treat your taste buds to a delightful array of flavors, from classic favorites to unique creations, at one of Cape Cod’s charming ice cream parlors.
Each town has its own unique offering that has locals swearing allegiance to what they consider to be the best ice cream Cape Cod has to offer, such as the Polar Cave in Mashpee, home of the world’s smallest ice cream (perfect for little hands), or Sundae School Ice Cream in Dennis Port, where you’ll find homemade, hand-scooped delights served in a cozy, nostalgic setting.
Or sample the delectable flavors at Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville, a Cape Cod institution since 1934.
Cape Cod Baseball League Game: America’s Pastime
Baseball fans rejoice! Cape Cod is home to the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, showcasing some of the country’s top collegiate players. Catch a game with your family and experience the thrill of America’s pastime in a lively and family-friendly atmosphere.
Grab some popcorn, don your favorite team’s colors, and cheer on the players as they compete in this storied league. With games taking place in various towns across the Cape, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to witness top-notch baseball action.
The best part of all, games are typically free/donation only, and you can bring your own chairs, making it easy to stop in and leave whenever you want!
Bike Ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail or Shining Sea Bikeway: Pedal Through Paradise
Embrace the natural beauty of Cape Cod on a scenic bike ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail or Shining Sea Bikeway. Rent bicycles suitable for all ages and embark on an adventure that will take you through picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and serene woodlands.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail stretches 25 miles, winding through scenic vistas and crossing picturesque bridges.
Alternatively, opt for the Shining Sea Bikeway, a 10.7-mile path that hugs the coastline from Falmouth to Woods Hole, offering stunning views of the ocean.
Pack a picnic and take breaks to explore the charming towns along the way, creating lasting memories for the whole family.
Cape Cod presents an abundance of family-friendly activities, ensuring that your visit will be filled with cherished memories and shared adventures. While known for its beaches and quaint historic towns, there is plenty to do for the entire family while visiting the Cape.
Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Cape by hiking through its trails, engaging in friendly competition on miniature golf courses, indulging in delicious ice cream treats, cheering on aspiring baseball players, or embarking on a scenic bike ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail or Shining Sea Bikeway, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The diverse range of activities available on Cape Cod allows families to connect with each other and with the region’s unique offerings. From the stunning beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore to the exciting atmosphere of a Cape Cod Baseball League game, each experience contributes to an unforgettable vacation.
As you plan your family trip to Cape Cod, remember to consider the interests and preferences of each family member, ensuring that everyone can actively participate and enjoy the chosen activities. Additionally, be sure to check operating hours, availability, and any specific guidelines or restrictions for each attraction or venue.
Pro Tip: Expect long waits at many of the restaurants and ice cream parlors around the Cape during the summer months. Pack a few toys or books in your bag to help the kids cope with the wait, we promise it will be worth it!
Cape Cod is a destination that invites families to bond, explore, and create lasting memories together. So, pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready for an unforgettable family vacation on Cape Cod, where there is no shortage of family-friendly fun!
About the Blogger
Mary Ware is the passionate owner and founder of Essential Cape Cod, a website dedicated to showcasing the beauty and wonders of Cape Cod. As a seasoned traveler, former teacher, and a storyteller at heart, Mary has spent years exploring its hidden gems with her kids, uncovering the best-kept secrets for families, and curating essential information for visitors and locals alike.
With thanks to Mary for her contribution to our guest series. You may also like to read about the Best family Beaches on the East Coast, or what about the highlights of Nantucket, Massachusetts, for a family vacation?
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