Less than two hours away from Boston by car, Cape Cod makes an exciting and easily accessible destination for a family getaway. As you plan an upcoming Cape Cod family vacation, be sure to include all the best activities and attractions on your itinerary so everyone has an enjoyable time. With a wide array of both natural attractions and fun-filled entertainment in the area, your vacation promises to be filled with unforgettable memories.
Things to do in Cape Cod
When the kids are looking for amusement, Cape Cod delivers with style. The whole family will love spending the day at the local amusement park. You’ll find zip-lines, batting cages, bumper boats, climbing walls and other exciting options. Multiple miniature golf courses test everyone’s golfing abilities, and an on-site arcade promises excitement for the gang, too.
Who wouldn’t love a chance to venture out on the water for some whale watching? A number of charter companies offer exciting opportunities for vacationers to experience the thrill of seeing humpback and finback whales in the ocean. As long as you’re in the area, take a short drive up the coast to see Pilgrim Memorial State Park. This park features the historic Plymouth Rock and a museum with exhibits and educational programs.
Visiting the Cape Cod National Seashore
The whole family will love spending time at the Cape Cod National Seashore. With about 40 miles of shoreline, you can explore beaches, wild cranberry bogs, marshland and other spots. The beaches and trails throughout the park are open year-round. Over-sand beach driving is permitted in the park with the proper permits. Ranger-guided activities help visitors learn all there is to know about the park. You can hike, canoe and try other watersports with the rangers on staff. Hunting and fishing are also permissible in the park.
You’ll also find two visitor centers within the park. The Salt Pond Visitor Center is usually open year-round, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The hours extend between late spring and early fall to accommodate more visitors. The Province Lands Visitor Center keeps daily hours between mid-April and mid-October. As for beaches, you have your pick of six different swimming beaches within the national seashore. Coast Guard Beach is a great beach for families, and many like to hang out at Herring Cove Beach.
The Best Beaches in Cape Cod for Families
It would be nearly unheard of to go to Cape Cod and not spend at least one day on the beach enjoying the sand and sun. Along with those located inside of Cape Cod National Seashore, you’ll also find additional beaches in the area that are worth a visit. Chapoquoit Beach, also known as “Chappy Beach” by the locals, is a great spot for beachcombing and windsurfing. Families won’t want to miss spending a day at Craigville Beach, either. The shallow water and calm breakers make this an ideal beach for youngsters, and it’s fun to fill buckets with beautiful shells you find in the sand. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Concessions are also available, and lifeguards even provide swimming lessons.
Dowses Beach is another destination to put on your list of places to visit. This beach area may be somewhat small, but you’ll actually find two separate sides to the beach. There’s a jetty for fishing, shells are plentiful and the views are stunning. Nauset Beach features pristine sand, a boardwalk and concession stands for snacks. First Encounter Beach is a favorite spot to visit when the tide goes out thanks to the wide expanse of sand and delightful tide pools awaiting exploration.
Tips for Visiting Cape Cod with Kids
Cape Cod seems to have something for everyone, including the kids. As you plan your family vacation, let everyone have some input in the things you’ll do to make sure you’re all happy and excited about the trip. Plan some downtime into your vacation to just relax and enjoy your time together. Spending these hours with loved ones is part of what makes magical memories during family vacations.
Don’t miss a chance to catch a sunrise from a beach facing the east. Nauset Beach in particular is known for its fantastic sunrises. If you can catch a sunset from a western-facing beach, you won’t regret it either. First Encounter Beach is a good beach for sunsets. Renting bicycles and meandering your way along the 22-mile-long Cape Cod Rail Trail is a day well spent, too. You’ll find restrooms along the way, and you can easily stop to enjoy the views at various spots.
With the wide array of things to do and see in Cape Cod, it may become your family’s favorite destination for exciting getaways. You can fit as much or as little into your vacation as you want to create your dream trip. Kids can even learn about history in many of the museums that are open while you’re there.