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Cape Cod & The Islands

 

Beach on Cape Cod

 

Beautiful beaches are the Cape's leading attraction. The south coastal beaches, such as this one in Dennisport, offer the warmest water.

Cape Cod is famous the world over for its over 300 miles of unspoiled shoreline, "Cape Cod" style houses, with their natural colored shingles and gable roofs, the Kennedys, and much more. This narrow band of land extends like a flexed arm eastward from the body of Massachusetts, forming a distinctive shape that can't be confused with any other land mass in the world.

Cape Cod offers many reasons to visit all year, but the beaches in the summer are by far the biggest reasons. Along the south coast (facing Nantucket Sound) the waters are warmer and the beaches are sandy and shallow. Along the East Coast is the Cape Cod National Seashore known for its expanse of beautiful large dunes. These beaches are also sandy, with higher surf and cooler water. The Cape is also a major golf destination, with challenging courses and beautiful views.

Due to its ragged shaped coast, Cape Cod Bay offers a charming mix of secluded harbors and beaches. There are also a large number of lakes for swimming. There are too many beaches to list, as well as countless hotels and motels located on or near private or town beaches, providing you with quick and easy access to fun in the sun.

Cape Cod is most often divided into three areas: Upper Cape (closest to Boston and the bridges); Mid Cape and Lower Cape, sometimes referred to as "Outer" Cape.

Commercial Street in Provincetown

 

Commercial Street in Provincetown is awash with shops, cafes and art galleries.

 

The Upper Cape begins at the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges and the Cape Cod Canal, with Falmouth to the south, Bourne in the middle and Sandwich to the north.

The Mid Cape begins at Barnstable, and includes all of Yarmouth (South Yarmouth, West Yarmouth, Yarmouthport) and all of Dennis.

The Lower or "Outer" Cape takes over at Harwich and Brewster, and rounds the outer elbow of the Cape, ending in Provincetown. Heading down to "P-Town" is always a great day trip on Cape Cod.

Nantucket Island [back to top]
Nantucket is a 2-1/2 hour ferry ride from Cape Cod. The tiny, unspoiled island just 14 miles long is a little more difficult to get to than Martha's Vineyard, but worth the effort. The island is nicknamed "Little Grey Lady of the Sea" for the quaint, grey shuttered cottages dominating the island, many of which are decorated with rose-laden trellises. Like other coastal areas, Nantucket was a mainstay of the whaling industry, and now offers a whaling museum and historic mansions built in the heyday of whaling. Nantucket is a unique and true treasure, and definitely worth a visit for a day or for a few.

Bringing a car is very expensive and not worthwhile for a day trip or short visit. If you do plan to bring one, you must make reservations for it on the ferry several months in advance. Better yet, bring a bike along or rent one here — it's a great way to get around the island. Nantucket's downtown is beautiful with a cobbled street, interesting shops and oil style lamps. There are a number of fine inns and restaurants on the island.

Nauset Beach on the Cape Cod National Seashore

Nauset Beach on the Cape Cod National Seashore

Martha's Vineyard [back to top]
The "Vineyard" recently received a good deal of attention from the two vacations taken here by President and Mrs. Clinton. Martha's Vineyard Island is another world, with dramatic coastal cliffs, scenic beaches and six delightfully different towns. The Vineyard is New England's largest island, and is only a 45-minute ferry ride from Cape Cod. Features here include many quaint inns and B&B's, picturesque harbors and beaches, pine forests, plus lots of Cape Cod charm. Bring or rent a bike if you're coming for the day, leave the car back at the dock — you don t need it. The Vineyard also has a lively night life, and is known for celebrities visiting from New York and Hollywood during the summer months.

To quickly find attractions, restaurants and shops on Cape Cod, use the Find Attractions search engine. To quickly locate lodgings, use the Find Lodging search engine, which includes all of the approximately 800 lodgings on Cape Cod.

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