Things to do in Cape Cod, MA

Your Cape Cod travel guide for the best vacation
Two-story Cape Cod vacation rental home
Waterfront view out of french doors from Cape Cod vacation rental

Explore the windswept beaches, historic lighthouses, and quaint beach town charm of New England’s summer playground. Cape Cod lies an hour outside of Boston and is a favorite annual trip for families, foodies, beachgoers, and affluent Massachusettans alike. Take in the town’s stunning coastal scenes by taking a ride along the bike paths, shopping local boutiques around the harbor, or sharing an ice cream on the beach.

We asked our team at Vacasa for their must-see spots to relax, eat, and play when vacationing in Cape Cod. Here are our recommendations for where to eat and stay, what to see, and even fun things to do with kids. Plan your itinerary and save some room in your suitcase for souvenirs.

evening falls on the quaint shops of Cape Cod

Places to eat

Wake with a deep breath of coastal air and head on over to Sleepy Owl Coffee Roasters for breakfast, where you can enjoy the cozy atmosphere and a delicious cup of joe. When 5 o’clock comes around, wind down the day with a margarita in hand at Añejo Mexican Bistro. Brax Landing Restaurant is the perfect spot for dinner, with fresh seafood, burgers, and of course, lobster rolls aplenty.

Cape Cod lighthouse at sunset

What to see

Once you’re settled, make a beeline over to the Cape Cod National Seashore for the area’s main attraction—boasting 40 miles of mixed pine barrens, dunes, ponds, and pristine white-sand beachfront. Take a day trip to nearby Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, famous for their celebrity crowd, delicious scallops, and eight unique lighthouses that make it well worth the ferry ride out. The Mid Cape area abounds with historical sites and guided tours, including the JFK Hyannis Museum and the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, for a taste of Cape Cod’s days of yore.

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"I love exploring all the different beaches of Cape Cod—from Falmouth, Sampson's Island, Chatham, all the way up to Provincetown. Each beach has its own character and charm. Don't miss the Wellfleet OysterFest in October!"
— Luke Perkins, Director of Brand and Creative
Cape Cod beach dunes

Activities for kids

On a sunny day, there’s no better place to be than the family-friendly Heritage Museum and Garden, which features a sprawling garden of hydrangeas, outdoor activities for kids, and vintage cars. Indulge in an afternoon of magic at Butterflies of Cape Cod, and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has plenty of fun interactive exhibits. Or, if you’re looking to stay on a budget, grab a few tasty ice cream cones and head out to the Province Land’s Visitors Center on the Outer Cape for whale watching.

Cape Cod vacation home

Where to stay

Whether looking for a spacious family home in West Yarmouth or a luxury cottage in Martha’s Vineyard, your beach trip starts with the right Cape Cod vacation rental. You’ll find plenty of options to fit your needs with amenities like waterfront views, beach access, and outdoor pools. Save your spot in some of the East Coast’s most charming beach towns.

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"Cape Cod is a perfect vacation any time of year. In the off-season, it feels like your own world with a community feel, and in the summertime, it's the only place to be."
— Tracy Troisi, Brand Copywriter

Find your paradise in a Cape Cod vacation rental

Cape Cod travel guide FAQ

Cape Cod is a peninsula located off of Massachusetts's coast, about an hour’s drive from Boston. The cluster of beach towns extends into a hook shape, with several islands along the southern waters.

Cape Cod is renowned as a summer wonderland, but if you’re looking to enjoy the beach without as many crowds, head out in the shoulder season (or off-season) during April, May, June, September, and October.

Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are famous travel spots along Cape Cod and make the perfect home base for a fun day trip to ferry out around the lighthouses. There’s plenty to do in Mid Cape towns like Yarmouth and Hyannis, and Provincetown is a fun stop for its bustling downtown and thriving art scene.

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