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Best Things To Do in Cape Cod

With an expansive 40 miles of national seashore, Cape Cod is one of New England's premier beach destinations. But there's more to do here than sun and sand: Thriving summer theater scenes draw out the best of Broadway while miles-long bike trails and well-protected wildlife showcases the one-of-a-kind Cape Cod environs. And don't forget to visit lively Provincetown where a lesser-known chapter of the Thanksgiving Pilgrim story waits to be uncovered.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Cape Cod

Free
Popular with bikers, rollerbladers and horseback riders, this 22-mile paved trail is a breezy ride through the Lower Cape's diverse ecosystems. Previously known as the Old Colony Railroad corridor, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is considered one of the best bike trails in New England. 
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Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Cape Cod Rail Trail
Popular with bikers, rollerbladers and horseback riders, this 22-mile paved trail is a breezy ride through the Lower Cape's diverse ecosystems. Previously known as the Old Colony Railroad corridor, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is considered one of the best bike trails in New England. 
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#2

#2 in Cape Cod

With a mini-golf course nearby and a playground set up in front of the screen, the Wellfleet Drive-In is perfect for families looking for a break from the beach. Double features are shown each night throughout the summer (complete with a vintage welcome reel and quintessential theater snacks at the Dairy Bar and Snack Bar), making for a memorable family theater outing. And though the original 1950s mono speakers have been known to offer spotty speaker functionality (they are antiques, after all) you can always tune your radio to the drive-in's own 89.5 FM radio station for audio.
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Wellfleet Drive-In
With a mini-golf course nearby and a playground set up in front of the screen, the Wellfleet Drive-In is perfect for families looking for a break from the beach. Double features are shown each night throughout the summer (complete with a vintage welcome reel and quintessential theater snacks at the Dairy Bar and Snack Bar), making for a memorable family theater outing. And though the original 1950s mono speakers have been known to offer spotty speaker functionality (they are antiques, after all) you can always tune your radio to the drive-in's own 89.5 FM radio station for audio.
... more

#3

#3 in Cape Cod

In 1961, summer native President John F. Kennedy designated the east shore of the Outer Cape a national park. Today, the 40-mile stretch of coast is recognized as having some of the best beaches on Cape Cod, including Nauset Beach in Eastham, Marconi Beach in Wellfleet and Race Point and Herring Cove beaches in Provincetown.
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Beaches Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Cape Cod National Seashore
In 1961, summer native President John F. Kennedy designated the east shore of the Outer Cape a national park. Today, the 40-mile stretch of coast is recognized as having some of the best beaches on Cape Cod, including Nauset Beach in Eastham, Marconi Beach in Wellfleet and Race Point and Herring Cove beaches in Provincetown.
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#4

#4 in Cape Cod

Free
With more than 7,600 acres of protected dunes, salt and freshwater marshes and a decommissioned lighthouse, the gorgeous Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge will make you feel like a trailblazer. But there's more than rugged scenery; the encompassing islands of Morris, and North and South Monomoy are a nesting habitat for hundreds of species of migratory seabirds. Off the coast of South Monomoy, a large harbor grey seal population congregates to mate, play and sun themselves on the shore.
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Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
With more than 7,600 acres of protected dunes, salt and freshwater marshes and a decommissioned lighthouse, the gorgeous Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge will make you feel like a trailblazer. But there's more than rugged scenery; the encompassing islands of Morris, and North and South Monomoy are a nesting habitat for hundreds of species of migratory seabirds. Off the coast of South Monomoy, a large harbor grey seal population congregates to mate, play and sun themselves on the shore.
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#5

#5 in Cape Cod

Sandwich's Heritage Museums & Gardens appeal to travelers of all ages and interests. Car fanatics will drool over the Josiah K. Lilly III Antique Automobile Collection, a living timeline of the evolution of the automobile. Art aficionados can browse the eclectic collection of American folk art while the kids enjoy a ride on the vintage, hand-carved carousel. And there are more than 100 acres of gardens – full of lilacs, daylilies, magnolias, hydrangeas and the notoriously flamboyant rhododendrons – that attract nature lovers. A delightful two-acre children's area called Hidden Hollow is packed with things to do and explore, such as log balance beams, water experiments, sensory gardens and more. 
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Heritage Museums & Gardens
Sandwich's Heritage Museums & Gardens appeal to travelers of all ages and interests. Car fanatics will drool over the Josiah K. Lilly III Antique Automobile Collection, a living timeline of the evolution of the automobile. Art aficionados can browse the eclectic collection of American folk art while the kids enjoy a ride on the vintage, hand-carved carousel. And there are more than 100 acres of gardens – full of lilacs, daylilies, magnolias, hydrangeas and the notoriously flamboyant rhododendrons – that attract nature lovers. A delightful two-acre children's area called Hidden Hollow is packed with things to do and explore, such as log balance beams, water experiments, sensory gardens and more. 
... more

#6

#6 in Cape Cod

The old Boston & Sandwich Glass Company facility – once the cornerstone of the glass-blowing, pressing and cutting industries – was preserved by Sandwich Historical Society at the turn of the century. Now a museum, this site boasts both historical and modern displays of glass art, as well as live glass-blowing demonstrations on the hour. The museum exhibits almost 6,000 pieces of glass produced at the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company between 1825 and 1888. Exhibits detail how important Sandwich’s contributions were at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. 
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Sandwich Glass Museum
The old Boston & Sandwich Glass Company facility – once the cornerstone of the glass-blowing, pressing and cutting industries – was preserved by Sandwich Historical Society at the turn of the century. Now a museum, this site boasts both historical and modern displays of glass art, as well as live glass-blowing demonstrations on the hour. The museum exhibits almost 6,000 pieces of glass produced at the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company between 1825 and 1888. Exhibits detail how important Sandwich’s contributions were at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. 
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#7

#7 in Cape Cod

Towering over the quaint Provincetown skyline, the Pilgrim Monument – modeled after the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy – is a must-see for history-loving travelers. The 252-foot-high tower is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States. Commissioned in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt, this monument commemorates the site of the Mayflower Pilgrim's first landing in the New World. It takes about 10 minutes to climb up the tower, but most visitors say the trek is worth it; describing the vantage point from the top of the Pilgrim Monument as one of the best on the Cape. Many agree the museum is quite informative, too.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Pilgrim Monument
Towering over the quaint Provincetown skyline, the Pilgrim Monument – modeled after the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy – is a must-see for history-loving travelers. The 252-foot-high tower is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States. Commissioned in 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt, this monument commemorates the site of the Mayflower Pilgrim's first landing in the New World. It takes about 10 minutes to climb up the tower, but most visitors say the trek is worth it; describing the vantage point from the top of the Pilgrim Monument as one of the best on the Cape. Many agree the museum is quite informative, too.
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#8

#8 in Cape Cod

Edward Gorey's name might not ring a bell immediately, but his drawings sure will. His more recognizable works include the macabre alphabet in "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" and the illustrated edition of T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" as well as illustration and design credits on Broadway and PBS. So if you love this distinct illustrator, you'll enjoy a tour of his home in Yarmouth Port, located along the Mid Cape.
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Historic Homes/Mansions Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Edward Gorey House
Edward Gorey's name might not ring a bell immediately, but his drawings sure will. His more recognizable works include the macabre alphabet in "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" and the illustrated edition of T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" as well as illustration and design credits on Broadway and PBS. So if you love this distinct illustrator, you'll enjoy a tour of his home in Yarmouth Port, located along the Mid Cape.
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#9

#9 in Cape Cod

With more than 90 seasons under its belt, the Cape Playhouse is the country's oldest professional summer theater. Complete with the original – and somewhat uncomfortable – pews serving as the venue's seats, the interior makes for a quaint theater experience. But don't let the shabby-chic atmosphere fool you: The playhouse boasts quite an impressive alumni base, including Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis.
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Cape Playhouse
With more than 90 seasons under its belt, the Cape Playhouse is the country's oldest professional summer theater. Complete with the original – and somewhat uncomfortable – pews serving as the venue's seats, the interior makes for a quaint theater experience. But don't let the shabby-chic atmosphere fool you: The playhouse boasts quite an impressive alumni base, including Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis.
... more

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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