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An Innkeeper's Guide to Cape Cod
Massachusetts may not be the first place you think of when you want to take a beach vacation, but Cape Cod is a coastal paradise.
This narrow peninsula on the southeast tip of the state is only 20 miles across at its widest point, but it features nearly 560 miles of gorgeous coastline.
Cape Cod contains 15 quaint towns, each with several smaller villages. While the towns may be small, there are plenty of ways to have a blast. According to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape Cod has 115 public beaches, 42 golf courses, 83 museums, 473 art galleries, 106 miles of bike paths, and over 1,000 places to eat! Due to the cape's small size, it's easy to drive from one town to another. There are also nearly 200 Cape Cod B&Bs and inns to choose from on BedandBreakfast.com.
Nobody has better local tips on what to see and do than innkeepers, so we asked innkeepers of Cape Cod B&Bs to give us the inside scoop on how to make the most of your vacation.
Top Things to Do
Due to its coastal location, most of Cape Cod’s best recreational activities involve a beach or water. Lisa Callahan, innkeeper of
The Acworth Inn, a charming Cape Cod inn in Barnstable, and Mary Singleton, innkeeper of One Centre Street Inn in Yarmouth Port, both recommend relaxing on Gray's Beach Boardwalk. It's even more enjoyable at sunset or sunrise.
The Acworth Inn recommends
taking a stroll along Keveney Lane Bridge. The innkeepers also suggest
visiting Mayflower Beach at low tide or going fishing, crabbing, and
walking along the jetty at West Dennis Beach.
One Centre Street Inn encourages travelers to explore the tranquil Audubon Walking Trails, such as Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary. Other must-dos include visiting The Taylor-Bray Farm, a historic farm listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and seeing the cranberry bogs. Annabelle and Simon Hunton, innkeepers of The Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn
in West Harwich, agree that the cranberry farms are worth a visit and recommend going to the one in Harwich. If you enjoy live music and entertainment, they say to catch a show at Harwich Junior Theatre.
Lawrence Shapiro, innkeeper of Inn at the Oaks in Eastham, says a visit to Truro Vineyards, a family-owned winery, can’t be missed. For the adventurous type, he recommends exploring the area on stand-up paddleboards and Goose Hummock kayak tours. For something a little less strenuous, he recommends taking a seal tour along Monomoy Island.
Mark and Carol Heller, innkeepers of The Beach House at Chatham, say a perfect evening consists of grabbing a take-out dinner and eating at Hardings Beach
on Nantucket Sound. They say another fun activity is to get a clam
digging permit for a few dollars and go to Stage Harbor at low tide and
get a bucket of steamers. It’s also entertaining to go down to the fish
pier and watch the day boats unload. For a unique getaway, they suggest
renting the Race Point Lighthouse and staying for a night or two.
David and Joan Bruce, innkeepers of The Tern Inn in West Harwich, recommend visiting Lighthouse Beach in Chatham and walking out to see the seals. If you like to cycle, they say you can ride the bike paths to freshwater ponds and have lunch at Pleasant Lake General Store. The innkeepers also tell guests who love the outdoors to explore Nickerson State Park ponds and hiking paths.
For live music and libations, Acworth Inn recommends going to RoadHouse Café in Hyannis and Lyric in Yarmouth Port. The innkeepers also recommend Island Merchant in Hyannis and British Beer Company (locations in Falmouth, Hyannis, and Sandwich).
Many of our innkeepers say local theater companies abound in Cape Cod and put on a great show. The Tern Inn suggests taking a stroll on Wednesday in Harwich Port to hear live bands, and seeing a concert in Chatham on a Friday.
For a fun evening, The Platinum Pebble suggests seeing live music at Land Ho! in Harwich or entertainment at Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis. If you enjoy independent films, don't miss the chance to see a show at Cape Cinema in Dennis.
The Beach House at Chatham and The Tern Inn both add that sports fans will love attending a Cape Cod Summer League Baseball game.
Top Day Trips
Cape Cod isn't very large, so it's easy to hop in a car and explore other towns and villages. It's also very close to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard islands, which offer even more to see and do.
Acworth Inn says you can’t go
wrong by driving along 6A in any direction from their property in Barnstable. They recommend heading east
to the Cape Cod National Seashore, back through Chatham lighthouse
(pictured), and then along Main Street in Chatham.
Inn at the Oaks recommends whale-watching in Provincetown, Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard.
The Beach House at Chatham says when it comes to the best day trip, it's a toss-up
between taking the boat to Nantucket and going to Provincetown. “Both
places have great shopping and places to eat, but I think the beach is
better in Provincetown,” says the innkeeper.
The Tern Inn advises guests to rent bikes in Provincetown and take a peaceful ride to the ocean through the sand dunes.
The Platinum Pebble
recommends taking the local ferry from Harwich directly to Nantucket.
Once there, they suggest exploring Nantucket Town, visiting the Whaling Museum and
the many artisan stores, and renting a bike and cycling out to the
beautiful Siasconset Beach.
Where to Eat
Here are some of the top Cape Cod restaurants that our innkeepers recommend to guests.
• Ardeo Grille in Yarmouth Port
Where to Shop
Cape Cod is full of independent shops and boutiques. Innkeepers recommend these stores for the best Cape Cod shopping.