What to Do in Cape Cod: Where to Eat, Stay, and Play


Windsurfer at Kalmus Beach.

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Mid Cape

Towns of Barnstable, Dennis, and Yarmouth

Stay here if: You want to be in a convenient commercial hub and have easy access to all the other parts of the Cape (as well as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket).

Where to stay

Dreaming of having a Cape house totally to yourself, with grey weathered shingles, white trim, wicker chairs, and your very own deck to sip coffee on in the mornings? Airbnb has a very good one in this one-bed, one-bath loft in the heart of Barnstable ($120 a night).

Where to eat

Remember that ice cream we mentioned up top? Here it is at the Cape Cod Creamery. The homemade hard ice cream comes in myriad flavors including Almond Joy, ginger, pistachio, heath bar, and bananas foster. Whatever flavor you choose, do not under any circumstances, forgo the waffle cone as its vessel. Soups and subs are also on the menu. There is a location in Hyannis as well as South Yarmouth. During the high season, swing by the seafood shack Sesuit Harbor Café in Dennis to snack on golden, crispy, briny fried littlenecks on a picnic bench overlooking the water on your way back from the beach.

What to do

Take a break from the beach and lobster and geek out on some history. You may not be able to scope out the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, six acres of waterfront property along Nantucket Sound where the family spent their summers and Ethel Kennedy still lives, but you can learn about the Kennedys’ connection to the Cape at the nearby Kennedy Museum. It reopens for the season on April 15—however private tours can be scheduled even while the museum is closed.

The dunes at Long Nook Beach.

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Lower Cape & Outer Cape

Towns of Brewster, Chatham, Harwich, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown at the end

Stay here if: Secluded natural environments or the progressive community in Provincetown are what you seek on your trip.

Where to stay

The Mansion at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club (from $205 a night) in Brewster is a luxe stay with nine tennis courts, five pools, bike rentals with access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail, kayaking, paddleboarding, oyster bed tours, and its own beach. Its sister resort, the Villages at Ocean Edge Resort, (from $119 a night) shares the grounds and offers more private accommodations. The Beachfront compound of the Chatham Bars Inn (from $290 a night) has rooms and cottages that manage to be both luxurious and quintessentially Cape Cod (and super dog friendly). It also has special happenings, like a Friday night art series with local artists and gallery owners as well as a whole range of top-notch restaurants onsite (more on that below).

Where to eat

Whether you’re staying at the Chatham Bars or not, Stars, the hotel’s main restaurant, is a break from all the lobster shacks. The splurge spot has plenty of chilled shellfish and serious entrees like lobster fra diavolo and a tomahawk steak for two. During COVID-19, a new way to dine is available at the hotel, curbside pickup, with more casual items such as a dry-aged burger, crab cake sandwich, and a family-style apple crisp. Another new option is private dining.

What to do

There’s no time like the winter, spring, or a rainy day to gallery hop in Provincetown. The Rice-Polak Gallery features the work of mid-career and emerging artists alike, group and solo exhibitions, and contemporary art in an array of media including photography, sculpture, and digital art among the paintings. Cortile Gallery is another gem that’s worth browsing even if not shopping. When not impacted by a global pandemic, Provincetown also has great nightlife, whether you’re looking to see a cabaret show or check out the local theater scene.



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