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Cape Cod’s rich history, stunning natural beauty, and cultural contributions make it a unique and captivating destination with plenty of fun things to do for adults.
This beloved hook-shaped peninsula-turned-island is an iconic destination on the East Coast. It makes for a perfect day trip from Boston and is a fun place to explore year-round.
Summer is beyond popular on Cape Cod, with visitors from all over the United States and beyond flocking to the Cape’s beaches and charming towns while devouring world-famous seafood.
Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply relaxing by the sea, Cape Cod offers various activities and attractions to suit your preferences. It’s a beautiful and diverse destination with so much to offer.
Although a day trip to the Cape is possible, I recommend staying for at least a week and visiting a few different neighborhoods to make the most of your visit. You’ll have no problem filling your days with some of the best things to do in the cape. Here are 35+ fun things to do on Cape Cod for Adults.
Tour the Yarmouth Sand Sculpture Trail
For the past 12 years, Yarmouth’s Sand Sculpture Trail has been one of the biggest attractions in this town. As you walk this trail, open between Memorial Day and mid-October, you can enjoy viewing the 31 sand sculptures along the way. Created by local artists, these sculptures are a great way to experience the quirky culture of Cape Cod.
Ride bikes along the Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail stretches for approximately 25 miles, starting in Dennis and ending in Wellfleet, passing through a variety of landscapes showcasing the region’s natural beauty. This bike path is paved, mostly flat and well-maintained, making it suitable for novice and experienced cyclists. Along this bike path, you can enjoy lush forests and quaint villages, making this one of the best things to do when the weather is pleasant.
Brewster, Orleans, and Eastham are among the towns you’ll pass through on this bike ride, each offering local shops, galleries, and eateries. Consider taking a break to sample some homemade ice cream at Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans, or freshly caught seafood at Cobie’s in Brewster.
Hike, bike, or walk the trails at Nickerson State Park
Nickerson State Park features approximately 8 miles of designated biking trails that meander through its wooded terrain and around its freshwater ponds. These trails vary in difficulty, making them suitable for riders of different skill levels. The terrain can be hilly in some areas, providing a bit of a challenge for those seeking a more intense biking experience. Some popular biking trails within the park include the Flax Pond Trail and Cliff Pond Trail.
Nickerson State Park’s hiking trails wind through picturesque pine and oak forests, offering a peaceful escape into nature. Hikers can enjoy a variety of routes, from easy strolls to more moderate hikes. If you’re up for a longer walk, check out the State Park Long Trail, a moderately challenging, 6-mile out-and-back trail.
Enjoy a day along the Cape Cod National Seashore
Stretching over 40 miles along the eastern coast of Massachusetts, this protected area is filled with salt marshes, sand dunes, and beachside scenery capturing the essence of coastal New England.
One of the best places on this seashore is Coast Guard Beach, known for its stunning sunrise views and pristine sands. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, breathing in the crisp ocean air and listening to the gentle waves. If you’re an early riser, you might even catch a glimpse of shorebirds and seals that frequent the area. After a tranquil morning, head to the Salt Pond Visitor Center to learn about this seashore’s rich history, flora, and fauna through interactive exhibits.
You can enjoy a bike ride along the Province Lands Bike Trail from the Province Lands Visitor Center. This picturesque route winds through dunes, pine forests, and salt marshes, offering breathtaking coastline views. Along the way, consider stopping at Herring Cove Beach for a refreshing dip in the Atlantic.
Marconi Beach is another excellent beach option, known for its dramatic cliffs and sweeping vistas. Take a scenic walk along the boardwalks leading to the beach, where you can explore tide pools or climb the dunes for panoramic ocean views. If you’re interested in the area’s maritime history, visiting the Marconi Wireless Station Site offers insights into the transatlantic wireless communication efforts of the early 20th century.
A great spot to catch the sunset along the Cape Cod Sea Shore is at Race Point Beach. The ever-changing colors of the sky and the rhythmic sound of the waves create a serene atmosphere that encapsulates the Cape’s charm.
Enjoy panoramic views at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
The Pilgrim Monument is a towering granite structure that symbolizes the Pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown in 1620 before they continued their journey to Plymouth. The monument was constructed between 1907 and 1910 and is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States, reaching a height of 252 feet with an observation deck at the top.
Visitors who ascend the monument are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Provincetown, Cape Cod Bay, and the surrounding landscapes. On clear days, you can see as far as the Cape Cod National Seashore and even the tip of Cape Cod.
Adjacent to the Pilgrim Monument is the Provincetown Museum, which offers a comprehensive exploration of the region’s history, from the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims to the vibrant arts and culture scene that Provincetown is known for today. The museum features a variety of exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that showcase the town’s maritime heritage, its role in the arts, and its unique blend of cultures.
Laugh and learn on a walking tour with the infamous Anne Hutchinson
Known as one of the earliest American feminists, Anne Hutchinson, born in 1591, challenged male authority by preaching to both women and men, questioning Puritan teachings about salvation.
Because of her “radical” beliefs at the time, she was banished from Massachusetts nearly 400 years ago. Today, you can explore Provincetown on foot with “Anne” as your guide. While these tours are generally only a mile long, you can expect to hear her irreverent “heretical” accounts. These 21+ tours are usually hilarious, making them one of the best things to do on Cape Cod for adults only!
Enjoy strolling down Commercial Street
Whether you want shopping, restaurants, art, or nightlife, you’ll find it on Provincetown’s Commercial Street – the vibrant main street of this historic seaside town.
Commercial Street is renowned for its thriving art scene, with numerous art galleries, like Bowerstock Fine Art Gallery and Rice Polak Gallery, showcasing a diverse array of works by both local and internationally acclaimed artists.
The street is lined with charming boutiques and specialty gift shops that offer an eclectic mix of items. This is a great place to shop for art, jewelry, clothing, and other distinctive finds that reflect the town’s artistic and maritime heritage. Shop Therapy is one of the most popular stores on this street, selling everything from souvenirs to incense.
Commercial Street transforms into a nightlife hub and entertainment mecca as the sun sets. There’s no shortage of options for a night out on the town, from bars and clubs to live music venues and theater performances. Check out the Underground Bar for dancing, pub games, and a lively crowd where you might meet a new friend or two!
Explore Highland Hall & Gardens
Located in Falmouth, Highfield Hall is a beautifully restored mansion from the late 19th century. It was built in 1878 as the summer home of the Beebe family and features stunning Victorian architecture.
Picturesque gardens surround the mansion, offering a glimpse into the Gilded Age lifestyle prevalent among affluent families during that period. The gardens showcase a variety of plantings, pathways, and seating areas where visitors can relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.
Enjoy a Drag Show or Cabaret in Provincetown
The cabaret scene in Provincetown is one of the best things to do on Cape Cod for adults! Several local venues, like the Gifford House Inn and the Post Office Cafe, host regular drag shows and cabaret events. At the latter, located on Commercial Street, drag and cabaret events have included Eartha Kitt, Trixie Mattel, and Thirsty Burlington. Grab a bloody mary and enjoy the show!
Try locally-crafted gin at South Hollow Spirits
Speaking of drinks, trying the locally-made gin at South Hollow Spirits is a must-do while visiting Cape Cod. Led by the team at Truro Vineyards, this distillery is the first one on Cape Cod since the Prohibition era!
You can take a tour of this 2,000-square-foot distillery or sample the vast selection of spirits, ranging from Dry Line Cape Cod Gin to Twenty Boat Cape Cod Spiced Rum.
If you like South Hollow Hollow Spirits, then you’ll love Truro Vineyards! This winery’s tasting room is nestled in a beautifully restored 1830s farmhouse — sample wines like the Cranberry Red, Diamond White, or Cape Blush.
Not only does this vineyard offer standard flights with five different wines, but you can also book a custom wine tasting, which includes reserve wines not found on the standard menu, plus an artisanal cheese plate.
Try the Local Wine
Cape Cod’s wineries are a delight for wine enthusiasts. While I already mentioned Truro Vineyards, other excellent winery options include First Crush Winery in Harwich, known for its refreshing wine slushies, and Cape Cod Winery in East Falmouth, with gorgeous scenery and a fun atmosphere.
Taste local Cape Cod Beer
There are plenty of places in Cape Cod where you can sample the local brews, including Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis, a community-oriented brewery with daily tours and tastings. Enjoy the onsite food trucks and board games while you sample beers like the Breakfast Blonde or Cape Cod Sour.
Barnstable Brewing is another local favorite, with beers like the Vanilla Milkshake IPA, Blueberry Ale, and Wobbly Jack, a pumpkin beer. The beer selection on tap rotates from season to season. Experiencing one of the many local breweries is one of the best things to do on Cape Cod for adults!
Go on a Scenic Drive
Experiencing the beauty of this coast on a leisurely drive is one of the best things to do on Cape Cod for adults. While many visitors who drive from one end of the Cape to the other take Route 6, a state highway, you’ll see more scenery along 6A instead.
Also known as Old King’s Highway, Route 6A has been described by National Geographic as “one of the world’s most scenic drives.” Spanning about 65 miles, this road goes from Bourne on the Cape Cod Canal to Provincetown. Not only is there a lot of architecture from the 17th to 20th centuries along the road, but it also has a great view of several creeks, inlets, marshes, and tidal rivers along Cape Cod Bay.
Enjoy a Museum
With an abundance of heritage museums, Cape Cod is a paradise for history buffs and art enthusiasts. The museums listed below are some of the best on the cape and a perfect thing to do on Cape Cod for adults.
John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum:
Located in Hyannis, the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum commemorates the legacy of President John F. Kennedy and his connection to Cape Cod. The museum features exhibits and displays that highlight Kennedy’s time spent on Cape Cod, his family, and his impact on the nation’s history. Visitors can learn about his love for sailing, his political career, and his enduring influence.
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History:
Situated in Brewster, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History offers a deep dive into the region’s unique ecosystems and wildlife. With interactive exhibits, walking trails, and programs, the museum educates visitors about the Cape’s coastal environment, local flora and fauna, and the importance of conservation.
Sandwich Glass Museum:
The Sandwich Glass Museum in Sandwich celebrates the town’s historical significance in the glassmaking industry. The museum showcases an extensive collection of glass artifacts, including stunning pieces crafted during the 19th century. Visitors can witness live glass-blowing demonstrations, providing insight into the artistry and craftsmanship behind these beautiful creations.
Whydah Pirate Museum:
Located in Yarmouth, the Whydah Pirate Museum delves into the captivating history of the pirate ship Whydah Gally, which wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod in 1717. The museum features artifacts recovered from the shipwreck, providing a glimpse into the life of pirates, their treasures, and the region’s maritime history.
Situated at the tip of Cape Cod, the Provincetown Museum explores the history and culture of this iconic town. Exhibits cover various topics, from the Pilgrims’ arrival to Provincetown’s role as an arts colony and LGBTQ+ destination. The museum also provides breathtaking views of Provincetown Harbor and the surrounding landscapes.
Cape Cod Museum of Art:
Located in Dennis, the Cape Cod Museum of Art showcases the artistic achievements of local and regional artists. The museum houses a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and other visual artworks that capture the essence of Cape Cod’s beauty and creativity.
Cape Cod Maritime Museum:
The Cape Cod Maritime Museum, nestled in Hyannis, pays homage to the region’s maritime heritage. Through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays, visitors can learn about shipbuilding, navigation, and the vital role that the sea has played in shaping Cape Cod’s history.
Take a Day Trip to Martha’s Vineyard
Begin your adventure by catching a ferry from one of the Cape Cod towns offering transportation to Martha’s Vineyard, such as Woods Hole or Hyannis. When you arrive, take your pick between several charming towns to explore.
Oak Bluffs is famous for its colorful gingerbread cottages and the iconic Flying Horses Carousel. In Edgartown, you can wander through historic streets lined with charming shops, galleries, and elegant captain’s houses. Vineyard Haven is known for its bustling harbor and artistic community.
Head to South Beach in Edgartown or Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. If you want to immerse yourself in nature, consider visiting Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary or Mytoi Japanese Garden for peaceful walks and serene views.
Take a Day Tour of Nantucket
You can also take the ferry from Cape Cod for a day trip to Nantucket. Start with Nantucket’s charming downtown area – a treasure trove of historic architecture, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Stroll along cobblestone streets lined with brick buildings and white picket fences, immersing yourself in the island’s colonial-era charm.
Learn about the island’s maritime past at the Nantucket Whaling Museum, which features interactive exhibits, artifacts, and historical insights into the industry that once defined the island. The museum’s rooftop observation deck also offers panoramic views of the island.
Spend some time at Jetties Beach, where you can relax by the water, swim, or take a stroll along the shoreline. Renting a bike to explore Nantucket’s picturesque landscapes is a great way to spend the day. The island has a network of scenic bike paths that wind through lush countryside, past charming neighborhoods, and along coastal stretches. Pedal your way to Sankaty Head Lighthouse for stunning views of the coastline.
Experience the Cranberry Bogs
If you’re in Massachusetts between April and November, taking a trip to the cranberry bogs is one of the best things to do on Cape Cod for adults! Fall is the best time to see the berries, as their bright red color floating on the water makes for some of the most incredible New England scenery you’ll ever see.
One of the best cranberry bog events is held in Wareham, Massachusetts, about an hour from Cape Cod. The Cranberry Harvest Celebration features wet harvest demonstrations, boat rides through the bogs, live music, and artisan cranberry crafts and foods. Several other working bogs throughout the area also offer tours for visitors during the autumn months.
Devour all the Best Local Eats and Treats
Cape Cod’s culinary scene is a delicious mix of coastal flavors, fresh seafood, and traditional New England fare.
A classic Cape Cod delicacy, the lobster roll is a must-try for seafood enthusiasts. This delectable treat features tender chunks of lobster meat, often lightly dressed with mayo and a touch of seasoning, nestled within a buttered and toasted split-top roll. You can find some of the best lobster rolls at Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis, Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet or Fishermen’s View Seafood Market & Restaurant in Sandwich.
New England Clam Chowder is another comforting classic and a must-try on Cape Cod. Check out Captain Parker’s Pub in West Yarmouth for incredible chowder in a fresh bread bowl, or Skipper Chowder House in South Yarmouth for fantastic clam chowder with a view of Nantucket Sound.
Cape Cod’s pristine waters offer an abundant supply of fresh oysters, so sampling some is a must before you leave. At Naked Oyster and Raw Bar in Hyannis, you can sample oysters delivered fresh every morning from the restaurant’s farm in Barnstable Harbor. For Russian-style oysters prepared with vodka, sour cream, and caviar, check out Mac’s Fish House.
Go Whale Watching
The waters surrounding Cape Cod, particularly in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, offer prime feeding grounds for various whale species, making it a premier destination for whale-watching enthusiasts.
The prime time for whale watching in Cape Cod is spring through fall. The peak season for sightings is during the summer months, especially from June to September, when the waters are rich with marine life. However, whale-watching tours are offered year-round, so visitors can enjoy this captivating experience no matter when they visit. You can book a whale-watching boat trip through Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises or Captain John’s Boats.
Take in a Cape Cod Baseball League Game
The Cape Cod Baseball League, or CCBL, is a premier collegiate summer baseball league that has earned a reputation as one of the top amateur baseball leagues in the United States. Founded in 1885, the CCBL allows college baseball players nationwide to showcase their skills, gain experience, and further develop their talents during the summer months.
Many players who participate in the CCBL go on to have successful careers in the MLB. Some of baseball’s most talented and recognizable names, such as Jackie Bradley Jr., Kris Bryant, and Aaron Judge, have honed their skills in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
These games usually offer free admission, so this is an excellent opportunity to watch up-and-coming players while enjoying the community atmosphere of this league.
Play a Round of Golf
Over three dozen golf courses on Cape Cod make it a paradise for travelers who love golfing; this is easily one of the best things to do on Cape Cod for adults! The Cape Cod Country Club, in East Falmouth, has an incredible 18-hole championship golf course with beautiful views of the nearby lakes and woods.
Putt putt golf
If mini-golf is more of your thing, check out Pirates Cove Adventure Golf. This pirate-themed 18-hole landscaped course features waterfalls and caves. Along the course, you’ll encounter some fun pirate trivia at each hole.
Try Some Water Sports
The calm waters of Cape Cod’s numerous ponds, lakes, salt marshes, and estuaries are perfect for kayaking and canoeing. Popular spots include Nickerson State Park, Bass River, and Nauset Marsh.
Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun water activity along the Cape’s coastline, especially in areas with calm waters like Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound.
Buzzards Bay is also a popular area for boating and water activities. The bay is renowned for its stunning scenery and is surrounded by charming coastal towns, picturesque harbors, and lush landscapes. Visitors can enjoy beautiful waterfront views, especially during sunrise and sunset. While out on the water, you can explore the bay’s coves, inlets, and estuaries while getting up close to the natural surroundings.
Walk across the Canal Railroad Bridge
Another popular spot in Bourne is the Buzzards Bay Recreation Area, which provides spectacular views of the Cape Cod Railroad Bridge. The Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge is a vertical lift bridge. This type of bridge has a movable span that can be raised and lowered to allow boats and ships to pass underneath. It is one of only a few vertical lift railroad bridges in the United States. In addition to rail traffic, the bridge has a walkway for pedestrians and cyclists, allowing them to cross the canal while enjoying views of the waterway and the surrounding area.
Charter a Fishing Boat
Cape Cod is renowned for its fishing opportunities. You can go deep-sea fishing or try your hand at fly fishing in one of the area’s many ponds, rivers, and saltwater locations.
There are plenty of ports offering fishing tours and charters. Provincetown, Hyannis, Falmouth and Buzzards Bay near Bourne are popular destinations for anglers. The Cape offers excellent opportunities for both recreational and sport fishing. Common catches include striped bass, bluefish, flounder, and more.
Take a Self Guided Lighthouse Tour
Cape Cod’s lighthouses offer not only historical and architectural interest but also stunning coastal vistas. A self-guided lighthouse tour can be a rewarding and educational experience as you explore the rich maritime heritage of the region and its scenic coastal landscapes. Many lighthouses are open to the public and offer guided tours. There are 13 official lighthouses on the cape with the best known being Highland Light (Cape Cod Light) in Truro, Nauset Light in Eastham, Chatham Lighthouse in Chatham, and Race Point Lighthouse in Provincetown.
Enjoy a Scenic Boat Ride
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, offers a wealth of scenic boat rides that allow you to explore its coastal beauty and enjoy picturesque views of the area. There are tours for every interest, including the serene Nauset Marsh in Eastham for estuaries and wildlife encounters, the family-run Monomoy Island Excursions in Harwich, through the Nantucket Sound, or historical narrated tours along the Cape Cod Canal.
For a unique boating experience, try a Sandwich Glass Bottom Boat Tour. Explore the underwater world of Cape Cod Bay without getting wet. You can see marine life, shipwrecks, and the fascinating underwater environment.
Enjoy the Beautiful Beaches
The Cape is known for its beautiful beaches along its extensive coastline. From family-friendly beaches to dunes and nude beaches, there is a Cape Cod beach perfect for everyone! Many of the Cape Cod beaches offer limited paid public parking ranging from $20-$40 a day, so it might be best to walk or take an Uber, but if you arrive after 5 p.m., it is free!
- Craigville Beach (Barnstable): This popular beach has calm waters and a long sandy shoreline, making it ideal for families. It also offers amenities like restrooms, snack bars, and lifeguards during the summer.
- Sandy Neck Beach (Barnstable): Known for its dunes and wildlife, Sandy Neck Beach is perfect for families who want to explore nature. There are picnic areas and off-road vehicle trails as well.
- Old Silver Beach (Falmouth): Old Silver Beach is known for its warm waters and gentle waves. It’s a great spot for swimming and building sandcastles. There are also restrooms and food vendors nearby.
- Nauset Beach (Orleans): Nauset Beach is known for its big waves, making it a popular spot for surfers. It’s also a beautiful place for a beach walk, especially during low tide.
- Cahoon Hollow Beach (Wellfleet): This beach is famous for its consistent surf breaks and is a favorite among surfers. The Beachcomber, a nearby beach bar and restaurant, is a popular spot for après-surf relaxation.
Secluded and Less Crowded Beaches
- Head of the Meadow Beach (Truro): This beach is quieter and less crowded than some of the more popular spots. It’s a beautiful place for a quiet walk or sunbathing.
- Mayo Beach (Wellfleet): Mayo Beach is a small, hidden gem that’s often less crowded than other Cape Cod beaches. It’s a great place for relaxation.
Scenic and Tranquil Beaches
- Coast Guard Beach (Eastham): This beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and is known for its natural beauty and scenic views. It’s a great place for a peaceful walk.
- Race Point Beach (Provincetown): Located at the tip of Cape Cod, Race Point Beach offers stunning views of the ocean and the Cape Cod dunes. It’s also a great spot for stargazing.
- Sandwich Town Neck Beach (Sandwich): This beach is known for its excellent shellfishing opportunities. Visitors can enjoy clamming and exploring the tidal flats.
- Brewster Flats (Brewster): The Brewster Flats are a renowned spot for clamming and shellfishing. Be sure to check local regulations and obtain the necessary permits.
Cape Cod is known for its charming towns and villages, many offering unique shopping experiences. Chatham is best known for its picturesque street and upscale boutiques. Provincetown is famous for its vibrant arts and local shopping scene. Commercial Street is lined with shops selling everything from art and jewelry to clothing and home decor. Wellfleet is known for its art galleries and shops featuring local artisans. Don’t miss the Wellfleet Flea Market for vintage and antique treasures. Hyannis is the largest town on Cape Cod and offers a variety of shopping options. Main Street in downtown Hyannis has numerous boutiques, art galleries, and specialty shops. You can also find the Cape Cod Mall for larger retail stores.
With so many fun things to do on Cape Cod, you’ll have a great time exploring the Cape’s charm and beauty. If you are unsure where to stay, this post highlights the Cape’s towns and what areas are best for what interests. Enjoy your trip to the Cape!