Cape Cod in Massachusetts is not only one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the Northeast, it’s also one of the best vacation destinations for families. Parents will fall in love with the stunning natural beauty of the coastline, and kids will be thrilled with endless options for playing in the sand, looking for wildlife, getting some of the best ice cream and enjoying awesome play parks. This article is all about the very best things to do on Cape Cod with kids to plan your most memorable family beach vacation yet.
Where Is Cape Cod?
Cape Cod is a peninsula off the coast of Massachusetts and is home to over 500 miles of coastline. Depending on which part of Cape Cod you stay in, it’s only about 1.5 hours from Boston.
Best Things To Do On Cape Cod With Kids
Visit One Of The Amazing Kid-Friendly Beaches
Cape Cod is home to over 100 beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound. If you’re looking for the most kid-friendly beaches with warm, shallow water and minimal waves, you’ll want to stick to the gorgeous beaches along the Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound.
Some of the best beaches for kids in these areas are Mayflower Beach in Dennis, Sea Street Beach in Dennis Port, Skaket Beach in Orleans and Paine’s Creek Beach in Brewster.
If you’ve got some little ones that love to boogie board in waves, a wonderful beach with some bigger surf that’s life-guarded is Nauset Beach in Orleans along the Atlantic Ocean side.
Have A Movie Night At The Wellfleet Drive-In Theater
One of the most fun things to do on Cape Cod with kids at night is to see a movie at the Wellfleet Drive-In Theater. This drive-in has been showing movies since 1957, and is such a fun and unique way to spend a night with the family.
Price of admission for the drive-in includes both movies showing that night, so you get two shows for the price one. There are also snacks and ice cream available at the concession stand, and it’s open rain or shine.
Go On A Whale Watch
Cape Cod is one of the top destinations in the entire country for whale watching, and what better way to introduce your kids to the importance of marine life than by seeing them in person.
Dolphin Fleet in Provincetown is one of the best whale watch tours on Cape Cod. Tours last about 3-4 hours, and provide a scenic journey around the very tip of the peninsula with views of remote lighthouses. During the tour, you’re likely to see minke, humpback and pilot whales, and possibly even some seals and dolphins.
Play A Round Of Mini Golf At Pirate’s Cove
While there’s no shortage of mini golf courses on Cape Cod, Pirate’s Cove in South Yarmouth is one of the best for the whole family. In fact, it’s so exciting to visit, it’s been featured in publications like Boston Magazine.
The entire course feels like a walk through a Pirates of the Caribbean movie set, and features 18 rounds of mini golf, waterfalls, life-sized pirate ships and caves to explore.
Get Ice Cream At Sundae School
There are so many places to enjoy some delicious, homemade ice cream on Cape Cod, but one of the best places to take your kids for a cone is Sundae School.
Sundae School has two locations: one in Harwich Port, and one is Dennis Port, and both feel like an old-fashioned ice cream parlour. During your visit, make sure everyone grabs a complimentary sailor cap (even the adults!) for the perfect family photo.
Look For Seals At Chatham Pier Fish Market
One of the easiest ways to spot wildlife is to visit the Chatham Pier Fish Market. As the fishermen come in from their day out on the water with their fresh catches, the seals know it’s time to ask for snacks! Lots of seals wait around the pier for the fishermen and swim very close by, making it easy to see them up close.
Explore The Tidal Pools Along The Brewster Flats
One of the most exciting things to do with kids on Cape Cod is explore the tidal pools along the Brewster Flats at low tide. The Brewster Flats are the largest of their kind in North America, and at low tide, you can walk out onto the ocean floor for over a mile.
During the walk, kids will love to get a peak at the ocean floor and see what kinds of shells and critters they can find. Keep an eye out for crabs, oysters and other marine life as you stroll.
Take A Day Trip To Martha’s Vineyard
Cape Cod has two islands off the coast that make for amazing day trips, but the most family-friendly of the two is Martha’s Vineyard. Not only are ferry ticket prices more affordable, it’s also a shorter ride over to the island.
Once you arrive, one of the best towns to explore on Martha’s Vineyard with kids is Oak Bluffs. Here, you’ll find the Flying Horses Carousel, which is the oldest operating carousel in the U.S.
During your visit to Oak Bluffs, kids will also enjoy walking through the colorful Gingerbread Cottages, grabbing some fun treats at Back Door Donuts, and walking with an alpaca at the Island Alpaca Company.
Enjoy A Scenic Nature Walk
Even though Cape Cod is known for its beaches, it’s also packed with incredible hiking and scenic nature trails. Many of them offer amazing views in a short amount of time, so if you’re looking to hit the trails on your trip, this is a wonderful activity for the whole family.
One nature trail that’s especially great for kids is the John Wing Trail in Brewster. This 2-mile loop nature walk takes you over a stunning marsh along a boardwalk, and passes through a beach and sand dunes along Cape Cod Bay. Since this trail has no elevation gain, it’s easy for kids of all ages to do. There’s lots of opportunity to spot birds and ocean wildlife along the way, too.
Cruise Along The Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail has 26 miles of paved trails through some scenic parts of the region. And since it’s limited to bike and pedestrian use only, this is one of the safest ways to explore the Cape with kids.
The trail begins in Dennis and ends in Wellfleet, but has 8 entrance points that offer free parking, so you can choose how long you want to bike for.
Didn’t bring bikes? No worries! There are a few great places to rent bikes for everyone. One of the best is Barb’s Bike Shop, which is right at the South Dennis Rail Trail entrance.
How To Get To Cape Cod
If you’re coming from a distance, the best airport to fly into is Boston Logan International Airport, which will offer the most options and cheapest flight prices. From the airport, you’ll want to rent a car and drive to Cape Cod, as getting around by car is necessary.
Best Town To Stay In On Cape Cod With Kids
Any town on Cape Cod is great for families, but one of the best that offers tons of activities, beaches and restaurants is the town of Yarmouth. Along Route 28 through town, you’ll see lots of mini golf courses and play parks to keep the kids entertained without having to drive far, and you’ll never run out of beaches and restaurants to visit.
Now that you know all the best things to do on Cape Cod with kids, you’re ready to plan your best family vacation yet! Whether you’re looking to lounge around in the sand all day, or tackle the rail trail and nature walks, one thing’s for sure – you’ll be providing your kids with some of their most cherished, childhood memories.