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Old 05-02-2013, 10:29 PM   #1
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Question Cape Cod experts--what are the "must-do" activities?

We are planning a short trip to Cape Cod (maybe 3 days) and would like to know the "can't miss" things to see/do and where to stay. We'd like to stay on the beach. We aren't into anything that would require dressing up, but would be up for just about anything else (outdoor activities, museums, shops, etc.). We are a family of 4: me, Dh, two mid-teenage boys.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer advice! Any and all suggestions are welcome!
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:59 AM   #2
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we love nauset beach in Orleans, its one of our favorite places. big waves usually and fun to jump around in. There were some shark sightings last year, not sure what this year will bring.

marion's pie shop in chatham is really good. chatham is very cute, lots of shops and such. beautiful beaches, and lighthouse.

sandwich has a glass museum and also the heritage museum. we went to the heritage museum & gardens last year for the first time I think in may and it was stunning...one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

you could take the ferry over to Martha's vineyard for the day. we went for the first time last summer as just a day trip for dh and I, had so much fun we did it again with the kids a few weeks later. bought tix for the hop on/hop off bus that is there and just explored the island, at yummy food, swam in the ocean, jumped off the "jaws bridge".

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Old 05-03-2013, 08:23 AM   #3
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Provincetown - colorful place...fun to walk around and explore the shops. Ride the sand dune bike trail...absolutely beautiful.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:50 AM   #4
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Whale watching!
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:35 PM   #5
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Where on the cape are you staying? The beaches and atmoshere in town are very different depending on what town you are in. Some towns are very touristy ( mini golf, gift shops, lots of traffic, etc) the beaches are all nice, but the outer cape has the beaches of the National Seshore which are stunning. The towns this far out are more laid back, artsy. If you plan on visiting Provincetown, make sure you understand the community. There are not many place ON the beach to rent outside of full week rentals in beach houses. Cape Cod is not developed like most east coast beaches.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:59 PM   #6
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I think walking around Provincetown with parents could be a little awkward for teen boys. Having said that it is a fantastic town filled with history and culture. The landscape is stunning. There also a ton of dining options, more than anywhere else on the cape.

The beaches on the outer cape really took a beating this winter, some still aren't accessible.

If you have never done a whale watch you really should. I like it better out of Provincetown than Barnstable, but Barnstable is easier to get to.

If you don't have a drive in theater near you, the wellfleet drive in is fun.

There's really a lot to do once you start poking around.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:15 PM   #7
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I can help if you are staying mid-lower Cape because I've lived here 50 years plus. Of course I know a bit about the upper Cape as well but not nearly as much and honestly, we avoid it whenever possible. The only exception to that rule would be a short visit to Woods Hole and all that it offers when going over to Marthas Vineyard.

The bike trail that starts in Dennis (Exit 9) is VERY popular and has some great little spots to stop and have a cold drink, ice cream, or even lunch. If you ride bikes at all, I'd take a couple of morning hours to do some of this

For beaches, the best beach in the Mid-Cape area is Mayflower. There are several very close to it that are nice as well. Be aware though that the parking lots fill often before 9:30 am The bay beaches are best at low tide, very crowded at high tide (and I'd avoid that). When we can't make low tide at Mayflower we head to Nauset in Orleans. Great beach, great snack bar (be sure to try the onion rings), bathhouse, but can be very big waves...best for boogie boarding and fairly good swimmers! Teens love this beach. If you are staying further down Cape, Marconi and the surrounding beaches of the National Seashore are a must do!

Mid-Cape shopping/browing/lunch best bet is Chatham. The Squire has very good food and there's lots of little shops. Provincetown is a great day trip as someone already mentioned and the whale watches go out of there. We think whale watching is boring but if you've never done it, I would suggest trying it and keeping your fingers crossed to see some.

We have a drive-in theatre on the Wellfleet/Eastham line and if your kids have never been this can be fun for a cheaper night out. There's Red Barn Pizza just down the road that serves up great pizza/beer/wine.

Traffic can be a nightmare on the only highway that goes from the Sagamore Bridge to Provincetown. Try to avoid travel times, Friday night heading down, Sunday coming back....rainy days...etc. because it can be a real deal-breaker for fun.

A fishing charter out of Orleans or Provincetown can be fun...I'd do just a half- day or couple of hours or it can get boring for kids. You can rent jet skis out of Sesuit Harbor in Dennis and if you do, make sure to have a lobster roll at the Sesuit Cafe...a great outdoor seating BYOB seafood joint that us locals love!

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Old 05-05-2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the suggestions! Great ideas! I really appreciate the help.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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Whale watching and/or seal watching, bike riding on rail trail, kayaking, boat tour (we like one on the Bass River) and typical beach vacation stuff like mini golf, kite flying, fishing.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:12 PM   #10
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Edward Gorey Museum! Falmouth I think??? Near Hyannis.
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