After about eight months of uncertainties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people seem to be bored sitting in their homes and towns. They could be facing the harsh moments of their lives since many international travels are canceled; no social gatherings, no vacations. What’s most annoying is that even leaving your home becomes a matter of debate! So, what about those who like visiting different places for adventure or running away from the obvious reasons?
The good news is that, even with the raging pandemic, internal tourism is open in most countries. People can still visit their dream destinations, by adhering to set guidelines within their states. One of the best places that have warmed the hearts of many due to their beautiful natural environment and modern state of art is Cape Cod, located in the Southeast of Boston. The place has been witnessing thousands of tourists, all intending to ascertain the amazing tourist attractions on Cape Cod.
What Are These Beautiful Places You Can Visit?
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is just one hour from the Southeast of Boston, MA. It reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean and curves northward to cover parts of Cape Cod Bay. It was initially a place for small farmers but has gradually developed into a serene summer destination. Although its sandy beaches may be full of crowd in July and August, you can also find a peaceful corner to relax your mind, especially on the northern shore along route 6-A, or watch the ferries from the southern shore.
With all these places reach in decorated pink roses, wild animals, and busy roads, you are sure to find dozens of places to visit. Therefore, this article looks at the 12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions on Cape Cod for 2021.
1. Cape Cod National Seashore
The largest part of the East coast of Cape Cod which is about forty miles is preserved as Cape Cod National Seashore. This wild area has remained unchanged ever since Henry David Thoreau visited it. The area also harbors beautiful woodlands of Atlantic white cedar, exotic bird nesting grounds, and miles of attractive hiking trails. It’s fine sand beaches attract thousands of visitors every year but face lot of rush in the summer.
The most unusual environment in the National Seashore is the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp in Wellfleet. You can view the place using a boardwalk and read its information at the Salt Pond and Provincetown centers. Moreover, you can sign up for one of the park ranger programs including hiking, canoeing, snorkeling, and walking in some of the historic buildings within the park. If you would also like to have a close-range look at the massive dunes in the park and have a little historic information, Art’s Dune Tours from Provincetown will provide you with all the highlights you need before visiting the Cape.
Nantucket is one of the oldest towns in Cape Cod, founded in 1659 by colonialists. It served as the main settlement of Nantucket for the Quaker missionaries between 1740 and 1830. It is a 15-mile-long and thirty miles on the south of Cape Cod. Initially, Nantucket was the center for the world’s whaling industry, with over 125 whaling ships. However, over the period of time, it has become one of the top-rated tourist attractions on Cape Cod, famous for its beaches, long cycling paths, sea captains’ mansions, and other historic artifacts. Visiting here in April, you will find bright daffodils welcoming you.
You don’t need a car in Nantucket since the hotels are open to ferries. You can even rent a bicycle or walk to the attractions. Some of the attractive places to visit include America’s first female professional astronomer, Maria Mitchell, and her home, an observatory, and local marine life aquarium. Moreover, the Nantucket Life Saving Museum acts as a store for marine artifacts while the Hinchman House Natural History Museum only deals with Nantucket’s flora and fauna with wildflower, bird, and marine ecology.
The museum harbors ship models, scrimshaw, whaling equipment, a 43-foot sperm whale skeleton, logbooks, and other portraits. The items are all stored in a restored 1847 candle factory with a rooftop observation deck.
Nantucket Historical Association
The Nantucket Historical Association offers tours guides to all visitors from May to October and maintains the open tourist attractions. This includes a 19th-century firehouse, 1845 Hadwen House, 1745 Macy Christian House, the Old Gaol from 1806, the country’s oldest working windmill, the 1686 saltbox, Jethro Coffin House, and the only surviving original English settlement structure.
3. Martha’s Vineyard
Another place you can visit and spend your happy time in 2021 is the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The island lies five miles in the south of Cape Cod and is easy to reach either by cars or passenger ferries from Woods Hole on Cape Cod or from New Bedford. The Vineyard is a little developed than Nantucket. It has six small towns, each with its distinct miles of beaches, of which some lie beneath high bluffs.
The Vineyard also has more different rolling landscapes than Nantucket and Cape Cod, with a relaxing casual air, despite its wealthy antiques, art galleries, and trendy boutiques. Some of the destinations on the island include;
Oak Bluffs was originally a meeting place for Methodist church and remains to be a historic point for cute gingerbread cottages. Today, you can visit the place to see the beautiful Carpenter Gothic-style buildings with their candy colors that ideally fit the ice-cream parlors and saltwater taffy shops. You can also visit one of the oldest Flying Horse Carousels for a ride.
Edgartownis also an important whaling center and the oldest European settlement on Martha’s Vineyard. However, today the place attracts more tourists with its tree-shaded streets lined with white clapboard homes. One of the oldest homes in the place is the Vincent House which now acts as a Museum. The house, built in 1672, has been furnished in a period style that details the life of Martha’s Vineyard for the past 400 years.
Sandwich is also an attractive town in the west end of Cape Cod. It was a major glass-making center in the 19th century. Although the collectors still value Sandwich glass highly, it is not widely available in the town’s antique shops. The long beaches of Sandwich on Cape Cod Bay are beautiful and have less rush than other beaches.
Whenever you feel bored, you can visit the place to see as the Dexter Grist Mill, built between 1640 and 1646, grinds corn flour using the authentic grindstones powered by a water wheel. You can also visit the Nye Family Homestead that was built in 1669 but is refurnished with the periodic-style hand woven sheets, spinning wheels, and kitchen items that are all well interpreted by volunteers. The Hoxie House, which is a few years older, is also a saltbox restored with the early colonial construction methods and fully furnished with authentic pieces to portray a clear picture of the colonial life in New England settlement.
The two main attraction sites in the Sandwich town are;
Sandwich Glass Museum
The museum features over five thousand pieces of glassware from the 19th century, a furnace of glass-blowing demonstrations, multi-media theater, and a contemporary glassworks gallery. The museum attracts glass collectors and those interested in learning the history and techniques of glassmaking.
Heritage Museums and Gardens
These American museums sit on a 100-acre garden. They are located inside a reproduction Shaker Round Stone Barn and contain about 35 antique cars such as a 1930 Duesenberg Tourster that was once owned by the movie star, Gary Cooper. The museums also feature thousands of American folk arts like weapons, miniature soldiers, and wildlife.
Hyannis, which is also a ferry port on the south coast of Cape Cod, is a busy hub. Its a favorite town for sailors who anchor their yachts in Lewis Bay. In early June, there is an annual Harbor Festival with boat races, live performances, and children’s activities. There is also a Cape Cod Maritime Museum that features the marine traditions of the Cape Cod and the islands. The museum harbors marine artifacts, boat-building exhibitions, shipwrecks, and other marine subjects. You can have a glimpse of the Cape’s largest scrimshaw that is open to everyone.
Near the Lewis Bay is a monument commemorating President John F. Kennedy, whose family has a retreat in Hyannis Port. The John F. Kennedy Museum also features photos, oral histories, and multi-media exhibits about his life in the port. Moreover, the Kennedy Legacy Trail will lead you to significant sites like St. Francis Xavier, Kennedy’s church. From Hyannis, you can also board the Cape Cod Central Railroad. There you can have a view of cranberry bogs, woodlands, the Great Salt Marsh, and picturesque villages.
Yarmouth, which sits in the middle of Cape Cod, and northeast of Hyannis, also has several tourist attractions that can be good stopping points in 2021. The largest beach in the region is Seagull Beach and has two of the Cape’s most unusual attractions. They include;
The Edward Gorey House was the home of the 20th-century artist who was known for his often-macabre pen-and-ink illustrations and stories that reflected his art and distinctive personality. Today, the Devotees of PBS Masterpiece Mysteries can visit the home and see the original plates of the introductory sequence by Gorey.
The museum offers visitors the only chance to see and touch the real pirate treasure. In this museum sits the fully rigged gallery ship Whydah which was captured by pirate Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy and used to pirate 53 vessels of their treasures before sinking in a storm in 1717. Visitors can read the full story of the ship and its recovery in 1984on the coast of Wellfleet, and see the treasure found with it.
The windmill was built in 1791 at Grand Cove in North Dennis and moved repeatedly before being restored authentically at South Yarmouth. People can now walk inside during the summer and see the original windmill mechanisms.
Falmouth, which was popular as a beach resort and for water sports, is now a place of lively music, art, and theater scene, with its opera company. When looking for a nice place for annual vacation, you can rent a beautiful kayak and explore the Great Salt Marsh. You can even take a bicycle to ride along the 10-mile Shining Sea Bike Path. Alternatively, you can also visit the Falmouth Museums on the Green and see the two 18th century houses. These houses are fully furnished with period furniture, fine art, textiles, temporary exhibits, and colonial-style flower and herb garden.
The Highfield Hall and Gardens of 1878 was also restored and opened in 2006 after nearly falling to the wrecking ball. The house and two gardens are now places for indoor and outdoor art exhibitions. They cover a wide range of fiber arts, ceramics, prints, quilts, sculptures, and fairy houses.
Chatham is one of the most appealing towns in Cape Cod. It features gracious air, scenic white-sand beach, a lighthouse, summer band concerts, and its baseball team. When visiting this place, you can have a stop at the Atwood House. The house was built in 1752 by the family that occupied it until 1926. Today, the house displays a collection of 18th and 19th-century furniture, paintings, glassware, and Chinese tools.
Chatham Marconi Maritime Center is also the site of the former Marconi/RCA Wireless Receiving Station, a major World War II military installation center and once the East Coast’s busiest ship-to-shore station. It was a secretive military listening station during the war and the entire section now codes interception and the Enigma machine. Today, the museum is a place where young people are invited to demonstrate their telegraph equipment and Morse code, and exhibitions on how cellphones and other contemporary electronics work.
The Provincetown, which sits at the very tip of Cape Cod, is again one of the top tourist attractions on Cape Cod offering thriving music and art. It was founded in 1620 when the Pilgrims landed in the Mayflower before moving on Plymouth. The town has lovely beaches, miles of walking and cycling paths, kayaking, and boat excursions. The two main tourist attractions at the Provincetown are the Pilgrim Monument and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.
The Pilgrim Monument is 252 feet, which is the tallest and all-granite structure in the US. At the base, you can know about the town’s history with innovative displays, ship models, whaling equipment, arrowheads, maritime artifacts, and tools of the local Wampanoag people. You can also climb the top to have spectacular views of the town.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum were first formed to support artists who were European refugees after World War I. However, you can now visit the museum to see the artistic works of those who lived and worked in the area.
10. Cape Cod Whale Watching
Whale watching is also one of the famous tourist attractions on Cape Cod. This means you cannot visit Cape Cod and leave without seeing whales and other sea life on a boat trip. Various boats from different harbors leave frequently for visitors to see whales and other marine life. The most common harbors include Hyannis, Barnstable, MacMillan Wharf, and Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary. Boats usually leave MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown in mid-April for whale watching and reach Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in October.
There are professional naturalists who help passengers to observe finback, humpback, and minke whales on tours that last two-and-a-half to four hours. Boats can also leave Chatham and take passengers to watch seals in their habitats and see the Chatham’s famed beaches and picturesque harbors. Alternatively, you can board a high-speed catamaran from Harwich Port for a narrated seal cruise around the Monomoy island.
Those visiting Cape Cod in 2021 can also find dozens of beaches along Route 6A and Lower County Road in Dennis. West Dennis Beach on Davis Beach Road is the most popular beach on the route and is more than a mile with 100 cars parking. The area is good for windsurfing, kite flying, and collecting shells. Children will also find a good playground.
The 22-miles Cape Cod Rail Trail connects Dennis with Wellfleet. Therefore, when looking for the best place to enjoy cultural dances and activities, you can visit the Cape Playhouse. It is the oldest professional summer theater in the US. You can also visit the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Its amazing to see the works of the famous Thomas Hart Benton, Childe Hassam, Hans Hofmann, and many others.
12. Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a paved recreation path that extends 25 miles from South Dennis to Wellfleet. It passes through the towns of Yarmouth, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, and Eastham, with only a few minor grades around Orleans and Wellfleet. The paved trail is widely used by cyclists. However, it also has a wide unpaved shoulder on one side for horseback riders, walkers, and runners. Tourists using this trail can also enjoy beach stops, food, and water breaks. They can even opt for bike rentals. These are available at bike shops located directly on the trail in Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, and Wellfleet.
Cape Cod is rich in historic information, art galleries, antique shops and has outstanding natural environment. The above-named tourist attractions on Cape Cod are usually packed in the summers. However, those visiting them during the year can also find attractive scenes that are both suave and lively. The region has everything including beaches, natural sights, and historic attractions. So, everyone visiting it has something to enjoy.