The popular holiday destination of Cape Cod lies in the southeastern corner of Massachusetts, surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as Cape Cod Bay and Cape Cod Canal. Among the Cape’s numerous attractions are fascinating museums, an absorbing aquarium, a unique county fair, and exciting amusement parks. Other adventures to embark on include kayaking, whale watching, fishing, and visiting wildlife sanctuaries. These activities are situated close to many cozy Cape Cod vacation rentals. Here are the top 15 things to do in Cape Cod.

1. Heritage Museum and Gardens

Heritage Museums and Gardens is an immense facility that includes several buildings housing collections, nature trails, and family play areas. Exhibits feature displays of antique automobiles, military miniatures, landscape paintings, American folk art, and many historical artifacts. The Adventure Park at Heritage has zip lines, tunnels, rope walks, moving planks, and other exciting features.

2. Cape Cod Maritime Museum

The Cape Cod Maritime Museum on the Hyannis waterfront highlights the importance of the sea in the history of the Cape. Among the fascinating exhibits are a collection of carved whalebone and narwhal tusks, displays on wooden boat construction, and a 28-foot boat for kids to climb on and explore. The museum also has a boat building workshop and offers lessons in crafting wooden boats.

3. Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours

Based in Plymouth, Captain John Boats takes you out onto the North Atlantic Ocean to observe marine mammals such as humpback whales, pilot whales, porpoises, dolphins, and seals in their natural habitats and feeding grounds. The company also takes groups for deep sea ocean fishing, where you can angle for cod, mackerel, flounder, haddock, and pollack.

4. Barnstable County Fair

Initiated in 1844, the Barnstable County Fair takes place every summer at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds in East Falmouth. Attractions include petting zoos, 4H demonstrations, animal shows, horticultural displays, and local arts and crafts. The site also features amusement rides, live music, games, and plenty to eat and drink.

5. Cape Cod Museum of Art

The Cape Cod area has a rich heritage of artistic endeavor, and the Cape Cod Museum of Art highlights the work of local historical and contemporary artists. The facility includes seven galleries, a sculpture garden, a children’s treasure hunt, and art classes for adults and kids.

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6. RideAway Kayak and SUP

Enjoy a leisurely paddle on the pristine waterways of Cape Cod. Based in East Sandwich, RideAway Kayak and SUP offer rentals of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards as well as equipment delivery all over the Cape. The company also has classes, guided nature tours, adventure camps for children, and numerous other special events and races.

7. Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster includes the main building and 80 acres of land with several nature trails through salt marsh and woodlands. Exhibits focus on animals and plants from the local area, including whales, fish, reptiles, and birds. The museum also houses numerous live animals. Interactive displays, guided field walks, lectures, workshops, and other activities make it easy and fun for people of all ages to learn about Cape Cod ecology.

8. Monomoy Island Excursions

Monomoy Island lies just off the southeastern tip of Cape Cod, and family-owned Monomoy Island Excursions provides a streamlined cruise on a sleek catamaran to view the thousands of seals at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Passengers often catch thrilling glimpses of great white sharks in the waters around the island. You also get close-up looks at Monomoy Lighthouse, Chatham Lighthouse, and Stage Harbor Lighthouse.

9. Cape Codder Water Park

The Cape Codder Water Park at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis is a huge indoor/outdoor facility with a retractable roof to let in the warmth and sunshine on summer days. Attractions include high-speed waterslides, a stormy river, and a wave pool. Younger kids can enjoy the Pirate Bay spray pool with its smaller waterslides and fun water cannons. For some downtime, relax in the immense 24-person Jacuzzi.

10. Art’s Dune Tours

The Cape Cod shore has miles of sand dunes with patches of beach grass and pine trees. Explore these enigmatic hills of sand that spread as far as you can see while riding in fully enclosed air-conditioned trucks with Art’s Dune Tours. The route takes you past beachside shacks where writers and artists such as Eugene O’Neill and Harry Kemp created their masterpieces. You also pass the abandoned Peaked Hill Life Saving Station, which housed lifeguards who rescued passengers and crews from offshore shipwrecks.

11. Skull Island Sports World

Skull Island Sports World in South Yarmouth offers a wealth of family activities. Things to do include go-karting, skateboarding, batting cages, soccer cages, and a driving range. The facility also has an arcade with an extensive selection of games. The Skull Island Adventure mini-golf course takes you into a haunted treasure cave and a Swiss Family Robinson tree house and over lovely waterfalls.

12. Cape Cod Children’s Museum

The Cape Cod Children’s Museum in Mashpee is the perfect place to take the kids. The facility emphasizes hands-on interactive exhibits that encourage free play, learning, and creativity. Activity environments include a large pirate ship, a submarine, a puppet theater, a tree house, and other pretend zones. The kids can also express their creativity at the arts and crafts tables.

13. Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

The Pilgrim Monument at the northern tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown is the tallest all-granite structure in the country. You can climb to the top of this 252-foot tower for a breathtaking panoramic view of Provincetown, its harbor, and Cape Cod Bay. At the foot of the monument, the museum highlights early Cape Cod history.

14. Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

The Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary at South Wellfleet provides miles of trails through diverse habitats such as pine forest and salt marsh where you can watch for green herons, terrapins, horseshoe crabs, sea turtles, and other wildlife. The nature center features numerous exhibits on natural history and ecology.

15. Sandwich Glass Museum

The Sandwich Glass Museum in the village of Sandwich offers a look into an industry that has helped shape the history of Cape Cod since 1825. Its numerous galleries display over 6,000 works of shaped glass and other historic artifacts. Daily glassblowing demonstrations allow you to see how the artists blow and shape the glass.

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