Summer is finally here and a popular destination for many families to visit is Cape Cod! As a child I spent most of my summers vacationing on the Cape and as fate would have it, my husband’s family also has a home there. We are lucky enough to spend a considerable amount of time there and it is extra special now that we are able to share it with our kids!
The Cape offers a wide variety of activities for families and in my biased opinion, it is a great summer getaway option.
However with all this said, the Cape is large and can be a bit confusing for first time visitors. This post will hopefully help to mentally sort out the four geographical areas of Cape Cod and some family-friendly restaurant options and activities for each area that I and other FC Moms Blog contributors personally recommend!
Once you cross over the Bourne or Sagamore bridge, you are technically considered to have entered Cape Cod. The towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Mashpee, Woods Hole and Falmouth are widely considered to make up the “Upper Cape.” Here are some family friendly restaurants and activities for this area:
Family Friendly Restaurants:
Bourne: Chart Room
- Canal Bike Trail (*paved bike trail approximately 6 miles in length between the Bourne and Sagamore bridges)
- Eight Cousins Bookstore
- Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard (*ferries run from Woods Hole, Falmouth and Hyannis, see schedule here)
After the Upper Cape, you enter what is considered to be “Mid-Cape.” This area includes the towns of Barnstable, Hyannis, Dennis and Yarmouth. See below for my recommendations for kids in Mid-Cape:
Family Friendly Restaurants:
- Cape Cod Inflatable Park
- Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf
- Whydah Pirate Museum
- Skull Island at Bass River Sport’s World
The Lower Cape is made up of the towns of Brewster, Chatham, Harwich and Orleans.
Family Friendly Restaurants
- Kate’s Seafood
- Cobies (*Kate’s and Cobies are both clam shacks outside so plan accordingly with weather)
- Laurino’s (*bounce house on site)
- Guapo’s Tortilla Shack (*locations in Orleans and Brewster)
- Hangar B (*serves breakfast/lunch in a small airport – great for little ones who love watching planes!)
- Chatham Squire Restaurant
- The Red Nun
- Hot Chocolate Sparrow
- Red Ballon Toy Shop
- Cape Escape Mini-Golf and Adventures
- Academy of Performing Arts (check out a show here)
- Goose Hummock (kayak and boat rentals)
- Snow’s Home and Garden (make sure to check out the impressive train set in the back)
- Brewster General Store
- Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
- Cape Cod Repertory Theatre: Outdoor Theatre Children’s Shows
- Harbor Lights Mini-Golf
- Brewster Bookstore (look for children’s events on calendar)
- Drummer Boy Park (playground and music on Sunday evenings)
- Bud’s Go Carts (information can be found by phone at (508-432-4964)
- Trampoline Center (information can be found by phone at (508-432-8717)
- Grand Slam Entertainment
The final section of the Cape is usually referred to as the “Outer Cape.” The towns of Eastham, Truro and Wellfleet are a little sleepier and quieter than the previous mentioned towns, although still have plenty going on. Provincetown, which is the last town on the tip of the Cape has a lot going on and is an extremely fun place to visit but can get very crowded, especially downtown Commercial Street.
*A quick note on Provincetown: In the summertime Provincetown has “theme” weeks which largely celebrate the LGBTQ and artistic community. Often there are parades and celebrations.
Family Friendly Restaurants
- Mac’s Shack
- P.J.’s (*Mac’s and P.J.’s are outside clam shacks so plan accordingly with weather)
- Moby Dick’s Restaurant
- The Flying Fish
- Drive in Movie Theatre
- Lieutenant’s Island Bridge (*the bridge to the island floods at high tide and you can jump off into the water)
- Dolphin Fleet Whale Watching Tours
- Stroll Downtown (*make sure you scope out the store before you go in, depending on kid’s age and your comfort level)
Here are a few kid-friendly activities that span the entire Cape that you won’t want to miss!
1. The Beach
It goes without saying that the main attraction of the Cape is its amazing shoreline. Honestly this could be an entire blog post on its own and I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about all the wonderful beaches Cape Cod has to offer. However for kids, I’ve found that the main differential is whether you are on the bay or the ocean.
Oceanside v. Bayside: The bay has calmer waters, fun sandbars and is ideal for little ones. The ocean side touts big waves, colder water and is more suited for older kids. Whichever town you are staying in will have a great beach to visit and depending where you are, it will most likely be a fairly easy drive to get to either side. If you are not walking or biking, make sure you leave early and have cash on you as parking fills up quickly and can be fairly expensive (usually about $20).
2. Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail, or commonly referred to the CCRT is a paved path that stretches from Dennis to Wellfleet. There are lots of scenic viewing areas along the trail and easy on-off access with plenty of free parking for trail users. It is a fun activity for all different biking abilities! In the mornings, I love to stick my little ones in the bike trailer and bike on the CCRT from our house to the Chocolate Sparrow for breakfast.
3. Cape Cod Baseball League
Summer Catch anyone? The Cape Cod Baseball League is a collegiate summer baseball league that consists of ten teams located in various towns on the Cape. The games are fun to go to with kids and showcase some real talent, with many of the players ending up playing in the MLB. You can check out the teams, field locations and schedule here. Also many of the fields have playgrounds, which is an added bonus for the little ones who may get restless.
As I previously stated, the majority of these recommendations are personal favorites as to my family and other FC Moms Blog contributors. We would love to hear from you in the comments regarding any of your favorite family-friendly restaurants and activities on the Cape! Happy vacation!