This is a guest post by Shobha George who blogs and podcasts about family travel at Just Go Places.
Cape Cod is in the state of Massachusetts on the Atlantic coast of the USA. The peninsula is shaped like a flexed arm: the Outer Cape faces the Atlantic while the other side forms a bay with the mainland, and is known as the bay side. We spent a relaxing week there 12 years ago, just before my daughter started school, and we loved exploring the seashore and going out on a whale-watching trip. Here are Shobha’s tips for things to do in Cape Cod with children.
“Cape Cod is a popular family destination in the USA for many reasons. It’s got an unpretentious, picturesque charm with its fishing villages, genteel towns, ponds, marshlands and seashore. With so many indoor and outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy, your kids will be having too much fun there to miss their electronics!
The area has a long history, even though it is best known as a summer vacation area. Provincetown, at the very tip of the Cape, is where the Pilgrims first set foot on American soil. They didn’t like it and moved on to Plymouth on the main land mass of Massachusetts. Plymouth went down in the history books as their first settlement. The Pilgrims may not have known what to do with Cape Cod but modern visitors will be spoiled for choices.
Fun at the Beach
The Cape Cod National Seashore is a protected national park with 40 miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean for you to enjoy. You also get beaches on the bay side of the Cape which are much calmer than the ocean side. These beaches are perfect for small children, as are the small beaches along the ponds.
Playing in the Water
Cape Cod is great for the water sports-loving family. Equipment is easily available to rent so don’t worry about carting any gear on holiday. You can go canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Off the coast, there is also great fishing with boats that you can charter for a half-day or full-day. My son and his father have done a lot of deep-sea fishing and have caught so many fish, they usually throw some of them back into the ocean.
Biking on the trails
There are lots of easy biking trails on the Cape. The two that we have ridden are the Shining Sea Bikeway and the Cape Cod Rail Trail. The Shining Sea Bikeway is an eight-mile road along the coast. The Cape Cod Rail Trail runs 22 miles over a disused railroad track converted to a bike path. These trails are pretty flat, paved and an easy cycle ride for the whole family through pretty vistas. Make sure you bring sunscreen and water because that sun can get pretty hot!
Whale and seal watching
There are half-day whale watching trips from either Barnstable or Provincetown. Some of the companies state they can guarantee whale sightings which I find a dubious claim. You can also take a boat to Monomoy Island which is a protected wildlife habitat off the coast of Chatham. Seals are a protected species here. The abundance of seals has attracted the great white shark as well. The sharks find the seals easy munchies. Chatham has taken to referring to itself as the summer home of the great white shark. I like the way they have taken a negative and made it into a positive!
Thrills and spills
My children have yet to meet a theme park they did not like. In Cape Cod, we have gone to Cape Cod Inflatable Park a couple of times which is a riff on the theme of the TV show Total Wipeout. The whole park is made up of giant inflatables which are a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. Last year, the whole park was revamped to include even more rides. There’s a separate area for toddlers and water slide inflatables. For older teens and adults, there is also a separate ‘challenge’ area with advanced rides such as trapezes and zip lines.
Just this brief list shows you the different types of activities available for a fun family holiday on Cape Cod. You can find something that will be suitable for everyone in all different age groups. Cape Cod is perfect for a quintessential American holiday!”
Shobha is an American expat based in London with her family (husband and two kids, twins aged 9). Shobha and her family visit the Cape Cod peninsula every summer because they have a house in Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Cape Cod.
Thanks to Shobha for sharing her tips for Cape Cod. If you’ve been to Cape Cod, do you have any tips to add? If you haven’t been to Cape Cod, does it sound like somewhere that you’d like to visit?