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?
Jaime Oliver says
This sounds so beautiful … i have to say that sand sculpture was by far the best i have ever seen!
Jaime Oliver recently posted…Saving For Your Child’s Education 101
I like the idea of paddle boarding but don’t think i would spent that much time on the board I would probably send more time in the water from falling off. Whale watching is something I would love to do.
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Donna @OrdCyclingGirl says
Cape Cod and cycling alongside the coast sounds pretty awesome. I’ll definitely be adding the Cape Cod bike trail to my list of ‘must-do’ cycling adventures.
Donna @OrdCyclingGirl recently posted…Catalunya: City Sight-Seeing & Cycling Around Girona
Cape Cod is somewhere I’ve always been intrigued by and would love to visit – sounds like there’s loads to do too!
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Penny A Residence says
Provincetown was awesome fun! That was pre kids, but this makes me want to go back with them.
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Sonya Cisco says
Looks like a fab place to visit – plenty to see and do.
Sonya Cisco recently posted…What the f*** do I do with myself now?
I have always wanted to go whale watching and that sand sculpture is amazing
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sam fernley says
A place I would love to go! I did fly over it on my way back from NY and I was nose pressed to window looking at the coastline formation. Would be a dream to visit.
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Joanne Dewberry says
My son would adore the whale watching!
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Mary Louise says
I always did wander where Cape Cod was – very interesting.
I would love to ride the bike trail. Cape Cod seems like a great place to visit.
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I would love to go back to America, anywhere, Cape Cod, New York, you name it! We were last there when Emma was only 2 and would love her to relive the experience, now that she is a bit older.xx
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JuggleMum, Nadine Hill says
I’ve never been to Cape Cod but there are so many places in America that I’d love to explore – I’ve only just scratched the surface!
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I’ve not been to Cape Cod but it certainly sounds like a fun place to visit with the family.
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Bex @ The Mummy Adventure says
The inflatable park looks brilliant! I wouldn’t want to take the kids though, they might slow me down !
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I would LOVE to go whale watching, it’s on my bucket list of things to do!
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Jen Walshaw (@Mum_TheMadHouse) says
Oh one, yes one day we will do all this and more as a family. it is on our to visit places.
Sarah Ebner says
We went to Cape Cod a long time ago, before we had kids, and it was gorgeous. Such a lovely place for a family holiday – lucky Shobha! And great tips too.
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All I know about Cape Cod is the reference to it in the movie Splash! I have always wanted to visit Massachusetts, and reading about all the things you can do in Cape Cod, would mean I would factor that into a trip there.
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Thanks very much for having me on your blog!
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Gretta Schifano says
Thanks for writing this Shobha!
Cape Cod is on my to do list and this just makes me want to go more!! Fab post x
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