Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock/Aleksei PotovSunset on the baySkaket Beach SunsetLow Tide - Orleans MAWood End LightPtown harborPtown HarborChatham LightMarconi Beach

Families will love:

  • Tons of outdoor family activities and adventure
  • Cape Cod National Seashore and Rail Trail
  • Charming New England towns

Shaped like a bent arm with a big bicep, the peninsula that is Cape Cod offers so much more than a great beach vacation. Sure there are spectacular beaches chock full of sea grasses and mountainous dunes -- especially along that stretch of coast that John F. Kennedy designated as the Cape Cod National Seashore -- but "The Cape" (as New Englanders call her) is a special ... more
Shaped like a bent arm with a big bicep, the peninsula that is Cape Cod offers so much more than a great beach vacation. Sure there are spectacular beaches chock full of sea grasses and mountainous dunes -- especially along that stretch of coast that John F. Kennedy designated as the Cape Cod National Seashore -- but "The Cape" (as New Englanders call her) is a special environment that gets into your soul.

The Cape has inspired more than a few artists and writers to create odes to Cape Cod's charms, like kettle ponds for warm-water wading, quaint towns with brick paths for strolling, band concerts on a green, evening ballgames out of a Norman Rockwell painting, and miles and miles of peaceful pathways to stroll, pedal or paddle.

Prior to 1914 Cape Cod was united with the mainland. The US Army Corps of Engineers dug the 17-and-a-half-mile long, 480-foot wide Cape Cod canal between 1909 and 1914, making Cape Cod an independent landmass, and creating the world's widest sea-level canal. (But don't call it an island, the locals frown upon it.)

You could spend entire summers exploring both the land and the waterways surrounding the Cape and its 15 distinctive towns. The best way to start is with a Cape Cod map so that you get a feel for which towns are in the Upper, Mid, Lower, and Outer Cape. (Locals will hold out their arms and point to their shoulder to indicate where you are on the Upper Cape, mid-Cape is your elbow, and the Lower and Outer Cape are on the raised forearm, with Provincetown, or P-town, located at the furthest tip.

By the end of our own week biking, kayaking, whale watching (and sampling many an ice-cream shop), we realized what we loved most about the Cape is that a vacation here somehow manages to be both active and relaxing.

Written by Christine Koubek less

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