Cape Cod, or the Cape as it is locally known, is one of the world's largest barrier islands, and you can find it right off the Massachusetts coast. A vacation hotspot, it is particularly attractive to travelers during the summer season, as this is when its pristine beaches are at their best. The Cape is so much more than just a great beach vacation destination, however, and regardless of their interests, one trip is all it usually takes to convert visitors into lifelong fans.
Cape Cod MA
Miles of beachfront, undeniable small-town character, and a link to the Kennedys are just some of the things that Cape Cod MA is known for. There are some 300 miles of beachfront on Cape Cod, and as for the small-town appeal, it is evident in all of the fifteen charming towns, each with their own character. As for Cape Cod's relation to the Kennedys, the family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., purchased a cottage on the island in the 1920s. Over time, he had this cottage expanded and the estate became the preferred summer vacation destination for the Kennedy clan. While the famed Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port isn't open to visitors, views of the area can be enjoyed from nearby vantage points and the decks of a tour boat.
JFK was just one of a few presidents who helped to bring popularity to Cape Cod Massachusetts as a vacation destination. Prior to the arrival of the Kennedys, Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland figured among past visitors. The island's history in general is a rich one. It was among the first spots in all of North America to be settled by the British, with the oldest town of Sandwich having a settlement date of 1637. A number of historic homes attest to the island's relatively long history, and many have been converted into charming inns or B&Bs.
There is something for everyone in Cape Cod MA. Picturesque lighthouses offer great sightseeing opportunities, and there are miles of biking and hiking trails. Birdwatching enthusiasts can fill hours on end at the various parks and reserves, and from May to October, the whale watching opportunities are splendid. A collection of excellent golf courses, such as the one that can be found at the Wequassett Resort & Golf Club, cater to those who like to tee it up while on vacation, and a number of hotels offer tennis courts and other facilities that can be taken advantage of when there is down time to fill. As can be expected, spas figure among the facilities at some of the more luxurious Cape Cod hotels, so visitors can certainly pamper themselves if that is the aim.
There are so many fun things to do on Cape Cod that it can be hard to know where to start. At Sandy Neck Beach on the north coast, for example, there are beautiful dunes to admire, and Chatham's quaint Main Street is an excellent place to stroll, shop, and dine. Cape Cod fishing is known for its quality and provides angling enthusiasts with a perfect reason to visit, and for the nightlife enthusiast, Provincetown with its lively bars and clubs can be a great place to hang out once the sun goes down.
Not far south of Cape Cod are the other wonderful Massachusetts vacation islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Regional cruise and ferry companies offer connections. It is also possible to fly between the islands for those who wish, and plying the area waters in a private watercraft is also an option. These islands all have numerous marinas for boaters to take advantage of. Getting to and from Cape Cod from the mainland is also easy. Once again, taking a ferry or cruise boat is an option, with Boston being among the most popular places to arrange a journey out.
Flying to Cape Cod is also possible, with the Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis being the arrival point for planes, and because of the Sagamore and Bourne bridges, visitors can always drive over. Some ferries accommodate vehicles, and rental cars are available on the island for those who prefer to go that route. Ample Cape Cod transportation options exist for visitors who wish to leave the driving up to somebody else, and two wheels or your own two feet can often be all that are needed for getting around.
Top image: Яick Harris (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0