Cape Cod with Kids: 12 Things to Do This Summer in Eastham, MA
Mommy Poppins Boston is teaming up with Eastham Vacation Guide to offer a special insider’s look at things to do with kids in Eastham, MA. Eastham Vacation Guide is the go-to guide for all there is to eat, shop, play, see and do in Eastham.
Just past the Orleans rotary, at the start of the Outer Cape, lies the historic town of Eastham, MA. As with most any Cape Cod town, the beaches are the main attraction for any visiting family– from the surf and majesty of the Cape Cod National Seashore to the more protected, gentler bay beaches and fresh-water kettle ponds, Eastham has it all. But there’s plenty more for families to do, and Eastham Vacation Guide is pleased to share some of our favorite family must-dos.
Eastham Vacation Guide's 12 Family Favorites
- Bring out your kid’s inner Arnie Palmer with a round of mini-golf. The Red Barn and Poit’s Lighthouse Mini-Golf are fun, but the 18-hole set-up at Arnold’s, complete with waterfalls, streams, a treasure chest and almost-life-size pirate ship, is blow-your-mind spectacular.
- Go on, you know you want it…and so do your kids. Feed your ice cream addiction with a visit to Emack & Bolio’s, The Local Scoop, Nauset Ice Cream, Ben & Jerry’s or Arnold’s. Emack & Bolio’s is set in a charming Victorian house in Orleans, just a few minutes south of Eastham. They also have a small shop in Wellfleet, just north of Eastham. The Local Scoop, which features both ice cream and frozen yogurt as well as tons of great mix-ins, is just a few blocks away from Emack & Bolio’s. Nauset Ice Cream is right on Route 6 in Eastham. All of their 25 flavors are homemade and the serving size is super-generous. A double scoop at Arnold’s is a great reward after a competitive game of mini-golf.
- Digging for clams in the Salt Pond is a quintessential Cape Cod summer activity that kids of all ages will love. The Salt Pond is a 40-foot-deep glacial kettle hole that’s stocked with littlenecks, quahogs and steamers. Bring a clam rake and clam basket and wear sneakers that you don’t mind ruining in the pond’s muck. The Salt Pond is open for clamming each Sunday but schedules vary, depending on the tides. A shell fishing permit is required. You can buy one for a week or for the entire season. It can be obtained at the Eastham Natural Resources Office.
- Ride bikes along the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It runs the entire length of Eastham, along what used to be the old Penn Central Railroad tracks. The trail backs up to most of the hotels and motels in Eastham, making access convenient. Don’t have enough space in the minivan to bring your bikes? Rentals are available through Idle Times Bike Shop and Little Capistrano Bike Shop.
- Buy “penny” candy at The Red Barn. Our kids save up all winter in anticipation of a summer visit to the spectacular candy section here. Of course nothing still costs a penny, but you won’t mind a bit when you see the smile on your kid’s face.
- Watch a film about Cape Cod at the Salt Pond Visitor Center. An indoor theater features five films on a rotating basis, each 12 to 20 minutes in length—short enough to hold the attention of even the most fidgety kid. “Sands of Time” showcases the formation of the Cape by ice, wind and water and describes the processes that continue to shape the Cape today. Other films cover the area’s maritime industry, life-saving service, Marconi’s invention of wireless communication, and Henry David Thoreau’s 19th-century perspective on the Cape.
- Climb the rock wall or play inner-tube water polo at Willy’s Gym. If that’s a little too challenging, your kids can just race with kickboards in the huge pool. Willy’s three-story play structure is fabulous for kids ages eight and under. You can join Willy’s for just a day, a weekend or a week.
- Go freshwater fishing in a kettle pond. Depot Pond, Great Pond and Minister Pond are stocked with bass and pickerel while Herring Pond is stocked with those varieties as well as trout and white perch. A Massachusetts fishing license is required for fishing enthusiasts ages 15 and up.
- What, no iPads? Learn what Eastham’s classrooms looked like 144 years ago by visiting the Schoolhouse Museum. The one-room structure was built in 1869 and includes exhibits depicting the area’s history as well as shipwreck treasures, old paper currency, Native American artifacts and a 13-foot whale jawbone that is sure to inspire awe among your kids.
- Attend a baseball youth clinic presented by Eastham’s Cape Cod Baseball League home team, the Firebirds. The CCBL is, according to their motto, “Where the stars of tomorrow shine tonight.” The league’s ten teams have all-collegiate members, who just happen to be super-talented. As many as 1,000 CCBL alumni can be found playing in pro leagues at any one time.
- Become a Cape Cod National Seashore Junior Ranger. It’s a hands-on program for kids aged five to 12 who love the outdoors and want to learn more about what makes Cape Cod, well, Cape Cod.
- Tour Nauset Light, a circa 1877 cast-iron lighthouse that can be used as a tool to teach kids about beach erosion. The lighthouse was saved from falling into the sea in the 1990s when it was moved to its present location. Free tours are available 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sundays from May to September and Wednesdays in July and August.
About Eastham Vacation Guide
Eastham Vacation Guide is an online insider’s guide to the best places to eat, shop, stay and play in the Eastham area of Cape Cod. The site was founded by Carolyn Gatto, whose extended family has been vacationing in Eastham for over 50 years. She also is the founder of Eastham Vacation Rentals, a site that showcases five-star Eastham homes that are available to rent seasonally. She was co-founder and publisher of WeJustGotBack.com, a multi-award-winning family trip-planning site that she sold in 2012.