. From the moment you cross over the Sagamore Bridge, you are on Cape Time. Say good-bye to stress and uncomfortable shoes and hello to family-time and flip flops! Cape Cod is famous for its legendary seafood, pristine beaches, charming main streets, and a seemingly endless supply of children's activities, making it a perfect family vacation destination. You can spend your days splashing in the water or building sandcastles, and your nights mini golfing with pirates or watching future major league baseball stars play. Or, you can head out on the open water to catch glimpses of astonishing sea life. I have spent just about every summer of my life here, forming some of my most enduring childhood memories. It's a tradition I am thrilled to carry on with my family.
To make sure your family vacation is stress-free, I have rounded up 50 of my all-time favorite things to do with kids on the Cape. There are old favorites like lobster rolls and seashell collecting, to some of new-found traditions like breweries and pirate museums. I've even included some tried-and-true options for those dreaded rainy days.
Whether you are going to explore the National Seashore for an entire week or spend some time on the islands as well, Cape Cod is definitely the stuff that summer vacation dreams are made of.
1. Fancy Nancy Tea Party (Chatham)
Dress up in your fanciest attire, if you please, for a three-course tea party complete with tiny sandwiches, scones, and a craft. It’s best to sign up for their newsletters as this event tends to sell out fast!
2. Cape Cod Baseball League (Various Towns)
This is the premier amateur baseball league in the nation—and tickets are FREE!
Whether you root for your (vacation) home team, or pick the field with the best playground, a night spent with the Cape Cod Baseball League is prime for good ol’ family fun.
3. Muffins from Woolfies (Dennis Port)
I debated if I should include this small bakery, because I don’t want the line to get any longer—but the muffins are too good to keep it a secret.
Find a treasure and a treat at the Brewster General Store.
4. Brewster General Store (Brewster)
We have spent many rainy days scouring through the trinkets and treasures at the Brewster General Store. With penny candy, books, souvenirs, and other unique items, this store easily transports you back in time.
5. Magic by the Sea (Chatham
Housed in the Universalist Unitarian Church in Chatham, Magic by the Sea is fun for the whole family. This magic show features illusion comedy, and amazing magic for kids (big and small!)
6. Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (Wellfleet)
My family has been taking the hike from the Audubon’s Visitors’ Center down to the bay since my daughter could walk. Plan your trip for low tide, and you will be treated to fiddler crabs, herons fishing, and a variety of other wildlife.
The rail trail is a family-friendly pathway for bikes and strollers.
Cape Cod Rail Trail (Various Locations)
The CCRT winds its way through six Cape Cod towns with a 22-mile running, biking, and walking trail. Biking is the most popular way to hit this trail— its flat paved surface is easy for the whole family to navigate.
8. Cape Cod Children’s Museum (Mashpee)
This bright and colorful museum offers a variety of hands on exhibits. Make sure to check their event calendar for an ever-changing list of offerings.
9. Arts Dune Tours (Provincetown)
Explore the dunes surrounding Provincetown in a specially outfitted Suburban. Arts Dune Tours take you into Peaked Hill Bars Historic District Sand Dunes where your guide will point out “dune shacks” and breathtaking views. There is no minimum age for this tour (although you will have to bring your own carseat).
10. Enjoy sunset at Race Point (Provincetown)
There is nothing quite like watching the sun melt into the ocean—and the view from Race Point does not disappoint. If the weather cooperates you will be treated to a visual treat of swirling reds, blues, and oranges. You will definitely want to bring your camera.
Clam strips or lobster rolls? It's a win-win at Arnold's
I literally can’t come to the Cape and not stop at Arnold’s—it’s like a right of passage. Delicious fried seafood and lobster rolls—plus, their kids meals are served on souvenir frisbees!
12. Mini golf your landlubber hearts out (South Yarmouth)
or Skull Island
—doesn’t really matter. Summer nights are MADE for mini golf and these two locations do not disappoint. Waterfalls, pirate ships, and a glowing skull make these courses above par.
You can’t miss the whirling windsocks and kites on Route 28. Dr Gravity’s Kite shop has loads of kites to choose from and a knowledgeable staff who can help you pick the right one.
Story time often comes with a visit from a famous children's author in Chatham.
14. Wednesday Story Time at Where the Sidewalk Ends (Chatham)
Enjoy a summer morning camped out on the porch of Where the Sidewalk Ends in Chatham. Crafts, costumed characters, and visiting authors are a perfect way to spend a morning.
15. Search for seashells (various locations)
Longnook Beach, Breakwater Beach, and Cold Storage Beach are just some of the best spots to search for seashells. We’ve found scallops, clam and oyster shells all along the Cape. Your best bet is to hit the seashore before the crowds come in!
16. Cape Cod Brewery (Hyannis
This family friendly brewery offers the usual tours, corn hole, and a gift shop. But, if you visit during the summer months, you will also be treated to a Cape Cod Dawg from the Hot Dog Truck.
17. Cape Cod Potato Chip Tour (Hyannis)
All I’m going to say is this: FREE tour and FREE potato chips. This spot tends to get crowded on rainy days, so plan wisely!
18. See low tide at Corporation Beach (Dennis)
The curve of this beach creates a tidal pool that is perfect for children. The receding water leaves large flats to explore in its wake. These tidal pools are filled with snails, crabs, and other marine creatures.
19. Nickerson State Park (Brewster
A trip to Nickerson State Park instantly transports you to a different world— say good bye to sand dunes and salt marshes and hello to pine forests and crystal clear fresh water ponds. Bike, hike, and camp—this state park is like a vacation from your vacation.
Find the perfect souvenirs from a Cape vacation in P-town.
20. Stroll around P-Town (Provincetown)
Provincetown is the most northern tip of Cape Cod. It has a rich history as a fishing and whaling center, and as a haven for tourists, writers, and artists. Today, it’s vibrant downtown is lined with small shops and restaurants, making it a perfect destination to stroll around.
21. Cape Cod Natural History Museum (Brewster)
Rain or shine, the Cape Cod Natural History Museum is guaranteed entertainment for the whole family for a few hours. Spend some time watching the birds, explore the touch tank and aquariums, or explore the trails along the salt marsh.
22. Hike up Eddy Bay Trail (Brewster)
This mile-long-round-trip trail is easy enough for even the youngest hikers. The view of Cape Cod Bay at the end makes it worth the climb!
Many anglers get their start right off the beach on the Cape.
23. Learn to fish (Various Locations)
Just about any jetty, dock, or beach is a perfect place to cast your line into the deep blue ocean. Sure, you may not catch anything, but that’s part of the thrill! Anglers 15 and older must apply for a Massachusetts Fishing License
24. Explore the Tidal Pools at Paines Creek Beach (Brewster)
I have spent many days here at low tide, exploring tidal pools filled with crabs and other creatures. You can spend the whole day and watch the landscape dramatically shift with the changing tide.
25. Family Fridays at Heritage Museum and Gardens (Sandwich)
Any day is a fun one at the Heritage Museum and Gardens, but Fridays bring an extra special treat with musical performances and entertainment. Be sure to head over to Hidden Hollow to experience one of the best “children’s play areas” ever.
26. Hyannis Harbor Cruise (Hyannis)
This one-hour cruise is a great way to learn a little bit about the Cape’s maritime history. To sweeten the deal-on Wednesday nights you can enjoy the Ice Cream Float with a treat from Ben & Jerry’s!
The Wydah Pirate Museum is fun for a rainy day (or any day).
27. Whydah Pirate Museum (West Yarmouth)
This place goes WAY beyond “shiver me timbers” and “aye me hearties”. Get up close and personal with real pirate artifacts at the ONLY pirate shipwreck whose identity has been authenticated.
28. Cape Cod Inflatable Park (West Yarmouth)
If your kid goes bonkers for bouncy houses, then this place is for you! After 6pm, the water rides shut down and admission is only $20 for a whole lot of bouncy fun!
29. Lighthouse Overlook (Chatham)
Don’t let the crowds scare you: I have always been able to find a parking spot at the Chatham Lighthouse Overlook. There are usually several short term (30 minutes) parking spots available for you to get out, enjoy the view, and marvel at this functioning light house. The Coast Guard offers weekly tours
throughout the summer. 2
30. Chatham Railroad Museum (Chatham)
Housed in a beautiful antique rail road depot, the Chatham Railroad Museum features a 1910 restored wood caboose that children can explore. This museum is small, but if you are looking for something to do with a tiny train-lover this is the place.
Get up close to Cape's crabbiest residents at the Marine Life Cruise.
31. Marine Life Cruise (Sesuit Harbor)
The naturalists from the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary will use nets and pots to bring sea creatures right up onto the boat! You have a chance to get up close and personal with fish, crabs, shellfish, and plankton.
32. Chatham Shark Center (North Chatham)
Great White Sharks are perhaps the Cape’s most famous tourists and are also the most misunderstood. The Chatham Shark Center has interactive exhibits, videos, displays, and virtual reality experiences to learn more about these captivating creatures.
33. Four Seas Home-Made Ice Cream (Centerville)
This award winning spot has been serving up ice cream since 1934. Take your cone to go, or sit and enjoy a frappe in the dining room.
Don't forget to wear your paper hats at Sundae School.
34. Sundae School ice cream (Dennisport, East Orleans, Harwich Port)
Now, this is a sundae school your kids won’t complain about going to! This Cape Cod institution is a right of passage in my family! Make sure you ask for a paper hat for a perfect photo-opportunity.
35. Woods Hole Science Aquarium (Woods Hole)
I remember spending rainy days at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium trying to kill time waiting for the ferry to the Islands. I’m not going to lie: Not much has changed in 30 years. But, it's FREE and there are touch tanks and 140 species of marine animals on display.
36. Try lobster ice cream at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium (Falmouth)
I know what you are thinking: “eww...lobster Ice cream?” But this buttery treat is worth a try!
37. Window shop in Chatham (Chatham)
Chatham’s picturesque downtown is New England charm at its best! Nestled into historic buildings, you will find Ducks in the Window - a store completely dedicated to rubber ducks! Make sure you also check out the Chatham Candy Manor, Chatham Toys, and Mermaids on Main.
38. Eat lobster rolls at Sesuit Harbor Cafe (Dennis)
There is something just so perfect about eating a lobster roll at a picnic table, surrounded by stunning views of Sesuit Harbor. They also have a full kids menu with classics such as chicken tenders and hamburgers.
39. Find some summer reading gem at a library (Various Locations)
Free story times, WiFi, AND crafts! The libraries of Cape Cod are a fantastic source of entertainment and information for tourists.
41. Fantastagorey Day at the Edward Gorey House (Yarmouth Port)
Fantastagorey Day (usually the first Saturday in August) should not be missed! A fun-filled family day with faceprinting, story-telling, and a Gashlycrumb Tiny scavenger hunt!
I spy...a gray seal!
42. Monomoy Island Excursions (Harwich Port)
Get up close and personal with the Gray Seals of Monomoy Island. Unlike a whale watch, this comparably short boat ride always results in stunning views and wildlife spotting.
43. Melody Tent (Hyannis)
Every summer, the Cape Cod Melody Tent sets up its—you guessed it—tent in Hyannis. They have a pretty amazing line-up of world class entertainment, but make sure you check out the children’s theater.
44. Wellfleet Drive-In Theater (Welfleet)
One of only 300 drive-Ins left in the country, the Wellfleet Drive-In in is a step back in time. Simply park your car, tune your radio to 89.5FM, sit back and enjoy the show!
45. Outdoor Children’s Shows at Cape Rep Theater (Brewster)
Every summer, Cape Rep Theater puts on a performance (or two) of popular children’s productions. The shows usually run about an hour - if it rains, they move indoors.
46. Go Birding at Pilgrim Heights (Truoro)
There are hundreds of migratory birds that fly throughout the year -making just about any quiet spot prime for bird watching. But, Pilgrim Heights is just about the only place on the Cape where you can see the graceful Mississippi Kite.
47. Ryan Family Amusements (Falmouth, Hyannis, South Yarmouth)
Into every vacation, a little rain must fall. But, no worries , Ryan’s Amusements has you covered! Candlepin bowling, ten pin, and arcades - before you know it, your kids will be begging for a rainy day!
JFK himself created the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1961. Maintained by the National Park Service, it encompasses over 43,000 acres to explore. If you have a few days to explore the park, head on over to the Visitor’s Center and ask about becoming a Junior Ranger.
49. Edaville Family Theme Park - Carver
OK, so this is not technically on the Cape (although on the way for most), but if you are looking for a little-kid-friendly amusement park, this is the spot!
50. Cape Cod Central Railroad (Hyannis, Buzzards Bay)
Cruise past marshes, cranberry bogs, and dunes, all from the comfort of a train car. Cape Cod Central Railroad runs May through October.