50 Fun Things to Do on Cape Cod with Kids this Summer
Looking for fun things to do in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with the kids? We're regulars to the beautiful Cape Cod area and are happy to share our favorite family attractions. Known for its pristine beaches, legendary seafood, charming main streets, and a seemingly endless supply of kids activities, the Cape makes an ideal family vacation destination.
Of course, a trip to Cape Cod usually means a focus on low-key activities to wipe the school-year stress away with those sea breezes. Don't fret. From the moment you cross over the Sagamore Bridge, you are on Cape Time. Say goodbye to schedules and uncomfortable shoes and hello to family-time and flip-flops. Spend the day splashing in the water or building sandcastles. Try out mini golf after a leisurely dinner feast of lobster rolls.
I've spent just about every summer of my life on the Cape, forming some of my most enduring childhood memories. It's a tradition I am thrilled to carry on with my family and to share with our readers. Read on for 50 fun things to do in Cape Cod, including indoor activities, such as our favorite museums for dreaded rainy days.
Whether you are going to explore the National Seashore for an entire week or spend some time on the islands, such as the perennial favorite, Martha's Vineyard, I promise that Cape Cod is the stuff that summer vacation dreams are made of.
Top Activities in Cape Cod for Kids
The Cape Cod Rail Trail (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.
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 in the morning before the crowds.
The curve of this beach creates a tidal pool that is perfect for children who want to explore the ocean in shallow water. The receding tide leaves large flats to explore in its wake, including sealife like snails and crabs.
A trip to Nickerson State Park instantly transports you to a different world with pretty pine forests and crystal clear freshwater ponds. This state park is like a vacation from your vacation.
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.
Provincetown is the most northern tip of Cape Cod and a popular getaway. It has a rich history in fishing culture, but today is popular with tourists, writers, and artists. It’s vibrant downtown is lined with small shops and restaurants, making it a perfect destination to stroll around.
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.
Explore the stunning dunes surrounding Provincetown in a specially outfitted Suburban that will take families on a narrated ride with breathtaking views. (There is no minimum age for this tour but be prepared to pack your own car seat.)
Find a treasure and a treat at the Brewster General Store.
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.
My family has been taking the hike from the Audubon’s Visitors’ Center at this wildlife sanctuary 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.
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!
One of only a few hundred drive-Ins left in the country, this Wellfleet theater is a step back in time. Park the car, tune the radio to 89.5 FM, and sit back to enjoy the show!
Many anglers get their start right off the beach on the Cape.
Just about any jetty, dock, or beach is a perfect place to cast your fishing line into the deep blue ocean. Sure, you may not catch anything, but that’s part of the thrill of fishing. (Anglers 15 and older must apply for a Massachusetts Fishing License.)
I have spent many days here at low tide, exploring tide pools filled with crabs and other creatures. You can spend the whole day and watch the landscape dramatically shift with the changing tide.
This one-hour cruise is a great way to learn a little bit about the Cape’s maritime history while sailing the harbor. Enjoy an ice cream float on Wednesday nights for an extra sweet deal.
Hit the bounce house or the water slide as this outdoor inflatable park that offers both dry and wet attractions. Keep in mind that after 6pm, the water rides shut down.
The naturalists from the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary will use nets and pots to bring sea creatures right up onto the boat for up-close observation.
Great White Sharks are perhaps the Cape’s most famous tourists and also the most misunderstood. The Chatham Shark Center offers interactive exhibits, videos, displays, and virtual reality experiences to learn more about these captivating creatures.
There are several whale watching companies that will take you out to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a gorgeous area to see whales and more marine life in its native habitat. Be patient and you're nearly guaranteed to see a whale. I have literally been “sneezed” on by a whale here. (See here for more whale-watching adventures from Boston.)
Fantastagorey Day (usually the first Saturday in August) should not be missed! It's a fun Cape Cod tradition: a family day with face painting, storytelling, and a Gashlycrumb Tiny scavenger hunt.
Visit a barrier island off the coast of the Cape with this boat tour and you're sure to see seals and more marine life. of Monomoy Island. Unlike a whale watch, this comparably short boat ride always results in stunning views and wildlife spotting.
See top-notch children's theater and music under the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis.
Groove to music or catch a children's theater show at the Cape Rep's outdoor theater. The shows usually run about an hour, and if it rains, they move indoors.
Many species of migratory birds fly through the friendly Cape area, making the region a prime spot for bird watching. But, Pilgrim Heights is just about the only place on the Cape where you can see the graceful Mississippi kite.
Storytime often comes with a visit from a famous children's author in Chatham.
Enjoy a summer morning camped out on the porch of Where the Sidewalk Ends, a popular bookstore in Chatham. Crafts, costumed characters, and visiting authors are a perfect way to spend a morning.
OK, so this is not technically on the Cape (although on the way for many), but if you are looking for a little-kid-friendly amusement park, this is the spot! See dinosaurs, ride the trains in Thomas Land, and enjoy more rides, from bumper cars to carousels.
Cruise past marshes, cranberry bogs, and dunes, all from the comfort of a train car. Cape Cod Central Railroad runs May through October.
Don’t let the crowds scare you! I have always been able to find a parking spot at the Chatham Lighthouse Overlook. See the functioning lighthouse and gaze out at the Atlantic. It's popular for a reason. The Coast Guard offers weekly tours throughout the summer.
Gardens, sculptures, and exhibits make any day at the Heritage Museum and Gardens a fun one, 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.
Favorites Restaurants in Cape Cod
There are plenty of great places to eat at the restaurants in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts, area. Here's a sampling of some of our favorite eateries to visit with the kids.
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.
This family-friendly brewery offers the brews, tours, corn hole, and a gift shop. Find a rolling food truck serving local favorites Thursdays through Saturdays in the summer.
Nosh on your lobster rolls at the picnic tables while surrounded by stunning views of Sesuit Harbor. They also have a full kids menu with classics such as chicken tenders and hamburgers.
This award-winning ice cream parlor has been serving up its delicious homemade 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, a favorite Cape ice cream shop.
Now, this is a "sundae" school your kids won’t mind attending. This Cape Cod ice cream institution is an annual favorite for my family. Make sure you ask for a paper hat for a perfect photo-op.
Stock up on candy and fudge to take home, but while you're here, you gotta try the lobster ice cream! I know what you are thinking: “Eww...lobster ice cream?” But this buttery treat is worth a try!
Indoor Fun in Cape Cod and Rainy Day Activities
All I’m going to say is this: FREE tour and FREE potato chips. The Cape Cod Potato Chip tour tends to get crowded on rainy days, so plan wisely!
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.
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.
This magic show, housed in the Universalist Unitarian Church, is fun for the whole family. It features illusion comedy and amazing magic for kids (big and small).
Rain or shine, the Cape Cod Natural History Museum is guaranteed entertainment for the whole family for a few hours with indoor and outdoor options. Spend some time watching the birds, explore the touch tank and aquariums, or walk the trails along the salt marsh.
This place goes WAY beyond “shiver me timbers” and “aye me hearties." Kids will thrill to see real pirate artifacts at an authentic pirate shipwreck.
This museum is small, but if you are looking for something to do with a tiny train-lover this is the place. Housed in a beautiful antique railroad depot, the Chatham Railroad Museum features a 1910 restored wood caboose that children can explore.
Chatham’s picturesque downtown is New England charm at its best. Find Ducks in the Window nestled into historic buildings, a store completely dedicated to rubber ducks. Also check out the Chatham Candy Manor, Chatham Toys, and Mermaids on Main.
Free storytimes, wi-fi, and crafts make libraries hard to beat on rainy (or too hot) days. The libraries of Cape Cod are a fantastic source of entertainment and information for tourists.
Try candlepin bowling or the arcade games at Ryan Amusements, and before you know it, your kids will be begging for a rainy day.