It may be hard to believe, but just a few weeks ago in early March, Cape Cod Bay was filled with icebergs, an unusual sight from an unusually cold winter. But the thaw is on, and summer is so close, you can taste it in the salty air. Awaiting us is the season of whale watching, ice cream cones, rail-trail bike rides and sunsets among the dunes.
With Inspirato’s luxury vacation homes in Eastham and Truro, we thought it would be handy to provide some of our favorite things to do and places to be when summer rolls around on the Outer and Lower Cape.
Favorite Beach (Part 1)
Nauset Beach is nothing short of spectacular. Stretching for 10 miles from Orleans to Chatham, this portion of the Cape Cod National Seashore offers plenty of space to roam, set up a beach blanket, and let the kids chase the waves. Come early for a parking spot in summer.
Favorite Natural Phenomenon
Twice a day at low tide, Cape Cod Bay at Brewster and Orleans retreats for more than a mile, revealing sand bars perfect for exploration. Families with young children will want to look for moon snails, hermit crabs and the bizarre-looking horseshoe crabs that live out in the shallows. The best access is from Paine’s Creek Landing in Orleans.
Favorite Day Trip (Part 1)
For pure, unsullied New England charm, head straight for downtown Chatham, where Cape Cod cottages house an abundance of galleries, shopping boutiques, restaurants and taverns along a pedestrian-friendly Main Street. Swing by the Chatham Squire for the real-deal: some of the Cape’s best New England clam chowder.
Favorite Summer Pastime
Every summer’s day on Cape Cod needs to include ice cream. Indulgent? Perhaps, but nothing pairs better with the New England charm, the salty air and a day spent on the sand than following it up with a cone from Liam’s at Nauset Beach, Sundae School Ice Cream or Ice Cream Café (both in Orleans) or Kate’s Seafood in Brewster.
Favorite Beach (Part 2)
Among Cape Cod’s most scenic areas, Coast Guard Beach in Eastham combines the raw power of the Atlantic Ocean with an expansive, protected marsh that is home to dozens of species of birds. Take a walk on the boardwalk, look for seals and piping plovers from the beach, or photograph the stately white-and-red lighthouse at sunset.
Favorite Way to Exercise
Cape Cod isn’t known for its hills, which makes it perfect for family bike rides and longer endurance rides for serious cyclists. Running for 22 miles between Dennis and Wellfleet along the Old Colony Railroad route, the Cape Cod Rail Trail offers a shady and peaceful bike ride with many scenic stops along the way. Take a detour to Marconi Beach in Wellfleet or explore the additional trails in Nickerson State Park in Brewster.
Exploring Pleasant Bay in a catboat is one of Cape Cod’s greatest summer pleasures. With numerous coves, islands and marshes to see, the bay is a dynamic sound that is ever-changing due to the sandy, Atlantic-facing banks that protect it. But because of its calm waters, it is an ideal location to learn how to sail or give sea kayaking a try for the first time. Note: Tides shift dramatically in the bay, so you’ll want to keep sailing and kayaking to high tide hours.
Favorite Day Trip (Part 2)
The one and only Provincetown. Located at the end of the Cape, this charming Portuguese fishing village and LGBT-friendly community is the launching-off point for whale-watching trips, and boasts a wide variety of unique and acclaimed art galleries and exceptional restaurants. For the occasional foggy or soggy day on the Cape, “P-town” can’t be beat.
Favorite Spot for Sunset
The best way to close out any summer’s day on the Cape is a picnic dinner at sunset in Orleans at either Rock Harbor or Boat Meadows Landing. Overlooking Cape Cod Bay, these two adjacent spots offer the best angle to witness a rare sight on the Eastern Seaboard — the sun sinking and eventually disappearing into the ocean.
If you are coming to Cape Cod with Inspirato this summer, our Destination Concierge can help make arrangements for bike or catboat rentals, restaurant reservations, packed picnic dinners, and acquiring the necessary beach parking passes.