Families of all ages and stages will appreciate some of the finest East Coast beaches while learning about marine animals and the Cape's seafaring history in a relaxing family-oriented setting. Older kids can create a splash in the big, swirling surf of the Atlantic east-side beaches (where seals and whales can often be spotted from shore), while younger children will enjoy the security of the calm bay-side waters. Explore one of the several working lighthouses on the Cape that still warn captains of the shores ahead.
The Cape is a summer hotspot for New Englanders and a second residence for many who live in the greater Boston area. Festivals, tours, and musical performances are abundant all summer long. The best time to go to beat the crowds and still enjoy nice weather is September and October, after Labor Day when the hubbub has calmed and the beach parking is free. Fall foliage peaks later on the Cape, so you can enjoy color works in late fall when other spots like New Hampshire and Vermont are past their peak. If you don't mind the crowds or have a school schedule to consider, visit anytime from Memorial Day to Labor Day for great weather and a calendar of events that's chock full.
Temperatures on the Cape are mild during the summer travel season. Most days bathing suits, shorts, and T-shirts are all that's needed. Pack a fluffy sweatshirt for beachcombing or taking in local events at night because it can get chilly even in July and August (the two hottest months, with average temperatures around 80Â°F by day and into the 60s at night). During the winter months it can be cold and gray, and many restaurants and attractions are closed. View more weather info.
There are two small municipal airports on the Cape, but they're mainly for private aircraft. The two closest major airports are Boston's Logan Airport (BOS) and T. F. Green (PVD) in Warwick, Rhode Island, just outside Providence. Amtrak has service to both Logan and Green airports, including high-speed Acela service from some East Coast cities. Then rent a car to travel to the Cape. (The Sagamore and Bourne bridges and traffic circles on the Cape get pretty tangled on weekends, so consider coming and going early in the morning, late at night, or mid-week.) The Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway provides service from Boston to Hyannis on the Cape daily. Peter Pan Bus Lines (formerly Bonanza Bus Lines) and Greyhound also serve the Cape. Two high-speed ferries serve the Cape: Bay State Cruise Company and Boston Harbor Cruises.
While there are in-town bus options and a good network of paved bike trails, driving with your own or rented wheels on Cape Cod is the easiest way for a family to get around. The Cape has several rotaries, which can be tricky to negotiate. The main thing to remember is that anyone in the circle has the right of way, which means that as you enter, you must yield to cars already driving in the rotary. Once in the rotary, those approaching must yield to you.
Cape Cod always has a lot going on: fish fries, cemetery walks, lighthouse tours, live music, marionette shows, and farmers' markets -- just to name a few. Check local listings available at the Chamber of Commerce or in local newspapers for a schedule of events. Here's our fresh catch of the biggies:
The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce for detailed information about how to get to the Cape, where to stay, where to eat, what to do, and more.