Historic cities. Beautiful fall foliage. Serene beaches. Discover the legacy of Massachusetts, the home of one of America’s favorite beach communities, Cape Cod. Aptly nicknamed the Bay State, Massachusetts is known for its American Revolution ties, breathtaking mountain views, and the iconic beaches of Cape Cod. Head to the hook-shaped peninsula for all your favorite summer pastimes, like whale watching, swimming, and eating fresh fish at the local seafood shack. Cape Cod is defined by its historic beach homes, quiet harbors, twinkling lighthouses, and easy access to nearby resorts Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Not sure where to start? Check out the best destinations in the state for whale watchers, history buffs, and beach goers—there’s something for everyone in Massachusetts.
- Immerse yourself in nature on the Cape Cod National Seashore.Protected by the National Parks Service, the Cape Cod National Seashore boasts forty miles of sandy beaches, marshes, and ponds. It’s home to over 450 species—with 32 being rare or endangered, including the common tern and spadefoot toad. Visitors can hike or bike the trails around the seashore, or go kayaking and canoeing. You can also hunt and fish around the seashore, just be sure to check the local regulations and seasons.
- Go whale watching in Provincetown.Starting in mid-April and until October, Provincetown becomes a hot spot for whale watching. Embark on a cruise out of Provincetown, Barnstable, or Hyannis Harbors for the best chance to see this protected species breach in the Atlantic Ocean. Take an excursion from MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, which was recently voted the “Best Place to See Aquatic Life.”
- Visit the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum.It’s no secret that former president John F. Kennedy and his family were long time vacationers at the cape. The village of Hyannis is home to the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, the John F. Kennedy Memorial, and the Hyannis Kennedy Legacy Trail—a self-guided tour to ten of the family’s favorite spots in Downtown Hyannis. Comprised of the home of former president John F. Kennedy and two neighboring houses, the Kennedy Compound is located on the shores of Nantucket Bay in Hyannis—but it’s not open to the public, as it is still used by the Kennedy family.
- Take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.Just a short, 30-minute ferry ride south of Cape Cod lies two historically popular resorts, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket islands.The islands are world-renowned as paradises filled with beaches, charming towns and villages, and jaw-dropping sunsets. Martha's Vineyard, the larger island, boasts several cozy towns, summer theater, and gorgeous beaches. As the smaller island, Nantucket offers similar amenities as Martha’s Vineyard in a more intimate setting.