Cape Cod is one of the most family-friendly vacation destinations in the US, and for good reason! During the summer, there’s a seemingly endless list of things to do on Cape Cod with kids. If you are looking for outdoor activities on Cape cod, whether its a friendly but competitive round of mini golf on Cape Cod or leisurely biking Cape Cod, or simply enjoying the day on Cape Cod beaches, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy your family vacation on Cape Cod. In terms of indoor activities Cape Cod has you covered too, for example, with Cape Cod museums! After all, sometimes it’s good to take a break from the sun.
Fun Things To Do in Cape Cod With Kids
A family vacation in Cape Cod is great for many reasons including the many choices of accommodation – either rent a house and self-cater your stay or pick a Cape Cod family resort that will take care of everything for you. Two of the water parks mentioned below are at a Cape Cod family resort.
There are also so many fun things to do in Cape Cod with kids whether or not you stay at a family resort, such as biking cape cod, visiting Cape Cod museums or hanging out on the many Cape Cod beaches.
Here are our choice of 65 fun things to do in Cape Cod with kids split into 15 types of family vacation activities.
Go Biking Cape Cod
Exploring the scenic landscape by bike is one of the best things to do in Cape Cod with family.
- If you’re on the Upper Cape, cycle across the 700-acres of flat, paved roads at the beautiful Shawme-Crowell State Park near Sandwich.
- The Lower Cape also has several paved trails for kids, including the Cape Cod Rail Trail from Dennis to Wellfleet, the bike trail at Nickerson State Park near Brewster and the Shining Sea Bikeway near Falmouth.
- The Outer Cape has three main paved bike trails at the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Biking Cape Cod is also a great way to get around and beat the traffic which can get heavy in towns during the summer.
Go Hiking on Cape Cod
There are lots of hiking trails on Cape Cod in a variety of lengths from the short 1 mile of the at the Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary in Falmouth to the 22 miles of the Cape Cod Rail Trail (shared with bikes). The Cape Cod National Seashore has 12 hiking trails of various difficulties.
Hiking on Cape Cod in the off-season like the spring or fall season on Cape Cod gives you the best weather and least chances of encountering other people.
More Outdoor Activities on Cape Cod
If you want to do things other than cycling and hiking, check out kayaking or SUP. One of the best places to go kayaking on Cape Cod is Wellfleet Harbor. Just like cycles, kayaks and SUPs are easy to rent on Cape Cod from Rideaway Rentals in Mashpee, Cape Cod Kayak in Bourne and Goose Hummock in Orleans. These companies also provided guided kayak and/or canoe tours.
For younger kids who want to take to the water, take a pirate ship, the Sea Gypsy, sailing from Hyannis.
Watch a Cape Cod Baseball League game. There are 10 baseball teams in the league which was started in 1885. For all of its nearness, Cape Cod Baseball League does not the Martha’s Vineyard sharks that play on a separate New England team.
Take A Swing At Mini Golf on Cape Cod
Put your skills to the test with a lighthearted family mini-golf competition! There are plenty of choices for mini golf courses.
With sunken ships, “shark” filled ponds, and cascading waterfalls, Pirates Cove Adventure Golf in South Yarmouth is one of the best options for mini golf on Cape Cod for kids. This award-winning mini golf course has two 18-hole golf courses suitable for all ages. Children 3 and under play free.
Other choices include:
- the beautifully landscaped Holiday Hill Mini Golf in Dennis;
- Harbor Lights Mini Golf in Brewster (serving Maine’s famous Giffords ice-cream);
- Cape Escape Adventure Golf in Orleans (where kids can feed the koi fish); and
- and the reclaimed Cranberry bog turned mini golf course that is Sandwich Mini Golf.
Go Fishing on Cape Cod
Spend the day at sea fishing in Cape Cod! For example, fishing tours Cape Cod offers are :
- Cape Cod Family Fishing Charters runs out of Barnstable Harbor.
- Captain John’s runs whale watching and deep sea fishing expeditions from Provincetown and Plymouth.
- Patriot Party Boats runs fishing tours from Falmouth.
Introduce your kids to the joys of fishing at Cape Cod!
Check out Cape Cod Wildlife
Spend the day with some Cape Cod wildlife!
- Nickerson State Park in Brewster is home to wild deer and turkeys.
- The Mashpee River Woodlands is the ideal spot for birdwatching.
- The 500 acres of marshes and forests at Maple Swamp Conservation in Sandwich is also a great place to find an abundance of Cape Cod wildlife.
- Or you can head to the Callery-Darling Conservation in Yarmouth for a close-up encounter with deer, rabbits, and even foxes!
- Take a trip to Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is a national wildlife refuge where you can see birdlife, crabs, fish and seals.
- Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is run by the Massachusetts Audobon society and is great for birdwatching.
Cape Cod is excellent for whale watching as well. Take Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises or Dolphin Fleet from Provincetown on a whale watching adventure.
Visit Cape Cod Beaches
Hitting the beach on a sunny day is one of the best things to do in Cape Cod with kids. With more than 130 beaches in the area, you’re never more than a few miles from the soft sand and lapping waves.
For families with young children we suggest the following Cape Cod beaches for gentle, calm waves for the youngest of swimmers:
- Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham
- Mayflower Beach in Dennis
- First Encounter Beach in Eastham
- Skaket Beach in Orleans
- Old Silver Beach in Falmouth
Bring your sunscreen, an umbrella, food and some beach games and make the most of your day at the Cape Cod beaches! Unlike the public Martha’s Vineyard beaches, you will need to pay for a beach sticker to park at many of the Cape Cod beaches.
Climb Cape Cod Lighthouses
There are 14 lighthouses on Cape Cod scattered around the various towns. At one point there were actually 20 lighthouses on Cape Cod! Some of the prettiest Cape Cod lighthouses are:
- Race Point Lighthouse near Provincetown;
- Highland Lighthouse in Truro;
- Chatham Lighthouse in Chatham;
- Nauset Lighthouse in Eastham; and
- Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth.
Some of the Cape Cod lighthouses, such as Race Point Lighthouse and Bass River Light, are actually available to rent for accommodation.
Visit Drive-In Theaters Cape Cod
Feeling nostalgic? Catching the latest film at the Wellfleet Drive-In. One of only about 300 drive-in theaters left in the country, Wellfleet Drive-In is a memorable event for your family vacation in Cape Cod. This classic drive-in has been a Cape Cod institution since 1957. Don’t forget to pick up a milkshake or root beer float at the on-site Dairy Bar (and mini-golf).
If movies aren’t your thing, check out Yarmouth Drive-In theater Cape Cod which opened in 2020. This drive-in has a mix of movies and entertainment, for example, broadcasts of sporting events (Red Sox naturally) and concerts with live music. Yarmouth Drive In is on the site of a drive-in that closed down 30 years ago proving once again that everything old is new again.
Cool Down at Water Parks in Cape Cod
Cape Cod kids will have a blast spending the day at one of the water parks in Cape Cod. If you’re in Cape Cod during the summer, visiting a water park is one of the best ways to cool off.
Your water parks in Cape Cod options include the following:
- Race down exhilarating water slides at East Wareham’s Water Wizz.
- Splash in the indoor pool at Cape Codder Water Park.
- Bouncy houses and inflatable slides at the Cape Cod Inflatable Park in West Yarmouth. This complex also has H20 water park section of inflatables, and the Challenge Zone (ropes and trapezes for teens and adults).
Learn at Cape Cod Museums
Cape Cod is home to lots of small but fascinating museums. With these indoor activities Cape Cod can ensure that you get a break from the sun as well.
- Spend the day learning about Cape Cod’s history at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis.
- Check out local artists at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis.
- The Sandwich Glass Museum tells the story of American glass production.
- The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster is where kids can learn about the local environment of the area.
- The Whydah Pirate Museum tells of the time when New England supplied skilled seamen (ahem, pirates) to the Caribbean.
- The Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich has lots of things for kids to do including a heritage car collection and botanical gardens (especially the hidden Massachusetts gem that is the river of Hyacinths that bloom every spring).
Note that the Cape Cod Children’s Museum in Mashpee is more an indoor playground. It’s perfect for those days when Cape Cod kids want to spend time out of the sun.
Enjoy Kid-Friendly Places To Eat on Cape Cod!
There are lots of kid-friendly places to eat on Cape Cod.
- We love Spanky’s Clam Shack on Hyannis harbor for fried seafood as well as burgers. Added bonus: The activity in the harbor will keep kids entertained!
- Pizza Barbone in Hyannis does great wood-oven pizza.
- Box Lunch has locations in Wellfleet, Provincetown and Truro. There’s so many choices of sandwiches (including kid size ones) as well as salads. Grab a Box Lunch sandwich and go sit on a beach to enjoy the view!
- There’s lots of places for hot dogs but my kids rate Depot Dogs in Harwich highly.
- The Quarterdeck in Falmouth is great for steaks, burgers and tacos.
- Ten Pin Eatery in the Cape Cod Mall has a restaurant as well as an entertainment facility with laser tag and bowling.
Nibble on a Cape Cod Potato Chip factory tour
Have you ever wondered how potato chips were made? At the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory, you’ll get an insider’s look at the entire process for producing America’s favorite crunchy, mouthwatering snack.
This self-guided tour is great for kids of all ages. Not only will you learn a thing or two about potato chips, but you’ll also get to indulge in yummy samples after the tour!
Eat Ice Cream on Cape Cod
Eating ice cream on Cape Cod is simply a must. In fact, no Cape Cod family vacation would be complete without sampling lots of ice-cream.
Home churned ice cream parlors can be found throughout the entire Cape – this frosty sweet is the perfect accompaniment to a warm summer day. Check out Cape Cod Creamery in South Yarmouth, Sundae School in Dennis Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville or Katie’s Homemade Ice Cream in Hyannis for some of the best ice cream all Cape Cod kids can enjoy.
Take a Day Trip to Martha’s Vineyard
You can take a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard from either Hyannis on the fast-ferry or the car ferry from Woods Hole. Kids love the whole ferry ride process including the tooting of the ship’s horn. You will wind up in Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven which has lots of kid-friendly activities as well as beaches nearby.
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