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Things to Do in Cape Cod

Cape Cod is one of the most popular summer vacation destinations for New Englanders – generations of families have played on the same beaches for decades. But, of course, it's not just for the locals. The arm of Massachusetts that curls away from the mainland and reaches north again, like someone flexing an arm muscle, is called Cape Cod.

While many American schoolchildren learn that the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, their actual landing spot was closer to the place where Provincetown now sits, near the tip of Cape Cod. The Cape was one of the first area settled by newcomers from England, and by the 19th century, it had already become a summer escape for people living in nearby cities.

Today, vacationers head to Cape Cod for time on the beach. Other activities include hiking, whale watching, golf, cycling, boating, wine tasting, fishing and kayaking. There are also several historic lighthouses on the Cape, and you can climb to the top of the Pilgrim Monument
in Provincetown for a view out to sea.

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Provincetown
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The lively cultural hub of Cape Cod and among New England’s most beloved beach resorts, Provincetown’s popularity belies its small size and remote location. Perched at the tip of the Cape Cod peninsula and reachable by land or sea from nearby Boston, the affectionately nicknamed ‘P-Town’ is the ultimate bohemian retreat, renowned for its eclectic nightlife, numerous art galleries and thriving LGBT scene.

Long a favored summer retreat for artists and writers, the creative Mecca is also home to 30 miles of sandy coastline, with pristine beaches, calm swimming areas and waters ideal for fishing or whale watching cruises. Spend time exploring the myriad of shops, bars and restaurants along the central Commercial Street, take a scenic stroll along the picturesque MacMillan Pier or enjoy a catamaran cruise around landmarks like Plymouth Rock, before hitting the bars to experience Provincetown’s legendary nightlife.

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John F Kennedy Hyannis Museum
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The JFK Museum in Hyannis offers a fascinating insight into the life of America’s 35th president. Dedicated to preserving the legacy of John F. Kennedy, who spent many summers on Cape Cod, the museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Kennedy: the man and the president.

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Sandwich Glass Museum

Detailing the long history of glassmaking in Sandwich, Massachusetts, the Sandwich Glass Museum allows visitors to explore locally made glass on display and see artisans blowing glass by hand in the workshop. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in glassmaking or the town’s history.

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Cornelia Carey Sanctuary (The Knob)

The Cornelia Carey Sanctuary—known to locals as The Knob—is a salt pond and bird sanctuary tucked away on a quiet peninsula on the coast of Massachusetts’ Quissett Harbor. This picturesque land preserve offers travelers the perfect escape from crowds typical of the Cape, thanks to a scenic network of hiking trails and walking paths. Visitors can wander through marshlands, forests and rocky shorelines where dozens of species of birds perch among the trees.

Locals suggest packing a swimsuit (in addition to the requisite camera) since the calm waters that greet travelers at the end of winding hiking trails are perfect for taking a dip. Scenic viewpoints and quiet overlooks offer ideal stops for relaxing picnic lunches and quiet sunsets, making Cornelia Carey Sanctuary the perfect place to spend a day at the Cape.

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Cape Cod Canal

Designed to connect Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay, the Cape Cod Canal is a 7-mile-long (11-kilometer) artificial waterway built in 1914. Visitors and locals use it for both commercial and recreational boating and fishing, as well as walking and cycling along scenic paths on both sides.

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