Welcome to Cape Cod!
Here is a quick list of a few must see places while you’re visiting…
Sandwich Boardwalk/Sandwich Village
The Boardwalk offers a beautiful area to see a sunrise and sunset - it’s only a little over a 1/4 of a mile one-way, so it’s definitely able to be walked with kids. There is a good portion of it, though, that doesn’t have side rails, so you might want to hold hands! The main parking lot is at one end, and Town Neck Beach is at the other. If you’re looking to check it out and go to the beach, park at the lot near Wood Ave in Sandwich. This will take you to the top of Boardwalk, closest to the beach so you can easily bring chairs and toys. There is a parking fee, however…last year it was $15, but may have gone up in 2019.
Sandwich Village is also really cute! Make sure you take time to check out Heritage Gardens and Museums, the Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen, and the Grist Mill for lots of cute photo ops! The Brown Jug also has amazing sandwiches and a cute little outdoor patio where you can enjoy some wine and cheese (..and occasionally live music!)
Hyannis Harbor/Main St.
Hyannis is considered the “city” of the Cape - It has big-chain stores, lots of restaurants, and the Cape Cod Mall - which may not be very impressive unless you’re from a small town - but we are in the process of getting a Target! ;) The Harbor is where you can jump on a boat for a Harbor cruise, take a ferry to the islands (there is also a dock in Falmouth), or explore local artists in their shanties!
You may also have been lucky enough to have your vacation scheduled during a Live.Love.Local Festival - these are outdoor markets with local artisans, food trucks, and musicians and they take place at Aselton Park, adjacent to the Harbor.
Main Street is just up the way - within walking distance - and you’ll find lots of cute local shops, restaurants, and a fun candy shop that also features Cape Cod gifts called Kandy Korner.
If you head down the other way, you’ll run into Veterans Beach and Kalmus Beach. These are walkable, but it would probably be best to drive to Kalmus. Because it juts out into the Ocean, you’ll often see windsurfers taking advantage of the wind here! Veterans Beach is much smaller but has a little playground and a Korean War Memorial. Both require paid parking from 8am-4:30pm. If you plan to go a Town of Barnstable beach daily, they do offer weekly parking passes that help you to save a little money. These can be bought at Town Hall or at the beach entrance.
This beach is my FAVORITE one on Cape Cod. You will have to pay to park for the day (about $30) but it will be worth it! You will also need to plan for an early morning - on the busy days the lot can be full by 8am! Check out the tide schedule and try to be there when low-tide is around sunset, or during the day if you want to play at the beach! When the tide is low, there are lots of little tidal pools to play in and you and your kids will be able to walk out about a 1/2 mile before getting into deep water. There is a snack bar (that is a little pricey) that offers chicken fingers, ice cream, and other treats.
The parking lot starts to get a little bit quieter around 6pm and then fills back up again for sunset. If you want to have dinner there, you can order pizza directly to the beach! If you’re lucky enough to plan your visit for a clear night, you’ll probably hear everyone clapping as the sun drops below the horizon. It really is quite a show…keep an eye out for photographers too - you may see me there with clients!
One last bonus location - Provincetown!
This one I couldn’t pass up - there is so much to see if you’re able to make the trip all the way to the tip of the Cape! Provincetown is known for it’s LGBT culture, but is very family-friendly. Enjoy the ride there and be amazed when the view in front of you opens up to sand dunes and sea air! If you’re feeling athletic, you can climb to the top of the Provincetown Monument (116 steps and 60 ramps) or have fun hiking through the dunes on a walking trail. You’ll find lots of amazing restaurants, great art galleries and shops, and you could even just spend some time sitting on the benches in the sun in front of Town Hall.
Provincetown also offers whale-watching trips and Dune Tours in Suburban SUVs. Sometimes you can even see whales while you’re standing on the shore at Race Point beach (there is a parking fee). If you bring a dog with you, there are a lot of dog friendly areas, but there is also a large dog park right at the corner of Rt 6 and Shankpainter Rd if you want to wear your buddy out before hitting Commercial St.
You can easily spend a day in Provincetown, or stop at few of the other towns along the Cape as you make your way back!