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15 Rainy Day Activities

Believe it or not, every once in a while rain clouds do appear on the Cape and Islands, forcing us to seek alternate plans from lounging on the beach. But much of what makes Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard great is the multitude of other outdoor activities not requiring sunshine. Here are a few ideas for fun on those less than perfect beach days.

Rainy day on Cape Cod
Rainy day on Cape Cod
Chris Seufert
  1. Go to the beach. Yes, that’s right - head to the beach! Grab an umbrella, raincoat and rain boots. The beach is beautiful and interesting even when the sun is not shining. As long as it’s not raining hard, take a walk, hunt for shells, play Frisbee, or make sandcastles. There is plenty to do at the beach even when the sun is not shining – and it’s not too hot! View Cape Cod beaches
  2. Game day. Most vacation rentals provide board games, puzzles, and decks of cards. Playing board games is a fun way to pass the time on a rainy day. Some properties even have game rooms that include a pool table, ping-pong, and foosball.
  3. Explore a local library. We love our libraries! They have story times, puppet shows, author talks, and art exhibits. So if the raindrops are falling, head to a library near your vacation rental, and check it out.
  4. Public indoor entertainment. The Cape and Islands region has an indoor water park, bowling alleys, arcades, ice skating rinks, and laser tag: all good ways to be active while escaping gloomy weather. View Cape Cod Amusements and Cape Cod Activites for Children
  5. See what separates Cape Cod from the rest…literally. Pay a visit to the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center and Museum. Explore the rich history, fascinating features, and vigilant operation of the Cape Cod Canal and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
  6. All aboard! Take a ride on the Cape Cod Central Railroad and explore the beauty of Cape Cod (all while staying dry)! It’s fun for all ages, and options include the Brunch Train, the Gourmet Lunch Train, and the Elegant Dinner Train. The 2-hour, narrated, scenic train ride offers the option of a “whistle stop” in historic Sandwich – or continue on without stopping if you prefer.
  7. Experience nature’s umbrella. The 100-year-old Weeping Beech Tree, located at the Captain Bangs Hallet House in Yarmouth, is a stunning example of a weeping beech, and, when in full leaf, those raindrops are going to have a hard time finding you.
  8. Rain rain, go away
  9. Explore the lighthouses of Cape Cod and the Islands. If the fog has rolled in, consider visiting any of the 15 remaining working lighthouses to see and hear them in action. Some, like the Edgartown Lighthouse on the Vineyard, even offer a lighthouse keeper happy to answer any questions.
  10. Too windy to go to the beach? Well then, it is the perfect day to go to a windmill! The Old Mill on Nantucket is open to tours, giving you the opportunity to see the inner workings of a windmill. The 280-year-old windmill is sure to fascinate both kids and adults.
  11. Go on a scavenger hunt. The Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham has scavenger hunts that take place inside the museum. Clues (and answers) are available online, or pick one up at the museum.
  12. Head to a movie theater for a matinee - a great way to spend a rainy afternoon and escape less than perfect weather. There are 9 movie theaters on the Cape and Islands, including the refinished Chatham Orpheum Theatre!
  13. Cape Cod and the Islands are home to several performing arts centers. Live theater, music, and dance are abundant. So head to one of our performing arts centers to chase those rainy day blues away.
  14. Has your sunny vacation day been pirated by some rain? You might want to head to the Whydah Pirate Museum in Provincetown and learn about the pirate, Sam Bellamy, and the shipwreck of the Whydah. There are also numerous other museums in the area to explore where you can learn about everything ranging from maritime history to author and naturalist Thornton Burgess.
  15. Explore our bookstores. Bookstores are wonderful places to wander through on a rainy day. Most have cozy nooks for reading and are kid and adult friendly!
  16. Take a tour. For adults, a tour of a local brewery or winery is a fun way to escape the rain. For kids, what could be better than potato chips? Arrange for a tour of the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory.
About Susan Hutchins

About Susan Hutchins: I joined the WeNeedaVacation team in 2012 and write website and blog content as well as promote WeNeedaVacation.com through social media. Having grown up spending summers on Nantucket, I have a strong connection to Cape Cod and the Islands. I now live in New Hampshire with my husband, two children, and golden retriever, and we are frequent visitors to the Cape. I love running local road races, the Brewster in Bloom 5K being a favorite. My family enjoys biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, hiking in Nickerson State Park, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches (usually a dog friendly one!).

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