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15 Sights to see on Cape Cod and the Islands

Visiting the Pilgrim Monument, Plymouth Rock, and the beaches of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are musts when vacationing on the Cape or Islands. Here are some perhaps lesser known, but no less impressive, sights to see and activities to enjoy when visiting Cape Cod and the Islands.

Nauset Beach Sunrise, Orleans Cape Cod
Nauset Beach Sunrise, Orleans Cape Cod
  1. Watch the sunrise at Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, or any of the east-facing Cape Cod beaches of your choice.
  2. Have a beach campfire, make s’mores and watch the sunset. Permits are required, so please contact the appropriate town office.
  3. Gay Head Cliffs, Martha's Vineyard
  4. Enjoy the panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Elizabeth Islands from the Aquinnah Cliffs on Martha’s Vineyard. And while you’re there, take a look at some of the crafts offered by your hosts, the Wampanoags, or enjoy a milk shake and a lobster roll from the restaurant poised atop the Cliffs.
  5. Scargo Tower in Dennis
  6. Visit Scargo Tower in Dennis. When atop the 30-foot tower, you can see Provincetown to the east and as far west as Plymouth.
  7. Pick up a copy of Hopper's Places by Gail Levin, and explore the Outer Cape to see if you can find the locations that inspired some of Edward Hopper’s most famous paintings. Need some guidance? Head to Highland House at the Truro Historical Society.
  8. Visit the 22 lighthouses of Cape Cod and the Islands.
  9. Wellfleet Drive In Theatre
  10. See a movie at the Wellfleet Drive-In. With only 368 drive-ins still operating in the United States, it is a truly unique and memorable experience.
  11. Explore the Provincetown Library. Not only is the building visually stunning, but there is a half scale model (about 50 feet) of the Rose Dorothea Schooner, winner of the Lipton Cup in 1907.
  12. Chatham Seals at Lighthouse Beach
  13. Go to Lighthouse Beach in Chatham to watch the seals frolic in the waters close to the beach. On some days you may catch a glimpse of just a few - or a few hundred!
  14. Stop by The Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port. Edward Gorey illustrated books ranging from Dracula to a series of children’s books. His work was varied and could be whimsical, macabre or even humorous. A stop at the Gorey House is sure to fascinate young and old alike.
  15. Take a ride on the Cape Cod Central Railroad, and see parts of Cape Cod that you might miss in a car or on foot. It offers daily sightseeing trains from downtown Hyannis to the Cape Cod Canal, a Family Supper train, Brunch and Lunch trains, and an Elegant Dinner train.
  16. Hike the Great Island Trail. Great Island was once home to The Punonakanits, whaler lookout towers, and a thriving tavern for local whalers. Deserted since 1800, it is a place of pristine beauty with a fascinating history.
  17. Let the professional astronomers from the Maria Mitchell Association on Nantucket guide you on a tour of the stars in the sky. Enjoy telescopic viewing of the moon, planets, and galaxies. Visit www.mmo.org for specific dates and times.
  18. Visit the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and learn about the world-renown ocean science research that is being conducted there, as well as the vessels and tools that are used to aid in the research. In the summer there are guided tours of the dock area as well as other restricted facilities. The Institute is located adjacent to the Steamship Authority’s ferry terminal to Martha’s Vineyard.
  19. Tour the shipwrecks of Cape Cod - the final resting spot for the Sparrowhawk, Portland, Whydah, Frances, Montclair, and Orissa. For more information, read A tour of Cape Cod shipwrecks.

Visit many of these sites while enjoying one of our Cape Cod vacation rentals.

About Becky Fischer

About Becky Fischer: I have worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2003. Currently serving as Marketing Manager, my position entails collaborating on all print and social media marketing efforts as well as the company's valuable relationship with 17 local Chambers of Commerce. In addition, I provide photography, video, and consultation services to vacation rental homeowners, and have photographed over 300 homes on the Cape and Islands. My husband and three children moved to Brewster in 2006. I grew up outside of Boston, spent summer vacations on Nantucket, and was married in Orleans. My favorite activities on the Cape are walking on the CCRT, deep breaths at the beach, and working with my community to support the schools and local events.