Your browser's security settings have disabled Javascript, which is required to use this web site effectively.
Please alter your security settings. Click here to see how.

The Lure of Cape Cod

It's difficult to define what it is about Cape Cod that has continued to draw so many of us back to experience it again and again each summer. Perhaps it's the irresistible combination of its unique natural beauty - miles of beautiful, white-sand beaches and dunes and lush, fascinating marshes teeming with wildlife - its charming history dating back to the 17th century, and its abundance of family-oriented activities, and beautiful Cape Cod vacation rentals. If lying on a gorgeous beach or reading a book on a porch overlooking wetlands isn't enough for you, we suggest you take advantage of some of these wonderful, in most cases free, quintessentially-Cape experiences.

Town Band Concerts

Small town band concerts are a part of Americana. Although these concerts are disappearing in many areas of the country, they remain a treasured and delightful part of the summer experience on Cape Cod.

Cape Cod Band Concerts
Cape Cod Band Concerts

In parks all over the Cape and Islands, local residents assemble in gazebos in their band uniforms and present a mix of music sure to delight all and get feet tapping. While parents and grandparents relax on blankets or in folding chairs waiting for the music to begin, children run around the bandstand and play in the area set aside for dancing. Then, when the band strikes up, the dancing begins – couples, parents with their children and even solo folks enjoy swaying to the music. Adding to the Normal Rockwell-like experience at some concerts are strings of balloons rising into the summer skies.

At most of these events, you can bring food and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy and make it an even more festive event.

Here is a list of where you can catch the town band concerts during the summer months:

  • Sundays
  • Brewster -- 6 pm, Drummer Boy Field, Rte. 6A, Brewster
  • Martha's Vineyard -- 8 pm, alternating between Owen Park, Vineyard Haven and Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs
  • Mondays
  • Harwich -- 6 pm, Band shell at Brooks Park, Oak Street, Harwich
  • Yarmouth -- 6 pm, Parkers River Beach South Shore Drive, South Yarmouth
  • Tuesdays
  • Hyannis -- 6 pm, Aselton Park corner of South St. and Ocean St., Hyannis
  • Mashpee -- 6 pm, Mashpee Community Park corner of Route 130 and Great Neck Road North, Mashpee
  • Wednesdays
  • Chatham -- 6 pm, Kate Gould Park, Main Street, Chatham
  • Thursdays
  • Orleans -- 6 pm, Nauset Beach, Beach Road, Orleans
  • Fridays
  • Dennis Port - 6pm, Village Green (off Hall St.), Dennis Port
  • Falmouth- 6pm, Peg Noonan Park, Main Street, Falmouth
  • Saturdays
  • Hyannis -- 6 pm, Hyannis Village Green, Main Street, Hyannis
  • Various Dates
  • Nantucket -- 6 pm, Band Shell at Children's Beach, Nantucket

Cape Cod Baseball League

Cape Cod Baseball League
Cape Cod Baseball League

The Cape Baseball League, established in 1885, is the premier amateur baseball league in the country. Ten teams showcase the talents of some of the best college players in the country as they play hard-hitting ball in parks from Wareham to Orleans from June to mid-August. The League, which bills itself "Where the Stars of Tomorrow Shine Tonight," is known for its beautiful ballparks, as well as the purity and simplicity of the games played. Many of today’s Major League players got their start in the Cape League, including several players on the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox: World Series MVP Mike Lowell (Chatham ’94), team captain Jason Varitek (Hyannis ’91 & ’93), former Gold Glove first baseman Kevin Youkilis (Bourne ’00) and speedy centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (Falmouth ’04).

The league is also notable for its continuing use of wooden bats. Because it draws top-tier college players, the level of play is often considered the equivalent of high-A Minor League Baseball. Admission is free and refreshments are available to purchase. Get your hot dogs and ice cold drinks here!

The Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame is worth a visit. It is located in the "Dugout," the lower level of the John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis.

Visit the individual team websites for team rosters and game schedules:


Whale Watches

Whale Watches
Cape Cod Whale Watches

Many species of whales, including humpbacks, spend a portion of the year at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Cape Cod Bay. Stellwagen Bank attracts a variety of marine mammals and thousands of human visitors each year. USA Today named it one of the world's Top 10 Whale Watching Sites.

Just as vacationers return to Cape Cod year after year, so do the whales, and frequently you’ll see a female with her new calf. Like human children, whale calves are playful and fun to watch. The whales are used to the whale watch boats and not bashful about approaching or showing off their behaviors.

Humpback whales have markings on their flukes (tails) that are unique to each individual whale and are the means by which scientists and whale watch captains identify whales that return year after year by the hundreds. Many whales have been given names.

Find Cape Cod whale watches and other Cape Cod sightseeing tours in the Vacation Planner.


Lighthouses

Brant Point, Nantucket
Brant Point, Nantucket

Cape Cod and the Islands are home to over 20 lighthouses, many of which are open to the public. A visit to these historic sites can be fun, and it can also give you a sense of the hardships of life on Cape Cod and the Islands 200 years ago.

The waters off Cape Cod have always been difficult to navigate due to the rugged coastline, dangerous sand bars and rip tides, and too few safe harbors to enter during a storm. Over the past 300 years, there have been more than 3,000 shipwrecks on the Cape, mainly along the treacherous outer shore between Provincetown and Chatham, once known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

Highland Light in Truro, pictured, is the oldest lighthouse on the Cape, built in 1797 in an effort to reduce the large number of wrecks. It was the first lighthouse in the nation to have a flashing light. The waters off Cape Cod were filled with ships back in the 18th and 19th century -- in one 11-day period in July 1853, Keeper Enoch Hamilton counted 1,200 craft passing his station. As many as 600 vessels were reportedly counted in one day in 1867.

Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard features one of the most dramatic and picturesque lighthouse locations on the Eastern Coast of the United States. With a tower height of only 51 feet, the lighthouse is impressive in person because it is perched on the 130-foot cliffs of red clay, providing a breathtaking view of the Vineyard Sound, the Elizabeth Islands and the surrounding area.

Cape Cod

    Highland Lighthouse, Truro, Cape Cod
    Highland Lighthouse, Truro, Cape Cod
  • Cleveland Ledge Light – Buzzards Bay
  • Wing’s Neck Light – Pocasset
  • Nobska Light – Falmouth
  • Sandy Neck Light – Barnstable
  • Point Gammon Light – Hyannis
  • Hyannis Harbor Light – Hyannis
  • Bass River Light – Dennis
  • Chatham Light – Chatham
  • Stage Harbor Light – Chatham
  • Nauset Light – Eastham
  • The Three Sisters – Eastham
  • Highland Light – Truro
  • Long Point Light – Provincetown
  • Race Point Light – Provincetown
  • Wood End Light – Provincetown

Nantucket

  • Brant Point Light – Nantucket Town
  • Great Point Light – Great Point
  • Sankaty Head Light - Siasconset

Martha’s Vineyard

  • West Chop Light – Vineyard Haven
  • East Chop Light – Oak Bluffs
  • Edgartown Light - Edgartown
  • Cape Pogue Light – Chappaquiddick Island
  • Gay Head Light – Aquinnah

About Shannon Russo

About Shannon Russo: I am proud to be the driving force behind the WeNeedaVacation.com Homeowner Blog, our Homeowner Tutorial Video Series and the design of our WeNeedaVacation.com email communications. Though I wear many hats in the office, I most enjoy assisting Cape and Islands homeowners with the knowledge I have gained from owning a just-off Cape vacation rental home for over ten years. Raised on the Canadian prairies, I fell in love with the ocean at first sight and would gladly spend the rest of my life in a shack on the beach or sailing the seas. I currently reside in Framingham with my husband, my teenage son, and an ageless pitbull mix named Coogan.