X No Thanks

48 Hours in Cape Cod

by Travelbag on 09 December 2019, 09:12AM

Provincetown Lighthouse

Jutting out of the Massachusetts coast, Cape Cod is the classic New England getaway. Vicki Power explains what you should see and do if you have 48 hours on the 65-mile long peninsula.

Day One

Make your first stop Provincetown and spend the day exploring the town and the surrounding area. Beloved of artists and writers, this is an upmarket and buzzing enclave on the very tip of the Cape, packed with independent cafés, shops, galleries and great restaurants, as well as the charming clapboard houses the area is known for. Take breakfast at Café Heaven on Commercial Street, looking out for local specialties such as banana cornmeal pancakes or eggs Benedict over crab cakes. Watch the day wake up through Heaven’s floor-to-ceiling windows, which overlook Provincetown’s pretty main drag.

Stroll over to Art’s Dune Tours for a bumpy-but-fun one-hour SUV tour over the historic sand dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore Park. Book in advance as the trips sell out, and the dunes are otherwise closed to cars. Your guide will explain the unique ecology of the area and point out some of the 19 remote shacks that were once sanctuaries to artists and writers, including Jackson Pollock, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams. Get snapping – atmospheric viewpoints abound.

Make your way back to Commercial Street and get ready to splash some cash. There are lots of cool boutiques here, such as Marine Specialties, Inc – a warehouse packed to the rafters with oddities, including nautical gewgaws and vintage finds. Splurge on art at one of dozens of galleries – try Julie Tremblay Gallery, full of affordable photographs of Cape life. Stop by the exhibitions at Provincetown Art Association and Museum, which celebrate the region’s justified reputation for art. Grab lunch at The Canteen on Commercial Street and chow down on the lobster roll – a melt-in-the-mouth Cape delicacy made using freshly shucked lobster. For a post-lunch workout, head to Provincetown Bike Rentals on Bradford Street and embark on an invigorating, self-guided tour of the Outer Cape’s lighthouses and beaches. Electric bikes are available if you’d rather not sweat it out.

The biggest collection of beacons – Race Point Light House, Wood End Light and Long Point Light – is found on the Cape’s northern tip. But on your travels south tomorrow, make a point of stopping at Highland Light, which dates from 1857 and is recognisable from the paintings of Edward Hopper. Or you can save your lighthouse sight-seeing until just before dusk. Make your way to Race Point Beach to join others viewing the incomparable sunset. For dinner, we recommend The Lobster Pot, a cheerful waterfront spot where the seafood is fresh and plentiful, and whose dining rooms offer a fabulous harbour view. Or break the budget at The Mews Restaurant, where celebs go for high-end nosh.

Cape Cod Sand Dunes


Day Two

After breakfast, hit the road and check out a couple of the Cape’s small villages, where British-style B&Bs and rugged beaches add to the charm. Head south, to the pretty town of Chatham. Park up and stroll down Main Street – shops such as Yankee Ingenuity and The Mayflower are perfect for gifts and souvenirs. For a mid-morning coffee, try the Public Café or Chatham Perk. Enjoy a walk from the town centre to Chatham’s lighthouse, about a mile away, past rows of clapboard and wood shingle houses. Many feature plaques celebrating former residents, some of whom were distinguished seafarers – a nod to the whaling, fishing and sailing industries that once sustained Cape life.

You’ll reach Chatham Lighthouse Beach, where unpredictable currents and sharks (yes, really) make swimming hazardous – so it’s best to walk along the sand and admire the splendid ocean view from afar. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of migrating seals and fishing boats. If it’s open, why not climb the lighthouse for an even better view? Having worked up an appetite, walk back to the village and make for buzzy local eatery Bistro on Main, where a pound of local mussels and French fries will set you up for the afternoon. Then hop in the car and motor to Falmouth – another pretty town set around a village green with mature trees. There’s plenty to distract you here, from the shops on Main Street to afternoon treats at Molly’s Tea Room, where the Queen’s Luncheon offers a US take on tea and scones.

If yesterday’s bike ride whet your appetite, rent a two-wheeler at Corner Cycle and venture out on the Shining Sea Bikeway – 11 miles of paved trails starting at Falmouth that run past cranberry bogs and Salt Marsh Bird Sanctuary down to Woods Hole. The Cape is flat and uniquely suited to biking, with 114 miles of dedicated bike trails. In high season, make sure you’re back in town in time for a two-hour sunset sailboat cruise on Liberte, a 77-foot schooner docked next to Jim’s Clam Shack. Chow down on a fresh clam strip roll before boarding the boat. Feel the wind in your hair as the captain takes you gliding over the gentle waters of Nantucket Sound – you’ll enjoy sigh-inducing views of Falmouth, Nobska Lighthouse and Martha’s Vineyard, as well as a glorious sunset. There’s a bar onboard if you fancy a refreshing tipple, but even after you dock back in Falmouth, the night will still be young. It’s just a short drive to The British Beer Company – a pub and restaurant opposite the beach that offers a raft of local craft beers. As you chink glasses, salute yourself on having made the most of your two-day excursion to Cape Cod, and make a vow to come back soon.

Cape Cod Sunset

Ready to embark on an adventure down the East Coast of America? Check out our incredible tours.

Or if you need help thinking of other places to go, these are the best holiday destinations for 2020.

6 Places to Celebrate Lunar New Year

Read More

A Hop Around the World’s Beers

Read More

Top 10 Things to do in Vancouver

Read More

Antigua: Paradise at the Right Price

Read More
Post of the month
by Tourism Australia More

Email sign up

Register to receive holiday offers, cheap flights deals, hotel offers and more.

Travelbag Travel/Leisure London

01 Jan 00:00 Read More
Travelbag's Twitter
Common Tags
24 Hours 48 hours in 5 Reasons Abu Dhabi Activities Adventure Holiday Africa Alaska America Antigua Argentina asia Auckland Australasia Australia bahamas Bahrain Bali Bangkok Barbados Beach Holidays Beaches beer Bolivia Bora Bora Borneo Botswana Brazil California Cambodia Campervan Canada Cancun Cape Town Caribbean Central America Chicago Chile China City Breaks Colombo Colorado Cook Islands Costa Rica Cruise Holidays Cruises Cuba culture Dining Dominican Republic Dubai Ecuador Europe Family Holidays Festivals Fiji Florida food Food Trip Gold Coast Grenada Hanoi Hawaii hiking Ho Chi Minh City Hoi An holiday reading holidays Honeymoon Hong Kong India Indian Ocean Indian Ocean Luxury Holidays Indonesia Jamaica Japan Jordan Kenya Koh Samui Krabi kuala lumpur Langkawi Laos las vegas Latin America Literature los angeles Luxury Holidays Macau Malaysia Maldives Mauritius Melbourne Mexico Miami Middle East Montreal motorhome holidays music Myanmar Namibia Nature New England New York New Zealand North New Zealand Northen Territory Oman Oregon Orlando Penang Perth Perth Beaches Peru Phuket Qatar Quebec Queensland Queenstown Rail Travel Ras Al Khaimah Reading on holiday Road trip Safari San Francisco Scuba Diving Self-Drive Seychelles Shanghai Sightseeing Trip Singapore snorkelling South Africa South America South Australia South Carolina South New Zealand Southeast Asia Sri Lanka St Lucia Surfing Sydney Tahiti Tasmania Tennessee Texas Thailand Things To Do Tokyo Top 5 Things to Do Toronto tour trekking UAE United States USA USA Roadtrip Utah Vancouver Vietnam Vietnam Beaches Virginia Washington DC Western Australia whale watching Wildlife Wine Winter Sun
Please Wait...

We use cookies
Read more

Cookies: We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our website, you are agreeing to use our site cookies.
See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Would you like a call back from one of our experts? X
chat with our experts
0871 703 4698
Call us until today

Schedule a call back


Please Select a Date


Please Select a Time


Please supply your First Name


Please supply your Surname

Phone Number

Please Check the Number and Try Again


Please Select a Destination


Dear , our experts will call you on , on to chat about your trip. In the meantime, feel free to explore our site for inspiration