little girl in a pink dress twirling with an American flag, things to do on cape cod this summer

Cape Cod summers are magical. With bursting hydrangeas, endless beach days, fresh local food, and picturesque sunsets, there is much to savor. Our family loves to experience all that a Cape summer has to offer. Here are some of our favorite activities.

4th of July Fireworks & Parades

Many Cape towns have fireworks displays during the July 4th week. Our favorite places to watch are Provincetown Harbor and Rock Harbor. There are also multiple 4th of July parades around the cape. The Hyannis Harbor Boat Parade and Chatham Parade are both worth attending. You can continue the festivities with the Chatham Bars Inn 4th of July Carnival, which is typically open to the public.

Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary

Take a quiet walk in the woodland trails or have your coffee overlooking the dunes of Sandy Neck Barrier Beach in Barnstable. The sanctuary also has the most adorable playground made from a fallen 250-year-old tree.

Fresh Baked Pop-tarts

Lighthouse Keeper’s pop-tarts in Yarmouthport are nostalgia at its best. They are buttery and flaky, have a delicious filling, and are delightfully decorated. After taking a bite of your kid’s, you will definitely be ordering your own.

Children’s Theatre

The Cape Rep Theatre in Brewster performs a different children’s musical each summer in its outdoor theatre. The Cape Cod Theatre Company in Harwich has a variety of indoor performances as well as shorter plays featuring young actors on its outdoor stage. Every Friday from July 12th-August 23rd, the Cape Playhouse in Dennis has children’s programming on its new outdoor stage.

Wicked Waves Cape Cod

The state’s biggest waterpark is located right in Yarmouth! There is something for all ages at Wicked Waves, with a toddler area, lazy river, wave pool, and a variety of waterslides.

Sandy Pond Playground & Splash Deck

This inclusive playground and splash deck in Yarmouth is a fun way to beat the summer heat. There is shaded space in between areas, making it ideal for families with babies and toddlers.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The Woods Hole Ocean Science Discovery Center is open from May through October. Kids can climb inside a replica of the Alvin deep-sea submersible, observe great white sharks in their natural habitat through the SharkCam, and explore an interactive Titanic exhibit. They also have a Splash Lab, Ask a Scientist hours, and free guided walking tours.

Berry Picking

Pick your own strawberries at Tony Andrews Farm in East Falmouth or blueberries at Hokum Rock Blueberry Farm in East Dennis. Have a family baking session and make a favorite seasonal treat.

Family Picnic

We stop at the Dennis Village Mercantile for sandwiches, baked goods, and iced coffee. There is a lawn for picnicking behind the Mercantile. For an elevated picnic experience, Grazing Cape Cod offers beautiful charcuterie boards as well as luxury beach picnics.

Mini Golf

Our hands-down favorite mini golf spot is Pirates Cove in Yarmouth. There are two innovative, pirate-themed, 18-hole courses open April through Columbus Day.

Homemade Ice Cream

There is nothing like a hot fudge sundae from Sundae School in Dennisport or Harwich Port or Ice Cream Smuggler in East Dennis. We also love Sweet Izzy in Harwich Port, which is an incredible vegan ice cream shop and an allergy mom’s dream.

Brewster General Store

This general store, which has been operational since 1866, maintains old-world charm with its large windows, apothecary glass jars, and wood stove. Inside, you will find a wide assortment of apparel, books, toys, vases, kitchenware, Cape Cod souvenirs, and penny candy.

Chatham Fish Pier & Market

Find a picnic table and enjoy the freshest seafood as you watch the fishermen unload their catch. This is also a prime location to seal watch.

Unique Cinematic Experiences

Whether it’s a new release or a rewatch of a classic, Cape Cod offers some special movie experiences. The Wellfleet Drive-in Theatre from 1957 is one of about 300 left in the country. Another favorite place to see a movie is the Cape Cinema in Dennis. This cinema shows many independent films, and in summer, they host “Throwback Thursday,” which features classic older films.

The Beachcomber

Once a lifesaving station, The Beachcomber in Wellfleet is the spot for a beach day combined with seaside dining. They have a popular raw bar as well as indoor and outdoor seating options. With its casual vibe, you can come right off the beach for lunch or dinner. Be sure to check out their merchandise. Their hoodies are the absolute coziest.

Commercial Street, Provincetown

With its vibrant culture, Commercial Street is a favorite place to explore. Stop for a treat at the Portuguese Bakery. Enjoy the many local shops and art galleries. Visit Marine Specialties for a fun keepsake. Have lunch overlooking the water at Fanizzi’s. Sample some fudge, brittle, or saltwater taffy from Cabot’s Candy. Pro tip: Provincetown Library offers some of the best water views, so make your way to the top floor to enjoy the scenery.

Family Photoshoot

Capture the summer memories with a family photoshoot. Our family does a mini-session with Danielle Ryder every summer. She is amazing with babies and kids. Paul Blackmore is also incredibly talented and takes beautiful photos.

Whether you are local or taking a Cape vacation, here’s to making a summer full of Cape memories!

Leah Rockwell
Born and raised on Cape Cod Leah Rockwell grew up with a love for the ocean. She has always found the kid table the most interesting place to be and knew from a young age she wanted to pursue a career working with children. After studying child development at Bates College she moved to Boston where she received her Masters and CAGS degrees in school psychology from Tufts University. Since 2005 she has practiced school psychology. When she isn’t counseling and writing evaluations, you can find her trying to convince her own kids to play soccer. Leah resides on the Cape with her husband and two very energetic sons.

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