Popular Landmarks and Attractions on Cape Cod

Browse pictures of many activities and must-see features in this charming waterfront region.
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Photo By: James Burke, CC-BY-SA-2.0

Photo By: Saltbox Treasures

Photo By: William DeSousa-Mauk

Photo By: Clem and Ursie's

Cape Cod Shining Sea Bikeway

Named for the famous line in the song "American the Beautiful," the Shining Sea Bikeway follows the original path of the New York, Hartford, and New Haven Railroad. The town of Falmouth bought the rights to the railway in the early 1970s and tore up the tracks, where the bikeway was then laid in its place and opened in 1975. Since then, the 3.3- mile bikeway has been popular with beginner and moderate bikers who enjoy the scenic — and level — coastal trail.

Cultural Center of Cape Cod

Located in South Yarmouth, in the former headquarters of the Bass River Savings bank, the Cultural Center of Cape Cod is dedicated to expanding knowledge of the visual and performing arts. With everything from knitting classes to string ensembles, salsa lessons to fine dining etiquette, the center attracts residents of all ages.

Sandwich Glass Museum

Avid glass fan or not, the Sandwich Glass Museum is famous for its exceptional way of expressing the town's unique history as a leader in the glass industry locally, regionally and even nationally. Recently, the museum has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation to display the historic glass at its best. The museum also offers glass-blowing demonstrations, a theater for historical films on the town, as well as a gift shop, where visitors can take a little piece of the town with them.

Whale Watch Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown

Led by the leading team of whale-watchers on the East Coast, the Whale Watch Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown offers the rare experience of not just seeing whales in their own habitat, but learning — in depth — about what makes the Cape area and its marine life so special. Famous nationwide, the Dolphin Fleet has been studying whales and collecting research since 1975, making them one of the most highly-regarded whale-watching fleets in the country. 

Coast Guard Heritage Museum

Located in Barnstable, the Coast Guard Heritage Museum opened in 2005 and offers visitors a rich history of the Coast Guard and its predecessor organizations. Along with the Coast Guard Museum, the property is also home to the Oldest Wooden Jail in America and the Village Blacksmith Shop. 

Sandy Neck Lighthouse

The Sandy Neck Lighthouse is located in Barnstable and was constructed in 1827. At the time, the Barnstable Harbor was a very important port for fishing and trade which made the lighthouse a necessity. Thestructure was restored in 2006 for the town's 150-year anniversary in 2007, and it remains an important piece of architecture that reflects the town's unique history and fishing culture.

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Running 22 miles through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and ending in Wellfleet, the Cape Cod Rail Trail follows an old railroad right-of-way and offers a scenic and mild ride for bikers of all ages. The trail goes through Nickerson State Park and the beach is easily accessible at various points of the trial — perfect for a weekend bike ride and beach picnic. 

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse

Best known for fantastic bird- watching, the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham has been hosting visitors from around the country since 1944, as it is one of the best places to spot various migratory birds. Two islands and 40 acres of land on Morris Island are also part of the refuge, where more than 10 species of seabirds, shorebirds and water birds can be found throughout the various dunes, marshes and ponds. The visitor center and refuge headquarters — both on Morris Island — hold exhibits and educational programs for schools, universities and professional groups, and also offer a 3/4- mile nature trail to learn about different coastal habitats.

Music Circus and Melody Tent

The towns of Cohasset and Hyannis have played host to the South Shore Music Circus and the Cape Cod Melody Tent for nearly 60 years. They are the only two continuously-operated tent theaters in the country, with an ever-expanding list of legendary performers that have taken the stage -- from Tony Bennett to B.B. King, Lynyrd Skynyrd to the Boston Pops. Both locations have undergone recent renovations with state-of-the-art seating, lighting and sound systems to keep up with the crowds and incredible performances year after year.

Nickerson State Park

A departure from the familiar coastal environment, Nickerson State Park is surrounded by beautiful woods and eight fresh-water ponds -- formed as glaciers retreated more than 10,000 years ago. The park's 1,900 acres are the perfect spot for camping -- thanks to more than 400 campsites. Day hikes, biking trails, horseback riding and fantastic trout fishing are also popular attractions to the park.

Pilgrim Monument

The tallest granite structure in the country, the Pilgrim Monument was erected as a memorial to the Mayflower's first Provincetown landing of 1620 in the New World and stands at an astounding 272 feet. Thefirst cornerstone was laid by President Roosevelt in 1907 and the structure was dedicated by President Taft in 1910. Visitors can climb the 116 stairs to the top and view interior stones that were donated to the site by cities, towns and organizations from all over the country.

Cape Cod Commercial Street

Commercial Street is the "it" spot for shopping, dining and taking in downtown Provincetown's unique culture. Along the street, many different architectural styles can be seen in the homes and buildings, with Greek revival and Victorian being the most popular. Walking tour pamphlets are distributed by the Historical Society to explain the town's historical significance, while small galleries, gardens and other local shops provide one-of-a-kind treasures to its visitors.

Cape Cod National Seashore

More than 40,000 acres of protected dunes and beaches can be found along the Cape Cod National Seashore. Created in 1961 by President Kennedy, the seashore stretches from Chatham to Provincetown and is home to a variety of activities such as: fishing; sailing; hiking; biking; historic architecture tours; windsurfing and wildlife observation. 

Edward Gorey House

Once the home of famed author and illustrator Edward Gorey, the Edward Gorey House is located on Yarmouth Port Common and has been run as a museum dedicated to raising awareness for animal welfare issues since Gorey's death in 2000. The museum displays original artwork, photographs and first editions of Gorey's work while also incorporating his passion for animals and their well-being into each display.

Old Yarmouth Inn

The oldest inn on Cape Cod, the Old Yarmouth Inn stands as a beautiful piece of Cape history. Established in 1696, the inn was used as a halfway point for travelers between Plymouth and Provincetown for lodging and food. Today, the inn has been turned into a restaurant and is a favorite watering hole for locals and visitors alike. 

John F. Kennedy Memorial

The John F. Kennedy Memorial, located in Hyannis, overlooks Lewis Bay in a peaceful and reflective setting. The memorial was erected in 1966 by Barnstable residents to recognize and pay tribute to the late president -- and Cape Cod local. The memorial includes a plaque and fountain pool, and continues to be a place where locals and out-of-towners frequent to honor the Kennedy legacy.

Stony Brook Grist Mill and Museum

Beginning with the American Revolution, the Stony Brook Grist Mill was the most productive New England manufacturer of products such as cloth, boots and ironwork for more than a century. The only remaining structure was built in 1873 and was used for making products such as overalls and ice cream. It was later turned into a corn mill, where today visitors are allowed to try out the restored grist mill on their own. The second floor of the mill is a small museum that displays various memorabilia and even authentic arrowheads. 

Korean Memorial

Adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Memorial and within Veteran's Park Beach is the Korean Memorial. The site is dedicated to the service of 1.8 million military veterans who served in the Korean War. The design of the memorial was based around a picture taken by a Centerville resident who served as a combat photographer during the war. The monument was dedicated June 25, 2000, the 50-year anniversary of the start of the Korean War. 

Duckmobile

Get to know Cape Cod by boat, car -- or better yet -- Duckmobile. Cape Cod Duckmobiles are authentic military amphibious vehicles that can tour the famous Cape coast as well as the streets of downtown Hyannis. Cape Cod Duckmobiles are the only land and sea tours that use fully-restored World War II and Vietnam amphibious vehicles for their tours. Fun for kids and adults alike, Duckmobiles are great for seeing the historic sites and beautiful waterfront. 

Clem and Ursie's Fish Market

Family-owned and operated in Provincetown, Clem and Ursie's Fish Market is one of the best kept secrets on the Cape. The seafood market, raw bar and restaurant is a favorite local spot, with the freshest and largest selection of fish in the region. Clem and Ursie's also ships live Cape lobster and clambakes anywhere in the country, so it's never too hard to get your hands on their highly-desired seafood.