Cape Cod Travel Guide
Cape Cod Sunset © imsorrybrendan
Named for the large quantities of cod caught by its founder ship
in 1602, Cape Cod is a 70-mile (113km) peninsula that is likened to
a flexed arm bent at the elbow extending from the main body of
Massachusetts; it is the premiere vacation destination in New
England with its charming historic towns and small villages, miles
of sandy beaches and wind-sculpted sand dunes. Millions of visitors
from around the world flock to the amazing natural beauty of the
Cape, and although known as the playground for the rich and famous
and mostly geared for big spenders, there is plenty of sun, sea and
sand for everyone to enjoy.
Provincetown, at the tip of the Cape's 'fist', is the gay centre of New England and long renowned as an artistic colony with more than 20 art galleries. It is also the liveliest resort town on the Cape. Stretching from Provincetown (which was the landing site of the first Pilgrims in the 17th century) down to the pretty town of Chatham, from the 'fist' to the 'elbow' of the peninsula along the Atlantic Ocean, are 40 miles (64km) of dunes and desolate beaches protected within the Cape Cod National Seashore. Wellfleet is a quieter and picturesque town untouched by commercial development, and famous for its oysters.
The commercial towns along the horizontal stretch of the arm represented by the 'biceps' offer the obvious attractions of shopping, exquisite dining and beach activities, but there is also whale-watching, walking and biking. However, be prepared for summer crowds and traffic-filled roads, especially between June and August, when prices are high and accommodation booked out. Otherwise come in the off-season when the colder beaches afford solitude and the towns have quietened down. Cape Cod is also the gateway to the beautiful vacation islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
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