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Cape Cod see + do

A trip to Cape Cod is a captivating throwback to a simpler era of vacationing, filled with lazy days on the beach, baseball games, and nights at the drive-in movie theater. Nature lovers will get their fill of the great outdoors by hiking or biking through the Cape's woodlands and wetlands. And since Cape Cod was one of the first places in America settled by Europeans, history buffs can revel in the area's working harbors, classic lighthouses, and 19th-century sea captains' mansions. For such a small peninsula, Cape Cod offers a surprising variety of towns. Sandwich's historic center is now lined with hip shops, restaurants, and inns run by a new wave of dedicated young entrepreneurs. The Woods Hole section of Falmouth hosts some of the world's best marine-science institutions, including an aquarium founded in 1885 (Woods Hole Science Aquarium, Albatross and Water streets; 508-495-2001; aquarium.nefsc.noaa.gov). While neighboring Mashpee is best known for its high-end shopping center, it's also home to the native Mashpee Wampanoags, who run a small museum out of a meetinghouse built for them by the colonists (Route 130; 508-477-1536; mashpeewampanoagtribe.com/museum.html). Hyannisport, in the town of Barnstable, is where the Kennedy clan has summered since the 1920s. A high hedgerow keeps prying eyes at bay, but visitors can sate their curiosity at the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum (397 Main St.; 508-790-3077; jfkhyannismuseum.org). Blue-blooded Chatham is where men wear whale belts and loafers without socks—or irony. And at the far end of the Cape, geographically and culturally, Provincetown is a one-of-a-kind destination where gays and lesbians mix with artists, fishing families, and clans of tourists.

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Provincetown Museum, Provincetown

The Provincetown Museum is easy to find: It's at the base of the 252-foot Pilgrim Monument, the tallest granite structure in the nation. The exhibits include a...more

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Theater and Film on Cape Cod

The oldest professional summer theater in America, the Cape Playhouse opened in Dennis in 1927 and still brings in Broadway-caliber talent and productions....more

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Wellfleet Historical Society Museum, Wellfleet

The Wellfleet Historical Society Museum reflects the long reach of this small town. On display are memorabilia related to the first transatlantic wireless...more

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Whale Watching on Cape Cod

Whales, like tourists, summer here, and they've become a popular draw—a favorable twist of fate, considering that the Cape Cod whale trade almost wiped...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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