Plan ahead to take it all in. In Chatham, for example, you can take a seal tour, charter a fishing boat, tour the Chatham Lighthouse (above) or sunbath at Chatham Light Beach (above) all in the same trip.
It is never too early to start planning your Cape Cod vacation, and – to be honest – sooner tends to be better given how hectic the summer season can be. Whether you are an old hand at summering on the shores of the Cape or you are new to the game, here are some helpful hints for getting the most out of your time on the Cape.
1. Plan around the time you have. Some people spend their whole summer on the Cape, others can only get a weekend or two. It is important to know beforehand how much time you will have to spend. Some places offer discounts at certain times or run specials (even in the summer, although it is more rare than the off-season), so try to time your trip to coordinate with those offers.
More often than not, mid-week ventures will be less expensive than weekends, so – if you can – take your vacation from Monday through Thursday, rather than on the weekend. This is obviously easier to do if you work a job that has flexible hours or vacation time.
If you can only get time off on the weekends, be sure to map everything out well in advance. Vacancies are quite scant in the summer, so book your room with at least a week or two worth of warning (most places will book rooms well in advance, so don’t be worried about being proactive).
And for the weekend warriors, don’t plan on seeing everything – you won’t be able to and trying to will drive you bananas! Instead, figure out what you and your family would most like to do on the Cape, be it go to the beach (brush up on beach sticker information in the town you are interested in visiting), seeing some of the fun museums on the Cape, checking out the great Main Streets and shopping in different towns, or getting a great seafood dinner!
For longer stays, planning is still key, but you can space your stops at various attractions out between long days spent languishing in the sun on the beach.
Check out some of the various restaurants and pick a favorite, or find the beach that suits you best! Better yet, check out some of the specialized drinks offered up by many of the Cape’s pubs, bars and restaurants.
2. To rent a home or go to a hotel. The Cape has plenty of great lodging options, from five-star hotels to affordable rooms great for spending the night in to rental properties on the beach. So which is right for you?
Consider how many people you are bringing, what sort of amenities you would like, how important privacy is to you, how long you are staying, and if you want to bring along any pets.
While some hotels are pet-friendly, your four-legged friends may have more space to lounge around in a rental home, some of which are even near the water (great fun for families and dogs alike)
capecodusarealestate.com can help you to find a home that is in the right price range and that has all the things you and your family will require during your stay.
If you are staying with your family for a week or longer, a rental home can be nice. It gives everyone space and the price can be comparable with a hotel.
Of course, the most affordable options are some of the less pricey hotels, especially for stays during the week. They may not offer everything you want, but they will be fine for spending the night (how much time do you really plan on spending in a hotel with the whole Cape around you to explore?).
When looking for a place to stay, consider if you want a pool, access to a beach (some places offer beach passes or have property on the water, while others will help point you in the right direction toward getting a beach pass), if you want to take a day trip to either of the islands (hotels such as the Anchor-In in Hyannis not only offer a dock-and-stay option for boaters, but they sell tickets to the ferries in their lobby), if you want to be able to cook (some hotels have kitchenettes, great for making breakfast), if you want an outdoor shower, or any other number of conveniences. All these considerations will help you to make the right call.
3. Get a beach sticker for longer stays. It is true that there are day-rates for some of the beaches around the Cape, and that’s great for people staying for the weekend, but if you are staying for a week or more and plan on spending time at the beach, consider getting a beach sticker. Even if you are on the water, you may want to check out some of the other beaches on the Cape.
Beach stickers quickly become more affordable than day passes for extended periods of time and they allow you to explore different beaches in the town of your choice. That means you can spend the morning at one beach, the afternoon at another, and not have to pay two separate rates.
4. Avoid long lines. This one is more difficult to do, but possible. To avoid long lines and waits, consider going out to eat at non-peak hours (not always possible with kids in tow), and of course, make reservations at restaurants that take them (some restaurants don’t). Going out early or late will help you to avoid the maddening crowds, so – for example – don’t go out to dinner between 6 and 8, rather aim for 5 or past 9. The lack of a crowd can be pleasant because you won’t have to compete with much noise and – if you are going to a restaurant – your server will have more time to see to you personally (they try, but one person can only be so many places at once, don’t forget that).
5. Know what you want to see. With so much to do on Cape Cod, the options can seem overwhelming. It can be helpful to stay in one town and see all it has to offer (and maybe see attractions in the surrounding areas). If you have more time, plan trips that are a bit more out of the way, you will be glad you did!
courtesy Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.