There are 15 towns in Barnstable County, which covers all of Cape Cod, from the Bourne Bridge, to the tip of Falmouth to the stone jetty in Provincetown, and there are 15 weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. What a coincidence! A Perfect Day In Bourne starts right in the village.
The villages of Bourne straddle the Cape Cod Canal. More than 14,000 vessels, ranging from small runabouts to massive tankers, pass through the Canal each year, making boat-watching the choice activity here where Cape Cod begins. The other choice activity is a ride on the Cape Cod Canal Bike Path, which stretches about 7 miles on each side, and is the perfect synthesis of transportation and recreation. So plan to spend your day astride a bicycle. You can check out the marine traffic, and watch fishermen angling for strippers. (Saltwater fishing permit required.)
Cyclists can walk their bikes across both the Bourne and Sagamore bridges. The Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge gets all the attention. The center span of the immense vertical-lift bridge is usually up to let ships with high masts pass, but it’s lowered with cables and counterweights when the Cape Cod Central Railroad dinner trains and the weekend Boston -Hyannis Cape Flyer cross the canal.
Near the bridge on the mainland side, the village of Buzzards Bay is the commercial center of Bourne. Visit the Marine Animal Discovery Center & Gift Shop (120 Main St., Buzzards Bay, 508-743-9888) to see how stranded seals and turtles are rehabilitated. To cool off, the bike path follows the canal east all the way to Sagamore Beach (Standish Rd., Sagamore) or to adjacent Scusset Beach State Reservation (Scusset Beach Rd.) on Cape Cod Bay.
The beaches on Buzzards Bay are usually less busy & more sandy. On the Cape side of the canal, the broad sandy stretch of Monument Beach made the area a resort in the 1880s. Sunset views are great from the beach—but even better from the terrace of the Sunset Grille (11 Brigadoon Rd., 508-743-0705) at Brookside Club golf course.