At Cape Cod National Seashore, the activities are endless.
Located on the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, with unrivaled outdoor adventure, unique culture and gorgeous surroundings, the coast of Massachusetts offers visitors an ideal escape. With Cape Cod’s natural beauty, Plymouth’s history, and the unique island charm of Martha’s Vineyard and maritime heritage of Nantucket, there’s so much to see and do.
Coastal Beauty on Cape Cod
Whether you’re looking to hike, paddle, swim, or just go for a quiet walk on pristine beaches, the Outer Cape offers adventure for everyone. At Marconi Beach, high atop the lush and sandy cliffs, I marveled at the jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay. Afterward, a trip to the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum seemed fitting; JFK signed the bill into law creating the Cape Cod National Seashore. At the engaging museum, I discovered fascinating stories and photographs of the Kennedy family's memorable time spent on the Cape.
Plymouth: America’s Hometown
A trip to Massachusetts wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Plymouth, where New England was first established. In this beautiful seaside town, I boarded the Mayflower II, a full-scale reproduction of the ship that brought European settlers to New England in 1620. With solid oak timbers and hand-colored maps, the remarkably detailed vessel also features gifted interpreters ready to share a fun, and historically accurate, maritime tale. Nearby at the Plimoth Plantation, the outdoor living history sites offer a similarly engaging experience, where you can learn all about 17th-century Pilgrims and Native Wampanoag people in a unique setting.
Maritime History in Nantucket
A brief, scenic excursion by ferry from Cape Cod, the island of Nantucket is a glittering jewel set in the midst of the Atlantic. Disembarking the ferry, the aroma of brisk sea air mingling with fragrant flowers reawakens the senses. Vibrant pink roses and a host of hydrangeas add allure to the stunning landscape. This is an island lost in time.
The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the perilous maritime pursuits of 19th century Nantucket, with more than 700 shipwrecks branding the island with the unfortunate moniker “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Today, the museum honors the brave islanders who risked their lives to save shipwrecked mariners.
Idyllic Martha’s Vineyard
Another island jewel off the coast of Cape Cod is Martha’s Vineyard which, like Nantucket, is accessible only by ferry or by air. With six idyllic towns to explore, it’s hard to choose what to see first – the brightly painted gingerbread cottages of Oak Bluffs, or perhaps the classic architecture and high-end boutiques of Edgartown. Settling on the latter, I strolled through the bustling streets of the quaint seaport town, abounding with world-class cuisine, specialty shops and historic homes. I stopped in for a delicious handmade ice cream cone at The Scoop Shack before taking in Edgartown’s scenic harbor views.
At the end of an incredible day, I headed to serene Aquinnah to take in the town’s stunning vistas. It was a picture-perfect moment, with the shimmering waters, colorful cliffs and setting sun casting a romantic hue over my extraordinary vacation.