Cape Cod and the Islands: One of the Country’s Enduring Getaway Destinations

Cape Cod | Credit: Michael Baccin

Massachusetts’s stunning coastal settings have long made it a popular destination for getaways. Cape Cod and the Islands is a region especially popular among visitors. This picturesque area refers to the region encompassing Barnstable, Duke, and Nantucket counties, including Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands. This region is a renowned and long-standing vacation spot for celebrities, presidents, and everyday Americans alike. Let’s look at what makes Cape Cod and the Islands an enduring getaway destination in the United States. 

Serene Natural Settings

Cape Cod is a large peninsula that stretches into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a picturesque place with sandy beaches, a rugged coastline, and impressive islands just off the coast. It is the kind of place people visit to lose themselves in a tranquil nature-filled setting, with crashing waves, rocky shores, and sprawling beaches. 

The Cape Cod National Seashore is a diverse and beautiful stretch that runs for 43,000 acres on the eastern end of Cape Cod. It has beaches, historical buildings, and other incredible sites. At Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, visitors can explore a marsh off the coast that is home to an array of rare birds and other incredible creatures. Nickerson State Park has a sandy and forested nature area that offers more than 2,000 acres to explore and hundreds of campsites.

Cape Cod National Seashore | Credit: Steve Lipman

Recreational Opportunities

Cape Cod and the Islands has boundless recreational opportunities. The warm summer weather and scenic settings make it the ideal destination for outdoor adventure. For starters, the beaches in Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and mainland Cape Cod are some of the best in the Northern U.S. Surfing is common there, as is fishing, boating, and all other forms of waterfront fun.

If you prefer to remain on dry land, there is still plenty to do. This region has some of the best golf courses in New England, and many provide gorgeous coastal views for players to enjoy. The tranquil Cape Cod town of Falmouth and its surrounding areas are known for their excellent country clubs. Cape Cod and the Islands also has incredible hikes that feature rocky coastlines, thick forests, and inland ponds. 

Martha's Vineyard | Credit: Benjamin Rascoe

Appealing Culture

Although the natural beauty of the Cape Cod region has contributed to its popularity, so too has the area’s culture. Cape Cod and the Islands is known for the charming small towns and cities that serve as summer destinations. While all different, these communities are popular for their quaint environments, delicious food, and picturesque commercial areas. 

Below are some of the many appealing destinations in the area:

Martha’s Vineyard: A small island off the coast of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard is famous for its iconic cottages, world-class seafood dining destinations, and a harbor filled with boats of all sizes. 

Nantucket: A quiet island south of Cape Cod, Nantucket’s distinct shingled homes and buildings give it a unique appearance. 

East Dennis: East Dennis is a pleasant coastal community renowned for its serene waterfront. 

Provincetown: As the site of the Mayflower’s landing, Provincetown is a historic city on Cape Cod. It is known for its preserved buildings, lively nightlife, and many art galleries. 

Harwich: Harwich is a popular vacation destination with sandy beaches, and it is known as the place where the wild cranberry was first domesticated. 

West Yarmouth: West Yarmouth is a quiet town on the water with a fascinating history and pleasant waterfront parks.

Orleans: Orleans is a beachy community with a charming village center and quaint art galleries to explore. 

Nantucket | Credit: Andrew Wolff
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