Cape Cod is the perfect mix of quaint New England architecture and relaxing beaches. There’s a lot to see and do here, so it can be overwhelming coming up with an itinerary for spending two or three days in Cape Cod. Whether you want to chow down on lobster, go antiquing or simply hit the beach, here are some ideas for how to spend the perfect weekend in Cape Cod.
If you only have 72 hours in Cape Cod, you’ll want to make the most of your first evening. Head to Provincetown, the undeniable capital of fun in Cape Cod. For a fancy dinner, you can get your seafood with a view of Cape Cod Bay at a local institution like the Lobster Pot or for something more relaxed, try the Mayflower, which has been in business since 1929.
Provincetown is one of the top LGBT destinations in the US, and going out on a Friday night here is one of the best Cape Cod weekend activities – there are cabaret shows at the Crown and Anchor or the Post Office Cafe, and most clubs host international DJs and have themed dance nights. For relaxing sundowners, it’s tough to top cocktails at the Harbor Lounge, which has its own westward-facing pier for the best views.
An absolute must for Saturday morning breakfast in Provincetown is the Portuguese Bakery, which nods to the town’s history of immigration by Portuguese sailors from the Azores in the 19th century. You can smell their sweet pastries and Portuguese rolls baking from down the street. From here, it’s an easy 35-mile drive down iconic Route 6 to Chatham. The drive is short, so you can take your time, stopping off at Cape Cod National Seashore to hit the beach or visit historic lighthouses along the way.
Nauset Light is one of the most famous lighthouses, located about halfway between Provincetown and Chatham. You can take a free tour, which includes a visit to the upstairs lookout room. If you want to get active there are hiking trails throughout Cape Cod National Seashore; Great Island Trail starts near the town of Wellfleet and passes over sand dunes with wide ocean views – perfect for a picnic.
Saturday Afternoon and Evening
Chatham is a quintessential New England town of clapboard houses and family-owned stores, and it’s a perfect place to spend a Saturday night in Cape Cod. If the sun is out, you might want to hit the beach, and Chatham has some of the best sandy beaches on Cape Cod. Chatham Lighthouse Beach is full of sandy dunes, coves and tidepools, all sitting in the shadow of one of New England’s most photographed lighthouses, Chatham Light. It’s easy to while away the entire afternoon on this beach, but there are others, including Harding Beach where the calm waters are great for swimming, and Ridgevale Beach, which is a nice place for a stroll or collecting seashells.
In the evening, Chatham is a pretty relaxed place. For a chilled-out dinner after a day at the beach aim for Chatham Pier Fish Market, a traditional seafood shack overlooking the water. The dining room at Chatham Bars Inn offers upscale seafood with a view, and afterwards you can retire to the verandah for a cocktail.
After an early breakfast at your inn, spend Sunday morning partaking in a true Cape Cod must-do activity: a whale watching excursion. There are a number of companies offering whale watching on Cape Cod, but one of the best is Dolphin Fleet. Their trips last around three to four hours and include presentations by trained naturalists about how to spot whales and dolphins, as well as birds and other marine life. The ships also have snack bars on board for lunch. After the cruise, it’s a half-hour drive back to Chatham.
Sunday Afternoon and Evening
For your last evening, stay in Cape Cod’s unofficial capital, Hyannis, a busy little town with lots of restaurants, shopping and cultural sights. If you like shopping, spend the afternoon exploring the many antique stores dotted up and down Route 6, such as the Antiques Center of Yarmouth and the Antiques Center of Cape Cod in Dennis. Further west, the Sandwich Antiques Center has 5,000 square feet worth of collectibles.
There are also a number of vineyards producing Cape Cod wines. Truro Vineyards has a tasting room and offers daily tours. Cape Cod Winery in East Falmouth does $10 tastings in a garden draped in fairy lights, and First Crush Winery generally offers tastings of its unusual cranberry-raisin wines. For beer instead, Naukabout Beer Co has a rustic wooden taproom at the south end of Mashpee Pond, and Devil’s Purse Brewing Co has a small standing-room-only taproom at its brewing facility in South Dennis – the perfect way to round out Sunday night in Cape Cod.
Ready for the Perfect Weekend Getaway?
There is so much to see and do in Cape Cod that it can be tough to fit it all into just one weekend. Summers here are famously idyllic (expect temperatures reliably in the 70s), but the weather can be changeable at other times of year – so check the weather report to help you plan and prioritize your perfect weekend in Cape Cod and you won’t go wrong – whether that means hanging out on beach, finding the perfect lobster roll, or getting cozy in an oceanfront bar.