Why are tourists, known for their loyalty to the steaming beaches and in summertime seafood shacks, coming here when it’s cold?
Because the Cape is worth a visit even when temperatures dip below freezing – that’s why! This may puzzle some: “What about the freshly-packed lobster rolls, the endless hours of mini-golf, and the intricate sandcastle constructions?” they’ll say. Certainly, if their tolerance for cold is kaput, then some of the recommendations on the list below will not qualify.
But Cape Cod’s range of winter activities will nonetheless tempt most travelers, with a beautiful backdrop, to boot!
Here are 9 ways to enjoy winter on Cape Cod:
9. Please Your Sweet Tooth
With the cold, there comes a need to warm up – and what better way to do so than to enjoy some of the Cape’s best cafes and bakeries? Don’t feel guilty about trying one of these enticing eateries, with their relaxing, Sunday-morning vibes. After all, you’ll need the extra calories to stay toasty!
– Buckies Biscotti – 681 Main St, Dennis Port
– Hole-In-One Doughnuts – 98 MA-6A, Orleans
– The Hot Chocolate Sparrow – 5 Old Colony Way, Orleans
– Sunbird Kitchen – 85 MA-6A, Orleans
– The Purple Feather – 334 Commercial St, Provincetown
– Pie in the Sky Bakery – 10 Water St, Woods Hole
8. See a Show
If the crisp air and quiet peacefulness have you feeling like you need to electrify your night, try visiting one of the Cape’s historical theaters. Each one of these stages and screens has their own longstanding history, and some even have chic a bar attached!
– The Academy Playhouse – 120 Main Street, Orleans
– Barnstable Comedy Club – 3171 Rte. 6A, Barnstable, MA
– The Cape Playhouse – 820 Route 6A, Dennis Village
– Cotuit Center for the Arts – 4404 Falmouth Road (Rte. 28), Cotuit
– Falmouth Theatre Guild
– Monomoy Theatre – 776 Main Street, Chatham
– Cape Cinema – 35 Hope Ln, Dennis
– Chatham Orpheum – 637 Main St, Chatham
7. Imbibe the Local Flavor
Solid minutes could be spent during the Cape’s windy winters hovering against the grills of your car’s heating vents, but as the old saying goes, “liquor is quicker” (in responsible doses, that is). The Cape is home to a developing craft beer, wine and liquor scene. Take a tour, or attend a special event, at one of the following locations to keep the warmth and cheer flowing.
– Cape Cod Beer – 1336 Phinneys Ln, Hyannis – Tours once a day at 11; tastings all day
– Cisco Brewers – 7 Bartlett Farm Rd, Nantucket – Open year-round for tastings
– Hog Island Brewery – 28 West Rd, Orleans – Tours TBA, Live Music and Lounge
– Devil’s Purse Brewery – 120 Great Western Rd, South Dennis – Tastings year-round
6. Go Museum-Hopping
If the day is dreary, cold and damp, why not bring your mind to a different time and place by visiting one of the Cape’s many museums and centers of learning? The scope of such institutions here is as vast as the shoreline is long: pirates, seals, whales and glass are all on tap for the museum goer, in addition to many other surprises.
– Nantucket Whaling Museum – 13 Broad St, Nantucket
– Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History – 869 Main St, Brewster
– Cape Cod Museum of Art – 60 Hope Ln, Dennis
– Sandwich Glass Museum – 129 Main St, Sandwich
– Cahoon Museum of American Art – 4676 Falmouth Rd, Cotuit
– Whydah Pirate Museum – 674 MA-28, West Yarmouth
– Woods Hole Science Aquarium – 166 Water St, Woods Hole
5. Visit Provincetown!
While Cape Cod is ice cool, Provincetown remains a hot spot. It’s a self-supporting community, after all, and one which offers plenty of cultural events, delectable food, and beautiful surroundings to take in. Check out our 24 hour guide to P-town here.
4. Go Gallery-Hopping
If you’re already in Provincetown, then you’re already in one of the Cape’s hubs for local artists. But the cultural capital of Cape Cod isn’t the only area noted for an abundance of art galleries to peruse. In Wellfleet, all of the town’s galleries are located on Commercial Street, Main Street, Briar Street and Bank Street, making it easy to “gallery hop” throughout the afternoon. The Cape Cod Art Association (3480 Main St, Barnstable) is another notable mention.
3. Hit the Lanes
If you haven’t been to The Lanes (9 Greene Street, Mashpee) before, you’re missing out. This bowling alley offers so much more than nachos and fake cheese. The super modern interior boasts comfortable seats and tables, upon which you may feast on pretzel burgers, flatbreads, dips, sandwiches and chili. Craft cocktails change with the seasons and always awaken the taste buds with homemade sour mixes and fresh juices.
2. Find Some Old Treasures
With many communities which pre-date the American Revolution, Cape Cod is home to many relics of the past. Likewise, it is littered with antique stores. The oldest town on Cape Cod, Sandwich, is no exception. The Sandwich Antiques Center (131 Route 6A) specializes in many eras, but has what may be the most impressive Nautical-themed selection on Cape Cod. In the Mid-Cape, try the massive Antiques Center of Yarmouth (325 MA-28, West Yarmouth). And finally, be sure to scour the Cape for estate sales, as these can often hold the most unique treasures, ones which owners haven’t yet sold to the antique shops.
1. Go for a Hike
Even the most rugged among us would be hesitant to try and huff Cuttyhunk, the Plymouth Jetty, or the tidal pools of Barnstable when the weather hits dangerously low levels. But there are more pleasant, and safer, walks to take on the Cape during the winter. Try the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (291 US-6, Wellfleet) for its ease of access and manageable pasture fields. There’s also the Salt Pond Visitor Center (50 Nauset Rd, Eastham), which features beautiful views outside and a hub for all kinds of environmental education inside. Wildlife flocks to both of these locations during the winter, and if you don’t believe that, ask a birder. The thin winter atmosphere makes for beautiful sunrises and sunsets – and if it does get too cold out there, you have no shortage of stores which offer steaming cups of hot chocolate to warm yourself back up.