24 Hours in Chatham in the Summer – What To Do

KA_5 things chatham_Outer Beach_seals_042516056Chatham is perhaps best known for its Main Street shopping – but if that’s all you do while you’re there, you’re sure to miss out on countless other opportunities.
Chatham has a strong sense of community and is a happy combination of past and present.

If you’re time is limited in this highly-walkable mariners’ town, never fear – the following is a guide to maximize your time on a summer trip to Chatham.

7:00 to 8:00 a.m. – A Quick Breakfast
It is best to have a casual Cape Cod breakfast ahead of the day’s main events. Your body will need the fuel, and Chatham’s elegant breakfast and brunch options are bountiful.

There’s the Hangar B Eatery, located at 240 George Ryder Road, known for its unique setting (in a former aircraft hangar!) and excellent southwestern-tinged breakfast menu.

If you’re planning on an even earlier start to the day, try Sandi’s Diner (639 Main St, Chatham). They open at 5 a.m. and offer all of the breakfast standards you’d expect from a diner at a budget-friendly price.

A longtime staple in town is Larry’s PX on Route 28. The diner-like atmosphere is a haven for locals and tourists alike with a varied menu. And they open very early for those looking to catch a tasty bite before sunrise.

For those with a sweeter breakfast tooth, check out Chatham Village Café (69 Crowell Road). In addition to an expansive list of breakfast wraps and sandwiches, the café offers doughnuts, cakes, pies, pastries and much more to go with your coffee.

KA_Chatham_Main Street Shopping Stores Shops Road23_1124158:00 a.m. to Noon – Logging Some Time in the Sand
Don’t worry about the sharks – they don’t inhabit the best beaches in town and neither should you! Chatham has some of the most family-appropriate beaches (shark-free) on the Nantucket-facing side. Just be sure to avoid Lighthouse Beach and Monomoy, where crowds and sharks are sure to flock.

Though you’ll be hard pressed to find a Chatham beach that isn’t crowded in the summer, your best bets are with Oyster Pond Beach, Pleasant Bay (Jacknife Cove), Cockle Cove, Forest Beach and Ridgevale Beach.

Each of these options boasts beautiful views, soft sand and calm waters, with plenty of room to walk around or simply sit in the sunshine. The waters on most of these beaches are also notable for their warmth – and did we mention a lack of sharks?

Noon to 1:30 p.m. – Lunch Time
You’ve no doubt worked up a sizable appetite by this point – we don’t blame you, the salty air has that effect on gustatory inclinations. The Chatham Corner Store (1403 Old Queen Anne Road) could very well be your destination for the rest of the afternoon. They make fresh burritos every day, next to a variety of other sandwiches.

But you’ll likely stay a little longer than planned, since the place also makes a variety of sweet treats and specials.

1:30 to 5:00 p.m. – Afternoon Adventures
There are a few routes you could take to enjoy your afternoon in Chatham, but we would be remiss for not mentioning the thing everybody comes for: a trip to downtown.

From the eclectic “little-of-everything” stores like Mermaids on Main (410 Main Street) and Ben Franklin (631 Main Street), to the spiffy clothing spots like Chatham Clothing Bar (534 Main Street) and Puritan Clothing (573 Main Street) and the most unique locations you can imagine (I’m looking at you, rubber ducky store!): it would be a shame not to at least do a little window shopping while you’re here.

KA_Chatham_LightHouse Beach82_112415If you’d rather admire some natural beauty, try a trip to the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. It’s got something for all kinds of nature enthusiasts: birders love that the refuge harbors over 300 species, shark and seal watchers can take a boat tour, and the waters just outside of it are a fishermen’s paradise. Or you could just take a relaxing walk surrounded by dunes and the sounds of the shoreline.

5:00 to 6:15 p.m. – Dinner
Time to eat again? The Red Nun (746 Main Street) is a crowd pleaser, with a diverse array of sandwiches, seafood and pub-style starters. For something a bit more upscale, try the Impudent Oyster (15 Chatham Bars Avenue), featuring – you guessed it – a range of freshly-caught seafood, not far from the Chatham Lighthouse. The big dog on Main Street Chatham is the Chatham Squire, which has been welcoming diners for generations with an upscale, yet not pretentious menu selection. Check out the pub menu in the bar for amazing chowder and burgers.

6:15 to 10 p.m. – Nightlife
You may be tempted to assume that Chatham is a sleepy Cape Cod town once the sun goes down. But nightlife here is active, just not in the club scene sense.
Many opt for a visit to the Chatham Orpheum Theater (637 Main Street). The interior is a hark back to the old days of filmgoing and screens a mix of major motion pictures, indie flicks, art house, documentaries and a host of other genres.

The attached Orpheum Café serves drinks and doubles as an excellent hangout spot pre- or post-film. The Chatham Squire also serves up the region’s top entertainment on a regular basis.

By Adam Forziati


  1. Take a boat ride to see whales! Or seals! Or sharks! Or to fish and catch that striped bass you have always wanted!

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