Get out there, hit the road and explore!
Enjoy some fresh air and exercise on a scenic Cape and Islands day trip
Day trips can arise spontaneously or are planned—and anticipated—weeks in advance; both scenarios offer opportunities to de-stress, disconnect and spend time outdoors. Naturally, Cape Cod and the Islands are perfect destinations for fun and fulfilling daytrips.
“Whether main streets or back roads are your preference, the Cape offers many options for peaceful reflection or the hustle and bustle of fellow visitors,” says Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. “Whoever has not taken the time to explore the 75-mile stretch of the Cape peninsula has truly unforgettable days in store.”
With the help of a few experts who know the area well, Cape Cod LIFE has put together a small collection of day trip ideas; some are well-trodden, others more obscure, but all offer spectacular ways to spend a day. With the weather warming up, take the opportunity to visit Chatham, Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, or any of the Cape’s fascinating communities. Just pack your camera, sunscreen and a sense of adventure—and head out for a day of fun outdoor exploration.
Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a popular attraction for both walkers and cyclists. Once a railroad, the paved trail winds its way for 22 miles through Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet. Visitors can access the trail from various points, and can complete the entire length or just a short loop. There are many points of interest along the way including Nickerson State Park in Brewster and the Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham. Don’t have a bike? Several rental shops are available along the route.
Great Island Trail, Wellfleet
Part of the pristine Cape Cod National Seashore, Great Island Trail in Wellfleet features rigorous hiking trails as well as stunning views overlooking Cape Cod Bay.
Don Light, president of the Eastham Hiking Club, recommends planning for two to three hours to complete the hike, which winds around Great Island. En route, walkers can traverse sandy beaches, lofty dunes, wooded areas and vibrant saltmarshes. “It’s a mix of historical sites and beautiful views,” Light says of the hike, which begins by following a trail along the cliffs. Hikers can also take a detour to visit the site of Smith’s Tavern, a lively spot in the late 17th century where whalers and fishermen could get some food and drink.
For even more exercise, visitors can extend their walk southward to Jeremy Point—a 7.5-mile round trip jaunt—but the spot, which overlooks Wellfleet Harbor and the waterlogged remains of Billingsgate Island is accessible only at low tide, so check the tide charts when planning an excursion.