IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Family Travel Guide

A protected seashore and freshwater kettle ponds are made for splashing
Cape Cod Lighthouse, Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Alamy stock
/ Source: TODAY

What to do in Cape Cod

"A man may stand there and put all of America behind him," wrote Thoreau of Cape Cod in the mid-1800s. This finger-shaped Massachusetts peninsula extends into the Atlantic and, thanks to President John F. Kennedy, has a 40-mile–long protected National Seashore that encompasses pristine ocean beaches as well as biking and hiking trails that weave past woodlands, salt marshes and dunes.

The Cape also shelters hundreds of freshwater kettle ponds: These serene spots are cool and refreshing and even kids who don't know how to swim will love splashing in the sandy, shallow areas near the shorelines.

Take a stroll on the boardwalk trail through the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, within the Mass Audubon on Cape Cod.
Take a stroll on the boardwalk trail through the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, within the Mass Audubon on Cape Cod.John Woike / Alamy stock

Where to go in Cape Cod

All of the national seashore beaches are spectacular, but Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro has a shallow sandbar during low tide that feels like a giant saltwater swimming pool and is especially delightful for little ones. The Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is home to flat hiking trails that weave through woodlands and onto a barrier beach. Kids will love spotting quick-moving fiddler crabs near the salt marsh.

Chatham Bars Inn hotel resort
The Chatham Bars Inn offers activities for kids and relaxing amenities for parents, too. Alamy stock

Where to stay in Cape Cod

The Chatham Bars Inn is a busy seaside resort near the popular town of Chatham. Although it's pricey (and the well-run kids' club costs extra), it's jam-packed with perks such as regular and kiddie pools, a private beach with cabanas, clay tennis courts and even a nearby farm that hosts tours. Directly across from the beach is a sandbar that's often packed with seals, and guests can join a morning boat ride to get a closer look. Located directly in the Beach Point area of Truro, the simple Crow's Nest Resort & Cottages sits directly on its own private bay beach. The accommodations are a mix of cottages and suites, and all have unobstructed water views, full kitchens, fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs.

Cold lobster roll and onion rings at Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar.
In Eastham, Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar is a family-friendly seafood spot that serves up a Cape Cod staple--lobster rolls.Alamy stock

What to eat in Cape Cod

For the quintessential Cape Cod experience that includes a labyrinthine mini golf course, fried seafood and ice cream, stop at Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar in Eastham. Those craving a lobster roll will appreciate that the one at Arnold's is generously sized and a bit less expensive than those sold at nearby upscale spots.

Looking for more of the best vacations with kids? Check out TODAY's Family Travel Guide.

Editor's note:

Learn more about Nature Valley’s Summer of a Million Miles Challenge and ICYMI, check out Al and Craig's epic adventure in Boston, as well as our report on the must-have camping gear.