Cape Cod Travel for Family
Many travel destinations are specifically known as fun escapes during the warmer months, such as Cape Cod—a hook-shaped peninsula in Massachusetts. Many New Yorkers know it as “the Cape,” as it is commonly called. We flock there for the renowned beaches and more. However, during a recent visit this fall, I was pleasantly surprised to discover many fun things to do and experience all year long.
This includes a mix of outdoor and indoor attractions, including biking, hiking, indoor swimming, walking on the beach, exploring local towns, enjoying delicious restaurants, and soaking in culture at museums, to name a few options. And in the winter, it is pretty charming- you’ll find numerous holiday celebrations with lovely tree-lighting events, such as at the Nantucket Christmas Stroll or the New England Lobster Pot Christmas Tree in Provincetown. Of course the spring/summer is all about enjoying local beaches (there are approximately over 100) and discovering one its many natural parks.
Made up of 15 uniquely distinct coastal towns, each offers a mix of history, charm, and beauty. This includes 600 miles of coastline and 40 miles of beaches along the Cape Cod National Seashore, scenic miles along the historic Route 6A, and the home of the Native Americans; you’ll find something for everyone in the Cape.
Whether planning an off-season jaunt or a seasonal escape, a train ride to Cape Cod can be a bit long, so driving or flying are the best options. You can take a road trip, which is around five hours from NYC. You can also fly to Boston and rent a car, arrange for transportation, or fly to Hynnais (in the summer) for easy access to this special destination.
Check out more about our recent adventure to the Lower Cape, exploring Brewster, Orleans, and Hyannis.
Must-See Experiences for Kids
No matter where you are staying on the Cape, you’ll find that you’re within close proximity to numerous attractions. For families adventures, enjoy visits to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Nickerson State Park, the Pilgrim Monument, the Cape Cod Museum of Art, whale watching with the Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises, and the Whydah Pirate Museum, to name a few options.
Cape Cod Museums
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (869 Main St, Brewster, MA 02631) is a fun place to learn about Massachusetts’ natural environment. This includes access to their aquarium, where you and your kids can see and learn more about the sea creatures that reside in Cape Cod. Incredibly, all Ocean Edge Resort guests receive complimentary admission to their museum during their stay. For art, enjoy viewing pieces from some of the Cape’s finest artists at the Cape Cod Museum of Art (60 Hope Ln, Dennis, MA 02638).
For history, families can visit the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (1 High Pole Hill Rd, Provincetown, MA 02657), which commemorates the landing of the Mayflower or enjoy a day trip whale watching with Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises (269 Millway, Barnstable, MA 02630.
Pirate lovers need to check out the Whydah Pirate Museum (674 MA-28, West Yarmouth, MA 02673). This immersive museum allows kids to learn more about real pirates and treasures as well as see an authentic pirate ship exhibition!
Cape Cod Natural Parks
Families will also enjoy access to the many natural parks in Cape Cod for camping, hiking, picnics, and day trips. This includes Nickerson State Park, the Shawme-Crowell State Forest, and the Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary.
With 1,900 acres, Nickerson State Park (3488 Main St, Brewster, MA 02631) is a fun family destination where you can enjoy hiking, camping, and swimming. This park is linked to the 26-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail where you can spend the day, biking and exploring many natural wonders. There are also numerous campsites, wooded trials, access to ponds for fishing, and more.
The Shawme-Crowell State Forest (Route 130, Sandwich, MA, 02563) is a great option for camping, hiking, and horseback riding. The Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary (345 Bone Hill Rd, Cummaquid, MA 02637) offers access to 2.5 miles of trails, meadows, and sandy beaches.
Cape Cod is renowned for its beaches. Some family-friendly options include Veterans Park Beach in Hyannis, Craigsbeach in Centerville, Corporation Beach in Dennis, and Seagull Beach in Yarmouth, to name a few.
Note: Some beaches have non-resident parking fees (generally $20-$30 per day). However, there are also free beaches in Cape Cod, such as Bayview Beach in West Yarmouth, Forest Beach in Chatham, Oyster Pond Beach in Chatham, Pleasant Street Beach in West Harwich, and Jackknife Harbor Beach in North Chatham.
Where to Stay
Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club History
Located in Brewster, Massachusetts, the property was first called Fieldstone Hall, which was acquired by Samuel Nickerson, a direct descendant of one of the Cape’s first settlers. Following a fire in 1912, The Mansion was rebuilt, and remarkably, some of its original architecture and woodwork is still intact, which you can admire at the resort.
Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club offers an opportunity for guests to learn more about its history with a fun and immersive diner experience called ‘Party Like it’s 1899.’ (Note: this experience is geared more towards adults). This includes a mansion tour led by a local historian, croquet lessons, a wine and cocktail reception, a four-course dinner, and the opportunity to stay in the historic Mansion.
You can also simply walk around the space, taking in its rich history where you will find plaques outlining the resort’s timeline and some of the original woodwork in The Great Hall.
The property boasts numerous accommodations for families with 342 rooms spread out amongst The Mansion and The Villages. During my stay, I enjoyed some rest and relaxation in the modern and spacious Signature King Guestroom. This room included a spacious couch and coffee table, a large TV, a desk area, a comfy king-sized bed, a massive bathroom, an expansive bathroom with a second sink, a mini fridge, and much more. This room was within minutes from the main area of the Mansion. I enjoyed easy access to the gym/pool, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant, Bayzo’s Pub, and walks to the resort’s private beach.
Additionally, they have larger accommodations for families, such as their Presidential Bay Collection Villas with two-three bedrooms; a kitchenette; a living room; a washer and dryer; and more. These accommodations have a more “homey” feel that would be a great option for families (or multiple families) staying together. The Villages, located near the golf course, also boast ample sizing options with two-three bedrooms; a full-sized kitchenette, washer and dryer; and more. They also have some select pet-friendly villas should you travel with your four-legged pal.
There is no shortage of things to do during a stay at the Ocean Edge Resort. If you stay at The Mansion, you’ll love being within walking distance to their beautiful 700-foot Bay Pines Private Beach for seasonal swimming, private beach bonfires, cocktails at their seasonal beach bar; or a morning or evening walk. During my stay, I enjoyed experiencing one of their private beach bonfires.
This included a cozy fireplace, s’mores, and some incredible sunset views. Additionally, the property has multiple pools, such as the year-round (and heated!) Bay Pines Indoor Pool; seasonal Bay Pines Outdoor Pool; Arbor Pool Complex, the resort’s largest outdoor pool with a toddler pool, hot tub and the Shark Bah; and the Fletcher Pool Complex with an indoor pool, outdoor pool, toddler pool, hot tubs, saunas, locker rooms and a snack cabana.
The resort also offers seasonal kayak and stand-up paddle board rental. Additionally, there are nine tennis courts spread over two tennis complexes. There are also pickleball courts and bike rentals. You and your family can enjoy access to 26 miles of scenic trails. I loved the biking experience where I soaked in the stunning fall foliage and crisp air as well as enjoyed stops to nearby Orleans, Massachusetts for lunch and some shopping.
Should you have time for a mini break, you can also enjoy access to their on-site Beach House spa. Here, you can enjoy a massage, facial, wrap, manicure/pedicure, makeup, and more.
During my stay, I also enjoyed taking a pickleball lesson. As the fastest-growing sport, I knew that pickleball is all the rage, but I was clueless how to play. The Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club offers pickleball lessons on their expansive course with a USPTA Certified Instructor. Families simply have to make a reservation to book a lesson and/or time to access the court.
Golf fans will love having access to Troon Privé, Brewster’s only 18-hole Nicklaus designed course. Families can enjoy access to this private golf course (and its impressive views) with one of the resort’s stay and play packages. Additionally, they also have golf lessons for kids!
The facility also hosts fun food and drink experiences such as a jam-making class (which I took during my visit), a seasonal oyster bed tours, a tequila whisky and wine sampling, a holiday mixology workshop, and more.
They also have a robust daily activity calendar such as the upcoming Wizarding Week in February, where kids (and avid Harry Potter fans) will enjoy fun activities like wand and cloak-making. Additional activities include live music, wind chime-making, holiday wreath-making, trivia night, family movie night, and more.
Ocean Edge Resort Food
When I wasn’t enjoying numerous activities, I was eating! The location is home to numerous eateries – all of which are open to guests and the public. I enjoyed breakfast and dinner in The Roscommon Room. An extension of their seasonal restaurant, Ocean Terrace, I loved dining in this historic room. Here, you’ll see expansive views from its bay window and cozy interiors such as a fireplace and wooden bar. Breakfast options were plentiful with avocado toast, smoked salmon board, buttermilk pancakes, a seasonal fruit platter and more. Dinner includes a delicious assortment of Cape Cod staples. This includes local oysters and seasonal mezze plates. Additionally, they have seasonal soups, chicken dishes, seafood, a fun twist on mac and cheese, and more. Everything was delicious, fresh, and enjoyable.
I also enjoyed lunch at the Linx Tavern, overlooking the golf course on the Villages side. They offer seating both inside and outside on their patio for lunch and dinner. Options included seasonal salads, soups, cheese plates, and New England classics like lobster rolls.
Cape Cod Food
There are also numerous nearby off-site dining experiences for families to enjoy such as the Hot Chocolate Sparrow (5 Old Colony Way, Orleans, MA 02653) and La Bella Vita Kitchen and Bar in nearby Orleans. The Hot Chocolate Sparrow was a fun and lively spot for lunch with salads, sandwiches, and soups as well as coffee drinks, desserts, ice cream, and candy. Kids love the candy station where you’ll find homemade fudge, chocolate bark, and a variety of chocolate.
La Bella Vita Kitchen and Bar (2 Academy Place, Orleans, MA, 02653) was a favorite for dinner. Here, you can find a range of Italian-inspired dishes such as pasta, pizza, salads, seafood, meat dishes, and more. Kid-friendly pizza will be a hit here that you can craft using whatever topping they crave.
Cape Cod Kid Favorites
More kid favorites include The Flashback Retro Bar and Grille for classic American fare and arcade games (294 Main Street, Hyannis MA 02601); the 50s-inspired Red Cottage Restaurant (36 Old Bass River Rd, South Dennis, MA 02660); and Ann & Fran’s Kitchen for handcrafted breakfast and lunch options (think omelets, pancakes, and egg dishes) (4843 471 MA-28, West Yarmouth, MA 02673).
Cape Cod Drinks
I also enjoyed a visit to Hyannis to the Cape Cod Beer Brewery (1336 Phinneys Ln, Hyannis, MA 02601;capecodbeer.com) for an immersive tour of their facility, where I learned more about the brewery process. Tours are offered every Saturday at 11:00 am, where you can learn more about the history of Cape Cod Beer, see the brew process packaging, and sample some of their beers. There are multiple tables throughout the space where kids can hang out. There re also areas to enjoy light bites as well as outdoor seating during the summer. Live music is a regular here too all season long.
Ocean Edge is located at 2907 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631. The location is 89 miles southeast of Boston Logan International Airport and located in the ‘Lower Cape’ of Cape Cod. For more information, please visit oceanedge.com.