Easy, Breezy Eastham
Escaping to the Cape is what summer in New England is all about. At 65 miles long, this famed coastal peninsula offers dozens of places to dig your toes in the sand. Perhaps the best kept secret is the town of Eastham, geographically considered the Outer Cape and known as the "Gateway to the National Seashore." Though small in size, Eastham packs a plethora of activities in a breathtaking location that’s perfect for kids and adults alike.
Forgo a hotel and rent a cozy cottage to have a classic "camp" experience. Choose from nine rustic knotty pine cottages tucked amidst the forest at Cottage Grove. Built in the 1930s but recently updated, each hideaway comes with a kitchenette, air conditioning, and other modern comforts. The best part—you can bring your pet. 1975 State Highway, 508-255-0500, grovecape.com.
If a spacious pad with a water view is more your style, try The Rental Company at William Raveis. Agents can help you select from a wide array of gorgeous homes based on anything from the desired number of bedrooms to the distance to the beach. 4760 Route 6, P.O. Box 1244, 508-255-4949, capecodvacation.com.
Farm stands selling freshly plucked tomatoes and seafood shacks selling lobster rolls and fried clams make it easy to take a bite out of the local food scene. Please the kids with a visit to Red Barn Pizza, where they hand toss versions like BBQ Chicken and Hawaiian (available on whole wheat and gluten-free crusts, too). An on-site arcade and mini-golf course make the wait go by in a flash. 4180 State Highway, 508-255-4500, theredbarnpizza.com.
Don’t forget breakfast—every morning, a short line stretches out the screen door, the aroma of sugar and cinnamon swirling around the picnic tables nestled in front of the Hole in One Donut Shop. You don’t think donuts can be that good, but they are. It’s a simple little shop with bright yellow trays of the treats—old-fashioned, chocolate glazed, Boston cream, and every other flavor you can imagine—plus plump muffins and kettle-boiled bagels. In short, a carb- and sugar-lover’s heaven worthy of the splurge. 4295 State Highway, 508-255-9446, theholecapecod.com.
The breathtaking natural surroundings of the Cape Cod National Seashore have made the area protected conservation land. Comprised of the Salt Pond Visitors Center (where you can dig clams with a permit), the Nauset Marsh hiking trails, and the Coast Guard and Nauset Light beaches (a surfer’s delight), the area is chock-full of outdoor adventures. Before you go, check online for a comprehensive overview of the area, including permits, fees, and things to do. 99 Marconi Site Road, Wellfleet, 508-771-2144, nps.gov.
If you’re looking for calmer, warmer water, head to the other side of Eastham to Cape Cod Bay Beaches. Six miles of pristine sand become incredible flats at low tide, perfect for skim boarding or strolling. The most famous beach along the bay is First Encounter, where the Pilgrims first met the Nauset Indians in 1620. Too much sun? Grab bikes and hit the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which stretches 26 miles and offers several places to hop on and off for ice cream. Walkers, runners, and rollerbladers can also use the nicely paved trail to explore the hidden side of Cape Cod. easthamchamber.com.