Just returned from our first trip to Cape Cod and we had a great time. My husband and I stayed at the Sea Mist Resort in Mashpee, which is right around the corner from the Mashpee Commons shopping center.
The resort was clean, in an easy location to travel to much of the Cape, and we enjoyed the pool and tennis court.
Since the first few days of the trip had cloudy, cool weather, we spent those days driving to various towns. I was disappointed that there wasn't as much to see or eat in Woods Hole or Falmouth as the guidebooks said there would be, and parking is tough in Woods Hole even before the high tourist season. We had a good lunch at Wicked Fresh Quicks Hole in Woods Hole, and I enjoyed my first ever lobster tacos. We also drove up to Provincetown, which was fun (though also impossible to park), stopped in pretty Brewster on the way back, went up to Sandwich (not much to do but also scenic), looked at beautiful mansions (from the outside) in Osterville, and the only town we didn’t care for was Hyannis. Perhaps we missed something (like the upscale part?) in Hyannis, but Main Street was pretty crummy, and not in a charming ramshackle beach town kind of way.
The beaches we visited when the weather improved were:
Race Point (near Provincetown) – huge, beautiful, a trek way uphill to the bathrooms, saw a seal in the water!
Cahoon Hollow (near Wellfleet) – incredible, steep, gorgeous dunes, water too cold and waves way too high to swim but fun to watch surfers – didn’t see any bathrooms
South Cape Beach (Mashpee) – small beach with nice views but so filled with seaweed there was little sand and several yards of thick seaweed to get through if you wanted to swim
Craigville Beach (near Osterville/ Centerville) – just perfect! Water was shallow for a ways out and just barely warm enough to get in on a hot day. Very clean, clear water, bathrooms and a couple of snack places right there. Big parking lot, but get in early!
A note about the beaches: most charge $7 - $15 to park and none we visited were close enough to a town to park on main street and walk to. Not a big deal, especially because most didn’t bother to charge us during the week and before tourist season, but I imagine this adds up if you’re paying every day you’re on the Cape. If you can stay within walking distance to a beach and you’ll go at least a few days, do it!
We like to eat and drink. Here’s where we did that:
Since Mashpee Commons was so close, we went there several times. The tapas place was so-so and pricey, Wicked Fire Pizza was horrible and had chain restaurant décor with TVs in every booth (who goes out to dinner to watch TV?) and forgetful servers, and Bobby Byrne’s Pub became our second home. Good menu for a pub, friendly bartenders, laid back, great place to hang out. Ate dinner there one night and hung out for a beer several times. They have a big dining room next to the bar room and plenty of families and older folks ate there.
Our best meal by far was the Brewster Fish House (in Brewster). Go there. It’s a bit pricey but delish. It’s small, service was great, food is awesome. We had lunch at touristy Pepe’s in Provincetown but it was fine and the outside deck overlooking the harbor was pretty. Tasty sandwiches were consumed at Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis near the airport. Disgusting fried seafood was had at Cooke’s Seafood in Mashpee (I pictured cute fish shack, it felt like McDonalds with fish).
As mentioned previously, Bobby Byrnes was great for a drink or easy dinner. We also went to Dino’s Sports Bar (get a drink but don’t eat there on Styrofoam plates), and the horribly TGIFridays-like 99 pub. This one was tough to spot, but the Hemisphere bar/club/restaurant was a great place to get a drink on the deck over the bay. It’s in Sandwich off the beaten path. There’s a tiny sign next to a railroad track and if you miss it, you’re out of luck.
Lastly, we took the 35 min Ocean Queen ferry ride from Falmouth to Martha’s Vineyard. It was great! The ferries from Woods Hole and Hyannis run more often but are more of a pain to drive to. The Falmouth ferry is just off the main road and was very easy. I can’t say enough about how beautiful Martha’s Vineyard is, and if we had more than an afternoon to spend there, I would have stayed. Cottages were very cool in Oak Bluffs, took the public bus 15 min to Edgartown and had a yummy lunch at The Newes in America, looked at estates on the beautiful beaches, and really enjoyed the side trip. Overall, a great time in the Cape!