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Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Fredericton, Canada
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Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

My family and I are renting a cottage in Dennis Port this summer through a friend. We've always wanted to go to Cape Cod so we jumped at this chance.

The thing is, I don't know where to start. I don't know a whole lot about Cape Cod and I'm a big researcher before travel so I'm just looking for some basic landmarks for the Cape particularly Dennis Port and then I will be able to get my bearings.

Grocery stores? Fish markets or farmers markets nearby? We plan in cooking most meals ourselves.

Thing for kids to do?

We are staying right on the water but I don't even know what beach it is. What beaches are good?

Family restaurants?

What places should we hit on the Cape as first time visitors?

Does it take much time to travel from one end of the Cape to the other?

We'd love to go to Boston for a day. We're big Bruins fans (yes I know it's summer and there will be no hockey). Any thoughts on easy day things to do? Is driving hard in Boston?

I'm a complete fish out of water. Any help would be appreciated :) We can't wait to visit!!

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1. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

There's a big Stop 'n Shop plaza on Rte 134 so you can stock up there. The Swan River Fish Market is on Lower County Road, as is the Sundae School and The Dog House. Both are must-visit places in Dennisport with kids. The Cream and Cone, at the corner of Rte 28 and Rte 134 is your basic fried seafood restaurant, although it's very good.

Chances are, if your cottage is "right on the water", that's the beach you'll visit. It's just easier than piling everyone and their stuff in the car. There aren't many bad beaches in Dennisport.

It takes about 2 hours to drive from one end of the Cape to the other.

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2. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Thank you so much for the info.

Should we mainly stick to Dennis Port or is it worth visiting some other places on the Cape?

I've also been wondering about visiting Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket? Does anyone have a preference over the other? I haven't reached ferries much yet but should we take our car or just a passenger ferry? I always feel better when I have my own car so that's what I'm leaning towards.

A lot if questions I know!

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3. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Really good advice from Happy. I would add for things for kids to do there's tons of mini golf everywhere. Pirates Cove on rt 28 in Yarmouth (town next to Dennis) is a favorite. Right next to Pirates Cove is a restaurant called Captain Parkers which is very good. They're always voted best clam chowder on the cape. There's a go kart place in Harwich (next to Dennis on the opposite side). Hyannis is a fun place to walk around after dinner, get an ice cream, go in and out of stores. This is Main Street. If you want to drive to Boston it'll be about a 2 hour drive from Dennisport. It's easy, straight all the way, rt 6 to rt 3 to rt 93. Are you driving down from Canada? Maybe you could stop in the city on your way to the cape or your way home? You don't really want to drive around in Boston. I'd say park the car at a garage and then walk around the city. Going to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket is easy. Nantucket would be easier from Hyannis. You should definitely drive to Provincetown one day too.

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Fredericton, Canada
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4. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Great great advice!! Thank you so much!

We are coming from Canada so we will definitely think about stopping in Boston either on the way.

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5. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Good advice so far, as for the Islands you need to get a car reservation on the ferry months in advance during the high season, plus it is very expensive - $110 and up (depending on size) plus the cost of passenger tickets. You can take a passenger ferry to either island from nearby Hyannis. The Steamship Authority has been offering a $50.00 r/t on the fast ferry to Nantucket on weekdays for same day round trip over the last few summers so it is possible they will do it again. The trip takes 1 hour, the traditional ferry takes 2 hours & 15 minutes. Hyline Cruises, also out of Hyannis has both traditional & high-speed ferries to both Islands. It is easy to get around both islands using public transportation. They are both beautiful places to visit, the Vineyard is bigger and has more options in terms of dining, shopping and things to see.

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6. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Thanks kendrick, great advice. I think we'll probably leave the car behind if it's easy to get around without it.

Can't wait to get there!

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7. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Another fun family activity: get tickets for a production at Harwich Junior Theatre in West Harwich (www.hjtcapecod.org). The shows are all fantastic, and the theatre is right on the Dennis Port line. (If your days are packed with outdoor activities, choose an evening show.)

You could also rent bikes, pack a picnic lunch, and spend some time exploring the Cape Cod Rail Trail: www.trailsfromrails.com/cape_cod_trail.htm

Edited: 05 January 2014, 02:47
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8. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Thank you!

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9. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Get a guide book. I have one and visit frequently. Plenty of great on line sites as well. Plenty to do for kids and adults of all ages. If you visit an island don't even think about a car for one day. Doesn't matter which you pick. Everyone has a favorite but that has nothing to do with your choice. If you do choose Nantucket take fast ferry. Check out the thousands of prior posts where we have given the advice you are seeking. When you arrive get the Cape cod times or start looking at it online for things to do specifically while you are there. Concerts, baseball, theater, guided nature walks, etc. Pick up the free guides available on every store. This is what everyone does no matter how many times we have visited.

Edited: 05 January 2014, 16:34
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10. Re: Family of four visiting Dennis Port this summer

Hi Stacey -

You've received great advice so far! Just a couple things I'd add ...

Neslaw is right about not taking a car to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. It really is easy to get around either island with public transport, or you could rent bikes or scooters.

To get to Nantucket, there's also a fast ferry from Harwichport that runs during the summer months. It won't take you any longer to get from Dennisport to Harwichport than it would to drive from Dennisport to Hyannis to catch the ferry there. Probably a shorter trip, given the summer traffic factor on Rt. 28. And with the ferry from Harwichport, parking is free for daytrippers. (Why spend $ if you don't have to, right?)

www.nantucketislandferry.com/schedule.shtml

If you choose Martha's Vineyard over Nantucket, there's also ferry service from Falmouth/Woods Hole. Yes, it's a bit of a drive to get there, but it's also a much shorter ferry ride and a significantly cheaper fare as compared with the ferry from Hyannis.

falmouthedgartownferry.com/zgrid/…index.jsp

http://www.islandqueen.com/

www.patriotpartyboats.com/watershuttle.php

http://www.steamshipauthority.com/ssa/mv.cfm

As far as things to do, two of my top recommendations for families with kids are:

1. Go see a Cape Cod Baseball League game. They're played from mid-June until early August, and there's a game somewhere nearly every evening (weather permitting). Nearest to you will be the Y-D Red Sox games at Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth.

…pointstreaksites.com/view/….Usm_aq-A3IU

In case you're not familiar with the Cape Cod Baseball League: This is some of the best-played baseball you'll ever see. Many current-day Major Leaguers played in the Cape League while in college, before they made it to "The Show". Going to a Cape League game is fantastic family entertainment. No admission charged (donations greatly appreciated).

Also, if you go to a game at Red Wilson Field on a Thursday evening, you can hang around after the game for the Cape Cod Astronomical Society's "star party", held at the observatory in the field adjacent to the baseball field. Way cool fun!

http://www.ccas.ws/

2. Go crabbing! If you're planning to cook some of your own meals, then how ' bout catching a meal, too?! No seafood is tastier, IMHO, then fresh-caught blue crab! And catching them is a great (free) activity for everyone in the family.

Here's a link to a page on my website where I've written all about the when, where, how, etc. of crabbing on Cape Cod:

affordable-cape-cod-vacations.com/catching-b…

Just a couple more things ...

* If you're planning to get lobsters from the fish market, you can have them cooked "to go". Order them in advance, and they'll be ready for you to pick up when you're ready to eat. (Much less hassle than cooking and cleaning up afterwards ;-)

* Re your question about beaches ... Happy is right. There really aren't any "bad" beaches in D'port, or anywhere on the Cape, for that matter.

That said, I would suggest you plan to visit a selection of beaches. The beaches in D'port are on Nantucket Sound. That means warmer water and little (if any) wave action.

If your kids want waves, take them to an Atlantic Ocean beach. Nearest to you will be Nauset Beach in Orleans - one of my favorite beaches on all of Cape Cod. Beautiful scenery, great waves (chilly water), and a phenomenal snack bar (Liam's) with the best onion rings in the universe.

For a totally different experience, also try a Cape Cod Bay beach. Mayflower Beach, on the north side of the town of Dennis is a family favorite. The water will be warmer than the Ocean, cooler than the Sound, and the wave action will be somewhere in between, too. The fun part of the Bay beaches is the "flats" that appear when the tide goes out. Perfect for walking, beachcombing, and hunting for sand dollars, hermit crabs, star fish, etc. (Just please leave the live ones where you find them.)

If you get a weekly parking sticker ($75/week), it'll cover you for parking at all the saltwater beaches in the Town of Dennis - there are 15 or 16 of them, if I recall correctly. That'll give you the flexibility to beach-hop to your heart's desire, and save you money over paying a daily beach parking fee.

Okay, I'll stop rambling on now. Hope this helps!

Edited: 05 January 2014, 21:02
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