It's Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of summer, and you have 72 hours on Cape Cod with your kids. Now what do you do? Follow this itinerary or use it as a jumping-off point for your own unique family vacation. Either way, your three days on Cape Cod are sure to be filled with lasting memories!
8:30 am - Persy’s Place (Mashpee)
With three locations on the Cape alone— Persy’s Place (and an extra serving of their out-of-this-world corned beef) is a perfect pick. Fluffy buttermilk pancakes and mouthwatering country fried steak are just a fraction of this popular local chain’s extensive menu.
10:00 am - Heritage Museums & Gardens (67 Grove St., Sandwich)
Situated on more than 100 acres of lush gardens, this engaging attraction offers a number of programs that get kids moving as they learn. Younger children are encouraged to splash around as they build forts, create art out of nature and explore a two-story tree house at Hidden Hollow, a certified Nature Explore classroom (pictured above). Leave time to explore Heritage's exquisitely manicured grounds to see what's in bloom, along with interactive exhibits, a classic auto gallery and a spin on the vintage carousel.
1:00 pm - Mayflower Beach (Dunes Road, Dennis)
Grab sandwiches at Cafe Chew in Sandwich on your way to Mayflower Beach, because once you arrive you won’t want to leave its soft white sand and “New England warm” water. Low-tide reveals miles of scroll-etched shoreline, a dream-come-true for budding Instagram photographers.
3:30 pm - Bike Trails at Nickerson State Park (3488 Main St., Brewster)
In addition to its own ten-plus miles of paved paths, this wooded campground and natural site also links to the Cape Cod Rail Trail. From cranberry bogs to marinas, the scenery on the 22-mile Rail Trail byway oozes New England charm.
5:00 pm Take scenic Route 6A all the way into Provincetown, and carve out time to explore vibrant Commercial Street with its eclectic shops, galleries and eateries. Later, a sunset SUV tour through the magnificent rolling dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore awaits. If you haven't indulged in dinner yet, Art's Dune Tours also offers clambakes on the beach; add that on to your tour for a quintessential Cape evening.
9:00 am - Hole In One Bakery (4295 Route 6, Eastham)
Fuel up like a champ with a wide selection of hand-cut donuts, tasty croissants, and homemade muffins. Luckily, you’re on vacation, so indulge in a mouth-watering sour cream doughnut now, and save a pecan pie bar for later. Fun Fact: If you’re looking for a sit-down spot, there’s a Hole in One Restaurant in nearby Orleans.
10:00 am - The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (869 Main St., Route 6A, Brewster)
After breakfast, join a naturalist-guided stroll on a wooden-plank pathway through the salt marsh ending at Cape Cod Bay. Return to the main building to watch an osprey nest on live webcam, and to explore the museum’s butterfly apiary and touch-tank aquarium.
12:30 pm - Captain Frosty’s (219 Main St., Dennis)
Devouring day-boat scallops, ultra-fresh fried cod and hand-cut onion rings under a shady oak tree is a fine way to lunch. However, some members of your party may have more exacting palates. For these individuals, Captain Frosty’s offers a kiddie burger accompanied by fries, as well as chicken tenders and fries. Did we mention their delicious soft serve ice cream for dessert?
3:00 pm - Pirate Adventures
Venture over to Yarmouth's Whydah Pirate Museum to see artifacts from a recovered pirate shipwreck and touch the world's only authenticated pirate treasure. Afterwards, head over to nearby Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf in South Yarmouth, where you can putt under cascading waterfalls, over footbridges and through caves, all in sight of a recently renovated half-sunken pirate ship.
6:00 pm Downtown Hyannis
Grab a seat and a cocktail on the outdoor patio at Spanky’s Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon, a well loved clam shack overlooking Hyannis Harbor. After dinner, stroll along the harbor's HyArts Artist Shanties and peruse downtown shops. A sweet ending to the day can be found at Kandy Korner, where the homemade chocolate, fudge and taffy makes the perfect Cape Cod souvenir.
9:00 am Hearth n' Kettle (Hyannis)
Get a late start and treat yourself to a leisurely breakfast at Hearth n' Kettle, where you can feast on such hearty menu selections as the Meat Lovers Potato Frittata and the Florentine Skillet.
10:30 am Get Out on the Water
Next, head out to the high seas for the chance to catch the breathtaking views of breaching whales aboard Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises out of Barnstable Harbor. Bring your camera to catch what can only be described as an epic Cape Cod experience. If you prefer to chart your own course on the water, rent a SUP or kayak to explore the ocean, harbors and kettle ponds on Cape Cod (or take a guided tour if you're a beginner). Whichever experience you choose, make a day of it!
4:00 pm - Baxter's Boathouse Restaurant (177 Pleasant St., Hyannis)
It’s your last meal on the Cape. We know what you’re craving: lobster rolls, fried scallops and steamers....on the water, naturally. Pick up your plates, sit outside and watch as the ferries skim into Hyannis Harbor.
6:00 pm - Four Seas Ice Cream (360 South Main St., Centerville)
Local folklore tells of Jackie Kennedy’s deep affinity for Four Seas’ fresh peach ice cream. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Bob Hope have also been known to drop by for a homemade scoop. For a flavor that's not readily available elsewhere, try the penuche - a brown butter caramel concoction. Sweet treats and beach views—not a bad way to wrap up your 72 hours in Cape Cod.