“Don’t leave time on the table.” It’s not a fancy mantra, but it’s an important one to try to remember.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, despite 64% of Americans saying they are in desperate need of a vacation, American workers left a whopping 29% of their paid time off on the table last year. With National Plan for Vacation Day on us this week, let us inspire you to visit Cape Cod in 2022 and ensure you don’t leave any vacation time behind.

Here are seven reasons to hit the “Book Now” button on your vacation to Cape Cod. New adventures and lifelong memories await you.

1. Beautiful Beaches
Perhaps your perfect day involves lying under an umbrella at the beach with a good book and picnic lunch (doesn’t everyone’s?) Cape Cod offers some of the finest beaches in the world, especially those along the Cape Cod National Seashore, a 40-mile stretch of unspoiled sandy beach in Outer Cape Cod. The National Seashore’s 43,557 protected acres also include Provincetown’s majestic dunes, which can be explored on guided vehicle tours.

2. Arts & Culture
Starting at the Canal and extending to Provincetown, immerse yourself in culture—from a world-class symphony, glassblowers and fine art museums to historic sites and America’s oldest theater. Artists, artisans’ studios and galleries can be found both on and off the beaten path.

4. Land Adventures
Cape Cod’s milder climate allows for the longest golf season of anywhere in New England, and local golf courses are especially inviting amidst springtime blooms and fall foliage (and our miniature golf courses make for some great family fun)! The Cape Cod Baseball League, a verified launching pad for Major League talent, has free weekly games each summer - so grab a blanket and make a night of it. Brew tours are a fun (and safe) way to explore the Cape’s growing craft beverage scene (read about my experience taking one here!) And the Cape’s natural beauty can be appreciated best along well-maintained nature trails, perfect for scenic walks or bike rides.

4. Sea Adventures
Kayaking and paddleboarding are relaxing ways to explore the Cape’s 365 kettle ponds, picturesque harbors and barrier beaches. For more fun on the water, rent a catboat, take a whale watching excursion or sail with an experienced captain on a chartered fishing vessel. Sunset harbor cruises in season are the perfect way to end any day.

5. Fresh Seafood
Given the Cape’s miles of coastline, it’s no secret that restaurants here have access to the freshest of the ocean’s bounty. Clam and oyster feasts first enjoyed centuries ago by native Wampanoags on local shores set a precedent in Cape Cod dining that continues today. You never have to go too far to satisfy your seafood fix, whether it’s traditional fish & chips, local oysters, hearty quahog chowder or a heaping lobster roll.

6. Shopping
One-of-a-kind finds are one of the best reasons to make shopping a priority on your Cape Cod vacay. Along the Cape’s scenic backroads and in village centers, you’ll find an incredible array of crafters, wood carvers, jewelers, painters, weavers, glassmakers, sculptors and potters. Cape Cod’s celebrated antique trail takes you through every Cape town, and historic Route 6A is a treasure trove of exquisite antique finds and galleries. Downtown hubs offer chic retail shops, bookstores, specialty boutiques, local souvenirs and upscale eateries and cafes.

7. Fun Fests
In March, don’t plan, just cheat and copy my early St. Patrick’s Day itinerary from 2019. It’s three days of good food, geeking-out on pirates, and delightful green beer. After that, mark your calendar for an ongoing line-up of seaside fests in every season – celebrating everything from hydrangeas in bloom and the First Day of Summer to local brews and the beloved Wellfleet Oyster.

Though we’ve given you seven of them, you actually don’t need a reason to enjoy your hard-earned time off. You deserve it! If you’re not accustomed to taking advantage of all your PTO or you’re hesitant about using too many days too early, start small and work your way up to a longer extended vacation. The caveat though is to plan something earlier—and go sooner—rather than wait until the end year.

So...what are you waiting for? Start planning today!