With so many awesome adventures on Cape Cod, charting your course around this sandy peninsula may seem a bit daunting.  But have no fear! We’ve compiled a list of self-guided itineraries to help you get a taste for just some of what makes the Cape so unique – whether that’s discovering a new museum, admiring hydrangeas, exploring on two wheels or satisfying your sweet tooth.

Happy Trails!

two bike riders talking on Shining Sea BikewayBiking Trails
Cycling the Cape is one of the best ways to take in the region’s natural beauty- whether you’re mountain biking through woodlands or cruising down one of the scenic pathways. Shining Sea Bikeway is a flat trail running 10.7 miles from North Falmouth to Woods Hole. Hugging the coastline, this route is pure eye candy, passing by crimson cranberry bogs, Sippewissett Marsh and the Salt Pond Bird Sanctuary. The Cape Cod Rail Trail, built on former railway lines, is a 25.5-mile path that starts in Yarmouth and winds its way through several towns (and the Cape Cod National Seashore) before ending in Wellfleet. There are several fun detours along the way, including eateries, shops and Nickerson State Park. The Cape Cod Canal Bikeway is a paved trail running roughly eight miles between Bourne and Sagamore, offering views of the bustling waterway and boat traffic, along with the bridges spanning the canal. And if you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, the West Barnstable Conservation Area is a 1,200-acre park in West Barnstable, featuring 21 miles of singletrack mountain biking trails that include lots of steep twists and turns.

Hiking TrailsHiking Trails
For those who want to explore the scenic and distinctive terrain of Cape Cod on foot, there are numerous hiking trails, including the aforementioned biking trails that are also pedestrian-friendly. The Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail, a 1.2-mile loop at the Cape Cod National Seashore, meanders through a Tolkien-esque wooded wetland of Atlantic white cedars on a boardwalk path. In Falmouth, The Knob is where Buzzards Bay and Quissett Harbor meet, with a quarter-mile-long trail that makes for a magical sunset stroll. Managed by Mass Audubon, Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Barnstable encompasses meadows, farms, woodland trails and beaches in varied terrain. There are several trails along Barnstable Harbor in this area flanked by the Sandy Neck Barrier Beach Dunes, offering stunning panoramic views. Farther down Cape, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary offers unparalleled beauty along Wellfleet Harbor. Extensive trails offer access to a salt marsh, pine woodlands, and a sandy barrier beach with an ADA-accessible boardwalk trail.

Titcombs Book ShopBookworm Trails

Looking for a good book to devour on the beach? There’s a trail on Cape Cod that can help with that! The Cape & Islands Bookstore Trail celebrates the unique independent local bookstores across Cape Cod and the Islands, featuring more than two dozen booksellers sure to satisfy your inner bibliophile. Included on the list is Titcomb’s Book Shop in East Sandwich, a Route 6A landmark for more than 50 years that sells new, used and rare books, and often welcomes visiting authors for meet & greets. Books by the Sea in Centerville specializes in all things coastal and offers a platform for many authors and artists through its community events. Another favorite on the list is Market Street Bookshop, nestled in a charming brick storefront in the Mashpee Commons shopping district.

HydrangeasSea of Hydrangeas
You’ll never regret taking the scenic route on Cape Cod, and the dozens of private gardens featured during the annual Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival are a gorgeous reason to step off the beaten path. The ten-day event (July 7-16, 2023) kicks off with a burst of blooms, workshops and fun befitting the Cape’s signature flower - whether you simply want to take in the splendor at the garden tours, create a spectacular centerpiece, or learn how to (finally!) change those deep blues to rosy pink.

Kandy KornerToothsome Trails
Gourmands will have a ball exploring Cape Cod, which offers myriad ways to tantalize the taste buds and tempt the palate. There’s no sweeter way to explore than with a visit to the Cape’s numerous independent chocolatiers. At Hot Chocolate Sparrow in Orleans, try hand-dipped chocolates made in-house, plus indulgent desserts and coffee drinks from early morning until late night. Cape Cod Chocolatier in Centerville is a 40-year love story between owners Rob and Carol Cronin, selling a wide range of hand-crafted chocolates. Kandy Korner in Hyannis is your quintessential Cape Cod candy shop; located in a brightly painted house, the store showcases homemade turtles, caramels, truffles and saltwater taffy. Now in its third generation of family ownership, Chatham Candy Manor hand makes every chocolate to exacting standards, and their homemade fudge is the perfect keepsake for your Cape Cod vacation. In Dennis Port, Stage Shop Candy has been sweetening the lives of locals and visitors alike since 1982 with its specialty chocolates and confections using family recipes.

Pilgrim MonumentCultural Trails
Lovers of history and culture have a plethora of things to see and do all along Cape Cod. At one end of the Cape, Provincetown’s Pilgrim Monument commemorates the first landing place of the Pilgrims, while the Aquinnah Cultural Center on Martha’s Vineyard and the Mashpee Wampanoag Museum honor the region’s first citizens. The Cape Cod Museum Trail makes navigating the area’s museums easy, offering a guide to cultural venues from maritime to children’s museums, military to whaling museums and everything in between. Looking for a historic home, a deep dive into shipwreck rescue, or the Cape’s latest contemporary art? Check their listings.

Yarmouth Sand Sculpture TrailSand Art Trails
Seasonal visitors to the Cape won’t want to miss the family-friendly Yarmouth Sand Sculpture Trail, which features 30+ impeccably designed sand sculptures from May through October. Download a map to find all of these whimsical sculptures, on display in front of local businesses and landmarks throughout Yarmouth.

Adirondack TrailAdirondack Trail
A must-see in the summer season on Cape Cod is the wildly creative Sandwich Adirondack Trail. Discover some truly awesome artist-inspired chairs along the trail, which stay out all summer long (trail maps are available at sandwichartsalliance.org). The best part? At the end of the season, you can attend an auction and bid on one of these beauties to bring home!