One of the oldest towns on Cape Cod, Yarmouth enjoys shoreline on both Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound and offers three distinctive villages rich in history – West Yarmouth, Yarmouth Port and South Yarmouth.
To the north is the village of Yarmouth Port, an attractive unspoiled area that is completely New England in feeling and runs along historic Route 6A. Sea captain’s homes (many of which have been lovingly restored into quaint B&Bs), antique shops, an 1889 pharmacy, the Cape’s oldest inn, an antiquarian bookstore and a sprawling village green dot the main thoroughfare. Old stone walls and shady trees line the byway, and trumpet vines - with riots of orange blossoms - sprout from trellises and arbors.
The Captain’s Mile along Route 6A is a self-guided tour of over 50 former sea captains’ homes - dating back to the late 1700s and early 1800s. The only furnished sea captain's home on Cape Cod regularly open to the public is The Captain Bangs Hallet House Museum, located less than a hundred yards off The Captains' Mile and operated by the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth. Nearby, take a stroll down the iconic Gray’s Beach Boardwalk at sunset. Breathe in the salt air and call it a day.
The villages of West and South Yarmouth are more commercially settled. The Route 28 side is lined with hotels, motels, restaurants, souvenir shops, miniature golf courses and such visitor-friendly attractions as an inflatable water park. Bass River, the longest tidal river on the eastern seaboard, is surrounded by historic homes and elegant waterfront estates.
Yarmouth is both old and new—and both contribute mightily to its appeal, making it the study in contrasts which it is. It would be difficult to visit Yarmouth Port for any period of time without venturing into West and South Yarmouth’s commercial centers for shopping, dining or entertainment. Likewise, visitors whose lodging is situated on the southern shore will naturally gravitate to the bayside out of curiosity.
Yarmouth was home to Edward Gorey, renowned illustrator of the macabre, and his eccentric work and most treasured items are now on display at the Edward Gorey House off Route 6A. The region’s newest cultural beacon – the Whydah Pirate Museum - pays homage to Cape Cod’s marauding history with a focus on the Whydah Gally, the pirate ship that undersea explorer Barry Clifford discovered off the coast of Wellfleet in 1984. Since that time, Clifford has continued to unearth secrets of the Whydah, using them as the centerpiece of his museum, where visitors can get a glimpse of archaeologists plying their trade as they excavate artifacts in a working laboratory.
Nature walks and scenic hikes in the town take you through conservation areas and along marshes, ponds, and beaches. Popular trails include Callery-Darling Conservation Area and Crab Creek Conservation Area. In recent years, the Cape Cod Rail Trail was extended to South Yarmouth, providing a new entryway to the 25.5 mile paved rail trail that meanders all the way into Wellfleet (an extension into Barnstable is also planned). The town has four golf courses, including two municipal courses, and many areas for kayaking and paddleboarding, particularly Bass River.
Yarmouth is home to several beaches, from cozy bay beaches to expansive, sandy beaches. Windsurfing is a favorite activity at Seagull Beach, and Bass River Beach (also known as Smugglers Beach) has become known for its annual sand castle contest.
Find more information on Yarmouth through the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce.
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