Daffodils, blankets of bluebells, the sweet smell of soil mixed with rain as the lilacs bloom … when spring comes to Cape Cod, she arrives with little fanfare but great flourish. The salt air is filled with the cry of gulls, the breeze comes in from the southwest, the fog lifts and ferry horns blow as ships leave port to Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket.
But how to see the best of Cape Cod spring in a weekend visit? We have the scoop for you here with our top FIVE secrets of spring on Cape Cod.
One – Check Out a Romantic Lighthouse
Cape Cod is sprinkled with lighthouses, perched at the edge of the sea with commanding views over challenging waters. Our favorite is Nobska Light in Falmouth, Massachusetts located just where the ferries leave to go to the island of Martha’s Vineyard. From here, you look out over the Elizabeth Islands, Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound as the ferries chug slowly past. If you love the romance of life at the edge of the sea, explore our top five romantic lighthouses nearby. After touring Nobska Light, don’t miss the amazing popovers and fresh roast coffee at world-famous Pie in the Sky Bakery Cafe around the corner.
Two – Explore JFK’s “National Seashore”
In 1961, President Kennedy permanently preserved a 44 mile stretch of beach from Chatham to Provincetown creating what is now called the “National Seashore.” Henry David Thoreau called this “Great Beach” in his memoir about Cape Cod written after he penned Walden Pond. Scene of shipwrecks, wild storms and centuries of family beach fun, this remote, endless stretch of beach simply has to be seen to be believed.
In the springtime, parking is a cinch at one of many public parking spots starting in Chatham all the way to P-town. One easy and interesting access point is at Coast Guard Beach (exit route six in Eastham) where the old Coast Guard Station and the extensive Nauset Bay marsh are part of the scenery. While in the area, visit the John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis to learn more about our 35th president and champion of open space on Cape Cod. An amazing secret spot for lunch in Hyannis is Pain D’Avignon, tucked near the airport with authentic french food worth driving from Paris.
Three – Tour Oak Bluffs
Martha’s Vineyard is a secret jewel off the coast of Cape Cod, easily accessed with ferry service from Woods Hole. The 45-minute trip is half the fun with open air decks, ice cold beer from the commissary and gulls swooping and calling around you. The village of Oak Bluffs is your destination, packed with handmade fudge shops, ice cream parlors, a marina full of boats, great mementos and many waterfront restaurants. We recommend the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company for your perfect Cape Cod spring lunch with award winning chowder made from local clams called quahogs (locals pronounce this “ko-hog chow-dah”). While in town, tour the Gingerbread Cottages, a National Historic site with over 300 tiny Victorian houses surrounding a revival tent that was a Methodist summer camp back in the 1860’s. Country Living Magazine calls this the “quaintest place on Earth.”
Four – Sunset over the Water
Cape Cod is one of only a few spots on the East Coast where the sun sets over the water to the west. Painters, writers, poets and musicians have struggled to capture the beauty of the light on Cape Cod which reaches a sublime apex at sunset each evening. Framing the foreground in silhouette, stunning you into silent reverie, creating a moment of awe, these Cape Cod sunsets have a magical power to clear the brain — as long as you can bring yourself to put the camera phone down long enough to actually soak it in. Looking for the perfect perch for your sunset viewing? Don’t miss the Landfall Restaurant where you can dip your toes into Vineyard Sound while enjoying a freshly squeezed fruit cocktail in the Cape Cod spring breeze.
Five – Dine on Local Seafood
The sea-to-table scene is alive and well on Cape Cod, where your favorite restaurant is about as close to the real fishery as physically possible. Fresh lobster, clams of many kinds, oysters, cod, haddock, squid and more are all harvested daily from these Cape Cod waters. You get the fish fresh to your table before they travel, and that freshness alone is part of the charm. For farm-to-table flair we recommend Quicks Hole Tavern, named one of the top ten dining destinations on Cape Cod by Open Table. From your waterfront perch overlooking the harbor, you will enjoy well crafted salads, fresh local seafood, killer burgers and a well curated local beer list.
Where to stay for Cape Cod spring?
Woods Hole Inn is your perfect launching pad to explore all of Cape Cod and the islands in spring. Located in the center of a tiny fishing village, this B&B was named top ten in the US by BedandBreakfast.com for amazing service, a convenient location and excellent free breakfast. Book online today or call the front desk where they will craft the perfect itinerary for your time on springtime Cape Cod. Open year round at 508-495-0248.
Looking to bring the kids and save a few bucks on your trip to Cape Cod? Check out the new Treehouse Lodge in Woods Hole, located within walking distance of Woods Hole village and the perfect jumping off point to explore all of Cape Cod and the islands. Book online or call the front desk at 508-548-1986. Opens early April for the season.