25 FREE Things to Do on Cape Cod (and 10 Things Under $10!)

July 14, 2016 Blog, Fun, Money-Saving Tips

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With the summer travel season upon us, I came across this great list on Boston.com “25 Free Things to Do on Cape Cod“! I grew up camping on the Cape every summer with my parents and now I return every summer to vacation with my own family! We have done almost everything thing on their list, but there were a few places recommended that we’ll have to try this summer while we are there again!



Which are our favorite FREE activities?

  • Cape Cod Baseball League Games: Grab your beach chairs and blankets and take in a fun night at the ball game. Kids can sit right behind the dugout or home plate and cheer on the future stars of baseball. Many baseball superstars have started out in this league like  Jacoby Ellsbury, Nomar Garciaparra, Mark Texeira, Carlos Pena, Joe Girardi, and hundreds more!
  • Cape Cod Chips Factory Tour: This is definitely a small factory (it’s just one big room), but my son had a fun time peeking in the windows to watch the potato chips being made. The tour is about 15 minutes – if you walk really slowly. The best part is the free sample bag of chips to enjoy at the end of the tour. Visit the store to find a huge selection of chip flavors that you can’t find in the grocery store. If it’s a rainy day, check out the nearby Cape Cod Beer Tour too!
  • Cape Cod Rail Trail: No vacation is complete without a ride on the 22 mile Cape Cod Rail Trail. The trail is (mostly) flat and paved and easy for even a novice rider to enjoy. There are plenty of places to rent bikes if you need one and lots of free parking to get on and off at various points on the trail.
  • Walk Harborside Commercial Street: One day of our vacation is always spent visiting Provincetown. It is so much fun to walk up and down Commercial Street, popping in and out of the shops, enjoying a delicious meal, and indulging in yummy sweet treats while sitting on the soft sand admiring the ocean. While in Provincetown, be sure to check out the Province Lands Visitor Center for interactive displays and 360 views of the Race Point Ranger Station, Race Point Beach, the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station and the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown.

For more information:
25 Free Things to Do on Cape Cod
http://www.boston.com/travel/new-england/free-things-cape-cod/XUOzzs38kooXnAY0IOvYqL/gallery.html

I was inspired by Boston.com’s suggestions, so I decided to add my own for 10 Things Under $10 on the Cape!

KidsOnCape

1. Kids on the Cape

These books are great! You can find them in almost any store and tourist attraction throughout the Cape. They publish weekly calendars of fun and free events for the kids including story times, puppet shows, magicians, family concerts, and more. Best of all there are coupons and deals throughout the book – most of which you just need to cut out and bring with you! Definitely grab a few books and keep one in your car for spur-of-the-moment stops too!

http://www.kidsonthecape.com

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photo credit: Amanda Agoes Photography

2. Visit a Museum

Free parking and small admission fees gets you an afternoon of fun! We had a lot of rainy days a few years ago and found some great places to visit.


Cape Cod Maritime Museum
The mission of this museum is “preserving the rich maritime traditions and history for which Cape Cod and the Islands are famous”. Adult admission is $5 and children under 7 are free. Exhibits include artwork on display, artifacts, and ship models. Climb board the 28ft replica and take in the beautiful Hyannis harbor views.

http://www.capecodmaritimemuseum.org/

Chatham Marconi Maritime Center
This small museum houses quite a few interactive exhibits and fascinating information on the history of radio. The volunteers there were so friendly, helpful, and full of facts to share! There are also a few short films to view that repeat throughout the day. Adult admission is $5 and children under 10 are free.

http://chathammarconi.org

Chatham Railroad Museum
Railroad relics on display inside a restored 1887 railroad depot. View hundreds of artifacts and working model railroad displays. Explore the 1910 restored wood caboose. Admission is by donation.

http://www.chathamrailroadmuseum.com/

 

marconi

photo credit: Amanda Agoes Photography

3. Learn About Cape Cod

Visit the free Visitor Centers and learn about the ecosystems, animals, and history of Cape Cod. View artifacts, interactive displays, and educational films. Speak with Rangers and local experts to get all your Cape Cod questions answered! Kids can participate in museum scavenger hunts and quizzes.

At the Province Lands Visitor Center, enjoy 360 views of the Race Point Ranger Station, Race Point Beach, the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station and the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown.

Salt Pond Visitor Center: http://www.nps.gov/caco/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm

Cape Cod National Seashore Province Lands Visitor Center: http://www.nps.gov/caco/parknews/province-lands-visitor-center-to-open-may-1.htm

 

fish

photo credit: Amanda Agoes Photography

4. Feed the Fish

Drop in to the Sandwich Hatchery and be sure to bring lots of quarters and a paper cup! It’s a little tricky to find this hidden location along Route 6A. Just park and walk over to the huge tanks in the ground holding hundreds of large fish. Fill up your cups with fish food (hence the quarters) and throw a handful in! The fish will jump and splash like crazy to get the food. It is lots of fun for the kids to watch and the fish never seem to get full either! The public can visit everyday from 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/about-masswildlife/state-fish-hatcheries.html

swan

photo credit: Amanda Agoes Photography

5. Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen

Enjoy a peaceful afternoon exploring the Green Briar Nature Center. Visit the rabbits, watch the honey bee hive (can you find the Queen?), identify the beautiful flowers in the gardens, spy on the swans, look for frogs in the pond, check out the cranberry bog, and hike the wooded trails! Don’t forget to visit the gift shop and sample some of their delicious jams and jellies! Admission is by donation.

http://www.thorntonburgess.org

carousel

photo credit: Amanda Agoes Photography

6. Fun & Games

Take a break from the heat! Ride a carousel or play some arcade games. Fun for the whole family!


Cape Cod Gift Barn
Souvenir Shop, Mini Golf, Ice Cream, and Arcade in One! A round of mini golf costs $3.50/person.

http://www.capecodgiftbarn.com

Ryan Family Amusements (Arcade + Bowling)
There are a number of locations throughout the Cape boasting regular and candlepin bowling lanes. Don’t miss their “Bowl-for-a-Buck” specials where it is only $1 per game + $3 shoe rental per person. Visit their website to join their loyalty club and receive special deals.

http://www.ryanfamily.com/

Wackenhammer’s Clockwork Arcade
Located in the heart of Hyannis is a vintage-feel Carousel and Arcade. Kids can ride the carousel, jump around in the bouncy house, and have some fun playing the arcade games inside. Can you beat the highest score? Carousel rides $3, bouncy house and arcade games additional.

https://www.facebook.com/Wackenhammer

 

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7. Find a Bargain

Who doesn’t love the thrill of finding a great bargain?

Visit the Wellfleet Flea Market (located at the Drive-In Theater) to browse up to 200 vendors selling “new items, Cape Cod memorabilia, antiques, collectibles, jewelry, t-shirts and clothing, household goods, and much more.” Admission costs $1 – $3 per carload. http://www.wellfleetcinemas.com/flea-market

The Sandwich Bazaar (formerly The Sandwich Flea Market). “You never know what you might find at The Sandwich Bazaar!!”http://www.thesandwichbazaar.com

 

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photo credit: torbakhopper

9. Free Fun Fridays from Highland Street Foundation

Free Fun Fridays are back for the 6th year! These events, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, provide FREE admission to 66 selected venues each Friday during the summer. *Parking/transportation fees may be additional. Event hours take place during selected venue hours. Be sure to go early, these are very popular events!! Check the link below to find out which venues are free each Friday.

http://highlandstreet.org/freefunfridays.html

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photo credit: uhuru1701

9. Hyannis Kennedy Legacy Trail (and Free Trolley Rides!)

Visit 10 historical sites to learn about Hyannis and our 35th President, John F. Kennedy. “The walking tour is 1.6 miles in one direction, and takes approximately 1 1/2 hours to complete. It will take an additional 35 minutes to walk back to the start of the trail. During the peak summer season, a free trolley can be taken to make the return trip.”

http://www.kennedylegacytrail.com/

Take a free trolley ride around Hyannis Harbor. Visit their website for more information: http://www.capecodtransit.org/hyannis-trolley.htm

 

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photo credit: Joe Hastings

10. Campfire on the Beach

There is something magical about having a campfire on the beach to end a perfect summer day. Free permits are available for fires at six swimming beaches. Permits must be reserved in-person or by phone. There is limited availability!

http://www.nps.gov/caco/planyourvisit/permits.htm