Every week for the next 20 weeks I am featuring a new family-friendly summer vacation destination. Some are places we have visited as a family, and others are places that are on our summer vacation “bucket list.” All of them are perfect places to spend with your family this summer. This weeks destination is Niagara Falls.
I won’t just be featuring each of the places. Instead, I will be sharing a great list of fun activities that are sure to make for some amazing memories. Hopefully, this will help you to plan your family vacation and save money while doing so. Each of the lists will include both FREE activities as well as paid
For the first week, we are starting with Cape Cod. This past summer we went on a big family trip to Cape Cod for a week. It was 8 of us plus my sister and her 2 daughters. So yes, 11 of us a really long car ride. Well, to be exact it was about 45 hours long and over 2,270 miles. We drove from Grand Rapids, MI all the way to the tip of Cape Cod. On the way there we stopped at Niagara Falls and on the way home, we visited the Statue Of Liberty. For a total of 8 different states, plus we even drove through 1 country. Whew, it was a long but beautiful ride.
We always try to make everything as budget-friendly as possible because we are a big family traveling. Due to the fact that there were 11 of us on the trip, we worked even harder to accomplish this. On the way there we made 1 overnight stop in New York. On the way home, we made 2 stops 1 in Pennsylvania and the other in Ohio.
When we look for a hotel for all of us the best thing to do is to get a suite. We make sure the suite has a full kitchen so we can cook our own food and store our cooler food in a refrigerator. We also make sure they serve breakfast one less meal we have to cook or pay for is always a bonus. Homewood Suites hotels are our absolute favorite places to stay at. The rooms are wonderful and super big enough for us all (usually even separate rooms) and the service is always amazing.
While we were in Cape Cod trying to find a hotel for 11 of us for 6 days was a little interesting. This is where using Airbnb to find a house for us to stay in really came in handy. Honestly, this was our first time using the service I am always a little leery about new things, especially when it comes to where we are sleeping for quite a few days.
In the end, we were very happy with the experience and have used Airbnb multiple times since. We were totally surprised as to how big the house was, and to top it off the owner provided so many things for us to use we could have left just about everything except our clothes at home. (I used an affiliate link above. When you rent a home for the first time on Airbnb with that link you will save yourself $40 and I get a small saving too, thank you!)
To top it off it saved us so much money versus staying in a hotel for the entire time. Oh, and the kitchen was perfect for cooking for so many people which saved us an incredible amount of money instead of eating out.
25+ Family Friendly Things To Do In Cape Cod
Whale Watching Tour –
We had such a great time on this tour. We went on the most amazing whale watching tour with Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises. I have to admit I have been on another whale watching tour in the Great Barrier Reef. This tour was so much more amazing to see.
Brewster General Store –
Make sure to take a step in time and visit the general store in Brewster. They have great souvenirs and old fashioned penny candy. We went to the salt flats for morning low tide and stopped at the store on our way out of town.
Ice Cream –
Make sure to pick up some delicious homemade ice cream from Four Seas. It is a super delicious way to end a long day at the beach. Well, there are many ice cream places around, this is just one local favorite.
Watch a Sunset –
Locals will tell you that one of the most beautiful places to watch a sunset is Skaket Beach or Rock Harbor in Orleans. However, when we were watching the seals at the Chatham Pier the sunset with the boats in the background was pretty amazing as well.
Enjoy The Beaches
Make sure to visit at least a few of the very many different beaches along the cape, we even watched the seals out playing off the shore at one of the beaches. Many of the beaches are very inexpensive to get into or even free if you visit early enough in the year. My kids loved playing in the big waves which are found along the outer coast of the cape. The waves are smaller and water much warmer along the inside of the cape.
Eat some fish and chips, lobster, and lobster rolls –
With the ocean right next to you I’m sure you can imagine that a local favorite dish is fish and chips as well as lobster. But lobster rolls are a big thing to try on the cape, you will see signs for them everywhere. You haven’t tried fish and lobster until you have tried it fresh from the ocean.
Science Aquarium –
The Woods Hole Science Aquarium is not only a FREE place to visit it also has touch tanks where kids and adults alike can touch sea creatures. They have over 140 marine animals on display.
Catch and Eat Some Crabs –
Catching blue crabs is a local sport that can be done on the cape June-September. All you need is a crab net, some chicken, and some patience. You can catch blue crabs Waquoit Bay, Crab Creek Conservation Area, Craigville Beach area. HERE Is an amazing full in-depth post that will teach you exactly how to catch the crabs, where to find them, and how to cook them.
Watch the seals swimming –
The best place to be guaranteed viewing is in the inlet of the local fish market. The Chatham Pier Fish Market is the spot to be, even if you don’t get there when the fishermen get in for the day you’re sure to see the seals and maybe even a few jellyfish. It is also a perfect place to watch the sunset. We were lucky enough to watch a couple seals out swimming just off of the beach at one of the places we visited as well.
Take a Scenic Bike Ride –
The cape has multiple great bike trails for you to enjoy. One of the most popular the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which is a flat 22-mile long trail, perfect for people of all ages to enjoy. Shining Sea Bikeway is another big trail where you will pass a TON of scenery including beautiful ocean views, cranberry bogs, historic farmland, and salt marshes.
Of course, who doesn’t love searching for shells, sand dollars, crabs, or even a starfish along the ocean? Cape Cod is a perfect place to do just that, especially since the cape juts right out into the ocean. Some of the best places to search for shells are Longnook Beach, Breakwater Beach, Sandyneck Beach, and Cold Storage Beach. Make sure to search during low tide for best results.
Art’s Dune Tours –
So with Art’s Dune
Gingerbread Houses –
Don’t forget to make a stop at the rows of gingerbread houses found on Martha’s Vineyard. They are each unique in their own way but it’s a fun place to walk around and see. You could even have a picnic lunch in the center of the are in the shaded grass.
Drive-In Theater –
The Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre is a perfect place to spend an evening as a family. Make sure to stop and pick up some popcorn, snacks, and drinks as well before you get there. The first
Pilgrims Monument –
This giant tower was the spot where the Mayflower landed in 1692. The tower is 252-feet, 7.5 inches tall and is the tallest granite structure in the U.S. It has 116 steps. For a small fee, you can climb to the top for amazing panoramic views. While you are there make sure to stop at the museum as well.
Beachcomber Boat Tours –
There are a
Explore the salt flats –
We had so much fun exploring the salt flats. We went to Breakwater Beach and looked online for when low tide would be. The kids spent time searching for crabs, shells, little fish, and more. A perfect spot for kids to run a
Potato Chip Factory Tour –
The Cape Cod Potato Chip factory is a great place to visit. They offer a free tour where you get some free potato chips as well. So make sure to take advantage of this fun activity. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day if you can deal with crowds of people.
I always say somewhere that kids can run, play, and be as loud as they want is a perfect family-friendly destination to visit. Nature trails, wildlife sanctuary, park and more are the best type of places to let kids do just that. That is why this wildlife sanctuary is a perfect place to spend a day with kids.
Guided Kayak Tours –
Goose Hummock – You can go on either a sports fishing charter or a guided kayak tour of the area with this company. Either
Fly a kite.
We try to bring a kite with us every time we go to the beach. Due to the fact that there is always wind at the beach, it makes it a perfect place for anyone to fly a kite with great success.
Ride The Train –
Cape Cod Central Railroad is a perfect 2-hour scenic fun train ride. You will get a great view of the area including bogs, marshes, ocean views and much more. Tickets can only be purchased the day of the ride so arrive early to ensure you get a ticket.
Watch Glass Blowing –
Sandwich Glass Blowing Factory. Have you ever watched just how glass is blown into beautiful creations? Well, this is the place to do so then. You can learn all about glass blowing and watch the full process here.
Scargo Tower –
This is the place for amazing views of Scargo Lake and the bay. It is the highest point of land on the peninsula. Its open year round and is free to climb.
Visit The Lighthouses –
Being a coastline as you can imagine there are many different lighthouses. Make sure to explore at least a few of them while you are here! This is a lighthouse we were able to view while out on our whale watching tour. However, you could get to it by driving as well.
A perfect thing to do on any summer vacation with kids is to go mini-golfing. Of course Cape Cod has a couple of different themed golf courses kids will love. You can visit Pirates Cove or Skull Island.
Go Fishing –
With the ocean right here fishing is an obvious activity for families to enjoy. Find a dock anywhere along the coast and enjoy some time fishing. Just make sure if anyone over 15 is fishing you pick up a state fishing license.
Inflatable Park –
This is a really fun place for kids to spend the day. You have multiple places to use while in the inflatable park is the toddler area, the dry inflatables, wet rides, as well as the American Ninja Warrior challenge course.
Have you ever been to Cape Cod? If so what is your favorite place to visit,