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35 miles E of Sandwich; 21 miles S of Provincetown

Despite its optimal waterside location (the distance from bay to ocean is as little as 1 mile in spots), Eastham is one of the least pretentious locales on the Cape -- and yet highly popular as the gateway to the magnificent Cape Cod National Seashore.

The downside -- or upside, depending on how you look at it -- is that there aren't many shops or attractions worth checking out. Even Eastham's colorful history, as the site of the Pilgrims' first encounter with hostile natives, has faded with time. A mock-1680s windmill in the center of town serves as a reminder of the days when, according to Cape historian Arthur Wilson Tarbell, Eastham served as "the granary of eastern Massachusetts." Few take the trouble to track down the graves of three "First Comers" in the Old Cove Burying Ground, on Route 6, a mile past the Orleans rotary, on the right (park at Corliss Way).

Mostly, though, this is a place to kick back and let the sun, surf, and sand dictate your day.