This route gives you an overview of the highlights of the Cape, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. You'll see the major attractions, such as the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich; the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth; and Commercial Street in Provincetown, plus the islands. It's a whirlwind tour, but it builds in some downtime for relaxing.
Day 1: Arrive in Falmouth
After arriving in Falmouth, the second largest of Cape Cod's 15 towns, take a bike ride down the 4-mile Shining Sea Bikeway from Falmouth center to the village of Woods Hole to get a feel for the coastline. The bike path offers views of Martha's Vineyard and passes saltwater ponds and marshland. Woods Hole is the home of several world-renowned science institutions, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Check out the fishing fleet on the Woods Hole dock, the houseboats in Great Harbor, and the free aquarium, where you can watch seals being fed.
Day 2: Day Trip to Martha's Vineyard
Hop a ferry from Woods Hole or Falmouth Inner Harbor for the 30- to 45-minute trip to Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. While on the Vineyard, you can take a quick stroll around the three down-island towns of Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Vineyard Haven, which are connected by frequent shuttle buses. In Oak Bluffs, you'll want to see the gingerbread houses, which are Carpenter Gothic-style homes, built in the late 19th century when the area was the site of frequent revival meetings. The cottages surround the Trinity Park Tabernacle, an elegant open-air church.
Day 3: Sandwich
You'll need an early start and a full day to explore the town of Sandwich. In the morning, visit the Heritage Museums and Gardens, near Shawme Pond, a short drive from the center of town. After taking a few hours to enjoy Heritage's unique collections and extensive gardens, stop at the Sandwich Glass Museum, in the center of town, to learn about this fascinating industry and to watch glass artisans in action. End your day at Sandy Neck Beach, one of the Cape's most beautiful beaches.
Day 4: The Old King's Highway (Rte. 6A), Brewster & Orleans
Drive up the Old King's Highway/Route 6A from Sandwich to Brewster, checking out interesting stores along the way, particularly the fine antiques shops. Spend the rest of the morning visiting one of Brewster's bay beaches, such as Breakwater Beach, during low tide, and explore the flats, the miles of exposed beach left when the tide recedes. In the afternoon, head out from Rock Harbor in Orleans on an afternoon charter fishing trip.
Day 5: A Day Trip to Nantucket
Take the 1-hour fast ferry from Hyannis, either the Hy-Line or the Steamship Authority, to arrive in Nantucket by lunchtime. Buy sandwiches in town, and bike to Jetties Beach for a picnic lunch. Explore several historic sites on foot. The Whaling Museum is a must. Other interesting sites are the Jethro Coffin House, Nantucket's oldest house, and the Hadwen House, an example of the town's 19th-century prosperity.
Day 6: Whale-Watching
It's tough to take in everything Provincetown has to offer in 1 day, so I've given it 2. Staying overnight for a couple of nights will give you enough time to take in this multifaceted and unique town. One must is a whale watch on the Dolphin Fleet, a half-day adventure out to Stellwagen Bank to see the magnificent ritual of whales feeding in their natural habitat. You'll be tired and hungry after the boat ride. Wander down Commercial Street, stopping at shops along the way, to choose a restaurant for dinner, preferably one on the water with a sunset view.
Day 7: Provincetown
Your second day in Provincetown should include a trip to the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum. Climb the 116 steps of the monument to get a bird's-eye view of the tip of the Cape, the curling spit of sand bordered by marshes and massive dunes. The museum gives a great overview of the history of the town. Adventurous bike riders will want to take a couple of hours to bike the Province Lands Trail, which winds its way past marshland and over dunes. Take a sunset sail on the Bay Lady II, a handsome schooner, before settling in for another good meal at one of Provincetown's fine restaurants.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.