The old song says 'You're sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod', and it's not hard to see how that line was inspired once you've been there. The many miles of pristine beaches, outstanding bike trails, lighthouses, historical landmarks, plenty of arts and crafts, and the ferry service to the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are but a few of the many delights. Despite the heavy traffic that can occur at times, US Hwy 6 can take you all the way along the end of the Cape in about 3 hours. But with so many attractions along the way, it's certain you'll want to take much longer.
Here are a few of the highlights along today's route:
New Bedford, Massachusetts (Starting point)
Once called the richest city in the world, due to the enormous fleet of whaling ships it had dispatched around the globe, New Bedford is still proud of its heritage as a whaling mecca. The New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is a 13-block section of the historic district where the wharf is now lined with modern fishing boats rather than whaling vessels.
Sandy Neck Beach (Mile 41)
Sandy Neck Beach, just a little off the main road, is one of the largest and most pleasant of the many beaches on the Cape.
Scargo Lake (Mile 52)
Scargo Lake in Dennis is not only a scenic lake in its own right, but Scargo Hill is the highest point of land on the Cape, and the observation tower gives you a sweeping view of the whole thing.
Nickerson State Park (Mile 61)
Nickerson State Park is a fine facility for hiking, biking, boating and swimming. It also contains the only economically priced campground on the Cape, and is a good central location from which to explore the rest of the Cape by bike or other means.
Cape Cod National Seashore (Mile 66)
Cape Cod National Seashore, the lower end of which can be accessed just north of Nickerson, was lavishly praised by Thoreau, and for good reason. This expansive stretch of state park has everything that Cape Cod is noted for: beaches, lighthouses, biking and hiking, marshes, ponds, wildlife, and even wild cranberry bogs.
Provincetown (Mile 94)
Provincetown is a vibrant little city nestled away on the very tip of Cape Cod. It's a haven for artists of all sorts, and is also reportedly the 'most gay' city in the nation, with gay residents comprising nearly 40 percent of its population. Rainbow flags are in evidence everywhere, as well as some rather interesting wardrobe choices by some individuals. You can take a sunset cruise, tour the dunes in a dune vehicle, and enjoy fine dining. And oh yes, it's pretty hard to ignore Pilgrim Monument, the century-old tower erected to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims from the Mayflower - they set foot on shore here before proceeding on to Plymouth. If you have the stamina, the climb to the top of the 252-ft. structure will well repay your sweaty effort with a spectacular view.
Provincetown is a town located at the extreme tip of Cape Cod.
Sometimes called 'P-town' the town is known for its beaches,
harbor, artists, and its reputation as a gay village
Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com/ © Denis Jr. Tangney