Boston, Cape Cod and NY. Any pointers would be great.(16 Posts)
We go to Florida every summer and fancy somewhere different this year (2 adults and 2 children). We are going for 3 weeks and are looking at the Cape Cod area. We know nothing about it at all so any info would be great. We thought of maybe a couple of nights in NY and Boston either end of the trip and 5 or 6 nights at a few different places around the Cape in between. We don't want to move around too much (ie a couple of nights and then off again). Any weather tips or accommodation tips would be great. Thank you for your help.
I don't know Cape Cod but I know NYC well and Boston somewhat. The weather will be hot and humid, but nothing you can't handle if you are happy in Florida.
How old are your children and what kinds of activities do you like doing as a family? Do you like isolated, quirky, lots of facilities and restaurants, hanging around the rich and famous? If rich and famous, you could go to the Hamptons, or Martha's Vineyard. If quieter and quirky, maybe Block Island or Fire Island? (Fire Island and the Hamptons are NY not Cape Cod but if you want to go to NYC anyway maybe worth considering?)
The coast of Massachusetts has lots of water sportsy activities and nice beaches, but you are on the Atlantic Ocean so the water will be rough and cold compared with the Gulf of Mexico.
Provincetown is great fun. There's whale watching, crabbing, historical stuff. You may be able to rent a courage and travel from there. Lots of little shops and all that its touristy. There are some old sailing ships in Boston.
If you are going to the Cape for more than a week, you will want to rent a cottage. There are loads of them. Google "vacation rental".
I like the Upper Cape (the bit nearest the mainland). There's a lot to do, and the bleaches are safe. Old Silver Beach is great for kids as the sea is very shallow. There are lots of shops and restaurants, and general simple fun things to do. It's a good base for a day trip to Plymouth, Boston, Newport, Mystic, and to the lower Cape.
The weather can be a bit iffy - a lot like the UK, although you should get plenty of hot weather in the summer.
I would suggest driving out of NY on Long Island through the North Fork to cross to New London in Conneticut to then drive through Rhode Island to Cape cod. I would have a night on the North Fork (Greenport is lovely), a night near Newport to see the amazing houses then on to Cape Cod. Martha's Vineyard is lovely well worth a visit. I would give yourself at least 3 days in Boston (1 for Havard and Canbridge, 1 to walk the freedom trail and 1 for pottering).
We did 2 weeks in the same locations a couple of years ago. Was amazing!
We flew into New York and stayed for 4 nights, then hired a car and drove to Cape Cod for 7 nights, and then the last 3 nights.
We stayed in hotels in the two cities and hired a house for the week in Cape Cod. We stayed in a house on the edge of Johns Pond near Mashpee.
If we went again we would try to have a night staying on Martha's Vineyard as we loved it there.
The Plimouth Plantation living museum place was excellent and well worth a visit, along with the Mayflower replica.
We went in the summer holidays and the weather was lovely. Nowhere near as hot and sticky as Florida in the summer.
Another vote for Plimouth Plantation.
We went to Cape Cod in August and stayed here - http://www.pilgrimvillage.com/ We really liked it. It has a nice sandy beach and a private lake - safe for children. A 2 bedroom cottages is £553 which seems like a bargain. It's in Chatham which we thought was a bit US snooty (Ralph Lauren wearing Stepford Wives) but Provincetown looked good on a day trip.
Beware that the seaside is pretty wild there so not great for paddling, hence the need for the lake at the house. I'm sure there are quieter beaches on the other side.
We weren't too bothered about Boston. We've spent a lot of time in the US so we're used to American cities but Boston just didn't wow us.
did all 3 last may with 1 year old
pm me for details if you're interesed!
Cape Cod Bay and the kettle ponds around Cape Cod are all milder and warmer, if you want to avoid the Atlantic and the waves. The tide in the Bay goes out for miles. There should definitely be some public beaches for the Bay, but you might need to get a local beach sticker for your car to access the ponds. I'm not quite sure how to go about doing that because I've always just borrowed family cars.
That said, the Atlantic off CC is still warmer than the North Sea. It is swimmable in July and August. If you do want to brave the waves, Coast Guard Beach on the National Seashore is the one I'd take the kids to. It's slightly less rough than Nauset, there is a good lifeguard presence there in summer, and conditions are generally suitable for boogie boarding, skim boarding and sometimes surfing. You can literally spend the whole day there. The only hitch is you will need to park about 1/4 mile away from the beach and then haul your beach stuff with you onto a little electric shuttle bus. Everyone does this, though, so it's not like you'd look ridiculous - when I was a kid, my family managed CG Beach and the shuttle bus several times a summer with something like three adults and eight kids of varying ages, plus our boogie boards, towels, chairs, coolers full of food, baby tent, etc.
Rent a car. You will need one. There is very little public transport on the Cape, unless you decide to go no further than Hyannis. There is a train service running between Boston and Hyannis starting this summer, which might be handy for you - I think tickets are about $30, but it's meant to be a leisurely ride with a dining car and will hopefully bypass some of the worst traffic. The MBTA website should have more info about it.
Traffic can get very bad on the Cape - there are only two bridges over the canal and only one two-lane (most of the time) highway. If you head from off-Cape towards the canal after 9 am in the summertime, you will sit in traffic for hours. Literally hours. I am not kidding. Try to plan accordingly and ask the locals for advice about when to go - most should be happy to help.
Word of warning about renting a cottage: it can get very expensive to stay on the Cape. That doesn't mean you won't find something affordable, but it does mean that you might have to lower your expectations, depending on what they are in the first place. My SIL and BIL were very, very disappointed in their cottage rental when they came to visit last year. Their house had exterior paint peeling round the back, the decor was badly in need of an update, and there were spiders all over the place. SIL and BIL are very houseproud and kind of expect immaculate, spider-free places wherever they go. If you are also into immaculate, modern decor and granite counter tops in the kitchen, I would suggest renting from a resort like Ocean Edge rather than from a private landlord, who could very likely be an elderly person using his/her older house to supplement Social Security income.
I would also vote in favor of Plimoth Plantation. Plymouth itself is a nice town - there's also history with the Mayflower II replica, Plymouth Rock, Coles Hill cemetery, and it has a bit of a nightlife on the waterfront. If you are into living museums, there is also Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich.
Grew up just off Cape Cod with relatives on Cape, and worked in Plymouth for a year before moving to Scotland.
Oh yes, Nickerson State Park also has ponds to swim in. I think I remember relatives telling me that you don't need stickers to access those beaches. There is camping there too. And Cape Cod has a bike trail that runs for 22 miles, if you all like biking.
If you do make the trip to the Cape, take a decent bug repellent as well as your sunblock - mosquitoes.
Oh and for rainy days, Boston Childrens' Museum is brilliant, as is the Aquarium.
And the Science Museum too!
Another vote for Plimouth Plantation.
The beaches are really lovely. If you are on the outer cape (Truro, Wellfleet, Provincetown) they will be better for surfing, but I grew up in Sandwich (upper cape) and the water was perfect for swimming in the summer - calm and the right temperature to cool you off. We used to go to Sandy Neck beach, but you may need a sticker to park. Some of the beaches will let you park for the day for a fee.
You will definitely need a car. Even if you get to Hyannis by public transit, it would be a huge hassle to do anything except walk down main street without one.
I would also recommend driving down Rte 6A. It runs parallel to the highway for most of the upper cape but is much prettier (and slower - less traffic but lower speed limits). There are lots of local gift shops and restaurants too.
Also, try to go mini golfing. The courses are great (best ones in Yarmouth) and are themed, for example Pirate's Cove has ships, caves, waterfalls, etc.
PM me if you want any restaurant recommendations. :-)
We have been lucky enough to holiday in Cape Cod for the past 9 years (from Scotland!) We stay in Falmouth which is the Upper Cape - about 1.5 hours drive from Boston. Have stayed in the same cottage for all that time - found it on weneedavacation.com. Second what has been said before - rental places can be expensive - particularly if you want to be near a beach. We find the weather pretty good - well we're comparing it with Scottish Summers after all! We go early July and usually around 23 - 28 deg c. Recommend taking the day ferry from Falmouth to Marthas Vineyard - you can then rent bikes to tour around or get a bus to Edgartown. There is a kid's "discovery cruise" from Woods Hole which my dd especially really likes (and a free aquarium in Woods Hole - it's pretty small but depending on ages of your dc they may find it fun). By the way - if you do stay in Falmouth and want to go to Woods Hole either take the trolley bus or bike on the bike path - don't try and drive there as parking is more or less non existent. Whale watching very popular - depending on where you end up you can get boats from Provincetown or from Barnstable Harbour.
Plimouth Plantation is good- although we've been twice now and probably wouldn't bother again.
By the way - I think Coastguard Beach got fairly badly eroded during Hurricane Sandy so don't know what is left now.
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