With warmer weather on the horizon, longer days, and the desire to explore the outdoors it’s time to start planning your tank away escape to Cape Cod. Outdoor activities are abundant on Cape Cod, allowing you to still maintain social distancing while enjoying the wonders of nature. The dramatic natural scenery, breathtaking ocean views, and the plentiful parks and trails allow for endless exploration. Lace-up your sneakers and get ready to explore Cape Cod’s natural treasures through wooded paths, salt marshes, and beach dunes. We created this convenient list of the best hikes near The Old Harbor Inn!
- Great Island & Jeremy Point – Wellfleet (7.5 miles long time 4 hours) – about 30 minutes drive from the Inn, this trail is a must while visiting Cape Cod. This is one of the best hikes in all of Massachusetts. There are several walking trails crossing salt marshes, sand dunes, tidal flats, and a small pine forest. The loop starts with an easy walk on the beach with Wellfleet Bay on one side and the Atlantic on the other side. Then, it climbs up into a beautiful pine forest, offering stunning views from cliffs overlooking Cape Cod Bay. Part of the trail leads to a colonial-era whaling tavern site. A small stone monument marks the spot where the former tavern once stood. The trail emerges from the woods and traverses sandy dunes leading to Great Beach Hill and you can extend your hike to Jeremy Point; a sandy split that can only be reached when the tide is out. Be careful and check the tide so you don’t get stranded. The trails end with a breezy walk on the beach. If the full length of this hike is too much for you, there is an option to shorten the walk to a 1.8 miles hike to just the tavern site. If you decide to take on the longer adventure, make sure you bring backpacks with plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and beach towels. After the long walk, make sure to grab a lobster roll and fresh oysters at Mac’s Shack on the beach!
- Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge – Chatham (1.2 miles long; time 30-40 minutes) This trail is a short 5-minute drive from the Inn and boasts spectacular ocean views, wildlife sanctuary, and the opportunity for a seal tour to Monomoy Island. Hike down a dirt path or use the wooden steps to reach the beach. There are two observation decks. The one on the left overlooks Chatham Lighthouse and Morris Island Salt Marsh where you can spot many nests with offspring. The second lookout point on the right offers views of South Beach, North, and South Monomoy visible in the distance. As you walk the trail, notice the markings: songbird habitat, types of seals, and overlooks. The many wildflowers, fish, and shellfish here attract many birds such as goldfinches, chickadees, shorebirds, waterfowl, and many more. This is one of the premier spots for bird watchers here on the Cape. The area provides great nesting conditions and great hiding places for bird’s chicks. The best time to visit is during low tide which gives you plenty of space to walk on the soft sand. After the walk head to Chatham Fish Pier for fish and chips and a quick glimpse of Chatham Harbor.
- Salt Pond Visitor Center and Nauset March – Eastham (75 miles; 1 to 1.5 hours) – this trail winds along the edge of Salt Pond Visitor Center and Nauset Marsh. Before starting the walk on this trail make sure you check out the visitor center exhibits, free movies, and grab a few maps. Exit thru the back door of the center and enjoy the sweeping view of Nauset Marsh. The trail follows the edge of Salt Pond before crisscrossing over a field and through a forest. At the end of the loop, there is an option to take the 1.5-mile spur to Coast Guard beach for ocean views. With ponds, woods, and beaches, this hike delivers all kinds of landscapes. If you are in a mood for some biking, The Little Capistrano Bike Shop across from the visitor center offers bike rentals. They are located on the Cape Cod Rail Trail so you can ride to the end of it in Wellfleet! At the end of the bike trail, you are greeted by a French bakery where you can refuel with freshly baked bread, desserts, and refreshing beverages.
- The Knob in Woods Hole, Falmouth (1 mile long, time 30 minutes) – if you never walked out to the Knob, you better plan it soon, it’s too spectacular to miss it! While this is not a long hike, you’ll still be breathless because of Buzzards Bay’s beauty. This famous trail is part of a walk along the ocean, its quirky peninsula shape makes for a fun hike. Take in the panoramic ocean views, spot birds snacking on fish, and listen to the crashing waves. Come at night for a glimpse of Cape Cod’s famous sunsets. Grab a bite at Water Street Kitchen while watching the ferries leave and come back from Martha’s Vineyard.
- Sandwich Boardwalk and Beach – (1 mile long, time 30 minutes) another beautiful hike spectacular to see during each season. During late spring-early summer enjoy the bright beach roses nestled in the sand dunes. During fall enjoy the colorful seagrass and less crowded boardwalk. For a shorter, more leisure hike, the Sandwich boardwalk makes for a picturesque place to admire Cape Cod Bay and Sandwich Harbor. The wooden walkway stretches out across grassland, dunes, and a creek ending at Town Neck Beach. Bring your camera to capture the amazing views along the way. You can combine this hike with a visit to the famous Heritage Museum and Gardens for a garden tour, antique car showroom, and outdoor art exhibits.
This is the perfect time to start planning a trip, stretch your legs on some of Cape Cod’s best hiking trail, and indulge in some local seafood. While planning your trip make sure to reserve one of our delicious picnic baskets to enjoy on the trail or on the beach. Makes for the perfect outdoor snack. After a day of exploring the beauty of Cape Cod come back to the Inn to reset and rejuvenate in our comfortable beds and quiet rooms! Book your stay today and start counting the days until you dip your toes in the ocean!
We cannot wait to welcome you back!