Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket

In the summer months, visitors to Massachusetts can relax on beautiful sandy beaches and cool off in the Atlantic Ocean. Another popular destination is the Massachusetts peninsula of Cape Cod and the offshore islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Cape Cod and its famous neighboring islands Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket together form a region full of myths and stories, with breathtakingly beautiful and varied nature and architecture, and long, fine sandy beaches to relax, explore and unwind. Just a stone's throw south of Boston, a wonderful vacation awaits you here.

Not far from the American mainland, this region has always been considered a haven of tradition, art, culture and inspiration. Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are characterized by their close ties to the sea, nostalgic villages from a bygone era and the harmonious coexistence of tradition and progress, and although they are not far apart, each island has its own individual charm.

The region has always been particularly popular with America's high society for its breathtaking beaches and scenery, whale watching tours and activities such as biking, kayaking and golfing.

"The Cape" boasts long beaches and charming villages like Chatham and Sandwich. Unconventional Provincetown sits at the tip of the Cape and attracts many artists and LGBT travelers. Provincetown is also the starting point for whale watching tours.

The pretty Martha's Vineyard is also known as President's Island. Here Kennedy and Co. like to return to their private vacation.

The former whaling stronghold of Nantucket is now a seaside resort and attracts visitors with numerous fishing opportunities, first-class restaurants, and pretty stores.

Nobska Light, a lighthouse in Woods Hole on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, USA. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Beautiful sandy beaches with rolling dunes, delicious seafood, romantic inns and resorts, pristine nature preserves, fantastic water sports and whale watching. Experience distinctive towns, art& Culture, quaint stores, bike paths on wooden floors, numerous events.. festivals, and the unique Cape Cod National Seashore. History buffs can visit the many historic sites and learn about the role Cape Cod and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket played in American history.

Hyannis Harbor Lighthouse in Hyannis on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, USA. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

In the north of Cape Cod, families with children are in good hands, while in the south, wild surfing fun awaits. Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and one of the most beautiful beaches of the USA is Coast Guard Beach. Wide sandy beach and impressive dunes invite relaxation, picnic areas, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Veterans Beach, Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Photo by William DeSousa-Mauk, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum in Hyannis near Barnstable offers interesting insights into the Kennedy family. The museum documents the life of the late president, who spent much time here from 1934 to 1963. John F. Kennedy enjoyed relaxing on the white sand beach here at the headquarters of the Kennedy clan. (

For a beach vacation among like-minded people, gays and lesbians like to head to Provincetown on Cape Cod. The unconventional "P-Town," as it is affectionately called by locals, is known as one of the most popular gay vacation spots in the U.S. and offers a lively nightlife, charming beaches and excellent opportunities for nature exploration.

The island of Martha's Vineyard is not only known as a popular vacation destination for American presidents, but also adorns itself with some impressive, historic lighthouses such as the Gay Head Light at Aquinnah, the island's first lighthouse.

The Gay Head Light lighthouse at Aquinnah on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism The cliffs surrounding Gay Head Light lighthouse at Aquinnah on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

The pretty resort island of Nantucket is also worth a visit. This oasis of tranquility is a natural paradise with wild ponds and cranberry bogs, from which a lighthouse rises now and then.

Brant Point Light on Nantucket in the fall. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

The Cape Cod Central Railroad in Massachusetts is a special experience for foodies who like to be entertained in a charming old-fashioned way. From the Hyannis Depot, take a comfortable train on a culinary journey back in time across the unspoiled and hidden beauty of the Cape with its magnificent dunes and salty air. The various tours are accompanied by first-class lunches, Sunday brunches or elegant dinners. (

Collectibles on Cape Cod: Route 6a on Cape Cod is also known as the Old Kings Highway and connects the historic towns of Barnstable, Sandwich, Yarmouth, Brewster, Bourne and Dennis. Highlights along the way include the Antiques Center of Cape Cod and Wisteria Antiques, a Victorian house converted into an antique store. In Sandwich, visitors to the Heritage Museum& Gardens to see a beautiful flower garden, an antique carousel, and a collection of classic American cars. (

Art's Dune Tours on Cape Cod offers classic jeep tours through the dunes as well as exciting tours on the water. Land 'N Lake excursion on Old East Harbor Lake teaches interesting facts about the formation and creatures of the body of water. After the Land 'N Sea Tour, you can have your home-caught fish prepared for you in the evening. Cape Cod Bay and the beautiful sand dunes can be admired during the Land 'N Sail Tour. Freshly prepared seafood makes for the perfect New England experience. (

Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Photo: Tim Grafft, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Race Point Beach near Provincetown on Cape Cod. Photo: Tim Grafft, Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

Gay and Lesbian Life in Provincetown

Provincetown is known as one of the most popular gay resorts in the U.S. and offers a lively nightlife, charming beaches and excellent opportunities for nature exploration. Unconventional "P-Town," as it's affectionately known by locals, boasts the highest density of same-sex couples in the country.

Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

LGBT events include Girl Splash and Bear Week, as well as the daily Tea Dance that starts every afternoon at Boatslip Beach Club. Another party hot spot is the Crown& Anchor and the best cocktails can be had at the Shipwreck Lounge.

The absolute highlight is the Fantasia Fair in October, the oldest transgender festival in the world.

Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Photo: Tim Grafft, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Old Harbor Life-Saving Station in Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, USA. Photo: William DeSousa-Mauk

Tip: Spend the night in a former catholic church

Sleeping in a former church, Belfry Inn, Sandwich, Massachusetts, USA. Photo: Belfry Inn

The Belfry Inn in Sandwich is the proverbial seventh heaven.

For next to two elegant Victorian houses from the 19th century. In the twenty-first century, travelers can also rest their weary heads on the grounds of this charming bed and breakfast Breakfast, travelers can also rest their weary heads in a former Catholic church.

Thanks to careful restoration, each of the six rooms in the Abbey has retained its historic charm while offering all modern comforts.

Vaulted ceilings with skylights, rose windows with magnificent stained glass and valuable antiques add a divine touch.

Getting to Cape Cod

A city break in Boston can easily be combined with beach vacations on Cape Cod – as a day trip or for a week's extra vacation. In addition to ferries, there is also a rail connection.

By train to Cape Cod

Rail link between Boston and Cape Cod: The Cape Flyer, the environmentally friendly and stress-free alternative to the car, runs from May to October on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between the capital and the vacation peninsula, which enjoys a cult status in the USA similar to that of Sylt in Germany.

Trains depart from Boston's South Station, making them well connected to the MBTA network, the public transit system in Massachusetts' capital city. After a stopover in Buzzards Bay, the train reaches Hyannis on Cape Cod after two and a half hours. By car it is sometimes faster, but in the high season you have to expect traffic jams – especially at the Cape bridges at Bourne and Sagamore.

The Cape Flyer is ideal for day trippers and weekend visitors: From Boston the train runs on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday morning, from Hyannis on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. There is free wifi at the Cape Flyer, bicycles can be taken for free.

At the destination station, travelers can rent bikes or cars, use the local Hyannis Area Trolley, or explore the resort area on other CCRTA buses. It is also possible to transfer to the ferries to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. (

Take the ferry to the popular peninsula

Vacationers who are drawn to the north of Cape Cod can also use the direct ferry connections from Boston to Provincetown. Travel time on the Boston Harbor Cruises fast ferry is only about 90 minutes. The Provincetown Ferry departs Thursdays through Sundays in May with daily departures in the morning from Boston's Long Wharf and in the afternoon from P-Town. From June to September the frequency of the trips increases. (

An alternative is the Bay State Cruise Company ferries: A fast ferry operates three times a day from May to October – The trip duration is exactly the same as Boston Harbor Cruises. (

Edgartown Harbor Light at Christmastime on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, USA. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Ripe for the islands: Ferries from Cape Cod

From Cape Cod we continue by ferry to the islands. To Martha's Vineyard, the Steamship Authority operates year-round from Woods Hole, and the trip to Nantucket departs from Hyannis. (

In summer Hy-Line Cruises also departs from Hyannis in 100 minutes, with the fast ferry it is twice as fast and as expensive. From Hyannis, Hy-Line Cruises also calls daily – up to three times in summer – at the second major island, Nantucket: The fast catamaran takes one hour, the traditional ferry almost twice as long. (

In midsummer, there are also three daily sailings from Harwich to Nantucket with Freedom Cruise Line. (

Important for all ferries: Book online in good time during the summer – popular departure times are booked up quickly!

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