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First designated as protected by the United States government in 1961, the sprawling, 43,607-acre (17,647 hectare) Cape Cod National Seashore offers stunning vistas and a glimpse into the natural and cultural history of the area. The park boasts a number of swimming beaches, as well as nature trails, picnic areas, freshwater ponds, historic lighthouses and Cape Cod-style residences. The seashore makes a great day trip, but for those who would like to stay longer there are several resorts, hotels and motels nearby.
Although referred to as a bike trail, this paved path also welcomes walking, running, horseback riding and rollerblading. Built on an old railway bed, the scenic 25-mile (40-kilometer) trail takes you from Yarmouth to Dennis to Wellfleet via cranberry bogs, lakes and towns. Nickerson State Park, off Route 6A in Brewster, maintains the trail and is at the halfway point.
A sizable stretch of green, in the Cape Cod region, Nickerson State Park is a must visit for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. Covering a massive 1,967 acres (796 hectares) this state-owned park is peppered with sandy soil, scrub pines and a number of kettle ponds that make it one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the area. Featuring numerous hiking trails, trek routes, campgrounds and fishing areas, this is also one of the hot-spots for outdoor activities and nature tours.
Provincetown is one of the best beach locations in the United States, and Race Point may be one reason why. Here the Cape Cod Bay waters meet wild Atlantic Ocean waves to create a roiling surge called "The Race." The beach contains the Race Point Lifesaving Museum. It is well guarded in season, has a bath house, and is an overall good location for sunning and swimming. It can also be quite windy here, adding to the feeling that you are facing the elemental ocean at the end of the world.
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History's main objective is to make people more aware of the environment and their surroundings. The museum is divided into two floors dedicated to the flora and fauna of the region which includes exhibits on whales, birds, reptiles and amphibians found in the region. There is a library for extra research and a shop where you can find souvenirs to remind you of the environment around you. The museum also holds various activities to provide a learning experience for children as well as adults! Admission and open hours vary seasonally.
Chronicling the history of the Kennedy family, this museum offers a glimpse into the life of the 35th President through video and photo displays. Featuring an ornate interior, the museum is replete with memorabilia and other informative objects. It is one of the most prominent attractions on the peninsula.
Few people know that the pilgrims first struck land in Provincetown, on November 21, 1620, before continuing on to Plymouth. While anchored in Provincetown Harbor, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, dedicating themselves to a community governed by democratic rule. This tower, built in 1910 to commemorate that landing, was modeled after the clock tower of the Palazzo Pubblico (specifically the Torre del Mangia) in Siena, Italy. A climb to the top affords one of the best views on the entire Cape, and the tower also incorporates the Provincetown Museum.
The Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 937 acres (379.19 hectares) of unblemished forest and scrubland. The sanctuary is home to hundreds of birds, mammals, reptiles, and plant life, making this place perfect for casual strolls amidst the beauty of nature, a bit of bird-watching, and photography. The Silver Spring Trail is a highlight of the sanctuary and should not be missed. The marvelous nature center displays numerous wildlife exhibits. This place is a wondrous green oasis in the midst of Cape Cod's touristy bustle and deserves a visit.
Famously known as the Cape Cod Light, the Highland Light is an active lighthouse and also said to be the tallest and oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod. The lighthouse is accessible to the public from May through October- tours are available too, while the grounds can be visited throughout the year. This lighthouse occupies a spot on the National Register of Historic Places as the Highland Light Station.
The practically endless stretch of golden sands, west of the city center, ranks among some of the best beaches in the nation. Blessed with calm waters and a light surf, Herring Cove Beach offers excellent opportunities for swimming as well as water sports. Evenings are one of the best times to visit the beach as there's a fair amount of locals and visitors to enjoy the glorious sunset. The beach has been impeccably maintained and has parking and other basic facilities.