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Family Travel: Daytripping on the Lower Cape


One of my favorite places to vacation is Cape Cod. My husband and I used to live in Chatham, MA, before we had kids and now when we go back with them, we visit our favorite places with a fresh perspective and explore new places that are fun for kids.

When we’re not at the beaches, here are some of our favorite spots on the lower Cape:

Main Street in Chatham:

Mermaids on Main:
410 Main Street, Chatham, MA. 505-945-3179Mermaids-Inside-1
Tell Tara I sent you. She has stocked her shop with everything having to do with the ocean. For kids there’s a tantalizing collection of sea life, pirates, and mermaids in books, activity sets, games, dolls, and toys. For us big kids, she sells stationery, jewelry, soaps, home decor, and more.

Chatham Village Cafe:
400 Main Street, Chatham, MA. 508-945-2525
Yummy place for coffee, bagels, and sandwiches while you’re in town. Free parking in back for customers. No public bathrooms.

Bookstore-Fromupstairs-1Where the Sidewalk Ends:
432 Main Street, Chatham, MA. 508-945-0499
Great bookstore for kids and adults.

Mark August:
490 Main Street, Chatham, MA. 508-945-4545
I am partial to this store because it used to carry my line of jewelry, clocks, and home accessories. Corinne and Liz run the shop and keep it filled with contemporary jewelry, watches, and home decor.

Kate Gould Park: Main Street, Chatham, MA.Chatham-Bandconcert-1
A great place for the kids to run around. Public bathrooms are located in the back of the park. Friday night is band concert night in the summer. Free concert starts at 8 pm (a little late for many kids but worth bending the rules). The band plays show tunes mixed in with the bunny hop for the first half of the evening before moving on to classic big band music for the latter part. Arrive early to find a good spot for your blanket. Pack a picnic supper or bring a pizza. Popcorn, balloons, and light sticks for sale at the park. We usually stop at the Chatham Candy Manor and load up a bag full of treats.

Chatham Candy Manor:
484 Main Street, Chatham, MA. 800-221-6497Candy Manor-1
My favorite candy store ever. As a kid I loved the fudge and the penny candy. As an adult I go straight for the hand-dipped dark chocolate truffles. Sometimes you can watch them making the fudge in the front window.

The Squire:
487 Main Street, Chatham, MA. 508-945-0945
One of the oldest places in town. Since 1968 they have been serving seafood and drinks to locals and tourists year-round. We prefer the bar side with its picnic tables and license plates covering the walls. It tends to be fairly loud, so people won’t mind the noise of your kids.

Chatham/Harwich Line:

The Corner Store:
1403 Old Queen Anne Rd. Chatham, MA. 508-432-1077
“Fresh, fast, and fun” is their motto. Fantastic breakfast egg burritos, lunch burritos, delicious sandwiches, and fresh coffee all day. Everything is made fresh to order. Chuck and Steve run the place with the help of their friendly staff. Tell them I sent you and ask them about the dancing.


Bud’s Go-Karts:
9 Sisson Road (off Rte 28) Harwich Port, MA. 508-432-4964Go-Karts-1
No frills, just cars. Wait in line behind the brick wall and then it’s race time. My husband would go here whether or not he has the kids with him. Single cars and double cars available so little kids can race around the track with an adult. Head down Rte 28 towards Dennis and check out the Batting Cages (322 Main Street, Harwichport, MA) or the Trampoline Center (296 Main Street, Harwichport, MA) as well.

Noble House Hibachi Grille & Sushi Lounge:
21 Route 28, West Harwich, MA. 508-432-8855
Great entertainment for the kids. The chef comes to your table and juggles utensils, lights a giant fire, transforms onions into an erupting volcano, and does egg tricks. I chose not to try and catch the flying food in my mouth. While your kids are entertained and well fed, you and your husband can enjoy a drink and conversation. Portions are large and yummy. Two kids can split the child-sized Hibachi plate. My hibachi chicken came with rice, soup, a shrimp appetizer, and a mound of vegetables. Delicious. Be warned: your kids may want to juggle your kitchen utensils when they get home.


217 Main Street, Orleans, MA, 02653. 508-255-9300
Located in a historic country store on the road to Nauset Beach, this shop has an eclectic and ever-changing selection of women’s and children’s clothing, unique gifts, books, jewelry, home accents, art glass, and more.

Pirates1-2Pirate Adventures:
Town Cove in Orleans, behind the Goose Hummock Shop, Orleans, MA. 508-255-8811
Sail aboard the Sea Gypsy for a swashbuckling adventure! Your kids get sworn in as pirates for an hour-long trip of treasure hunting while parents sit in the back of the ship and take a break. Lots of fun but may be a bit scary for young ones as the crew hunts for a pirate out at sea. (The entire trip is in town cove.)

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