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The Cape Cod region of Massachusetts is one of the biggest tourist destinations in New England. This collection of small towns attracts visitors from all over the world to soak in the history of early America that resides in these towns, as well as explore the beautiful scenery during the pleasant summer season. One of the hidden gems of Cape Cod is the town of Orleans, MA, a small town with large charm that will delight any Cape Cod connoisseur. On your next trip to New England, be sure to make a stop at Orleans!

History of Orleans

Those looking for stories of history from the early days of America will be enchanted by the story of Orleans. The area was first settled in 1693 by Pilgrims from the Plymouth Colony who were unhappy with the land they were given in the settlement. Orleans officially became a township in 1797 and was named after the Duke of Orleans in recognition of France’s assistance during the Revolutionary War. The town grew through the industries of whaling, farming, and agriculture and continued to thrive once railroads were brought into town.

Nauset Beach and Inlet

Perhaps the biggest draw to the town of Orleans is the beautiful Nauset Beach and Inlet! Nauset Beach is one of the best beaches on all of Cape Cod, with its white sand, big waves, and vibrant wildlife. It is not uncommon to see groups of seals playing in the water or even see whales pass by. Nauset Inlet gives you a little more privacy from the sometimes-busy beach, and the water gets a little warmer, too! The Inlet is a great place to go clamming and kayaking, and even get a closer look at the wildlife. Both Nauset Beach and Inlet are great places to spend a sunny afternoon on Cape Cod!

Activities in Town

In addition to the gorgeous beachfront, Orleans also offers some great things to do in the town itself! Visit the Jonathon Young Windmill, a landmark visible from just about everywhere in town. A guide can give you a tour and overview of the history of the windmill, and best of all, it’s free! The Academy of Performing Arts is a great place to spend an evening in Orleans. Founded in 1950 as the Orleans Arena Theater, the Academy continues to offer small theater productions throughout the summer season. You can also explore the French Transatlantic Cable Station Museum and learn about how the railroad shaped Orleans History.

Explore the beach, the town, and spend part of your Cape Cod vacation in the cozy town of Orleans!

(Image by Ted Kerwin via Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/tedkerwin/2061583768)

Thousands of vacationers are drawn to Cape Cod every year to relax on the sandy beaches, explore the historic towns, and mill about the charming harbors. Cape Cod family vacations are always exciting; even if you can only get away for a quick weekend trip, your time spent here is guaranteed to be well worth it. With some careful planning, first-time visitors to the Cape can make sure they get the most out of their trip, and not leave feeling like they missed out on anything. Below, you’ll gain a good sense of where to stay, where to eat, and what to include on your itinerary, so you don’t waste any precious time once you arrive.

Where to Stay

You will have several lodging places to choose from at the Cape, but keep in mind that there are many benefits to staying in a vacation home rental instead of in the impersonal, tight quarters of a hotel room. New England Vacation Rentals offers a variety of homes to choose from, ensuring that all visitors will find something to suit their budget and location preference. Amenities include concierge services and maintenance requests, so that all you have to worry about is enjoying your time on Cape Cod. Whether you’re looking for a large property situated right on the water, perfect for a Cape Cod family vacation, or a cozy house positioned in the heart of one of the Cape’s villages, New England Vacation Rentals can accommodate.

Places to Eat

The main things to think about when it comes to eating during your two-day stay on Cape Cod are where you’re going to have breakfast and where you’re going to get excellent seafood. Many places cater to both, so finding either shouldn’t be too terribly difficult. Of course, where you end up will all depend on which area of the peninsula you’re in, but a few places to start include Maison Villatte in Falmouth for breakfast, The Clam Shack for a tasty seafood lunch right on the dock, and Quahog Republic to mingle with the locals for a drink or two.

In Provincetown, try out Pop + Dutch for a delicious breakfast sandwich, The Canteen for a variety of seafood options, and Aqua Bar for a waterfront nightcap. If you’re in the lower Cape area around Chatham, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Monomoy Coffee for breakfast, Impudent Oyster for a seafood lunch or dinner, and Chatham Bars Inn for an after-dinner cocktail.

Things to Do

With only two days to pack in all that you want to see and do, it helps to have a clear plan outlined ahead of time. Begin your first day in Falmouth, check out Old Silver Beach, and stop to take pictures of the very New England-esque Nobska Point Lighthouse. Later in the afternoon, head to Hyannis to catch a glimpse of the Kennedy compound, and walk through the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum before signing up for a whale watching tour that leaves from Hyannis Harbor. You may find your second day best spent taking a ferry ride to Nantucket, where you can bike around and experience the National Historic District’s museums, boutiques, and art galleries.

Any of these suggestions are sure to make your first trip to Cape Cod a memorable one.