Harwich and Chatham are known as popular beach vacation destinations. The towns have more than a dozen beaches between the two of them known for their wide, soft sand and calm waters of Nantucket Sound. In addition to the pristine beaches, Harwich and Chatham also offer wetland, fresh water and coastal habitats where you can take hikes and observe Cape Cod wildlife. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy the nature and wildlife of southeastern Cape Cod.

Visit Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge 

Monomoy Island is known as one of the treasures of Cape Cod. The eight-mile island is located just off the shore of Chatham and is known for its variety of wildlife. The island was once home to a thriving fishing community but today has no sign of human inhabitants except for a decommissioned lighthouse.

The best way to get to the island is to take the Monomoy Island Ferry. The ferry leaves daily from the Stage Harbor Marine in Chatham. From the ferry, you will have the chance to see the countless seals that live in the waters and you may even spot one of the area’s resident Great White’s. It’s definitely one of the best Cape Cod tours to experience if you’re looking to some some Cape Cod wildlife.

Once on the island, you can hike through the acres of dunes, marsh and ponds where you can spot several species of birds, reptiles and amphibians. Make sure to bring snacks and water since there are no buildings on the island.

Take a Hike through Bell’s Neck Conservation Lands

Bell’s Neck Conservation Lands consists of more than 250 acres of untouched wetland wildlife. There is a 2.75-mile trail that will take you around the West Reservoir, which is freshwater, and the East Reservoir, which is brackish water. During the spring you can spot herring swimming up the river that runs through the park. You will also be able to spot several species of osprey and heron.

Kayak the Oyster River

The Oyster River is a popular river for kayaking in Harwich. The river is fed by the waters of the Nantucket Sound. You can kayak through the area’s marshes where you may see great blue herons, ospreys and egrets. Chatham Kayak Company offers canoe and kayak rentals right on the waters of the Oyster River. Kayaking in the Oyster River is a great place to see all the Cape Cod wildlife.

Plan Your Stay to Experience all the Cape Cod Wildlife

If you are looking for accommodations in Harwich or Chatham, consider booking one of our vacation homes. Our homes range from small one-bedroom homes to rentals that can sleep more than a dozen guests. Whether you are looking for a home near the beach or by one of the area’s many ponds and rivers, contact us today and we can help you find the perfect rental.