From secluded beaches and beautiful vistas to pathways and windmills, here are some hidden jewels to visit across our spectacular peninsula.Text and Photography by Christopher Setterlund
Cape Cod is more than 1,300 square miles of unsurpassed beauty and undeniable history. For every Race Point Beach, Nickerson State Park and Rock Harbor, there are numerous hidden jewels waiting to be discovered. I am a 12-generation Cape Codder and have spent much of my adult life seeking out the lesser known, heart-and-soul of the Cape, locations. I have spent countless hours driving every side street and back road in search of new places to discover for myself. Even now, years after beginning this search, I find a spot that makes Cape Cod seem brand new again. I am excited to share some of these secret places.
This is a great spot on the western coast of the Cape. Nestled at the end of a dirt road, Little Island features beautiful views of the shore and of Cleveland Ledge Lighthouse in Buzzards Bay. Cleveland Ledge was, in fact, the last new lighthouse built in New England, completed in 1943. The island itself is easily accessible, but it’s not truly an island. It is inhabited by small animals, such as foxes, and shorebirds relax along the rocky shore.
Chapoquoit Grill – 410 W. Falmouth Hwy., Falmouth
Village Café – 634 Rte. 28A, W. Falmouth
Blast From the Past – 315 Main St., Falmouth
Black Dog General Store – 214 Main St., Falmouth
Bound Brook is as remote a beach as there is on the Cape. It is a mile-long trek down a dirt road just to reach the beach. The parking lot is small and intimate, but it does not stop there. The view from atop a 50-foot-tall hill along the beach pathway is a sight to behold. On a clear day, one can see from Provincetown all the way along the north shore of the Cape and out to Plymouth. It is secluded, romantic, and one of the most spectacular gems on Cape Cod.
Moby Dicks – 3225 Rte., 6, Wellfleet
Wicked Oyster – 50 Main St., Wellfleet
PJ’s Family Restaurant – 2616 Rte. 6, Wellfleet
PB Boulangerie Bistro – 15 Lecount Hollow Rd., S. Wellfleet
Moby’s Cargo – 3199 Rte. 6, Wellfleet
Marconi’s Oceanside Gifts – 955 Rte. 6, Wellfleet
Monks Park is home to one of the most beautiful and unique sunset locations on the Cape. The abandoned railroad tracks, which run parallel to the water, provide a tremendous vantage point as the sun sets among the islands and peninsulas that dot the western coast of Cape Cod. A walk out onto the peninsula gives you a spectacular view of the Cape Cod Canal’s railroad bridge. You will often see blue herons and other shorebirds, and it is nearly always yours alone to enjoy.
Monument Beach Pizza – 18 Beach St., Monument Beach
The Bog Pub – 618 MacArthur Blvd., Bourne
Corner Café – 369 Barlow’s Landing Rd., Pocasset
Paine’s Patio – 674 MacArthur Blvd., Bourne
Paddler’s Shop – 420 Shore Rd., Monument Beach
The museum itself is not a secret. The secret here is the pathway that leads from the museum through the woods to the spectacular beaches of Brewster. It is your own private entrance to paradise. The stretch of beach lies adjacent to the Cape Cod Sea Camps and leads you down to Namskaket Marsh to the east and Ellis Landing Beach past the Ocean Edge Resort to the west.
Cobie’s – 3260 Rte. 6A, Brewster
Laurino’s Tavern – 3668 Rte. 6A, Brewster
Chillingsworth Restaurant – 2449 Rte. 6A, Brewster
Strawberry Patch – 2550 Rte. 6A, Brewster
Brewster General Store – 1935 Rte. 6A, Brewster
She Sells – The Ocean Edge Gift Shop – 2740 Rte. 6A, Brewster
In between the more well-known First Encounter Beach and Sunken Meadow Beach lies this prize. There is a small parking area elevated above the water with a set of stairs leading down to the sand. The view from the parking area is incredible. From this spot, one can see Rock Harbor to the south all the way up to the Pilgrim Monument to the north. To top it all off, for most of the year, the sun sets directly in front of you. When the tide is low, the flats leave many boats resting on the sand, allowing people to walk among them. It is a special added treat.
Fairway Restaurant & Pizza – 4295 Rte. 6, Eastham
Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar – 3580 Rte. 6, Eastham
Red Barn Pizza & More – 4180 Rte. 6, Eastham
Nauset Surf Shop – 2 Rte. 6A, Orleans
Gift Barn – 4180 Rte. 6, Eastham
In the heart of the Cape Cod National Seashore is this beautiful vista. Bearberry Hill is located across the street from the Truro NEED Center, a youth hostel in the summer and also where local schoolchildren stay at the Seashore. From the 110-foot-high summit of the hill, one can see all around—including the recently breached Ballston Beach. The severity of the breach here inspires awe. One can see the immense push of sand through the dunes and into Pamet Hollow behind the beach. There are several other sights to see along the trails in the area, including the old Pamet Cranberry Bog House with Bearberry Hill being the highlight.
Blackfish – 17 Truro Center Rd., Truro
Savory & Sweet Escape – 316 Rte. 6, Truro
Montano’s Restaurant – 481 Rte. 6, Truro
Monty’s of Provincetown
– 350 Commercial St., Provincetown
Cabot’s Candy of Cape Cod
– 276 Commercial St., Provincetown
Chatham is known for its seaside beauty and fishing heritage, and the majority of its historical sites lie along the water. This spot is tucked behind Chase Park near Mill Pond. It was built by Col. Benjamin Godfrey in 1797 and moved to its current location in 1956. Peaceful and beautiful, this location was extensively restored and reopened in 2012. There are currently 21 windmills on Cape Cod, each one a thing of historical beauty in its own right. They hearken back to a simpler time, and time should be taken to visit them.
Chatham Squire – 487 Main St., Chatham
Impudent Oyster – 15 Chatham Bars Ave., Chatham
Red Nun Bar & Grill – 746 Main St., Chatham
Chatham Pier Fish Market – 45 Barcliff Ave. Ext., Chatham
Mayflower Shop – 475 Main St., Chatham
Chatham Candy Manor – 484 Main St., Chatham