Where to Start Your Cape Cod, Massachusetts Vacation? Try Chatham!
Articles and photos (unless otherwise noted) by Eric Hurwitz. Page
updated on 9/20/17.
Chatham, Cape Cod,
If there ever was a town born to be an authentic, classic, charming
and, ultimately, fun Cape Cod travel destination, it would be Chatham,
Virtually no Cape Cod vacation destination can match the wide,
welcoming appeal of Chatham, a quintessential small New England town
surrounded by the sea and
featuring a pleasantly walkable downtown
filled with interesting little shops (don't leave with out trying the
yummy Chatham Candy Manor, downtown), numerous art galleries,
restaurants (the casual Captains' Table, downtown, has always been a
local seafood favorite), grand inns (most notably, the oceanfront 1914 Chatham Bars Inn), beautiful old municipal
buildings (like the Chatham Public Library), large 18th century homes,
Cape Cod cottages and must-visit food destinations like the Chatham
Market (with great seafood and water views!).
Chatham is, no doubt, one of the most walkable and scenic towns in
of New England. I think it's the type of place people dream of visiting
who have never been to New England before, but would like to visit.
Chatham Pier Fish market with scenic sea views.
Chatham features many fine ocean beaches, including the beginning of
the Cape Cod National Seashore
Park, a spectacular 40-mile stretch of pristine beach on the outer side
of the Cape that spans to Provincetown.
Chatham Light Beach. Credit: William DeSousa-Mauk
In a sense, Chatham combines the developed (although somewhat abridged)
shopping-dining-lodging presence of Hyannis or Falmouth with the
understated, quiet coastal traditional Cape Cod small town appeal of
communities like Sandwich and Welfleet. So, you really get the best of
both worlds in Chatham. Yes, the town has developed to the point
of bordering on touristy and overcrowded in the summer months (perhaps
suggesting a trip during the more quiet fall foliage season might be a
terrific alternative), but the reality is that Chatham remains,
essentially, a summer place that represents the best of Cape Cod
travel. Add a 4.5 mile bike path, the picturesque Chatham Light
lighthouse, local free Cape Cod League baseball games (the Chatham
Anglers, play at Veterans Field on Route 28), numerous local events
(4th of July fireworks, town concerts) and you have even more of a
great Cape Cod travel destination that just might require future
visits. Further proof of the pudding of Chatham's
greatness: In 2007, the National Trust for Historic Preservation chose
Chatham as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations!
While I am not enamored at all with Cape Cod's rampant development over
the past 25 years, I can still take total comfort and joy in visiting
towns like Chatham, as its DNA shall forever be aligned with the
authentic, beautiful and wholesome, fun side of Cape Cod.
Chatham has such a welcoming central district!
Book a room at the lowest rate in Chatham for your
Cape Cod vacation
Additional Info... Beaches in Chatham:
Chatham Light Beach, Shore Rd., a half mile from downtown
Cockle Cove Beach, Cockle Cove Rd. off Route 28. Excellent sheltered
beach for small children
Hardings Beach, Barn Hill Rd., off Route 28
North Beach, (the southern end of Nauset Beach on the Atlantic Ocean).
It's accessible only by boat.
Ridgevale Beach, Ridgevale Road off Route 28
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