WHY GO: The best things to do in Wellfleet MA – on the “Outer Cape” – are reminiscent of summer pleasures from a simpler time. Lazing on a beach. Splashing in the ocean. Snuggling up in your car at the drive-in.
Besides the vast beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore and smaller ones on Wellfleet’s Harbor-Side, you’ll find remnants of Victorian-era technology, one of the country’s last surviving movie drive-ins and a wildlife rich sanctuary.
We’ll fill you in on the best of Wellfleet, from well known beaches and attractions to “insider” tips. And, of course, we can’t forget the bivalves that put this place on the map. There’s a reason that Wellfleet Oysters are so popular around the world. Come to the source and find out for yourself.
For more dreamy ideas in state, check out Getaway Mavens Incredibly Romantic Getaways in Massachusetts.
Things to do in Wellfleet MA
VISIT: Marconi Wireless Station @ Marconi Beach
Remnants of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph are located in the spot where the first Marconi Telegraph Station once stood ( terminus in England), offering some idea about the precursor to the internet.
A marker is all that remains of this antiquated international communications center. On January 18, 1903, the Italian inventor and electrical engineer, Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, successfully transmitted messages between President Teddy Roosevelt and King Edward VII of England.
HIKE: Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail
Get a good idea of why Marconi choose this then-barren site by hiking the 1 1/2 mile Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail. Descend gradually from the Marconi Station Site platform on a trail that takes you through forest, woodlands, and on a boardwalk into the swamp to find Atlantic White Cedar and Red Maple trees.
HIKE: Great Island Trail
Choose either a 4-mile or 9-mile loop path on the longest National Park Service trail on Cape Cod – Great Island Trail. The longer route brings you out to the tip of Great Island on Cape Cod Bay – Jeremy Point, and includes the shorter path, called the Tavern Loop.
Although AllTrails considers this an “Easy” hike, the NPS considers the Great Island Trail to be the most difficult on the Cape due to its soft sandy hills.
Either way – it’s worth the effort, as the trail offers transcendent views of the Bay from the top of dunes, and walks through pine forests and salt marshes.
VISIT: Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
For another taste of Cape Cod and its varied landscapes, don’t miss this former bird-banding station – the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary – run by Mass Audubon.
On 1,200 acres, you can easily spend a full day hiking along five miles of trails and boardwalks through a variety of habitats – woodlands, tidal marsh, beach, coastal sand plains, and fresh water ponds.
You very well might encounter ospreys and otters, kingfishers and muskrats, crabs and hundreds of other miracles of nature.
Walk into the LEED Certified (read: Eco-Friendly) Esther Underwood Johnson Nature Center and sit in a sling-back chair for a bit while gazing at bird feeding stations through a wall of glass.
WELLFLEET ICON: Uncle Tim’s Bridge
For many repeat visitors and seasonal home owners, Uncle Tim’s Bridge is often a first stop: signifying their arrival on the Cape. On the town’s harbor side, this modest wooden footbridge crossing Duck Creek from town to Hamblen Park, has been here, in one form or another, since 1844. Uncle Tim’s Bridge has become a favorite wedding venue. And perhaps an idea for a marriage proposal?
SURF/SAND: Beach It Ocean Side
Cahoon Hollow Beach
Though it’s a hike to get to – down, down, down a huge sand dune, Cahoon Hollow is pristine, popular and pleasing to the eye.
If you need a pick me up at the top of the hill come late afternoon – the Beachcomer, in a former US Lifesaving Station, offers some good burger-type grub and award-winning cocktails. Stay later for live music – it’s quite the scene. Open Memorial Day – Labor Day.
White Crest Beach
You’ll find White Crest right next to Calhoon, yet more secluded. It’s known for its high dunes (a hang-glider favorite!), and rough waters great for surfing.
BEACH IT: Bay-Harbor Side
Duck Harbor Beach
If you prefer your beach rocky and calm – head to the bay-side of Wellfleet. Duck Harbor Beach is well-known for incredible sunset views. But it’s also primo for nature lovers who can explore the expansive mudflats at low tide for horseshoe crabs, shells, and oyster beds.
Mayo Beach, on Wellfleet Harbor, features calm water, gentle waves, and best of all – the parking is free!! Yes, it’s small. And no – it doesn’t have the drama of dunes and the Atlantic Ocean. But for those who want to buck the crowds, Mayo is a nice alternative.
WATCH: W.H.A.T Theater
W.H.A.T is the acronym for Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theater. If you happen to be in town for a show, you might just encounter a Hollywood star on stage.
Summer is high season, of course, but there are other events throughout the year, including broadcasts of Metropolitan Opera productions and Yuletide fundraisers.
WATCH: Wellfleet Drive-In
The last of its kind on Cape Cod (and one of just 300 left nationwide), the Wellfleet Drive In has been a family and couples favorite since 1957.
Yes it’s age old, age old. But nothing says summertime romance like a drive-in-theater. Whether you’re 16 or 86, neck with your honey while watching a first-run flick from the comfort of your own car. Memorial Day – Labor Day
Restaurants in Wellfleet MA
CRITICS LOVE: Ciraldi
Ciraldi, next to the Wellfleet pier, turns out innovative, foodie-approved meals for a price. Chef Michael D Ceraldi and his team “use premium local ingredients to tell the stories of the coastlands of Cape Cod.” To do so, they craft a different 7-course price-fix dinner each evening, apparently winning fans the world over.
Mac’s on the Pier
For those looking for a harbor-set dining experience, but don’t want to spend big bucks, try Mac’s on the Pier, an “authentic clam shack.” The seagulls will thank you.
EAT/BREAKFAST/LUNCH: PB Boulangerie and Bistro
PB Boulangerie seems to have been airlifted from Provence and plopped down in the middle of busy Route 6. A favorite for through bikers on the 25.5 mile Cape Cod Rail Trail, this pastry shop/café is open year round, and has been a go-to for locals and seasonals for decades.
EAT/BREAKFAST/LUNCH: Blue Willow Bakery
For an equally toothsome, but unheralded option, walk across the parking lot to the Blue Willow Bakery, which specializes in terrific fresh from scratch breakfasts and lunches. Open seasonally.
EAT/DINNER. The Wicked Oyster
Are oysters really wicked? Well, here in Wellfleet they are wicked-good, that’s for sure as they are just plucked from nearby oyster beds,.
Though The Wicked Oyster specializes in fresh-caught seafood, chefs here know how to work magic with meats as well. Filet Mignon and Short Ribs are equally delectable.
Where to Stay in Wellfleet MA
STAY: Accommodations in Wellfleet tend towards rustic family run motel resorts like Even’Tide Resort and Cottages, Wellfleet Motel and Lodge, and Southfleet Motor Inn.
Or the more intimate B&B’s like Gull Cottage B&B or Oyster Cove on Wellfleet Harbor.
If you are searching for more upscale private lodgings, take advantage of Airbnb or VBRO here, which offers the widest array of accommodations.