From getting out on the water or relaxing on the beach to shopping and exploring, there are endless things to do in Falmouth, MA. This list will help you plan your perfect trip, whether it’s a quick stopover on the way to Martha’s Vineyard or the base of your vacation.
Located in the southwest corner of Cape Cod on the Upper Cape, Falmouth is actually compromised of several different villages – East Falmouth, Falmouth Village, North Falmouth, Teaticket, West Falmouth, and Woods Hole. Each village has a little something special to offer and, together, they make the perfect base for your Cape Cod adventure.
The Best Things To Do in Falmouth, MA
Bike the Shining Sea Bikeway
One thing most people expect to see a lot of on Cape Cod are plenty of yachts and other boats. And while that is the case, there are plenty of cyclists too. It makes sense given the Cape’s amazing sights, crisp fresh sea air and diverse terrain. The Shining Sea Bikeway is a very popular cycling path for cyclists visiting the Cape.
Named from a line in the song America, The Beautiful (whose writer was a Falmouth native herself), this path follows the original rail trail that ran from Buzzards Bay, through Falmouth and Woods Hole. It was later extended to include Northern Falmouth before ending finally at the Steamship Authority back in Woods Hole.
To reach the bike path from the Bourne Bridge, go south on Route 28 to Falmouth and turn right onto Locust Road Entry to reach the parking lot. Another entrance is located on the corner of County Road and Route 151. It is open year-round and perfect for inline skaters and joggers too!
Explore Cornelia Carey Sanctuary
Commonly referred to simply as “The Knob”, this sanctuary gets its name from the Woods Hole resident who donated the land to the local Salt Pond Area Bird Sanctuaries in the 1970s. It was previously used as a resort for the Carey family but now is open to the public who want majestic views of Buzzards Bay and peaceful walks amongst local birdlife.
Cornelia Carey Sanctuary’s passionate birdwatcher visitors can expect to see over a hundred different species nestled amongst the salt marshes dotted along the banks.
The path is a leisurely 1-mile walk and on days with great visibility, you can see as far as Rhode Island on the western point and the Elizabeth islands to the south.
Sail on the Island Queen Ferry
When visiting Woods Hole to set sail to the iconic Martha’s Vineyard, one of the popular ferry options is the Island Queen Ferry. You’ll have a great time on board, as the enclosed lounge area has a bar. You can also order a cup of chowder if you’re hungry!
A trip on the Island Queen to Oak Bluff is only 35 minutes, and passengers can bring their bikes on board too.
The Island Queen is seasonal but does put on extra trips during peak season. The last ferry back to the mainland is typically at 6:45pm during this season on weekdays, and at 8:45 pm on Fridays. For scheduling and ticket prices visit the Island Queen website.
Visit the Nobska Point Lighthouse
Lighthouses and Cape Cod seemingly go together. They are typically the first image that comes to mind when people picture the Cape, and Nobska Point Lighthouse on the Southwestern tip of Cape Cod is a famous one! Built in 1829, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and has spectacular views of Vineyard Sound.
At present, the current Friends of Nobska Light are not offering tours inside the structure due to ongoing renovations and other restoration work being performed. However, visits to the point and surrounding area are more than welcome.
For the most current information about visiting the Lighthouse and point, visit the Friends of Nobska Light website.
Visit the Highfield Hall and Gardens
Prepare to be transported back to Victorian England upon your arrival at Highfield Hall and Gardens. This mansion, dating back to 1878, and its surrounding gardens, have an additional 400 acres of conservation land connected to it. For a leisurely afternoon of exploring, it’s hard to think of a better option than here.
There are plenty of year-round events that happen at Highfield Hall and Gardens, so it’s not just your typical museum. They have fun holiday events, great live music, art exhibitions, seasonal floral displays, and mouthwatering food events. You can even hire the area for a function.
The museum portion of the mansion is open seasonally only and charges $10 admission for adults only. Military members and children get free entry. Check out their calendar on their website to see what’s on this year!
Learn about Marine Life
While Cape Cod is a great place to vacation, it’s also filled with opportunities to learn. Marine life on the Cape is diverse and unique, and the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, Marine Biological Laboratory, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are ideal opportunities to experience much of it. The educational programs at these places will get the kids involved too!
The Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are more on the technical side of things when it comes to learning, whilst the Aquarium is more of a fun experience, that allows kids to touch and feel marine animals.
All three of these locations are in Woods Hole and are not too far from each other, making them a great trifecta to explore if you have a sea creature lover in your salty crew!
Wander through Spohr Gardens
If you desire a break from the bustling seaside towns and wish to explore six stunning acres of woodland-styled gardens, then Spohr Gardens is a perfect solution. Strolling through these gardens and their delightful nature trails that meander along will transport you to somewhere very different from the traditional imagery of the Cape.
You’ll walk along the calm waters of the Oyster Pond and see New Bedford and Nantucket Sound in the distance. Butterflies are all around you in Spohr Gardens and many folks come to walk among old anchors and milestones that are dotted around the gardens. Bring a book and find a peaceful spot under an umbrella pine.
A guided tour is a must for the enthusiastic gardener visiting Spohr Gardens and can be booked on their website.
Sample local wine
If the adults need a break from the kids or you are on a fun weekend away with your friends, then why not sample some fine vino at Cape Cod Winery? Unwind, relax, and imbibe with some amazing varietals at this winery that was established in 1994.
Visitors to the Cellar Door can expect nine different varietals, including the delightfully refreshing Rose Mermaid Water. After all, who could turn down a crisp, clean and cold glass of rose on a warm summer’s day, or night? Conveniently, Cape Cod Winery also sells their wine in cans.
The event calendar at Cape Cod Winery is generally quite full during the summer months so pick your visit time wisely. For more information, visit their website.
Spend an afternoon at the Falmouth Heights Beach
One of the best things about Cape Cod and the islands is that there are plenty of iconic beaches, and during the summer months it will feel like half the population of the East Coast is on them with you. Locals often have their small secret beaches and ponds that they frequent, so they can escape the crowds. Falmouth Heights Beach, whilst not exactly a “secret” beach, is a popular beach location because it doesn’t always attract crowds but has great features!
Falmouth Heights Beach is a relaxing spot that has places to eat close by and bathrooms that are well-kept. Beachgoers here love the cliff views and easy access to the beach from the car park.
If you are around these parts on July 4th, make sure you get a spot on the beach during the evening to see the fireworks!
See a performance at the College Light Opera Company
Are you at a loose end on a summer’s night and the weather is not cooperating either? Then why not take in a performance at a local Falmouth theatre! The College Light Opera Company is a great place to see local performers on the stage in shows you know and love.
Summer seasons are announced early in the calendar year so there’s no excuse not to plan ahead either. The College Light Opera Company is regarded as a prestigious training ground for young actors, so who knows, maybe you’ll be there for a performance by a future Oscar or Tony winner!
For details about this summer’s upcoming season, visit the company’s website here.
Relax at the beach
Are there more beaches anywhere in the United States than on Cape Cod? Maybe in California and Florida, but not as condensed into one area like the Cape, especially the Upper Cape. Three great beaches around Falmouth are Wood Neck Beach, Chapoquoit Beach and Old Silver Beach.
Each has their own unique characteristics. Wood Neck Beach is known for its vibrant blue, yet rocky waters. Chapoquoit Beach has similar waters, but is less rocky and has a sloped, sandy shoreline. Whilst Old Silver Beach is quite shallow, making it a perfect place for the kids to swim in.
As with visiting any beautiful Cape beach, be aware that some are resident-only beaches (meaning you’ll need a pass for a car park), and you may be asked to pay a per-car entry fee at others.
Watch the Woods Hole Drawbridge
Sometimes the simplest experiences are the most rewarding. The Woods Hole Drawbridge is an icon of the Upper Cape, and many folks simply love to watch it raise and lower throughout the day. It’s almost like it rounds out a perfect summer’s day.
When visiting this quaint drawbridge, soak in the sites and spot the boats coming and going while the bridge is raised.
The Woods Hole Drawbridge has a schedule on it, it typically operates every 30 minutes during daylight hours.
Visit Falmouth Museums on the Green
Set aside the fact that the Cape is one of the most beautiful places in the country, but did you know that it is also one of the places our nation’s first settlers arrived? This area is full of history about our nation’s very early days and neglecting to explore this as a visitor would be a downright shame. Fortunately, in Falmouth you can visit the Falmouth Historic Society’s Museums on the Green.
Located just off Main St., near Shivericks Pond and the Village Green, visitors can expect to see fine art collections, period-styled rooms and furnishing, and an authentic recreation of 18th Century New England. Meander through a collection of jaw-dropping homes and other buildings and be transported back to the time of our nation’s birth.
The museums typically reopen for the season in late May, opening on select days only. Be sure to check days and times on the historical society’s website.
Browse the Shelves at Eight Cousins Bookshop
A great beach read is something many folks look forward to all year. There’s nothing better than relaxing on a beach, listening to the calm ocean waters, feeling the sun on your skin, and diving into the sheer escapism of a good book.
Downtown Falmouth has a great local, family-owned bookstore where you can find your ideal beach book. At Eight Cousins you can browse the shelves for hours, or one of the friendly staff will be able to point you in the right direction.
Eight Cousins is open year-round, ships around the country, and even offers curbside pickup.
Pick Your Own Food at Local Farms
Cape Cod has many things going for it, as you may have gathered, and whilst seafood is on most people’s lists when they visit the Cape, there are also plenty of farm fresh options to explore. After all, where do you think the local restaurants get all their amazing food from? The local farms of course!
Coonamessett Farm, located across the pond from the Cape Cod Country Club in what could be called Northeast Falmouth allows visitors to come and pick their own hand-grown food. Peterson’s Farm, which is located off Woods Hole Road, heading south to Woods Hole is another great place to get all you need to create a farm-to-table styled dinner at home.
If picking food isn’t really your thing, then visit Coonamessett Farm to pet some farm animals and see Peterson’s Farm for the history as it is said to date back to 1679!
Try Local Craft Beer
When traveling around the country, it’s always good to “drink local” and Falmouth and Cape Cod have a great assortment of quaint and innovative craft breweries. Bad Martha is a newer addition to the craft beer scene on the Cape and has two locations, one in Falmouth and the other in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.
Bad Martha is a unique brewery in that they are very focused on giving back to the local community. All the beer sold has a portion of its sales given to local hunger fighting initiatives. So, drink up, be merry and know that you’re helping others too!
Bad Martha’s Falmouth location is located at 876 E Falmouth Highway in East Falmouth.
Learn About Local History
The history of Woods Hole is quite intricate and fascinating, so spending some time exploring local history on your Cape Cod vacation is worth it. To get your fix of local history, pay a visit to the Woods Hole Historical Museum in downtown Woods Hole.
Here you’ll find plenty of information and fascinating displays retelling the story of Woods Hole and Falmouth. The museum is small and located in a traditional home, so keep your eyes peeled when trying to locate it on the highway. Be sure to visit the Gift Shop too, as there are plenty of fun nautical-themed gifts to purchase.
The Woods Hole Historical Museum is open June through October each year, with walking tours being extremely popular during this period.
Stroll Through Falmouth Village
Sometimes the best days are those on vacation that aren’t structured or planned, and you just stumble across interesting places. Falmouth Village is a great place to do such a thing as there’s plenty to see and do.
Walking around the winding streets that lead down to the water and taking in the fresh sea air will make for a great change of pace if you have had a busy vacation. Main Street has plenty of shops and eateries for the whole family to enjoy. And there’s nothing better than a warm, clear day in the summer to soak in some of the best views you’ll likely get in this part of the country.
Each year, after July 4th the Village Association puts on a Street Fair where the streets are lined with stalls to browse.
We all know by now that there are plenty of great seafood choices to enjoy on the Cape but there’s something so incredibly satisfying about eating fish and other sea delights that you caught yourself! Fortunately, Falmouth also has some great fishing charters to make that happen!
Falmouth Charters and Bluefin Charters are two of the best ways to realize your dreams of being a fisherman for a day. They get you out on the open water in no time and use the latest technology to find pods for quick and easy fishing. You can try catching striped bass, bluefish, sea bass, squid, fluke and porgies.
Typically you’ll need to make reservations for sport fishing charters well in advance and most will only operate in the summer months.
Kayaking on Cape Cod is a popular activity and is a great way to see parts of the Cape that are often overlooked. There are some gorgeous canals, rivers, and ponds on the Cape that tend to get missed by enthusiastic visitors who stick to the beaches.
One great kayak experience is with Kimberly on her Kayak Adventure on Cape Cod, which you can easily book through Airbnb. Her two-hour journeys explore the back waters of the Cape as well as picturesque Squeteague Harbor. You even get to see a giant Osprey nest!
Kimberly takes it easy on participants, so you don’t need to be an experienced kayaker to enjoy her experience. All equipment is provided.
Sail Into The Sunset
Have you ever thought about setting sail and just chasing the sun off into the horizon? You’ve probably seen it in movies before, even in movies set on Cape Cod, but with the Liberté you can actually do it!
The Liberté isn’t called a “grand sailing experience” for nothing, it’s because it truly is. It’s a custom-built sailboat designed with comfort and partying in mind. She cruises up and down the Cape during the water-friendly months showing tourists why the waters of the Cape are famous all over the world. It holds almost 50 passengers too. So, climb aboard, grab a spot and a cocktail, and enjoy some Yacht Rock!
The Liberté does three sails per day, seven days per week, obviously with weather permitting. To book a spot visit their website.
Try Aerial Yoga
Have you tried aerial yoga yet? If not, why not give it a try on vacation! It’s a zero-gravity version of yoga done in a studio with hammocks and is hosted by the delightful Michele. Each session goes for 90 minutes and is easily booked through her Airbnb page.
During your time with Michele, you can expect to become centered, focus on proper breathing techniques and set some intentions to help you connect with the activity. Learn some jaw-dropping poses and release the tension all over your body.
For bookings visit Michele’s page here. Aerial yoga is a great activity for bachelorette parties, team-building exercises, and yoga lovers looking for something new.
Get Outside at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Located near the Waquoit Bay Yacht Club on Route 28 in East Falmouth, the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a picturesque nature reserve with calming views of the open water, walkable salt and freshwater marshes, enclosed beaches and dunes, forests and grasslands.
The reserve is a perfect place for outdoor activities enthusiasts and nature walks with something seemingly for everyone. It is also home to one of the most diverse estuarine fish communities in Massachusetts.
The reserve’s main office has limited daily hours, and trail maps and an events calendar are available on the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve website.
Get In Some Tee Time at Falmouth Country Club
Golf enthusiasts are more than accommodated for on Cape Cod and the Falmouth Country Club is a great place to book a tee time. Not to be confused with the nearby Cape Cod Country Club, Falmouth’s club is known for its innovative course design that is pristinely maintained and reminiscent of some of Scotland’s famous coastal clubs.
Golfers can expect lots of fresh air and a course that is affordable yet comes with professional-level features. The club is family-friendly too, so there’s no need to leave everyone at the rental while you go play as they will be more than welcome!
Book a tee time through the club’s website. The club is open year-round, and features a challenging 27-hole public course, split into a championship 18-hole course and a 9-hole short course.
Try Lobster Ice Cream at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium
One thing visitors notice while visiting the Cape is that like most seaside communities, there are plenty of opportunities to experience everyone’s favorite cold treat. Each town and village have its own shops and local flavor specialties. Arguably the most unique of these local flavors is in Falmouth at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium with their Lobster flavor.
Of course, if that doesn’t sound so appealing you can find more traditional flavors and other assorted treats to satisfy your sweet tooth inside, but everyone should try it once because it is really something you won’t find anywhere else in the world!
Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium is located on 209 Main Street in downtown Falmouth, just a couple of doors down from Eight Cousins Books.
Enjoy a Night Out at the Bar
What’s a summer vacation without a night out at a bar? A boring one! Fortunately, Falmouth is a fun little beach town with some great options for a night out at a bar. You’ll be sure to find something that matches your mood and drink preference!
One great bar is Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub. If you love karaoke then be sure to go on a karaoke night where you’re sure to hear ‘Sweet Caroline’ or test your brain on a trivia night. You’ll find plenty of Irish and British fare here, as well as a cozy patio area. Quahog Republic is another great option with plenty of local brews on offer. This diving-themed bar is known for having a scrumptious lobster roll too.
Both Liam Maguire’s and Quahog Republic are located off Route 28 in Teaticket, just a few minutes (by car) east of downtown Falmouth.
Go on a Night Photography Tour
If you happen to be visiting Cape Cod and Falmouth during the Christmas season, there are still lots of fun things to do, despite the cold weather. One great experience is to go on a Holiday Lights Night Photography Tour hosted by Timothy!
On this nighttime driving tour, Timothy will take you around to some of the most iconic spots in the area that are gorgeously decorated for the holiday season, and you can hone your photography skills. You’ll leave with some prints of your work also which are included in the fee.
You can book your tour with Timothy from his Airbnb host page.
Enjoy a Day on the Farm
Another fun experience for the whole family is on one of Falmouth’s fun hobby farms. These are great activities for kids as they get to see farm life up close and pet some farm animals too. There are plenty of these types of farms dotted around the Cape.
The Goat Experience is one of these! Hosted by Border Collie Farm, you get a guided tour of the farm and meet all the animals, as well as feed them. You also get an opportunity at making goat milk soap, which you also get as a sample.
Go on a Coastal Ecology Exploration
Hosted by Jeffrey and other experienced naturalists, the Coastal Ecology Exploration experience is a learning tour designed to raise awareness of the Cape’s unique ecology. This is a memorable adventure that goes well beyond the usual areas of Cape Cod.
This is a very hands-on tour and participants get to use real scientific equipment. It is described as combining botany and biology class, in the great outdoors.
You can learn more about the Coastal Ecology Exploration Experience here.
Take a Day Trip to Martha’s Vineyard
And finally, Falmouth is known amongst many things as the gateway to Cape Cod’s most famous island, Martha’s Vineyard. It is one of the most renowned locations in the country and is identified by its rugged beauty, amazing beaches and for being home to some of the most famous and wealthy people, including the Kennedy’s, President Obama and David Letterman.
There is plenty to see and do on the Vineyard including visiting Chappaquiddick, walking across the Jaws Bridge, shopping in downtown Oak Bluffs, and eating delicious oysters in Katama Bay.
To get to Martha’s Vineyard, simply head down to the tip of Falmouth to Woods Hole and board a ferry to either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. A typical Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven ferry trip is 45 minutes long on the Steamship Authority, but quicker on the Island Queen ferry.