About 10 years ago, our annual two week family vacation in Cape Cod was filled with mostly rainy days. At first, my sisters and I – who all stay on The Cape at the same time – had flashbacks to boring rainy family vacation days at the Jersey Shore and Martha’s Vineyard where there was little to do in the 1960’s and 70’s if it was not a beach day.
But our moments of concern were soon abated once I did a little research and found out there are plenty of fun things for families to do indoors on the Cape. All’s well that ends well, since my 17-year-old daughter Alex still fondly recalls “that rainy week” on Cape Cod.
Why? Because we pushed the envelope beyond the beaches and discovered many other hidden gems that still entertain us to this day when we have errant inclement weather on Cape Cod.
Luisa’s top picks of family-friendly cloudy day activities:
Cape Codder Indoor Wave Pool (Hyannis):
The Cape Codder indoor wave pool is the ultimate in combining outdoor pleasures with any-weather action! The 8,200-square-foot indoor wave pool is where kids of all ages can enjoy the thrills of wave jumping, yet be in the secure environment of a pool. This is especially important for younger children who might not be ready for the bigger surf of the Cape Cod National Seashore. The boys in my clan especially enjoy the 50- and 80-foot water slides and spraying water fountains at the indoor wave pool. If parents are looking for something to call their own, there is a sauna and 24-person whirlpool in the pool area.
Cape Codder Resort & Spa (Hyannis):
Throughout the summer, the Cape Codder Resort & Spa offers plenty of daily family activities for its overnight guests. Rainy days are no exceptions when activities range from arts & crafts to bingo, and balloon animal making. The family-friendly (free) movies sure beat the crowded Cape movie theaters on a rainy day!
The Beach Plum Spas at the Cape Codder and Dan’l Webster Inn are very popular on rainy days. Teens are welcome at the spas too; the mother/teen daughter pedicures are a nice bonding activity.
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (Brewster):
Don’t expect a natural history museum that is adorned with dinosaur skeletons, but do expect an intimate and aesthetically pleasing place that helps children realize the varied fauna that inhabits Cape Cod. From honey bee observation to “mudflat mania” and live
aquatic displays, the exhibits hold interest for all ages. My favorite is the tranquil marsh view room, complete with huge picture window for spotting birdlife. www.ccmnh.org/
Heritage Museum and Gardens (Sandwich):
There is something for all ages and genders at Heritage Museum. When my daughter Alex was young, she couldn’t get enough of riding on the fanciful carousel. Her older cousins
Zach and Jeff, on the other hand, were fascinated by Heritage’s extensive car collection. I, as an American history fan, reveled in Marching Miniatures, which are displays of toy soldiers in historically correct military gear. Before you go, check out Heritage’s website
for special fun activities such as Family Fun Fridays.
ZooQuarium (West Yarmouth):
Just as the name suggests, this spot is part aquarium and part small zoo. I found this a great place for kids under 11 years old, specially due to its manageable size. For the little one in your family, the children’s Discovery Center and Zoorific Theater are big hits. Older children will enjoy the Tidal Touch Pool as well as the live displays of colorful fish. Check out ZooQuarium’s website for times of Zoorific Theater performances.
Alex’s top picks of teen favorite indoor activities:
Lunch at Dan’l Webster Inn (Sandwich):
Not only is the Dan’l Webster Inn super classy, but the food at its restaurant is fantastic too! Lunch at the Dan’l Webster Inn has become a new family Cape Cod tradition. On a rainy or cloudy day, my extended family drives from our Orleans and Harwich rental homes to have lunch at The Dan’l Webster Inn. My little brother and I enjoy their thin crust grilled pizzas, while my aunts often order the lobster pot pie. On the other hand, my vegetarian cousin Lindsay usually goes for the veggie burger and my mom who is allergic to dairy loves the “green” pizza, which is made with tofu instead of cheese.
Shopping in Hyannis:
Shopping on a rainy day may seem like a no-brainer for some, but it usually takes a while for us females in my extended family to convince the males in our group to come shopping with us. The town of Hyannis has options for everybody. My Mom and her sisters enjoy strolling down the Main Street in Hyannis and shopping at some of the cute stores and galleries there. My teen cousins and I like going to the Hyannis Mall, followed by our favorites at Starbucks (located in the Barnes & Noble at the Mall). There are tons of stores at the Hyannis Mall that teens like: Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Forever 21, Hollister, West Seal and Akoo Social Music TV. My little brother loves the indoor carousel ride at the Mall and would go on it all day if we let him!
Cape Cod Potato Chips Factory Tour:
This was one of the most memorable activities of that “rainy week” years ago. I’d never seen how potato chips are made so my cousins and I liked the short, self-guided factory tour which features the unique “kettle cooking” method. But what we enjoyed most were the free bags of Cape Cod chips at the end of the tour. I always savor eating Cape Cod Potato Chips, even when I’m back home, because it transports me in my mind to relaxing summer days on Cape Cod…be they rain or shine!