15 Must Visit Destinations In or Near Chatham, MA

One of the best parts about staying at Chatham Bars Inn is getting to explore the town of Chatham and the surrounding area. Full of natural beauty and world-class attractions, this region of Cape Cod is worth visiting year-round. Here are 15 of our favorite attractions, all only a short drive from the Inn.

Take a cranberry bog tour.

Image courtesy of Cranberry Bog Tours

Starting in April, visitors have the opportunity to take daily tours of the area’s largest organic cranberry bog. Husband and wife Leo & Andrea Cakounes run this bog together, and it’s a great place to take your family to learn about how cranberries are harvested and interact with some friendly farm animals. Make sure you bring cash - the bog does not accept credit cards.

For more info, visit http://cranberrybogtours.com/.

Discover living history at the Atwood House.

Image courtesy of The Atwood House

Built in the 1750s by sea captain Joseph Atwood, the Atwood House remained in the family until the early 1900s when it was purchased by the Chatham Historical Society. The Atwood House & Museum now offers eleven galleries with a rare glimpse into the past, and is a great place for history, art and culture buffs to check out. Be sure to visit the Mural Barn featuring the rare works by Alice Stallknecht, the Fresnel light offering a closeup look at a working lighthouse lens, and the Nickerson Beach Camp. Docent and private group tours are available.

For more info, visit http://chathamhistoricalsociety.org/at-the-atwood/the-museum-galleries/the-old-house/.

Visit Cape Cod’s historic lighthouses.

Image courtesy of Chatham Bars Inn.

Cape Cod lighthouses have been lighting up the coast for centuries, and while some have been deactivated, many remain, serving as historical landmarks and tourist destinations. The nearest lighthouse to Chatham Bars Inn is Chatham Light, a still-operating lighthouse that often serves as a de facto symbol of the town.

For a longer list of lighthouses on Cape Cod, visit Best of Cape Cod.

Harvest your own oysters at the Chatham Shellfish Company.

Have you ever been curious about how oysters end up on your dinner plate? Take a tour at the Chatham Shellfish Company’s interactive oyster farm! You’ll learn all about oysters from shellfish expert Stephen Wright, enjoy a scenic barge tour out to Oyster Pond, and even harvest your own oysters.

For more info, visit https://www.chathamoysters.com/.

Rent a kayak or paddle board.

Image courtesy of Bass River Kayaking

If you didn't get out on the water, did you really visit Cape Cod? Do yourself a favor and make a point of taking a kayak or paddle board out for the day. We offer rentals at the Inn if you'd like to paddle around the bay and local area and take in the sights.

If you’re looking for a more intimate tour of the waterways of Cape Cod, we highly recommend checking out Bass River Kayaking. They offer rentals that go out on the Bass River, a gorgeous salt river that’s full of pristine beaches and wildlife (but don’t worry - there are no sharks). Expect a laid-back, relaxing trip down the undisturbed side waterways of the river and make sure that you make time to stop at a few sandbars and take in the scenery, or snap a photo of the family by the windmills that you’ll pass. Bass River Kayaking is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM, and offers a variety of great bonuses (like free parking) that will make your visit with them all the more enjoyable.

For more info, visit http://www.capecodkayaking.com/.

Enjoy a drink at one of our local breweries.

Image courtesy of Hog Island Beer Co.

Did you know that Cape Cod is a craft beer destination? Our area in particular is home to a wide variety of local breweries that are must-visits for the beer lover in your life. While there are many great places to sit down for a cold one, Hog Island Beer Co. is one of the area’s most celebrated breweries. Once you’re done there, take a short walk to the popular Jailhouse Tavern, which offers a beautiful view of Nauset Beach. If you're in South Dennis, Devil's Purse is also a must-visit.

For more info, visit Hog Island Beer Co., Devil's Purse, or the Jailhouse Tavern.

Watch a Chatham Anglers baseball game.

Image courtesy of The Chatham Anglers

If you are visiting Chatham and are a baseball fan, you absolutely need to check out an Anglers ball game. Situated right downtown, the field is conveniently close to a myriad of local eateries, which makes grabbing dinner or drinks before or after the game a breeze. There is also a playground close by to entertain kids who would rather swing on the monkey bars than watch nine innings of baseball. Best of all, it’s free to attend, and guests at the Inn can get complimentary VIP tickets throughout the summer - just ask at the concierge desk (tickets subject to availability).

For more info, visit http://www.chathamanglers.com.

Be a scientist for the day with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

Image courtesy of The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

If Shark Week is your thing, you can’t miss a chance to (potentially) get up close and personal with a real great white! Tag along with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy team as they go out on expeditions, observe as they pull beacons, tag sharks, and conduct other scientific research. We’re big fans of the AWSC and offer a few programs with them as well that are perfect for budding young scientists who want to see research in action.

For more info, visit http://www.atlanticwhiteshark.org.

Explore Chatham by bike.

Image courtesy of Chatham Hood Bikes

There’s no better way to see Chatham than by bike. You can cruise through town and check out Main Street, pedal out into the country and take in the beautiful Cape Cod scenery and still make it back to the Inn for dinner.

If you're just looking to rent a bike for the afternoon, we offer shorter-term rentals at the Inn. If you're looking for a long-term rental, or a more personalized bike tour of the Chatham area, we like renting bikes from Chatham Hood Bikes. They’ve got it all, including bike trailers for younger kids who might not be able to pedal themselves around all day.

For more info, visit https://www.chathamhoodbikes.com/.

Enjoy local art galleries.

Image courtesy of Struna Art Galleries

If you love art, you won’t be disappointed by the numerous galleries in and around Chatham. Each contains works from celebrated local artists and features a variety of styles, from realistic seascapes to abstract art to gorgeous photography. No matter what you’re looking for, the galleries in Chatham will have something for you.

Spend a day ice skating.

Image courtesy of the Tony Kent Arena.

Take a trip to one of the area’s family-friendly skating rinks and enjoy a day of fun out on the ice! Whether you are looking for guided lessons or just want to get out there and have a good time, the Tony Kent Arena or the Charles Moore Arena are the places to go.

For more information, visit the Tony Kent Arena or Charles Moore Arena.

Save room for ice cream.

Image courtesy of Buffy's

Got a sweet tooth? Chatham’s Main Street is chock-full of ice cream parlors serving up unique, one-of-a-kind desserts as well as classic favorites. We recommend getting a few scoops from Buffy's on Main Street anytime you find yourself in town.

Go antiquing near Route 6a.

Image courtesy of Wisteria Antiques.

Do you have a penchant for antiquities? Check out the antique shops near Route 6a and find everything from antique firearms to historical whaling items and furniture. We like Wisteria Antique and East Dennis Antiques, but can’t really go wrong here.

For more info, visit Wisteria Antiques or East Dennis Antiques.

Get a drink at the Chatham Squire.

Image courtesy of The Chatham Squire

Hungry from a long day of adventuring around Cape Cod? Stop by the Chatham Squire for a meal that will be sure to satisfy even the most ravenous patron. With a highly-diverse menu (including a raw bar) and specials that are updated daily, Chatham Squire is one of the top eateries in town. It’s also one of the bars that’s open latest - 1 A.M. - if you’re looking to take in the nightlife.

For more info, visit http://www.thesquire.com/.

Plan a night at the movies at the Orpheum.

Image courtesy of The Orpheum Theater

Originally opened in 1916, the Orpheum Theater was Chatham’s first (and only) movie theater. After shutting down in 1987, a local grassroots team seized the opportunity to bring back a piece of history and, in 2013, the newly design Orpheum Theater reopened to the public. Now, it shows the newest blockbuster films as well as classics like “Jaws” to entertain locals and visitors alike. If you happen to be in town during the Oscars, the Orpheum’s watch party is a can’t-miss event.

For more info, visit http://www.chathamorpheum.org/category/now-playing/.

Header image: a windmill on the Bass River, courtesy Wikimedia user Ben Hartshorne.

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