When we think of Summer destinations in Massachusetts, the Cape is always top of mind. Everyone knows about beaches, hiking trails, parks and shopping in the summer season. Most people don’t know that the Cape also is a great destination for Winter fun. We rounded up some of the best winter activities on Cape Cod in 2018/2019. Check out this month’s blog post for some great ideas this season.
A Quick List of Winter Activities on Cape Cod
- Christmas Strolls and Tree Lightings
- Santa, Trains and Light Shows
- Museum Shows at the Cahoon Museum of American Art
- The Annual Glassblower’s Christmas
- The Holiday Gifts and Small Works Sale
- Line Dancing Classes and Performances
- Seaside Solstice Songs by the Sea
- Mary Poppins Presented by Cotuit Center for the Arts
- Hiking and Biking
- Horseback Riding
- Rock wall climbing
- Ice Skating
The life blood of Cape Cod is tourism. When visitors go away in the summer, businesses and local organizations pull out all of the stops to attract people year round. The effort to attract visitors is in full swing during the month of December, and the Cape has banned together to create fun, family friendly, festive winter activities on Cape Cod.
Christmas strolls are all month long, Cape wide events that bring people into various local shops, stops, and attractions. You can expect to find trolley rides, lights, snacks, and friendly faces at every stop. The month long events calendar begins with Christmas Strolls and Tree Lightings in many towns and ends with First Night celebrations in Sandwich, Chatham, and Provincetown. Check out the links below for more details on Christmas strolls.
December 7: The Osterville Christmas Stroll
December 5: Barnstable Annual Christmas Stroll
December 7-9: Chatham’s Christmas by the Sea Stroll Weekend
December 15: West Dennis Holiday Stroll
Santa, Trains and Light Shows
There are more winter activities on Cape Cod in addition to strolls and trees. Cape Cod Central Railroad presents their Train to Christmas Town event. Based on the beloved book, The Train to Christmas Town, this magical train ride is fun for all ages. Scheduled tours fall throughout the month of December and tickets range from 40-80 dollars per rider. Each rider will enjoy cocoa and cookies, a reading of The Train to Christmas town by Grammy-nominated performers, guided carols, beloved characters and a visit from Santa and his elves. Every child will receive a special keepsake from Santa. The ride lasts a little over an hour and visitors are encouraged to check out festive gifts at the Train Depot. Find out more at https://www.capetrain.com/
Light Shows are another magical annual winter activity on Cape Cod. Take an evening stroll through twinkling displays, visit Santa, and enjoy carolers and music. The Annual Cape Cod Enchanted Village offers events every Saturday from now until New Year’s day. Check them out here.
To enjoy an incredible celebration of lights, see Heritage Museums and Gardens “Gardens Aglow” event. Each year, the gardens are decked out in style. Tickets for entry are available for events every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December.
For those of you with kids, be sure to check out Edaville this December. The pak is decorated with over 17 million lights, and most events at the park are open for your delight.
Museums and Galleries
For indoor winter activities on Cape Cod, there are a number of fantastic museum and gallery events for art lovers of all ages, as well as performance art throughout the Cape. Our favorite three museum events this year are the Cahoon Museum of Fine Arts running display, the Annual Glass Blower’s Christmas event, and the Holiday Gifts and Small Works Sale at the Creative Arts Center in Chatham. Those in search of dance, music and theater will be delighted by the interactive Holiday Line Dance, The Seaside Solstice carollers, and Mary Poppins.
Cahoon Museum of American Art
Through December 22 this year, the Cahoon Museum of of American Art is featuring Twisted, Twined and Woven, an exhibition of contemporary fiber arts from regional artists. The exhibit includes hanging, framed and sculptural work, and offers wonder for viewers of all ages. In addition to their feature show, the museum is also displaying a seasonal offering: Scrimshandering: Ralph Cahoon, Scrimshaw and Nantucket Whaling Heritage. This show features beautiful scrimshaw works paired with historic context. Visitors can also enjoy highlights from the permanent fork art collection.
Annual Glass Blower’s Christmas
This winter activity is best reserved for adults and children old enough to understand the word “fragile.” The Sandwich Glass Museum offers two holiday themed events.
The Stained Glass Village
The special exhibit on display features a Stained Glass Village complete with over 100 illuminated glass buildings. Viewers will be delighted by intricate and delicate trees and animals, rounding out the scene.
Glass Blower’s Event
Throughout the month of December, hundreds of handmade glass blown ornaments are on display. The Sandwich Glass Museum has decked the halls with with local glass works. A small collection of ornaments will also be for sale in the Museum store. Prices range from 25 to 50 dollars, making a handmade ornament addition feasible for every budget.
Small Works, Big Fun
The Holiday Gifts and Small Works Sale at Cape Cod Creative Arts in Chatham MA is a fantastic opportunity to support local artists while finishing out your Christmas shopping. Through December 11, local painters, potters, jewelers, and artisans of all kinds offer selected wares to the public.
Line Dance, Get Your Spirits Up!
Come by the Cape Sands Ballroom in South Dennis for a unique, energetic winter activity on Cape Cod. Wednesday, December 12 from 2:00-4:00, DJ and Karen offer beginner friendly dance instruction to rock, pop and latin tunes. There is no country western music here today, so be prepared for an expanded understanding of line dance. In addition to lessons, there will be a demonstration at 3:00 pm from the Cape Sands Ballroom Line Dance Performing Team.
Songs by the Sea
Solstice Singers offer Seaside Solstice, a lineup of nautical themed songs, carols, poetry and drama. The show takes place at the Woods Hole Community Hall on December 14 and 16, beginning at 4:00 pm. Featured performances include full costume carolling, period instrument performances, and longsword dances! This festive and dramatic event is one our favorite winter activities on Cape Cod.
Through December 16th, the Cotuit Center for the Arts is presenting the beloved Disney classic Mary Poppins. Tickets are less than $40, and kids of all ages are welcome. Join the players for a fantastic rendition of this childhood favorite.
For those who seek more active winter activities on Cape Cod, there is still a plethora of outdoor and indoor sports choices.
There are a few swimming pools open to the public, year round, on Cape Cod. The Quality Inn in Hyannis, the Cape Codder Resort, The Four Points Sheraton in Eastham all offer admission to their pool for a fee. The Chatham Health and Swim club not only offers a pool, but an entire fitness facility for only $20!
Hiking and Biking
Many of the trails you love in the summer are absolutely stunning this time of year. Bundle up and check out some of your favorite summer spots. Winter strolls on the beach are breathtaking in the winter. For more, head over to Crowes Pasture Conservation Area for a winding woodland trail.
Emerald Hollow Farm in Brewster offers 60 and 90 minute trail rides year round. Horses pick their way among the snow drifts at a leisurely pace, so be sure to bundle up well!
Willy’s Gym in Eastham offers a 30 foot rock wall year round. There is no need to have a membership and gear rental is very affordable. In addition to rock climbing, the facility is a full fitness center, with classes, a spa, and a pool.
What is winter without ice skating? Ice skating is the quintessential winter activity for all ages. The Charles Moore Arena and the Tony Kent Arena both offer skating classes and public skating hours. For only $7 dollars, you can take part in this classic winter activity on Cape Cod.
Winter Activities on Cape Cod are Plentiful
As you can see, there is no shortage of great winter activities on Cape Cod. There is something for people of all ages and all interests. From holiday themed events and strolls to fine and performing art to sports, it is hard to be bored in the off season. Think of Cape Cod all year for great family friendly activities and sophisticated art offerings. Each town has something to give this year, check out the fun!