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Outer Cape Day Trip– Arts Dune Tours, Hiking and Lobster Rolls

Lauren Collins

The fall is a great time to hit the road and day trip to the outer Cape.  Just a few hours from Boston lies some of the most unique landscape, towns and delicious food!

In today's post, I'll share with you my most favorite road trip that I look forward to every year.

This may not have much to do with fishing, but I'm fairly positive if you're reading this and you have a significant other, they would probably very much appreciate a day trip down Cape minus the fishing! (or at least I do!)

For this trip we headed to Marconi Beach, High Head in Truro, went on a tour with Art's Dune Tours, ate a whole lot of lobster and strolled through a very empty Provincetown!

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Ryan and I love to take rides down Cape in the fall.  You still get gorgeous weather in September and October, the traffic is light, the beaches are empty, the foliage has started and you can walk into most restaurants and not have to wait one to two hours for a darn table!  It's truly great.

We left our dog Rosie at home for this trip, mainly because our tour booked with Art's Dune Tours is an hour long and doesn't allow dogs, and we certainly didn't want to leave her in the car!  ​

If you want to bring your pup, we did notice a lot of dogs on the White Cedar Swamp trail, even though it says no pets...and dogs are allowed on a leash at High Head and most other trails in the offseason.  

Cape Abilities Farm, Dennis


We drove scenic route 6A to get to Truro and Provincetown, and along the way stopped in at Nirvana Coffee in West Barnstable (a truly delicious spot) and then to Cape Abilities Farm for some pumpkins!

Have a you ever heard the funny jokes that go something like: "My husband didn't want to decorate the front porch with a thousand pumpkins, so we compromised and decorated the front porch with a thousand pumpkins."  LOL!  But it's so true, and no fall road trip is complete without a stop at a farm stand to pick up pumpkins!   

We decided to stop at Cape Abilities Farm in Dennis so that we could also support a really great program on Cape Cod.  

Cape Abilities Farm was started in 2006 as a part of the larger Cape Abilities, which provides jobs, homes, transportation, social and therapeutic services for people with disabilities on Cape Cod.  The farm provides employment opportunities and training to these individuals, and what could be better than supporting an organization like that?!

They have a year-round store, as well as seasonal perennials and annuals, pumpkins and locally made decorations.  You can learn more about the farm by clicking here.

Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail, Wellfleet


Our first stop was at Marconi Beach at a trail called the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail, which is located in the parking lot of the observation platform.

This beautiful hike is 1.25 miles, with easy walking conditions and a boardwalk that takes you through the 20-acre Atlantic Cedar swamp in a shallow kettle hole.  This unique terrain was created 18,000 years ago when the glaciers over Cape Cod retreated, leaving behind kettle ponds across the Cape.  As many know, the outer Cape is nothing but sand, as far down as you could imagine, with only a few inches at most of actual topsoil for plants and trees to flourish.  Here in the cedar swamp, the topsoil measures 24 feet thick, due to the constant breakdown of oak leaves and bark.  

The Atlantic White Cedars thrive here in this wetland, and the minute you step foot onto the boardwalk, you're in a different world.  A little bit eerie and very quiet, the branches of the cedars twist a turn in mystifying ways, with bright green moss blanketing the ground, creating the most beautiful and unique landscape I've ever seen on Cape Cod.

You can learn more about hike by clicking here.

High Head Trail, Truro

Right off route 6 in Truro, just before Pilgrim Lake, is a little dirt/sand road on the right that leads you to a small parking lot where you can walk High Head.  There is a bike path there or you can walk through the dunes to the beach.  We have walked the dunes so we chose the bike bath this time, and hidden about 1/2 a mile from the parking lot on the right is a really cool loop trail around yet another swamp/kettle pond (pictured above).  We didn't have enough time to walk the 30 minute loop, but we plan to visit again and try it out.  If anyone else has tried this trail please let me know in the comments!

Other recommended loop hikes in Provincetown are the Snail Road Sand Dune Trail (moderate to difficult) and the Beech Forest Trail (easy).

Art's Dune Tours

This year for Ryan's birthday, my parents gifted him a tour to Art's Dune Tours, located in Provincetown.  We were scheduled for 3:15pm, however during the summer they offer both day time and sunset/dinner tours, along with a few other tour options as well like dune and water tours and lighthouse tours.

The tour starts in Provincetown right off Commercial Street (Main Street) by The Lobster Pot intersection, and takes you through the dunes of Truro and Provincetown, past historic dune shacks and if the weather is cooperating, onto the beach.  It was high tide and too windy for us to go on the beach, but not to worry, we got one roller coaster of a ride through the dunes instead!  

We were in a large SUV with only one other person, although the cars can accommodate three rows of passengers but with enough windows and skylights to give everyone a good view.

Our tour guide was full of interesting facts and history about the area and the dunes, and even our very own Cape Cod history buff Ryan learned a few things too!

Towards the end of the tour, there is a stop at the top of a dune where you can get out and take photos and get great views.  At sunset you might even spot some wildlife!

We had heard a lot about this tour from several people, and Ryan has always wanted to go.  It came highly recommended and now we also highly recommend it as well!  You can learn more about the tours by clicking here.

Lobster Rolls and a Hot Fudge Sundae at the Lobster Pot


No day trip to Cape Cod is complete without a lobster roll, am I right?!

As part of his birthday gift, Ryan was also treated to beers and a lobster roll at The Lobster Pot, which is located right on Commercial Street and one of the longest standing restaurants in Provincetown.  I've never had a bad meal there and the staff is so friendly!

Ryan ordered the cold lobster roll with mashed potatoes, which was incredible, and I ordered the lobster ravioli from the appetizer menu and let me tell you, I've never had better lobster ravioli IN MY LIFE.  It was so incredible I forgot to photograph it, so just try it for yourself.

We capped it off with a "month late celebratory birthday hot fudge sundae", and my favorite part was when after Ryan ordered the sundae, the waitress then asked me what I wanted...which is very comical because those sundaes are gigantic.

Of course after having our fill, we really needed to walk it all off, and thankfully the sun came out that evening for sunset and we had Commercial Street all to ourselves!

As wonderful as the day was, it was even more wonderful to get home and see our pup Rosie, who spent the whole day with the "sitter"!

If you're interested in spending a night or two in Truro, close to all of these activities I've shared with you today, check out MFCC member Dave Frennesson's cottage by clicking here.  Note this is a 3-season cottage and closes down on Columbus Day weekend, but a great place to book ahead for next year!

If you have any questions about our itinerary for this day trip or have suggestions or comments, leave them below!  Happy road tripping!

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Hey there Lauren – very well written article – wish I could write so well! After Labor Day, the Cape becomes exceptionally nice…..what with (usually) warm days and cool nights, that more than makes up for the shortened days. Of course, there is always the Great Island trail (although watch the tides and bring plenty of water). Another great walk is out the breakwater, take a right and walk back along the back to Herring Cove (again, watch the tides). Also, the Hatches Harbor trail out toward race Point lighthouse. Ask Ryan for me….has he done any fishing out at Hatches Harbor, and if so, how is it? Pleased you had such a grand time!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll have to check them out!

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      1. Hello Lauren, absolutely well done.

        I found a book at the Christmas tree shops back in the mid 90s. The author and illustrator is a gentleman named Tom Watson in North Truro. The children’s book is called “Thommy’sMommy’s fish birthday gift “

        Both he and his family reside in North Truro, Thomas Watson art gallery.

        My wife and I took his book on a tour of his childhood. We raked sandells at Pamett river, we gathered beach plums, we split fire wood and we even made bayberry candles. Step by step through the book.

        Off to Ballston beach, over the dunes when there were to cottages and we fished into the darkness

        We met the Watson family after I Inquired to where a certain Hallow was in Truro. That one room post office in North Truro, the famous one from,well they informed of Tom

        So, we drove and introduced ourselves, he was totally overwhelmed that I did this. To this day we have become something special.

        I highly recommend this , it is a outstanding family activity , please contact me personally to provide additional communication

        Thanks , Lon

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        1. Sorry I forgot to mention about our children, two girls and two boys and to this day they will never forget does a memorable moments. By taking a book step-by-step in the outcome was just a memory that will last forever

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        2. That sounds like a great family adventure Lon! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

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  2. Hey Lauren, Nice blog! I have walked all of those places (except the Truro High Head Trail) and we were also gifted an Arts Dune Tour ending with a sunset lobster dinner! Mike and I also love the Lobster Pot! I love their muscles and their salads with their variety of homemade dressings! We tried Fanizzi;s Restaurant on Commercial Street ( a little outside of town) last weekend, it was great! The Provincetown jette/causeway is on my bucket list as is the dune shack trail. So many places to see! Cape Cod never disappoints!

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    1. I’ve heard about Fanizzi’s, we’ll have to try it out next time we’re down! The dune shack trail is also on our list, especially after seeing it out on our Arts Dune Tour!

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  3. Lieutenant’s Island is also a nice place to walk. Very cool bridge to drive over at mid and low tide only.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation Jake!

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  4. Lauren, you should be the Public Relations director for the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. Well written with excellent photographs and definitely something to check out!

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    1. Thank you so much Mike!

      Reply

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