In its June 2013 issue, Parents Magazine lists the 10 best beach towns for families. According to the article, thousands of beaches were considered and finalists were chosen based on the quality of the beaches, amenities at the beach, nature activities and attractions in the town as well as the overall family vibe in the town itself. Now bear in mind that this list is based solely on American beach towns (so let’s not get all worked up that no Canadian beaches made the cut) but as I reviewed the choices, I was disappointed that Yarmouth, Cape Cod didn’t make the cut. It’s close neighbour Falmouth was #4 which I appreciated but so many of my childhood memories are linked to family vacations in Cape Cod, particularly the city of Yarmouth, that I felt the need to share with other parents who might be looking for some place new to explore with the family.
In our family, when we can all get away for a family vacation, we like to mix it up a bit. There are years when the easy to plan, nothing to do besides eat, drink and play vacations offered at a multitude of all-inclusive resorts down south are exactly what the doctor orders and then there are times where it’s fun to pack up the car and drive to a nice beach town. While we’ve been to a few different places over the years, Yarmouth, Cape Cod is by far our beach town of choice. I don’t even know how many times I’ve been there. Growing up, we would vacation there but it was and still is a great deep-sea fishing destination and growing up in a house full of outdoors men, it wasn’t at all surprising if my dad would come home from work on a Friday, start talking with my brothers about fishing, they’d get all excited and before I knew it, we were heading to the US in the middle of the night to make it on time for the morning charter boat.
We’re all married with children now, live in different cities but we all still love the Cape so every few years or so, we get the itch, rent a large home near one of the many beaches in Yarmouth to accommodate all of us, and have some great family bonding time. This is one of those years. We just booked last week and now the countdown has begun. Thinking of visiting Yarmouth? Here are some tips and suggestions for a great trip…
- Book early. There are many motels and hotels but with so many beautiful vacation rentals available in Cape Cod, why not rent a home? The nicest, cleanest, closest to the beach homes are however rented early, particularly the ones for larger families, so don’t wait too long to decide. I highly recommend www.WeNeedaVacation.com. It is extremely easy to use, allows you to select the specific towns (eg. Yarmouth is in Mid Cape Cod), dates and amenities you are looking for, and you can save the properties you are interested in into a ‘Favorites’ folder
- High season is July and August
- The water is warmer in the southern towns bordering Nantucket Sound (as opposed to the Atlantic Ocean on the east or Cape Cod Bay to the north)
- Many rental properties offer all the amenities from home (pots, pans, BBQ, DVDs, TVs, games) so the most you have to bring with you is sheets and towels (some property owners offer linen service for a surcharge). Look for homes with hardwood flooring and air conditioning. Homes are so close to the sea that carpeted homes can be somewhat musky. Outdoor showers, barbecues and large yards are also great for families with small children
- Excellent beaches include Seagull Beach, Parker’s River Beach, Sea View Beach, Bass River Beach (all within a close driving distance to one another)
- Fishing piers abound as well as charter fishing boats are available in nearby Hyannis (full day or half day outings are available). All are kid friendly but Gravol might be in order for the stomach sensitive family members (that would be me!)
- You must try the clam chowder and salt water taffy when visiting Cape Cod
- Popular attractions include: main street in Hyannis for lots of cute shops, ice cream stores, restaurants, Spanky’s Clam Shack & Seaside Saloon at the Hyannis pier, Skipper Restaurant & Chowder House in Yarmouth, Christmas Tree Shops (everyone who goes to Cape Cod knows about these), the Kennedy Memorial and Pirate’s Cove Mini-golf.
Yarmouth didn’t make the cut for Parents Magazine but it’s #1 in my books. See you in the Cape!