Cape Cod in the summer can be a wonderful family summer vacation. There are so many gorgeous beaches, restaurants with outdoor seating, and other activities that take advantage of the beautiful Cape Cod summer weather. However, sometimes there is rain in the forecast, with mother nature derailing your perfectly planned vacation. Luckily there are plenty of other things to do on Cape Cod when it rains, beyond visiting the beautiful beaches.
Be sure to check the weather forecast, because in some cases, the day may not be a total washout. You may be able to get in a few hours at the beach for a partial beach day, before having to head indoors.
Depending on where you are staying, there may even be some fun rainy day activities right there. Some of the popular Cape Cod resorts offer indoor pools, while your vacation rental home may have board games and other kid-friendly activities. If you want to venture out, here are some great things to do on a rainy day on Cape Cod.
Note that some of these activities may have reduced hours, especially in the offseason. Visit the individual websites to get specific details. When it is raining on Cape Cod, keep in mind that everyone will be looking to do these rainy day activities, so if reservations are necessary, make them as soon as possible.
What To Do on A Rainy Day on Cape Cod
Cape Cod Central Railroad
See a different side of Cape Cod by taking a train ride. The Cape Cod Central Railroad offers various excursion trains including one along the Cape Cod Canal, and another offering a tour of the Cape from either Hyannis or West Barnstable.
There are also dinner trains, including the 21+ Rails and Ales Beer Tasting with local beers, and the lunch train offering a three-course meal. The lunch train is open to all ages, while a dinner train is offered for those aged 12+.
Reservations can be made on their website and do book up in the busy season.
Bowling and Game Rooms
Another popular Cape Cod rainy day activity is bowling. There are several options on Cape Cod, and they also offer other activities to keep you busy.
In Orleans, you’ll find the ALLEY Bowling and BBQ. In addition to candlepin bowling lanes, it also has a BBQ restaurant and arcade games.
The Ten Pin Eatery and Arcade is a new venue located at the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis. There’s lots to do there, including bowling lanes (with food service), a full service restaurant, laser tag, escape rooms, a golf simulator, and virtual reality. It’s conveniently located right in the mall, and reservations for bowling are not accepted.
The Ryan Family Amusements located in South Yarmouth is located not too far from the Whydah Pirate Museum. It offers ten pin bowling, candlepin bowling, a game room, and ax throwing. It also has a full bar and offers appetizers. A bowling alley can be reserved online to save time.
There’s also a Ryan Family Amusements location in Buzzards Bay. It has candlepin bowling and a game room. Like the Yarmouth location, lanes can be reserved in advance.
Whydah Pirate Museum
I’d recommend a visit to the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth, even if it’s not raining. This unique museum features the remains of the Whydah shipwrecked pirate ship. It’s open year-round and offers timed tickets. It’s a great place for the whole family to visit.
Once you watch a video at the entrance of the museum, you can visit at your own pace. There are various interactive exhibits that you can read to learn more. The highlight of the museum, in my option, is the world’s only authenticated pirate treasure.
I think the museum does a great job of explaining how pirates actually lived while dispelling legends that are untrue. It’s definitely worth visiting and is one of the best things to do in the rainy weather. Be sure to purchase your timed ticket in advance, as it’s a very popular summer destination.
Once you are done, grab lunch or dinner at Captain Parkers, a seafood restaurant located in front of the museum. It’s one of our favorite local restaurants in Yarmouth.
Live Shows on Cape Cod
Cape Cod also offers summer stock theater, at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis – the oldest professional summer theater in the US. There are several different shows offered each summer at this performing arts center – each one running for about ten days.
There’s also the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, which typically hosts national acts and tribute bands throughout the season. Along with its sister theater, the Music Circus in Cohasset, it’s one of two of the longest continuously-operated tent theaters in the round. You can see their full schedule and purchase tickets on their website.
Movie Theaters on Cape Cod
Movie theaters are a great rainy day option on Cape Cod, especially if you haven’t gotten around to seeing the latest new releases. There are several theaters located across the Cape. Some show independent films while others show first-run blockbusters. These theaters include:
- Entertainment Cinemas in South Dennis, MA
- Entertainment Cinemas in Falmouth, MA
- Cape Cinema (independent films and live performances) in Dennis
- Regal Cinemas in Hyannis at the Cape Cod Mall
- Regal Cinemas in Mashpee at Mashpee Commons
- Heritage Theaters in Sandwich
There’s also the popular Wellfleet Drive In Cinema in Wellfleet.
Shopping on Cape Cod
When the weather isn’t cooperating with my beach plans, I go shopping. There are so many great shopping options on Cape Cod – from smaller, local chains to independent shops.
Most of the shopping areas on the Cape do involve some outdoor walking, so you may want to be prepared with an umbrella. There are some wonderful small towns with cute downtown shopping areas on Main Street- including Hyannis, Falmouth, Chatham, and Provincetown.
For some larger stores, as well as restaurants and cinemas, visit Mashpee Commons. This outdoor shopping center has lots of options and is a great place to do some shopping. There’s also the Cape Cod Mall, although most of those stores are typical chain mall stores.
Museums on Cape Cod
In addition to the Whydah Pirate Museum, there are several other Cape Cod museums that are great for rainy days (or even sunny days). They include:
- Cape Cod Children’s Museum in Mashpee (best for younger kids)
- The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
- Sandwich Glass Museum
The Cape Cod Potato Chip factory and store is another great option. Unfortunately, it’s currently closed but I’m hopeful it will open again in the future.
What are your favorite things to do on rainy Cape Cod days?
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