Province Lands

Summer is a mighty fine time to be on the Cape. The surrounding water regulates temperatures and provides a constant cooling breeze. High temps averaging in the upper 70s in July are perfect for a dune tour, whale watching excursion, family bike ride, or a round of golf.

Coastal dunes make up about one third of the Cape Cod National Seashore, covering 8,500 acres, according to the National Park Service. The sprawling dunes were formed after glaciers retreated in the area thousands of years ago, depositing sand that was brought inland by currents. The sand is mostly found on barrier beaches and across the northern tip of the peninsula, known as the Province Lands.

Since 1946, Art’s Dune Tours has been sharing the romance and natural splendor of the endless undulating sand sprawl of the Province Lands with tourists and locals alike. Their guides will point out standing dune shacks where famous artists and writers of yore camped out for inspiration among the glorious and ever-changing environment. Enjoy thoughtful narration of the history of this surreal place, all in the comfort of a modern SUV.

The unique experiences of the Cape extend into the sea, as the area is a perennial feeding ground for numerous whale species. Take a tour out of Barnstable Harbor or Provincetown and receive an educational lesson about these magnificent creatures, while keeping watch for out-of-water breaches and approaches to the vessel.

A vacation to the Cape wouldn’t be complete without renting a bike and going for a ride on more than 100 miles of bicycle paths. Take your pick from five major trails, all with unique attributes. The longest one is the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 26-mile, eight-foot wide swath along a former Penn-Central right-of-way which runs from South Dennis all the way to LeCount Hollow in Wellfleet. The excellent Shining Sea Bike Path runs 10.7 miles from Woods Hole to North Falmouth and connects cyclers with 22 miles of paved, marked trails.

Golfers can also find what they’re looking for, as the Cape is ranked in Golf Digest’s top 10 U.S. golf destinations. The peninsula is home to 27 public and 14 private golf courses, the country’s fourth highest per capita.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. His favorite RTX destinations are on the beach: Orange Beach, Alabama, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. .

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