Calling all history lovers! When you visit our scenic peninsula in Massachusetts, you’ll be delighted by the number of fabulous Cape Cod historical sites to explore. From cultural centers and historic homes to walking tours and lighthouses, you’ll find it all on the Cape. Whether you’re here for a day or several, spend some time touring a few of these places on your getaway!
Here Are Our Favorite Cape Cod Historical Sites
Our coastal communities played a vital role in American history and preserved its significance in these Cape Cod historical sites. As a result, each of these spectacular destinations highlights a distinct feature of our intricate past. Here are our recommendations for the best sites to visit!
- Edward Gorey House – In 1979, Edward Gorey purchased the 200-year-old home on Strawberry Lane that previously belonged to a sea captain. Gorey lived in the home for more than 20 years, working as an American author, illustrator, playwright, and animal welfare advocate. After Gorey’s death in 2000, his home was transformed into a museum dedicated to his work and devotion to animal welfare. Today, the Edward Gorey House and its exhibits are open for the public to explore.
- Hoxie House – One of the oldest homes on Cape Cod, Hoxie House offers a glimpse of what life was like in Sandwich in the 17th century. Inside the home, you can discover a variety of artifacts from the era. Several pieces come from well-known whaling captain, Abraham Hoxie, who purchased the home in the 1850’s. You’ll be fascinated with the home’s unique features and interesting history!
- Crosby Mansion – The Crosby Mansion preserves the grand elegance and intricate craftsmanship of 19th-century Cape Cod. Located in nearby Brewster, this home was formerly known as “Tawasentha,” after Longfellow’s poem, “Song of Hiawatha.” Open for tours several times throughout the year, you’ll have the opportunity to explore all 35 rooms of this immaculate mansion overlooking the Bay!
- Captain Bangs Hallet House – The Captain Bangs Hallet House Museum is a 19th-century, historical sea captain’s home that’s been converted into a fascinating museum. Arranged as if the captain was just returning from his voyage to China, the house provides an intimate glimpse into the seafaring lifestyle of the past. During your visit, an expert guide will lead you through the home and tell stories about the captain’s heart-pumping adventures at sea.
- Winslow Crocker House – The Winslow Crocker House, built in 1780, wasn’t originally located at 250 Maine Street on the Old King’s Highway, where it resides now. In fact, over the course of ten months, the entire house was taken down, beam by beam, and reassembled six miles down the road. This was the work of Mary Thacher, who requested the home be moved in 1936 to sit next to her ancestral home in Yarmouth Port. Aside from an interesting story, you’ll find a significant collection of Thacher’s handbuilt antique furniture when you visit the Winslow Crocker House!
- Cultural Center of Cape Cod – Experience the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, right across the street from the Captain Farris House! What was once the Bass River Saving Bank, this wonderful attraction is now a haven for theatre and art lovers with a selection of outstanding productions. In addition, you can take a cooking class, see seasonal exhibits, or attend a special event!
- Highfield Hall & Gardens – Located in Falmouth, Highfield Hall & Gardens is a popular cultural center and thriving historical landmark. You can learn about the unique history of the building, explore acres of nature trails, stroll through beautiful gardens, and attend fun events at Highfield Hall! One of our favorite things to do at the 19th-century estate is attending a cooking class!
Historic Walking Areas & Tours
- Cornelia Carey Sanctuary (The Knob) – Cornelia Carey Sanctuary is a beautiful, historical walking area with nature trails along the beach. Located in Falmouth, the walking area has two trails that wind through the woods and along the water, bringing you to the Knob, where you can see for miles. For a shorter walk, choose the trail on the right! Just under one mile from the start to the Knob, the trails at Cornelia Carey Sanctuary are perfect for casual meandering and admiring the views.
- Captain’s Mile on Old King’s Highway (Route 6A) – For some of the best views of historical Cape Cod sea captains’ homes, walk along the Captain’s Mile. As you make your way along this scenic stretch, you’ll get a glimpse into the life of some of the Cape’s past and prominent seafaring captains. Take a look at this Captain’s Mile self-guided tour for more information about the walk! The Captain’s Mile is located in the village of Yarmouth Port.
- Bass River Village, South Yarmouth – Once occupied by the native Pawkannawkut Indians of South Yarmouth, Bass River Village is home to more than 50 structures built before the 1900’s. By the turn of the 19th century, the village developed a maritime economy and became one of the main economic centers of Barnstable. You can see evidence of Bass River Village’s historic past as you stroll along Old Main Street and through the historic district. For more information, see the Bass River Village self-guided walking tour created by the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth.
For even more Cape Cod walking tours, visit the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth’s website. You can spend one afternoon or several days strolling through our historic peninsula!
Monuments & Statues
- John F. Kennedy Memorial – When you visit the all-American town of Hyannis, you’ll find this patriotic community memorializing the presence of late President John F. Kennedy. Here, you can view the serene JFK Memorial that overlooks Lewis Bay and stroll through the surrounding landscaped gardens. Afterward, visit the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum for an in-depth look into the private, public, and political life of this beloved Commander and Chief. You can also drive a short distance to the Kennedy Compound or venture down the Hyannis Kennedy Legacy Trail.
- Pilgrim Monument – If you want to know where the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact into law, travel to the artistic haven of Provincetown to admire the Pilgrim Monument. As you tour, you’ll see the cornerstone set by Theodore Roosevelt along with many other informative displays in the neighboring museum. We also urge you to walk up the 116-step staircase for unparalleled views of the Harbor and Provincetown!
Providing safe passage to ships entering water off the coast of the Cape, an abundance of lighthouses tower over our picturesque coastlines. Here are some of our favorite lighthouses to visit:
- Chatham Light | Chatham
- Nauset Light | Eastham
- Sandy Neck Light | West Barnstable
- Bass River Light | West Dennis
You can find a complete list of Cape Cod lighthouses here!
In addition to Cape Cod historical sites, there are so many fabulous museums that hold pieces of our town’s rich history. From the intriguing Sandwich Glass Museum to the beautiful Heritage Museum & Gardens, here are the best Cape Cod Museums to experience. You can also view a map and learn more about Cape Cod museums here.
Where to Stay
If you’re looking for the best place to stay with access to the Cape Cod historical sites mentioned above, look no farther than the Captain Farris House. Our beautiful Yarmouth Inn is centrally located on the Cape, providing the perfect home base for sightseeing and exploring.
From the moment you walk into our stunning bed and breakfast, you’ll be taken back to the Victorian era with the beautiful antiques that fill our lobby. We invite you to browse our selection of luxurious accommodations and reserve the ideal one for your getaway. As you walk around our historical home and manicured grounds, you’re sure to feel relaxed on your vacation.
If you’re ready to plan your trip, check the availability of all our accommodations now and book your stay today. We look forward to hosting you this year at the Captain Farris House!