Truro and Provincetown, the two towns at the end of the Cape, have long been summer retreats for artists and writers, so they're great spots to take in a show or visit a gallery.
The 22-mile-long Cape Cod Rail Trail through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet provides a wonderful way to check out the Cape. It's paved, fairly flat, and well marked, with room to accommodate runners and walkers, too.
If you want more up-close and personal time with the flora and fauna, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary has 1,100 acres of salt marsh, sandy beach, woodland, and ponds that have created a bird watcher's paradise. There are five miles of scenic trails to explore here, as well as a butterfly and hummingbird garden.
Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard are the two best-known of the region's islands. Nantucket, once the whaling capital of the world, is farthest out and it's still centered on a cobblestone street and shingled houses that exude a historic primness. The land beyond the many stunning beaches is low and rolling, covered with moors and cranberry bogs. Despite the summer crowds, a trip to Nantucket always feels like stepping back in time.
Martha's Vineyard is larger, and even its landscape feels more open. There are a handful of different towns on the island, each with a distinctive character of its own, but all are charming. There's also more variety in the island's landscape-open fields, hills, ancient trees. Both islands are lovely, so the only way to know your favorite is to visit them both.
Most Cape Cod towns and both Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard offer whale-watching cruises, as well as day-fishing trips, but they all offer sunshine, happy memories, and-of course, saltwater taffy.