Alert
Close

AARP Family Vacation Photo Contest. See official rules

Highlights

Close
AARP Family Vacation - Photo Contest

 

 

Introducing RealPad

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

 

 

Contests and
Sweeps

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation!

Hawaii, the Grand Canyon or an Alaskan Cruise! No purchase necessary. Ends May 31. See official rules.


 

 

 

 

Military and Veterans Discount

 

 

 

Popular Articles

Viewed

Best Places to Retire 2012

Great Quirky Places to Retire

10 funky and artsy cities that free spirits will love

AARP list of quirky places where you can retire- an aerial view of Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod is a 65-mile peninsula that draws tourists from around the world. — Photo by InterNetwork Media/Getty Images

Cape Cod, Mass.

If you think Cape Cod is a packed tourist attraction, consider that the heart of the tourist season runs only from July 4 to Labor Day. The rest of the year, this collection of towns offers quietude, seaside living and locals who appreciate — and welcome — the whimsy of artists.

There’s a long history of resident artists on the 65-mile peninsula. The playwright Eugene O’Neill and the painter Edward Hopper had houses on Cape Cod. The novelist Norman Mailer is buried here. The comedian John Belushi held and attended famously wild parties on the cape. 

Cape Cod includes the Upper Cape (Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth and Mashpee); Mid Cape, which has the biggest towns — Barnstable and Yarmouth; Lower Cape, which includes Harwich, Brewster, Chatham and Orleans; and the Outer Cape (Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown). Much of the Outer Cape comprises Cape Cod National Seashore.

The proportion of workers who are self-employed (think artists and consultants) is very high. A lot of residents are age 65 and older, and not many are under 35. Massachusetts gives retired public servants something extra: Most payments from public pensions are exempt from the state’s notoriously high income taxes.

A lot of Cape Codders have college degrees, and the peninsula has a large, well-funded library system. But there’s only one full-service campus here: Cape Cod Community College (enrollment 4,500). Top mariners are drawn to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay and some of the world’s best marine biologists hang out at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

You can take classes at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, which also accepts volunteers. Cape Cod has myriad small museums and art galleries and year-round theater companies in Woods Hole, Provincetown and Wellfleet. There’s a school for painters in Provincetown and a dance academy in Barnstable.

Outdoor life here is exceptional. Bicyclists can ride the 22-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail or the 10-mile Shining Sea Bikeway. Kayakers can ply the bays, marshes and sea. Sailors can choose between the relative shelter of Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay or venture out into the open ocean. And there are hundreds of miles of great beaches.

Cape Codders have a long life expectancy and low rates of obesity, cholesterol problems and diabetes. Residents are unlikely to smoke, and most locals eat healthy and get regular exercise. There are also a lot of doctors for such a small, isolated place, but not many hospital beds for 200,000-plus people. 

Cape Cod is buffeted regularly by Nor’easters and feels the occasional hurricane. That’s a good time to close the storm shutters and turn to creative indoor pursuits. 

Next Page: Leafy neighborhoods, outdoor cafes, succulent food and live music. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

1-800-Flowers disocunt membership aarp

Members can save 20% on online purchases at 1-800-Flowers.com.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

membership ancestry

Members save 30% on  a one-year subscription to Ancestry.com.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advertisement

This program is supported by a generous grant from Toyota to AARP Foundation.

*Upon completion, you may be eligible to receive an auto insurance discount. Other restrictions apply.

Consult your agent for details.