These 20 things to do in Cape Cod when it’s too cold to swim can save your beach trip and turn it into a fun-filled adventure. Traveling during the off-season can save a lot of money but sometimes you take a gamble with the weather. Don’t blow your affordable family vacation budget on expensive activities. This list will help save your trip and your budget as they are great cheap family vacation activities.
Spring break in Cape Cod could be beautiful and sunny or it could be a little cold and windy but regardless it’s likely too cold to swim. Whether you are planning a beach trip knowing it will be too cold to swim or you are hit with unexpected weather, these activities can keep you having fun even without swimming in the ocean. Cape Cod on a Budget is a great vacation even when it’s too cold to swim.
1. Build a Sand Castle or other Sand Sculpture
You can comb through the internet for inspiration and types for building the best sand castles. create a theme. or even build a fort you can sit in. Playing in the sand is fun for all ages including us adults.
2. Foam airplanes is our favorite thing to do at the beach when it’s too cold to swim
There are affordable foam airplanes are one of our favorite cheap travel toys. Kids can spend hours playing with them as they can fly straight or do loop de loops.
3. Go for a Bike Ride near the beach if it’s too cold to swim
Cape Cod has wonderful Bike Trails. There are several that take you past beaches and play grounds. As well as cranberry bogs. We have enjoyed Bike Rides in Cape Cod, Maine, Virginia Beach and some other areas we have traveled to. It’s the perfect activity to do when the weather is a little cooler (and not so much when it’s very hot).
4. Wear a wetsuit or shorty and jump in.
Wetsuits and shortys used to be very expensive. I spend $85 ordering one from England when my son was a toddler because his lips were always blue even when the weather was hot. Prices have significantly dropped and you can find wetsuits for $50 or less. They make a world of a difference and even if the water isn’t freezing they help keep the kids in it longer. Whether at the beach or pool they are wonderful for northeast cooler ocean weather or Florida winters when the sun isn’t as hot as you hoped.
Check out these affordable options:
5. Have a fire on the beach and roast s’mores
Cape Cod is one of few beach destinations that allow campfires on the beach. You also may be able to enjoy one at your beach rental or hotel. We often bring smores kits with us when staying at hotels that often have outdoor fireplaces or pits
6. Play with balls
There are so many sports options you can play at the beach. Football, soccer, dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, or pitch and catch are just a few.
7. Collect and paint shells and/or rocks
Pack a simple watercolor set or even markers and enjoy creating your own masterpieces. Painting shells is a lot of fun. You can also make seashell jewelry windchimes or Christmas ornaments.
8. Play card or board games
My grandmother loved Yahtzee and Backgammon and we always had them in our beach bag. We usually can’t keep the kids still long enough but during cooler weather, it’s perfect for a break.
9. Go for a walk and explore
Taking a walk on the beach can be peaceful and fun. You can look for shells and cool rocks, sharks’ teeth, and other fossils. Cape Cods bay side is wonder for exploring especially when the tide is out and you can see whats been left behind in small tidal pools. You can also explore the Cape Cod National Seashore free entrance with your America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. It’s one of the top National Park Sites in the Northeast.
10. Look for dolphins and other sea life
Where ever you go there’s always nature around us. Look for dolphins or other sea life. Sometimes we even encourage the kids by offering a reward for whoever finds things first. Cape Cod’s Bayside beaches are fun for finding horseshoe crabs, sea slugs and more.
11. Watch seagulls and other birds
We enjoy watching seagulls and other birds. Sometimes they are stealing food as a beachgoer is trying to enjoy a meal. sometimes they are running from the waves. We have watched babies run around the sand and even had one bold enough to come right up to our beach blanket looking for food.
12. Swim in a Hot tub or Heated Pool
Swimming in a pool especially one that overlooks the ocean can be a lot of fun. If you booked a hotel with a pool or haven’t quite planned your trip yet, it might be a good idea to book accommodations with a heated pool if you are traveling during off-season times when the weather could be really hot or possibly cool. Bring some pool floats to extend the length of time the kids are entertained.
13. Skim Boarding
Skimboarding is a great activity when it’s too cold to get in the water. The boards are more expensive than boogie boards tend to be for a bit older kids.
14. Play Miniature Golf
Miniature Golf is a popular beach activity at any time. When the weather isn’t great it can be busier but if you are traveling during the off-season when crowds are typically lower anyway it probably won’t be too crowded. It’s a fun affordable activity. Cape Cod offers many options for minature golf. Due to traffic I recommend picking one that is near your hotel.
15. Go to the Inflatable Park
The Cape Cod Inflatabl Park is fun for most ages. While there is a water portion there are some dry ones as well. If the sun is hot enough you may not mind a cool off.
16. Play Disc Golf
Some local parks and resorts offer disc golf. It can be a little challenging at first just to understand how it works but overall it’s a fun family activity that can often be free or inexpensive. Burgess Park in Barnstable is free to play disc golf. You can purchase a disc golf starter set on Amazon.
17. Get on the water instead of in the water
Bring your kayaks, paddleboards or rent a boat. If it’s too cold to get in the water you can always get on the water for some fun. We love bringing our inflatable kayaks and paddle board when we travel. While we won’t take them in the ocean there are often calmer places to kayak near the ocean. We loved kayaking the marshes of Cape Cod.
18. Go Fishing, Clamming, Scalloping or Crabbing
My kids love fishing. If you bring your own equipment it can be more affordable but make sure you follow local laws and get any permits you may need for fishing in Cape Cod. You can also go shelling in Cape Cod for Clams. You can also charter a fishing trip. Large group trips are more affordable but private tours may be easier to manage the time and go back sooner if the kids need to. You may also be able to rent equipment to fish from the beach or pier.
19. Check out the aquarium or local museum
If you have the ASTC Museum Reciprocity pass, check to see if there are any nearby museums on the list. You may be surprised to find one as there are hundreds located around the world. If not, there’s often an aquarium located near popular beach destinations that can be a fun experience. There are a lot of free or cheap things to do in Cape Cod. You can take a self-guided tour at the Cape Cod Potato Chips factory, visit the Taylor-Bray Farm in Yarmouth Port, Enjoy a costumed guided tours or self-guided scavenger hunts at the Josiah Dennis Manse, or Woods Hole Science Aquarium. The Nauset Lighthouse is also fun to visit.
20. Go for a Hike
There’s often more to a beach town than just the beach. Check out local hiking trails that may offer nice views or fun rock scrambles. You may even get to spot local wildlife. If you have a National Parks pass check to see if there’s a National Park, Forest, or monument near buy. Since there are hundreds there is a good chance there’s one nearby and could be a fun learning activity. Besides Visiting the Cape Cod National Seashore you can also visit the Cape Cod Lavender Farm or enoy a free, guided tour of the 1891 French Cable Station Museum in Orleans. Other great places to visit include Spohr Gardens , National Marine Life Center, ander the trails at the Green Briar Nature Center.
My Favorite off-season resort is the Hyatt Chesapeake.
The Hyatt Chesapeake is a great resort to visit any time of year. It is not on the Ocean but on a river that still looks like you are at the ocean, especially when relaxing in the infinity pool. It has a very small sand beach but loads of available activities. In the spring when the outdoor pools open they are hearted and Maryland tends to get warmer weather sooner than much of the Northeast. The bay is great for water sports but not really for swimming anyway. There’s a nice bike trail there if you bring your bikes or you can rent them on site. The resort includes complimentary miniature golf, disco gulf and has a fire pit where you can roast smores. Just bring your own or purchase onsite (although that is the pricier option.). Rates are very reasonable during the off-season when you factor in all the activities that are included.
20 things to do in Cape Cod when it’s too cold to swim Summary
These 20 things to do in Cape Cod when it’s too cold to swim can save your beach trip and turn it into a fun-filled adventure. If you can plan ahead it’s great to pack some of these for back up but if you can’t there are plenty of options that require no planning or a quick stop at the dollar tree- or better yet $5 and below if there is one nearby.
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