Things to Do with Kids in Yarmouth

You planned a vacation in Yarmouth with the whole family, but other than spending time on the beach, you’re not sure how you’re going to pass the time. Your kids want to stay plugged into their devices. You want to focus on family time and creating memories to last a lifetime.

Check out our list of fun things to do when you are visiting Yarmouth and Cape Cod with children of any age.

Family of mother and kids enjoying a ride on a public ferry at sunset

Explore the area by land or sea

With water everywhere, you can enjoy a nautical adventure with a sightseeing cruise or a ferry to one of the nearby islands. Or take a drive through quaint towns and villages–an opportunity to encourage younger ones to take a nap while you soak in some of the picturesque views.

Go whale watching

Seeing whales in their natural habitat is awe-inspiring. While there’s no guarantee of how many whales you will see on your excursion, the boat ride alone will take a significant part of your day. Whale-watching trips are generally close to four hours, and you’ll want to leave yourself enough time beforehand for boarding.

Kid fishing

Reel them in with some fishing

The variety of water bodies in Yarmouth provides a wide range of fishing options. Search out a lake, pond, or riverside fishing hole, or take to the high seas for a day of trawling on the open waters. Even if you prefer catch-and-release, a day spent fishing teaches patience and persistence. Plus, it can give you time to slow down, relax, and talk with your kids about anything, everything, or nothing at all.

Get out

Burn off some energy with outdoor adventures. Take in the scenery by biking, kayaking, sailing, or taking a trek on the dunes. Let the kids take the wheel on a go-kart track or cool off at the Wicked Waves Water Park.

Play a round or two

On Cape Cod, you’ll find expertly designed golf courses of all sizes. Not only can you take the whole family mini-golfing on a putt-putt course, but you can play 9 or 18 holes with your older children on links with incredible scenic views.

Step back in time

Explore Yarmouth’s rich history and culture at a variety of museums and historical centers. Visit the homes of notable literary figures, check out sites that recreate the region’s legends and lore, and give your children an education without their even realizing it.

Indulge in a sweet treat

Two ice cream cones

Regardless of how else you spend the day taking a break for ice cream makes everything a little sweeter. Treat the kids to an afternoon snack or delicious dessert. Or, for teens who sleep in all morning, surprise them with ice cream for a late breakfast. It’s sure to create memories they’ll hang on to for years to come.

Cheer for the home team

No tickets are needed to turn out to root for your favorite Y-D Red Sox players. Bring the whole family to watch some of the best collegiate players take to the diamond. You never know when you’ll see a future phenom, like former Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale.

Spend time on the beach

Yes, this one is obvious, but it’s an essential part of a stay in Yarmouth. There are many beautiful beaches with options on both Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound sides. Not only can you go swimming, but you can walk or play along the water’s edge or just listen to the water going in and out. Teaching your children how to unplug and just live in the moment is an essential lesson for the years ahead.

Kids grow from toddlers to teens all too fast. But with our suggestion of ways to entertain your family on the Cape, you’re sure to find plenty of reasons to keep coming back year after year.

This blog is funded through the Town of Yarmouth’s Tourism Revenue Preservation Fund.

Ferry service moving closer to full steam ahead in 2021

After a devastating pandemic that resulted in the lowest ridership in 13 years, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority is banking on a strong rebound this summer, with a return to normal business by fall.

There’s a pent-up demand for travel, said Steamship Authority Marketing Director Kimberlee McHugh, who added that the fervor was evident on Jan. 12 – the first day of online bookings for the 2021 season. “People were flocking to the website to book summer reservations to the islands,” she said.

For trips between Hyannis and Nantucket, the Authority processed 5,151 transactions during the first day of advance internet sales this year, representing $2.8 million in revenue. That’s 434 more trips than customers had booked during the first day of internet sales in January of 2020 – at a time when most people were still unaware of COVID-19.

“Things are looking up,” she said. “We’re obviously not where we were in 2019, but we are definitely on an upswing. And our thought is that by the fall, we are optimistic that we will be back to normal ridership levels.”

McHugh cautions that the Steamship Authority still has pandemic-related restrictions in place, but some of them are likely to be lifted as the state eases limitations on businesses and social gatherings. Gov. Charlie Baker announced earlier this month that the state’s COVID-19 restrictions will all be lifted as of May 29 but masks are still required when using public transportation.

  • You need to wear a mask on the ferry, she said – both indoors and on deck. The Authority keeps a supply of disposable masks available for ferry customers and shuttle-bus riders who do not have a face covering with them.
  • While masks are mandatory, prepackaged food and beverages will be available on several of the Steamship Authority’s passenger/vehicle ferries.
  • The ferry service is still operating at partial capacity, allowing for safe social distancing.  

Across the U.S., the novel coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the travel industry during 2020, resulting in a loss of $1.1 trillion, according to a report released in March by the U.S. Travel Association. The pain was felt in jobs as well, with travel-supported employment losing 5.6 million jobs in 2020, the travel industry trade group said.

The drop in business for the Steamship Authority was significant. Combined ridership on the Hyannis to Nantucket ferries and the Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard ferries had been tracking between 2.8 million to 3 million in recent years, McHugh said. But in 2020, the Authority only reported 2,067,301 passengers.

McHugh speculated that ridership numbers will begin climbing above pre-pandemic levels during the 2022 season.

The Steamship Authority, established by the state Legislature in 1960, runs multiple trips from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard Island and back, as well as a fast and slow ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket. The schedule, which changes throughout the year and ramps up during the busy summer months, can be found at the Steamship Authority’s website.

The fast ferry, M/V Iyanough, is a great option for day trips, covering the 26-mile ride across Nantucket Sound in one hour, which allows more time for exploring the island, McHugh said. The 154-foot aluminum catamaran normally carries up to 400 people, including passengers and crew, but it’s operating at lower capacity to allow safe social distancing. There’s also room for luggage and up to 30 bicycles. The Iyanough features wi-fi service and flat screen TVs. This year, travelers can take advantage of a special $55 day-trip fare, which allows them to travel on the same day, round-trip, Monday through Thursday.

For a more leisurely trip – roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes for the 26-mile ride – choose the M/V Eagle, which carries up to 768 passengers and crew members, along with 52 vehicles. The Eagle allows lots of space on deck and indoors, and also features wi-fi access.

Whether traveling between Hyannis and Nantucket or Woods Hole and Falmouth, the Steamship Authority has recently implemented eFerry Ticketing, a contactless e-ticket system that makes it easier for walk-on passengers. You can buy a ticket online, load it onto your mobile device and scan the device when boarding. The e-ticket systems vary slightly for traditional and high-speed ferries. Find more information on the Steamship Authority’s website.

The Authority is also purchasing new electric buses to shuttle riders from remote parking lots to the ferry. Two environmentally friendly vehicles should be in operation for the 2022 season, McHugh said.

Find general information about parking, remote lots, trips to both islands, and safety requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the Steamship Authority’s website.

Andy Tomolonis is a textbook author, travel writer and freelance multimedia journalist.