Chatham, nestled on the elbow of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is a picturesque seaside destination brimming with New England charm, history, and natural beauty. This quintessential coastal town, with its pristine beaches, historic lighthouses, and vibrant community, offers a plethora of activities for every type of traveler. Whether you're seeking a peaceful beach getaway, a deep dive into maritime history, or a chance to explore local arts and culture, Chatham and its surroundings provide a perfect backdrop. Here's a list of the top 12 things to do in Chatham, Massachusetts, and the area around it.

1. Visit the Chatham Lighthouse

A trip to Chatham is incomplete without a visit to the iconic Chatham Lighthouse. Overlooking the Atlantic, this historic lighthouse offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the maritime history that shapes Cape Cod. The lighthouse, still operational, is a beacon for ships navigating the treacherous waters off Chatham's coast.

2. Relax at Chatham Lighthouse Beach

Adjacent to the Chatham Lighthouse, Lighthouse Beach is a serene spot perfect for relaxing, picnicking, and beachcombing. Its expansive sandy shores and clear waters make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun!

3. Explore the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Nature enthusiasts will love the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. This protected area, accessible by boat, is a haven for migratory birds, seals, and other wildlife. It offers unique opportunities for bird watching, hiking, and photography, providing a serene escape into nature.

4. Take a Seal Watching Tour

Chatham's waters are home to a thriving seal population, and a seal watching tour is a must-do. These tours offer an up-close look at these playful marine mammals in their natural habitat, an unforgettable experience for wildlife lovers.

5. Wander Through the Chatham Shark Center

The Chatham Shark Center is dedicated to educating visitors about sharks, particularly the Great Whites that frequent Cape Cod's waters. Through interactive exhibits and educational programs, it demystifies these fascinating creatures and promotes conservation efforts.

6. Enjoy a Performance at the Monomoy Theatre

The Monomoy Theatre, a cornerstone of Chatham's cultural scene, offers a variety of performances ranging from classic plays to contemporary musicals. Enjoy an evening of entertainment in this historic venue.

7. Visit the Atwood House & Museum

Dive into Chatham's history at the Atwood House & Museum. This 18th-century home turned museum showcases artifacts, exhibits, and stories that chronicle the town's past, from its maritime roots to its development as a beloved seaside community.

8. Stroll Down Main Street

Chatham's Main Street is the heart of the town, lined with unique shops, galleries, and restaurants. Spend an afternoon exploring the local boutiques, enjoying the New England architecture, and sampling local cuisine.

9. Enjoy Fresh Seafood at a Local Eatery

Cape Cod is famous for its seafood, and Chatham's restaurants serve up some of the freshest catches around. From clam chowder and lobster rolls to oysters and scallops, indulge in the flavors of the ocean at a local eatery.

10. Take a Fishing Charter

Experience the thrill of deep-sea fishing with a charter trip. Whether you're an experienced angler or trying it for the first time, Chatham's rich fishing grounds offer a chance to reel in species like striped bass, bluefish, and even tuna.

11. Kayak or Paddleboard on Pleasant Bay

For a different perspective of Chatham's stunning landscapes, rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the calm waters of Pleasant Bay. It's a peaceful way to enjoy the area's natural beauty and get some exercise.

12. Cycle the Cape Cod Rail Trail

The Cape Cod Rail Trail extends through several towns, including Chatham, offering a scenic route for cyclists of all levels. The trail, following a former railroad, winds through forests, marshes, and coastal areas, providing a picturesque way to explore Cape Cod.


Chatham, Massachusetts, encapsulates the quintessential charm of Cape Cod with its rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and vibrant community life. Whether you're here to soak up the sun at a beach, learn about local wildlife, or immerse yourself in the arts and culture, Chatham offers a diverse array of activities to make your visit memorable.
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Posted 
Mar 12, 2024
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