NANTUCKET, Mass. -- Cape Cod has earned the reputation as one of America's best summer getaways. There are more than 40 golf courses to choose from on the Cape, but it's the beaches, from the tip of the Cape to the sandy shores of the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, that steal the show.
The sand dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore near Provincetown are best explored by a ride with Art's Dune Tours (www.artsdunetours.com). My sunset tour of the dune shacks while watching the sun dip below the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean was one of the highlights of the entire summer.
Whale watching with the Dolphin Fleet out of Provincetown (www.whalewatch.com) is another great excursion into the wild. Tourists flood Nantucket and "The Vineyard" for shopping, dining and the relaxed maritime lifestyle. Renting bikes on Nantucket allows you to explore virtually the entire island, although the excellent Nantucket Whaling Museum (www.nha.org) sits just steps from the high-speed Hy-Line ferry dock (www.hylinecruises.com).
History buffs can visit Plymouth Rock before or after a trip to Cape Cod. The very cool Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org) includes working Indian and Pilgrim villages at one location, a grist mill at another and the Mayflower II docked near the famous rock right downtown.
There's much to love about summer on the Cape, but golfers should know a little secret. Blue Rock Golf Resort Head Golf Professional Patrick Fanning said he believes fall could be an even better time to visit. The courses empty out as the seasonal residents head home, while the courses stay in great shape and the weather remains ideal, all thanks to warm ocean waters, which create a microclimate of milder temperatures than the mainland.
Although many of Cape Cod's best courses are private or require a resort stay, the Captains Golf Course in Brewster is accessible to all. Architect Brian Silva did a nice job intertwining the two layouts, despite designing them years apart. Holes range from 103 yards to 255 yards on the fine par-3 course at Blue Rock, proving that all ages and abilities will love Cape Cod, on and off the beach.