One of the wonderful surprises that Cape Cod offered us on our first visit was the great diversity of landscape. I think we expected to see beautiful beaches and dunes and not much else. However the kettle ponds, bay inlets, marshes, and wild National Seashore genuinely caught us off guard…and captured our hearts.
So after you have had a few days at the beach, on the kayak, and in the sun, it is rather easy to find another outdoor diversion on Cape Cod. That is truly a remarkable thing to say about a beach vacation.
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, run by Mass Audubon, is the perfect place to visit if you need to stretch your legs after logging in some serious beach time. I would recommend visiting in the morning or late afternoon since many of the high-interest trails are not shaded. It is also best to go at low tide, when you can walk the Boardwalk over the salt marshes to the beach.
The Nature Center has puzzles, books, and lots of tanks full of fish, turtles, and rare blue lobsters. The boys could have spent much more time inside, but we wanted to explore the Boardwalk before high tide rolled in.
Our readers know I love a good scavenger hunt, and the Wellfleet Sanctuary came through with one that kept Max and Theo interested from the beginning to end of our visit. It was great for readers and non-readers alike, offering pictures for the boys to circle as the frogs, flowers, and crabs were spotted.
There are many different options for walks both long and short. We, of course, wanted to go into the salt marshes where the boys could poke around for critters and pretend that the mud was quicksand sucking them into the bay.
The best part about the walk we took was the variety of landscape. We started off in a garden of grasses, shrubs, and trees, then meandered down to a pond full of frogs and lily pads.
Next the path led through a wooded area that opened up every once in a while for some great views of the salt marsh.
Eventually we were on the boardwalk headed toward the bay where we watched fiddler crabs scurry away into their holes and sand crabs float in on the tide.
The Wellfleet Sanctuary is a place that you could return to again and again with your children (or without!). If I lived in the area, I could easily see us visiting once a week. There are so many different high-interest areas to explore and paths to walk, we left feeling like we had only scratched the surface.
Next time we visit, I will look at the activity schedule ahead of time so we can hopefully take advantage of the many kid-friendly programs.
And don’t forget to visit the Marconi Beach Restaurant just up the road for some hearty chow after your visit. If you are bringing along unruly kids make sure to ask for Janine. She’ll take care of you…unless we sent her into early retirement.