As the town nearest to the "mainland", Bourne MA has the honor of welcoming thousands of visitors each year to Cape Cod.
The town of Bourne spans both sides of the Cape Cod Canal.
On the north side of the Canal (the "mainland" side") are the more commercialized villages of Buzzards Bay and Bournedale, along with the lovely seaside village of Sagamore Beach.
On the south side (the "on-Cape" side), the vibe is decidedly more rural in the villages of Gray Gables, Monument Beach, Pocasset and Cataumet.
The Canal is that long waterway you see running diagonally across the map, below. I've set the map so you can zoom in [+] and out [-] to view the whole length of the "Big Ditch" and the villages on either side.
Bourne has shoreline not only along the Canal, but also on Cape Cod Bay to the east and Buzzards Bay to the west.
Bourne is about 235 miles from New York City and only 60 miles from Boston MA and Providence RI.
These are some of our favorite things to see and do in Bourne ...
The Cape Cod Canal, the town's "centerpiece", is also the hub of activity in Bourne all year round.
It's the perfect place for walking, biking, and in-line skating. The Canal offers great boating and fishing, too. Plus birdwatching, picnicing, and breathtaking photo opps.
For less active folks, bring your folding chairs and spend an hour or two watching tankers, tugs, cruise ships and pleasure yachts motoring by.
There are access spots and viewing areas along the entire 7+ mile length of the waterway. And rest facilities, too. (Although the restrooms are only open seasonally. During the off season, you're on your own when Mom Nature calls ;-)
Aptucxet Trading Post (24 Aptucxet Road in Bourne) is the site of the first-known business dealings between the native Wampanoags and the Dutch settlers, dating back to the 1600s.
Tours of the Trading Post (a replica of the original), its nature gardens and saltworks, are guided by knowledgable docents who engage children and adults alike in the history of the town and its first European settlers.
Adjacent to the Trading Post is Gray Gables, the private railroad station of U.S. President Grover Cleveland, who had his "summer White House" in Bourne in the late 1800s.
The station houses a nice array of photos and memorabilia of President Cleveland, and the tour guides do an excellent job of bringing the President's days on Cape Cod to life.
Spanning the entire width of the Cape Cod Canal, the Railroad Bridge is the second-longest vertical lift bridge in the world. This engineering marvel is quite a sight to see, and it's especially fun to be there when the bridge lowers for a train to cross.
From late May to early September, you can watch the bridge in operation whenever the CapeFlyer is approaching. A handy parking/viewing spot is at Buzzard's Bay Park on Main Street.
In Bourne, as in every other town on Cape Cod, some of the most interesting sites are the ones you stumble on while you're walking, biking, or driving around town.
For me, finding this tribute to the patron saint of fishermen was one of those "Wow!" moments.
See if you can find it, too, as you explore the town's little nooks and crannies :-)
Hampton Inns & Suites Cape Cod Canal is the new kid in town!
Opened in late 2019, this 100-room hotel sits alongside the Cape Cod Canal on the "mainland" side of the bridges in the village of Buzzards Bay.
I haven't had a chance to visit in person (yet). But the Hampton Inns brand - and the reviews from people who've stayed there - assure me it's a solid choice!
Sorry to say, I can't think of any other hotels or motels in the town of Bourne that I'd feel comfortable recommending.
If you'd like to peruse more Bourne hotel and motel offerings for yourself, here you go.
Okay, now we're getting to the good stuff!
There's a nice selection of vacation rental properties to choose from in the various villages of Bourne. Whether you're looking for a charming and affordable, newly renovated cottage like this ...
... or your entire extended family is coming with you, and you need a home with lots of room and plenty of amenities, like this ...
... you won't be disappointed with the vacation rental options in the town of Bourne, I'm sure!
Do you love camping? Bourne has you covered for that, too!
When you make Bourne Scenic Park your camping "home away from home" on the Cape, you'll be just a few steps away from the Cape Cod Canal's scenic views and fun things to do.
If your tastes lean more toward a "camp resort", Bay View Campground could be right up your alley.
With multiple pools, on-site food and refreshments, fun stuff for the young 'uns, and a dog park for 4-legged campers, Bay View Campground offers it all.
What's the best beach in Bourne for vacationers? Well, that question's not as easy to answer as you might think - thanks to the town's "stingy" parking rules.
If you can walk or bike to the beach, then you're welcome to enjoy any public beach in town. But if you have to drive to the beach ... that's a different story altogether.
The long and short of it is: to park a motor vehicle at the public beaches in town, non-residents must have a special, town-issued parking sticker. And Monument Beach is the only beach in town where those stickers are honored. (Read more about the parking sticker situation here.)
The good news is: Monument Beach is a great beach with pretty views and warm, calm water. Not a bad option at all!
Enjoy your visit to Bourne MA!
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Important: Lodging owners/management may change their rates, discounts, special offers, promotions, services, amenities, dates of operation, availability, etc. at any time, without prior notice, and without my knowledge. Be sure to confirm all details directly with the lodging provider before you make any travel plans!