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Visitors Guide to Mashpee
Cape Cod's "Hidden Gem" Vacation Town

Considering the town of Mashpee for your Cape Cod vacation home base? Great idea!

Close-up of large, white street sign with black lettering:

While other towns often grab the Cape Cod tourism spotlight,  Mashpee has a "hidden gem" charm that brings in-the-know  vacationers back year after year.

Read on to see why ...

 

About Mashpee, MA

Going back 10,000+ years, the lands that now form the town of Mashpee were home to the Native American Wampanoag people.

Today, the Wampanoags still call Mashpee their home. Their tribal headquarters are here, along with many reminders of their rich history, culture, and contributions to life in Mashpee throughout the centuries.

White building with black shutters, burial grounds with green grass, large trees and old headstonesOld Indian Meetinghouse & Burial Grounds

Mashpee is a perfect balance of residential neighborhoods and rural landscape, woodlands, seashore, and crystal-clear lakes and ponds.

Marshland in autumn colors of red, green and gold, inlets from the ocean, bird house on postNature Reserve at South Cape Beach

The town doesn't have a traditional "downtown". Instead, Mashpee Commons takes on that role.

Green trees and shrubs surrounding a white picket fence with

Centrally located in the town, the Commons is the go-to destination for a shop-'til-you-drop outings, fabulous food, and special activities and events all year round.

(I'll tell you more about activities and events at the Commons in the "Things to Do" section farther down this page.)

Where is Mashpee, MA?

Mashpee is in the southwestern part of the Cape. The town is bordered by Sandwich to the north, Falmouth to the west, Barnstable to the east, and Nantucket Sound to the south.

The town's proximity to the Cape Cod Canal and the bridges to/from the "mainland" makes Mashpee a convenient jumping-off spot for over-the-bridge day trips to Plymouth and to Newport, Rhode Island.

Ferries to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are close by, too, in Falmouth, Woods Hole and Hyannis.

*Read about: Nantucket ferries and Martha's Vineyard ferries

How to Get to Mashpee

By Car

From the Sagamore Bridge: take US-6 east to Exit 59, then stay right for MA-130 south to Mashpee. 

From the Bourne Bridge: take MA-28 south to MA-151 east to Mashpee.

*TRAVEL TIP*

In the summer months, especially on weekends and holidays, it's not unusual for one of those routes (US-6 or MA-28) to be much more traffic-y than the other. So keep an eye on traffic conditions and choose the route that's more free-flowing.


By Air

Cape Cod Gateway Airport in Hyannis is approximately 9 miles from Mashpee. 

The nearest international airports are about 65 miles from Mashpee:

  • Logan International Airport in Boston; and

  • T.F. Green International Airport in Providence, RI.

Rental cars are available at Logan and Green. Or you can take a bus from the airport to the Cape.

Ride shares and limo services will bring you here, too. They might not be the most cost-effective choices, but it sure is nice to have a private driver!  

Read about: Choosing the best airport to fly to.

By Bus

Three bus companies serve Cape Cod:

  • Plymouth & Brockton - from Boston and Providence RI;

  • CapeBus - from Boston; and

  • Peter Pan - from locations in MA, CT, NY, PA, MD and DC.

They'll drop you off in Hyannis or Falmouth. From there, you can take Uber or Lyft or pick up your rental car to travel the rest of the way to your destination in Mashpee.

Getting Around the Town of Mashpee


Driving

To make the most of your time on the Cape, you really do need a car!

If you'll have your own, you're good to go. Otherwise, I urge you to rent a car to use while you're here. 

The nearest auto rental agencies are in Hyannis and Falmouth.


Rideshares

For non-drivers, Uber and Lyft are good alternatives. They're everywhere on the Cape, and their drivers will take you anywhere you want to go around Mashpee and beyond.

Public Transportation

If you're hoping to rely on public transportation to get around in Mashpee, scratch that idea off the list. :(

Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority ("CCRTA") buses do go through Mashpee. But they travel on a fixed route with just a few regular stops in town and limited off-route deviations. 

Suffice to say, public transportation isn't a workable solution for getting around the town of Mashpee for sightseeing and days at the beach.    

*Read about: Getting around Cape Cod without a car.

 


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Mashpee Beaches

Speaking of spending time at the beach ...

What's your pleasure: saltwater or fresh? For days by the ocean or afternoons at a lake, Mashpee's public beaches have all the bases covered! 


Ocean Beaches

I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say that Mashpee has some of the prettiest shoreline on the south side of Cape Cod!

Long, wide beach backed by sea grasses, blue skies with puffy cloudsMid-September on South Cape Beach

South Cape Beach

Great Oak Road
Mashpee, MA

This mile-long stretch of beach is has two sections. One section is managed by the town of Mashpee. The rest is managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

On this diagram, the yellow arrow points to the town-managed beach. The rest (shown in dark green) is state-managed.

Diagram showing South Cape Beach State Park with arrow pointing to Mashpee Town Beach

As a practical matter, the only difference between the "town beach" and the "state beach" is: parking.

There's a town parking lot and a state parking lot here. And each lot has different vehicle parking rules (and fees) in season.

Once there and parked - or if you walk or bike in - everyone is welcome to enjoy the entire waterfront and the many acres of nature habitat and walking trails that abut it.

*See more about: South Cape Beach


Freshwater Beaches

When you're in the mood for a different kind of beach experience, head to one of Mashpee's freshwater lakes or ponds!


Attaquin Park Beach

40 Lake Avenue
Mashpee, MA

Blue sky over a pretty lake, people on the beach, lifeguard seated in umbrella-shaded towerAttaquin Park Beach at Mashpee-Wakeby Lake

Attaquin Park Beach lies on the southern end of Mashpee-Wakeby Lake.

This is a great spot to bring the family! There's a playground and basketball hoop for the kids, a picnic area, seasonal restrooms, and lifeguards in the summer months. 

In season, a resident beach sticker or a weekly visitor's pass is required to park a vehicle in the lot at Attaquin Park Beach.


John's Pond Beach

Back Road
Mashpee, MA

Man seated in a chair on the beach, looking out over pond, blue sky and puffy cloudsJohn's Pond

The public beach at John's Pond is a popular spot for families, too.

There's a kids' play area with slides and swings and plenty of room to run around and burn off some energy. Other amenities include picnic tables, rest rooms, a designated swimming area, and lifeguards (in season).

The parking lot here is pretty decent sized with room for about 50 cars, if my memory serves. In-season parking requires a Mashpee resident sticker or visitor pass.

* Important! *

To get a visitor parking pass for Attaquin Park, John's Pond and/or the town-managed parking lot at South Cape Beach, you must be staying in Mashpee (for example, renting a vacation home in town).

Visitor passes may be purchased online or in person at Town Hall. They're not available for purchase at the beach.

When buying your visitor pass, be prepared to show a copy of the rental agreement for your lodging in Mashpee, along with your vehicle registration.

Want to avoid in-season parking hassles?

Rent a vacation home, cottage or condo that's right at the beach or just a short stroll away.

*Find:  Rentals at the ocean and rentals at a lake or pond.

Places to Visit & Things To Do in Mashpee

Mashpee also has lots of activities and attractions beyond the beach!

Here's a small sampling of fun and interesting places to visit and things do do around town ...


Mashpee Commons

Rts. 28 & 151 (just off the rotary)
Mashpee, MA

Large brick building with steeple and town clock, old-fashioned street lamp, flowering planters on the sidewalkMashpee Commons

As I mentioned earlier, this is much more than just a shopping and dining mecca in town. There are plenty of activities here, too, all year round.

From "paint your own" parties and escape room adventures, to  (free) outdoor movies and concerts in summer, the "Seaside LeMans" kart race in September, and Holiday events in December, there's always something going on at The Commons!

*Read about: Free outdoor movies and concerts in nearby towns.


Cape Cod Children's Museum

577 Great Neck Road South
Mashpee, MA

Looking for things to do with the youngest members of the family? Put a visit to Cod Children's Museum on your list!

Brightly colored museum building and entranceCape Cod Children's Museum

Geared mostly toward ages toddler through about 6 years old, this is a popular place to bring the young 'uns to play, socialize and learn while they're having fun.

*FYI - Thinking of coming on a rainy summer day? Plenty of other families will have the same idea. So don't be surprised if you're not alone! ;-)


Heritage Park

520 Main Street (Rt. 130)
Mashpee, MA

Speaking of kids having fun ...

Fenced-in splash pad with colorful water features, kids playing while parents watchSplash Pad at Heritage Park

There's nothing like a splash pad to keep the kids cool and entertained on a hot summer day!

There's a playground here, too. As well as baseball, softball, and soccer fields, a basketball court, a playground, and picnic tables. New pickleball courts are just across the street.  


Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Museum

413 Main Street
Mashpee, MA

Outside view of museum building and street signMashpee Wampanoag Indian Museum

There's no better way to learn the about the history and culture of the Cape's Wampanoag people than by taking a guided tour of this wonderful little museum!

(*Note: Reservations are required.)

*TIP: Will you be here in April or May? Be sure to check out the herring run adjacent to the museum!


Naukabout Brewery & Taproom

13 Lake Avenue
Mashpee, MA

Entry to Naukabout Brewery & Taproom with  wheelchair accessible rampNaukabout Brewery & Taproom

Craft breweries have become a "big thing" on Cape Cod - and Naukabout Brewery & Tap Room is one of the best (in my humble opinion).

Along with serving up unique craft brews and tasty grub, Naukabout also has a fun-filled entertainment calendar. Live music, movie nights, team trivia challenges, kids activities, backyard games, and lots more ... in a laid-back, family friendly atmosphere overlooking Mashpee Lake. :-)   

Popponesset Marketplace

259 Shore Drive
Mashpee, MA

Large white sign featuring red, pink and brown poppies, gold lettering

This little open-air seaside marketplace is a perennial favorite of locals and visitors alike!

Grab a light bite at an outdoor cafe, or pig out on an award-winning lobster roll. Poke around the cute shops and boutiques. Play a round of mini-golf. Then chill out listening to live music and savoring a gourmet ice cream cone. 

Summer wouldn't be complete without a visit to "Poppy" Marketplace!

Places to Stay in Mashpee

You won't find any hotels in Mashpee. But not to worry! There are plenty of other lodgings to choose from.

Like this VRI timeshare resort that's comprised of free-standing houses nestled in a wooded area near South Cape Beach ...

A no-frills, motel-style inn that's set right alongside Rt. 28 ...

Or an oceanfront, country club resort in the upscale community of New Seabury ...

Mostly, though, visitors to Mashpee opt for a vacation rental. And there are hundreds to choose from

In oceanfront beach communities ...

On freshwater lakes and ponds ...

Or maybe a woodland sanctuary setting is more your style ...

*TIP: If you're planning a July or August vacation, reserve your rental as early in the year as possible for the best selection of Mashpee vacation rental properties!

Blue road sign with gold medallion of the town of Mashpee and white print that says Enjoy Your Vacation in Mashpee!

Visitors Guides for
Other Cape Cod Towns

Barnstable | Bourne | Brewster | Chatham | Dennis | Eastham 
Falmouth | Harwich | Hyannis | Orleans | Provincetown | Sandwich | Wellfleet | Yarmouth

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