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Oysters and Tide Pools: Exploring Cape Cod

What do you think about when you think about Cape Cod? Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably true. Cape Cod is exactly how I imagine it to be. Cedar shingle houses overlooking beaches filled with tide pools and wispy grass. Boats beached during low tide while kids run around looking for hermit crabs. It was all of that and more.

Cape Cod is split up into four different territories, Upper Cape, Mid-Cape, Lower Cape, and Outer Cape, and between these four territories, there are 15 towns and many villages. For our trip to the Cape in August, we decided to stay in Wellfleet located on the Outer Cape. It is a much farther drive out to the Outer Cape but just to see the Cape Cod National Seashore alone is worth it. Wellfleet is a small New England coastal town with a population of only 2,750 but during the summer months, it can get up to six times that. To be honest, I only heard about Wellfleet the year prior when I went to visit my brother for the first time in Boston and we ordered oysters at Neptune Oyster. They had oysters from all over the Cape but for some reason, Wellfleet stuck out to me. If you are ever in Boston and love seafood, definitely stop by Neptune located in the North End. I was lucky enough to eat there my first time in Boston but unfortunately there was a four hour wait this last time. Yes, 4 hours! You put your phone number down and they call you when you’re table is ready (they called my brother at 9:30 that evening).

After our afternoon hanging out on the beach, I wanted to get some fresh Wellfleet oysters. I checked out Yelp and got some recommendations from Instagram and decided on Mac’s on the Pier. It’s located right on the water with plenty of outdoor seating and views all around. We ordered some freshly shucked oysters, fried oysters (cause you can’t have enough oysters) and some fried clam strips. Fresh doesn’t even begin to describe the food there. Everything was amazing and Lyndon even found a pearl in one of the fried oysters! I mean it was tiny, but still.        

After dinner, we walked over to nearby Mayo Beach to go looking for sea life. Mayo Beach sits on the bay side of Cape Cod so the water is a lot calmer and a lot warmer. On average, the bay side is about 10 degrees warmer than the Atlantic Ocean side. It was low tide while we were there so we were in luck with plenty of tide pools to check out. If you look closely in the photographs below, you can see tiny black dots laying in the sand, tons of them… they are all snails! So many snails! We did eventually find some tiny hermit crabs, crabs and some kids found a huge clam. While at the Cape Cod National Seashore earlier in the day, Lyndon went looking for hermit crabs and came up empty handed. Actually, we didn’t see anything on the Atlantic Ocean side besides seals. So if you’re into looking for sea creatures, the bay side might be the better side for you especially if you have small children.

We could see the water slowly creeping back up and low tide was slowly turning into high tide. We spent a good amount of time enjoying the beach and decided to call it a night. Plus Lyndon is a sandfly magnet and was getting bitten up (definitely bring bug spray). I’ve never been to a beach where low tide and high tide were so extreme, it was so cool see. And the fact that we were out during golden hour just made the evening even more special. It seriously felt like a Nicholas Spark movie.

If you’re heading to Boston for a business trip or to visit family, try to add an extra day or two and head out to the Cape. You don’t have to visit Wellfleet but head out to at least one of the 15 Cape Cod towns. I’ve been to Hyannis Port and now Wellfleet and both are beautiful in their own way. And definitely order some oysters and New England clam chowder, you can’t go wrong with either and the oysters alone is worth the trip.

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