15 Best Things to Do in Chatham, MA

Chatham, MA

Located on the elbow of Cape Cod and surrounded with water on three sides, Chatham is the easternmost point of Massachusetts.

It provides all the desired experiences you are looking for in a perfect vacation package.

Surrounded by a cold Atlantic breeze, it's a perfect getaway for those looking to beat the summer heat or the chilly cold.

With tons of places to visit and activities to do, Chatham has something for everyone.

Whether you are a sports fisherman, a foodie, a lover of history or simply looking for good times, you will find your place in Chatham.

First settled by English in 1664, it has historically been a fishing community.

Now it's a community of 6,700 year-round residents that have transformed the town into a summer resort area with a variety of exciting outdoor, historic and cultural activities.

With pristine sandy beaches, beautiful seaside lodging, and a lively main street, Chatham offers the quintessential Cape Cod experience.

Let's talk about the top 20 things that you cannot miss out on while in town.

The Beaches

Chatham Lighthouse Beach
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With everything that Chatham offers to its visitors, nothing beats the experience of its beaches.

Miles of pristine white sand beaches with tons of activities to do.

An early start of the day with a long walk on the beach, swimming, and yoga with a beautiful west coast sunrise will take all your stress away.

Most notable beaches include- Chatham Lighthouse Beach, Harding's Beach, Ridgevale Beach, and Cockle Cove Beach.

Chatham Lighthouse

Chatham Lighthouse
Adventures On Wheels / Shutterstock.com

It's an important piece of Chatham's history. Lighthouses have been operating in Chatham for nearly two centuries when president Thomas Jefferson commissioned the first structure to monitor the safety of ships.

While many have been decommissioned some are still active and working.

The current lighthouse was erected in 1877 and still serves as an active US coast guard station.

Fishing, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding

Fishing boats in Chatham
Arthur Villator / Shutterstock.com

If you are a fan of these activities, then Chatham is the place for you.

There are places where you can rent or purchase equipment and go on your personal adventures.

If you are lucky, you may encounter some playful seals.

And if you don't, then don't worry you can book a cruise on one of their seal tours.

Combine with calm waters, Chatham is blessed with scenic views and beautiful landscapes that will surely make your day at sea full of enjoyment and relaxation.

If you are looking for a more intimate experience then Bass River Kayaking is highly recommended.

Biking

The best way to experience the Chatham lifestyle is through a Bike.

If you love biking, Chatham has some of the most beautiful paths, roads, and off-road areas that you can visit on a bike.

You can cruise through the town and experience the main street life.

Or you can pedal out into the wilderness and see the countryside and experience the beautiful Cape Cod scenery.

There are many places where you can rent a bike for an afternoon or for the complete duration of your trip.

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Star fishes at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
Corinneeee / Shutterstock.com

Chatham community has played a great role in the conservation and preservation efforts of their town and nearby areas.

If you are a wildlife and Birding enthusiast, Chatham holds some unique experiences for you.

Spanning over 7,500 acres, Monomoy national wildlife refuge is an important habitat for migratory birds.

It has a unique land topography with both freshwater and saltwater marshes, ponds, and dunes.

There are many beautiful and natural trails that you can stroll on and have an enriched wildlife experience.

Some parts of the refuge are accessible through boats only.

For Shark lovers

If you are a big fan of these magnificent and beautiful predators of the sea then Chatham has something great in store for you.

You can have a chance to experience a great white shark up close.

Yes, you heard it right. Atlantic White Shark Conservancy provides a great opportunity for shark enthusiasts to enroll in their program.

You can become a part of their expedition as they conduct various research out in the sea including tagging sharks.

If you are not up for this challenge, don't worry, Chatham Shark Center provides interactive exhibits and virtual-reality tours to the visitors to get an up-close look at a great white shark.

You can also learn about the history of great white shark research.

Chatham Town Band

Oliver Sacks once said, "I think there has been no culture where music is not very important and central.

That's why I think of us as a musical species". Chatham is known for its signature Band concerts which they have preserved for the past 60 years.

Every year during the summer months at 8:00 p.m. they break out their sheet music at Kate Gould Park on the main street.

Around six thousand people attend these concerts and it's the highlight summer in Chatham.

The concerts are free for everyone and there are no Covid-19 restrictions.

You can go early and buy some famous Chatham candy from Chatham Candy Manor and claim your spot on the grass and enjoy your musical night.

Chatham Anglers Baseball game

For a baseball fan who is visiting Chatham, you need to check out an Anglers game at Veterans Field.

It's one of the 10 teams in the famous Cape Cod Baseball League which has been organized every year since 1885.

The place is close to a ton of eateries which makes grabbing something to eat or drink so convenient.

The best part is that all the games are free to attend.

Golf & Ice skating

Chatham Ice skating Arena
Jfvoll, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If baseball is not your thing, you can try your luck at golf as Chatham has the most beautiful golf course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

But don't be deceived by its beauty as it's beautiful but not easy.

It will surely test your golf skills. And when you get tired of golf and overlooking the beautiful Atlantic, you can come for a spin at the local family-friendly ice skating rinks.

Some notable rinks include- Tony Kent Arena and Charles Moore Arena.

No trip is complete without local cuisines. And if you are a foodie, you may never leave Chatham once you arrive here.

Catch Oysters

Seafood is the name of the game. If you are in Chatham and love seafood, you can be a part of a unique experience of catching and harvesting oysters.

Chatham Shellfish Company provides an interactive tour of their oyster farms and you can learn about harvesting oysters.

There are many famous seafood restaurants in the localities with their ever-changing menus depending on the fish swimming in the bay.

These restaurants include- Impudent oyster, Pisces, and That Talkative Pig.

With a fresh stock of catch every morning, these restaurants offer some best and unique cuisine such as Chatham littlenecks, Wellfleet oysters, and Cape sea scallops.

You will find a whole range of coastal cuisines.

Local Breweries and Bars

No meal is complete without a drink and when you are on vacation, drinks are necessary.

Cape Cod is known for its craft beer. There are many local breweries that beer lovers would love to visit.

Most notably include Hog Island Beer Company which is a must-visit and Cape cold beer.

If you are in the southern part of the town, you can check out Devil's Purse Brewing Company.

Local bars also offer some unique cocktails such as Monomoyo Manhattan.

You can check out Del Mar Bar & Bistro for some unique drink combinations.

Cranberry Bog Tour

A rather unique attraction in Chatham for visitors is the tour of the area's largest organic cranberry bog.

It's a privately owned property and you can spend your day with your family and kids learning about cranberry harvesting and playing with local farm animals.

It is an informative tour that will guide you through the process of growing and harvesting cranberry.

Local Art Galleries

Chatham is home to numerous galleries that will be nothing less than a paradise for art lovers.

You will discover the art of many celebrated local artists each with their own style.

You can start by visiting Steve Lyons Art Gallery. Steve is an international award-winning artist and a creator of some incredible pieces of artwork.

He has some of the most beautiful abstract paintings that you'll find anywhere.

The next stop should be Gallery Antonia which is a must-visit for any art lover.

It is home to a great collection of classical artwork by many regional artists.

Another great stop for art lovers is Struna Art Galleries.

Chatham's Godfrey Windmill

Chatham's Godfrey Windmill
Jerry Johnson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Once common in Chatham, windmills were an integral part of life here.

Godfrey windmill was built in 1797 and it still works today.

It is an important part of Chatham's history and only one of the few that remains in Cap Cod.

It's a must-visit while you are in Chatham. Once you see it, you'll fall in love with it and its history.

Chatham Village Market

They say "To truly see a country, you must visit its villages".

Villages are where the real local life happens. It's where you fall in love with a place and its community.

Apart from all the sightseeing and touristy activity, you must experience the local life of Chatham.

Local flee and street markets are great to visit. Chatham Pier fish market is the place to start with.

It has great reviews and everything you find here will be fresh right from the sea.

The main street is where life happens. You'll find so many bakeries that it'll take you a whole day to visit all of them.

And if your first love is ice cream then trust me, you are in trouble.

Chatham main street is packed with ice cream parlors, and they have some unique and classical flavors for your sweet tooth.

Antique stores

Maybe it's not for everyone but for some it's the whole reason to visit a place.

You never know what you may find. Chatham has some great antique stores.

Mere poking around in them and maybe you stumble upon something great for your taste.

Kahn Fine Antiques is a great place to start if you are on the main street.

It has the original signed documents from the King of England and hundreds of years old weapons. Even if you don't want to buy, you can visit and maybe you'll change your mind.

Next on the main street are Monomoy Salvage and Maps of Antiquity, both are great places to explore.

You can also find some antique stores on Route 6 also.

Eldredge Public Library

To all those bibliophiles, don't worry we haven't forgotten about you.

Designed in Renaissance style, Eldredge Public Library is an architectural masterpiece and an important part of Chatham's history.

You can visit this historic place and even buy books both new and antiques. The library regularly organizes book sales.

Mayo House

A traditional Cape Cod house of 1820. It lies in the middle of Chatham and is a great example of what life was like on the main street in the early 1800s.

It has been beautifully preserved and restored. Best of all, there is no entrance fee.

Museums

Marconi-RCA wireless museum
Jerry Johnson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By now you got an idea about the rich history of Chatham.

Those who want to explore further can start with Atwood House & Museum.

It was built by Captain Joseph Atwood 1750s when he was a subject of George II of England.

This house offers a glimpse into the way of life during the 18th and 19th centuries in New England.

It also features several art galleries. The next place to visit is Marconi-RCA wireless museum.

It has exhibits on earlier day's transistor tubes and similar devices.

You can learn a great deal about the evolution of technology and various devices including smartphones.

For all the train lovers, the Chatham Railroad museum houses some 100 years old cabooses in which you can enjoy a ride. It also has a diorama of Chatham's Yard of 1915.

Nightlife

Travel is tiring and when you are visiting Chatham there is no limit to it.

When you are all done for the day and thinking about a lay-back evening and relaxing.

Chatham Squire is the perfect place for it. It has some of the best eateries in the town.

You can enjoy a great dinner and some drinks with your friends and family here.

There are many bars here that remain open till 1 a.m. if you are looking for nightlife.

You can also visit the Orpheum theater, which's Chatham's oldest and only movie theater.