Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Dennis Port, MA

  • Published 2022/04/08

The quaint Dennis Port neighborhood is perched on Cape Cod Massachusetts’ Dennis Town in Barnstable County.

Dennis Port is bounded by the Swan Pond River and Upper County on the west, West Harwich village on the east side, and South Dennis on its northern side.

This census-designated area, among other Nantucket Sound villages, is known for its long stretch of sought-after sandy beaches.

Take a dip in the warm coastal waters and get sandy toes on Sea Street Beach, Glendon Road Beach, or Haigis Beach.

Like other parts of Dennis town, Dennis Port features the 1940s ambiance with old-fashioned beach cottages and natural and historic attractions.

With an array of coastal attractions, nature parks, and local museums, Dennis Port is one of Cape Cod’s destinations that features a perfect place to slow down and relax.

Find out the 15 best things to do in Dennis Port, Massachusetts.

Go Sight-Seeing at Scargo Tower

Scenic view of the Scargo Tower

NayaDadara /

Sitting at the top of Scargo Hill in Dennis Village, the Scargo Tower is one of the great spots to unwind and stroll.

The original wooden tower was built in 1874 as a tourist observatory but was destroyed by a windstorm.

The tower was rebuilt in 1876 and named “Tobey Tower.”

Closer exterior view of the Scargo Tower

NayaDadara /

However, the wooden tower was also destroyed when it was burned down in the year 1900.

The current 30 feet high cobblestone tower was built in 1901 in memory of the Tobey family.

Scargo Hill is the highest hill in the area, so you can have an overlooking view of the lower area of Provincetown and the Plymouth area on the far west.

Get in Touch with Nature at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary

Have a uniquely pleasant experience with nature at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, with trails open daily for you to explore.

This 100-acre wildlife sanctuary offers exhibits of rare animal species with its Nature Center projects.

Your family can enjoy the gentle meadow and woodland trails and see the different habitats in the area, which will eventually lead you to the fantastic view of Barnstable Harbor.

Have an amusing time at the Butterfly Mosaic trail, where you’ll be greeted by lovely fluttering butterflies.

You can also meet the busy bees in action at the Bee Observation Hive.

Kids from ages 3-5 can have a fun learning experience with the Nature Preschool Program.

The Nature Play Area, Purple Martin Colony, and Goat Encounter Programs are also great for kids of all ages.

Plunge into the Waters of Sea Street Beach

Rocks along the shore of Sea Street Beach

david lada /

Pitch those beach umbrellas and spread those towels for some beachside relaxation.

You can spend a day just lazing around the soft sands of Sea Street Beach.

This location features a scenic coastal view making it one of Cape Cod’s most popular beach destinations.

Waves of Sea Street Beach

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Its calm, soothing waters are all too inviting for a refreshing swim.

Walk along the wide beachside area or enjoy some family beachfront picnic.

You can avail of paid parking in the area and sanitary facilities during your stay.

Stormy sky over Sea Street Beach

david lada /

Have a Thrilling Nature Escape at Cape Cod Waterways

Cape Cod Waterways have locations in the Swan River and Bass River that feature river activities and wildlife sceneries.

The Cape Cod Waterways’ main activities include boat rides, kayaking, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and jet skiing.

You can also go for a canoe ride, paddleboard, or pedal boat.

Take scenic routes around the Swan Pond and Bass Rivers, and you’ll discover some wonderful wildlife and lines of lush conservation land.

You can also spot some common birds in the Cape Cod area, like waterfowls, hawks, herons, mallards, and geese.

Learn the History of West Dennis Light

The top part of West Dennis Light

Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Formerly known as Bass Light River, the West Dennis Light can be seen standing on the Lighthouse Inn.

Historically, the Bass River area was a significant harbor for fishing boats and ships.

In those times, mariners were only guided by a small light on the upper windows of keepers’ homes.

View of the West Dennis Light above a keeper's house

Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The West Dennis Light was built in 1854 on top of a keeper’s house, which was a typical design of Cape Cod lighthouses.

Get some fantastic snapshots and have a glimpse of the only lighthouse on the peninsula that’s left with this old-fashioned design.

Stay at the seasonal hotel and get a view of the gorgeous coasts of Bass River.

Pay a Visit to Whydah Pirate Museum

Located in West Yarmouth, the Whydah Pirate Museum is an amusing attraction that tells the old tale of Whydah, a vessel seized by the pirate company of Samuel Bellamy, along with the rich treasures it held.

Opened in 2016, the state-of-the-art museum features interesting artifacts and exhibitions of the pirate era.

Take a peek and explore the largest collection of recovered pirate items from shipwrecks.

You can walk through the bell theater room or view a model of the Whydah Gally.

For some mementos, you can find items to bring home from the museum’s gift shop and bookstore.

Make your visit a learning experience by dropping by the SeaLab and Learning Center.

Enjoy Water Activities at Bass River Kayaks and Paddle Boards

Have a great family time and do water activities together at the Bass River Kayaks and Paddle Boards in West Dennis.

You can go for fun water leisure activities like kayaking, kiteboarding, windsurfing, or paddleboarding.

No worries if you’re a first-time paddleboarder because the business offers instructional videos, helpful tips, and tricks to guide you.

You can also rent a jet ski if you’re in for something exciting on the waters.

If you prefer a more laid-back trip and want to see more of the picturesque Bass River area, this attraction also offers boat rentals, cruises, sightseeing, and ferry tours.

Make the Most of the Outdoors at Cape Cod Rail Trail

Distant cyclists along Cape Cod Rail Trail

John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a taste of the outdoors and get to see sights at the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

The 25-mile trail circuit takes you around six towns of Cape Cod, and you’ll also happen to see several places of interest like national and state parks you can check out.

Cape Cod Rail Trail's bike bridge

Jim Bogosian /

You can have some unhurried time strolling or go a bit more active by running or jogging some laps on the trail.

There’s a 22-mile paved trail where you can go for bike rides, skateboarding, or speed up on rollerblades.

You’ll get to appreciate the scenic views around town and, who knows, probably meet some people along the way.

A body of water along Cape Cod Rai

Jim Bogosian /

Discover Facts and Past Events at Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History gives you insights into Cape Cod’s natural history, land, and natural life.

See how the beginnings of Cape Cod settlers and the archeological landscape evolved and developed over the centuries at the Archeology Museum.

You can get some knowledge about the remarkably diverse marine species that thrive in the area through aquarium exhibits.

Watch and observe water creatures like the Grass Shrimp, Moon Sail, the Channeled Whelk, White Perch, and the Waved Whelk, among others.

Get to meet two lovely creatures who were rescued and found their home in the sanctuary – Boxly, an Eastern Box Turtle, and Myrtle, a diamond-back Terrapin.

You’ll also be fascinated with the display of the detailed Bird Carving collection by world-class bird carver Elridge Arnold.

Go over to the Marshview Room, where you can observe the various plants and animals in the ecosystems from the salt marsh, the wooded areas, and the bay and beach right in the museum’s backyard.

If you’re into the study of birds, a visit to the museum’s Preserved Bird Collection or famously known as the Bird Alley would be an extraordinary experience.

Go for Some Art Appreciation at the Cape Cod Museum of Art

Exterior of Cape Cod Museum of Art

SunflowerMomma /

The Cape Cod Museum of Art or CCMoA was founded by Cape Cod artists in 1981.

As the home of Cape Cod Art, it serves as the major art and cultural hub in the region, offering notable collections and programs and preserving art pieces that celebrate the Cape Cod identity.

When you step onto the museum grounds, you’ll see the museum building surrounded by a marvelous Sculpture Garden.

You’ll get to view amazing art creations in the seven galleries, find souvenirs at the museum shop, or have a chance to watch a scheduled show in the film screening room.

Don’t miss to see some collection highlights from Alexander Calder, Morris Cohen’s collection, works of John Joseph Enneking and Joseph Eliot Enneking, and an anonymous gift from Hans Hofmann, the Father of Abstract Impressionism.

Swing Those Golf Clubs at Dennis Pines and Dennis Highlands

Have some tee time and ace your way at Dennis Pines and Dennis Highlands.

Dennis Pines is a prime seven thousand-yard golf course in East Dennis.

This 72-par golf course is known to have one of the toughest layouts there is.

Its twelfth hole is said to be among the most challenging par five ranges even for seasoned golfers.

Another excellent golf course is the Dennis Highlands, located on the north side of Dennis Village.

This par 71 golf course is hailed as a “Crown Jewel” of Cape Cod’s golf courses, offering impressive ranges for practicing golfers and enjoyable gold holes for professionals.

Watch Creativity Unfold at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod

The building facility of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod was established when concerned citizens tried to salvage a vacant bank building in 2000 and raised funding for several years to have it renovated.

Through the generous support of local community government and private foundations and citizens, the facility was extended to serve the public in a greater capacity.

The Cultural Center has world-class learning programs, namely the Simoneau Culinary Arts Center, Alexander Holmes Memorial Recording Studio, the Hilliard Ceramic Arts Studio, the Adams Photography and Digital Arts Studio, and a space for the Cape Cod Wood Turners.

See inspiring artworks from featured resident artists who are always open for public viewing, and you can even meet them personally or watch them create their art pieces.

Want something memorable to take home from your trip?

The Cultural Center has a charming gift shop where you can buy items made by Cape Cod artisans and artists, and surprisingly at a reasonable price.

Learn about the Founder of Dennis Town at Josiah Dennis Manse Museum

Exterior of Josiah Dennis Manse Museum

Thomas Kelley from Boston, MA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dennis Town was originally part of Yarmouth and was settled in 1693 by John Crowe and Thomas Howes.

The seafaring town was separated from Yarmouth and officially incorporated in 1793 and was named after Josiah Dennis, the town’s resident minister.

The saltbox residence of Josiah Dennis is now established as the Josiah Dennis Manse Museum, in honor of whom the town was named.

During your visit, you’ll get to see artifacts of the young Dennis, see antique keepsakes in the children’s room and catch interesting old-fashioned objects at the weaving and spinning exhibit.

You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time with the quiet feeling of the peaceful garden home and the single-room schoolhouse on the museum grounds.

This local historical attraction is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Take a Tour of the Past at Jericho Historical Center and the 1801 Captain Baker House & Barn

An old full cape house in West Dennis, the Jericho Historical Center & Museum was built in 1801 and the residence of the Baker family in the1950s.

The property was purchased by an educator and author named Elizabeth Reynard, who named the house “Jericho” because its walls were falling.

With her cousin, Virginia Gildersleeve, they restored Jericho, which was eventually transferred to Dennis Town in 1962 and recognized as a historical center.

You’ll get to see an assortment of 19th-century antique furnishings, paintings, and textiles.

The adjacent Barn Museum contains a display of old-fashioned farming tools and equipment, remnants of the salt works industry in the 1800s, and an old carriage that was used during races at the Riverside Trotting Park.

One highlight you can have with your visit to this historic location is the cranberry exhibit which shows the two-centuries-old history of cranberry cultivation in Dennis.

Get Some Brilliant Art Items at the Mill Stone Pottery

Avail of assorted creative stoneware items from the Mill Stone Pottery located at Dennis.

You can purchase these splendid clay pieces made with excellent craftsmanship by Gail Turner.

Each item is handmade and crafted with detailed attention so you can be sure that each item is a rare piece and of great quality.

You can choose functional and decorative pottery, from pots to servers and plates, all made with an excellent and careful process.

Visit the Mill Stone Pottery, and you might find something that’s yours to keep.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Let Your Kids Have Some Playtime at Cape Cod Children’s Museum

Have your kids enjoy some interactive play-and-learn activities at Cape Cod Children’s Museum in the Mashpee area.

They have exciting hands-on experiences for young children to spark creative play.

You may even come across an event that you can enjoy with your kids.

If you have a special occasion to celebrate, you can avail of a private rental.

See the Collection of Blooms at the Heritage Museums & Gardens

Visit and see the Heritage Museums & Gardens with its array of colorful blooms like the rhododendrons collections created by Charles Dexter.

You’ll have your eyes set on the vast collections of hydrangeas, and over a thousand varieties of plants from daylilies, herbs, trees, shrubs, and flowers, all welcoming visitors who drop by.

You’ll also get to see the Hidden Hollow, an outdoor area where there’s much to discover, and the Heritage Galleries that houses exhibits like first-class vehicles and American folk art.

Get to enjoy your being a kid at heart and ride a vintage carousel.

Final Thoughts

Dennis Port offers relaxing attractions for your whole family.

Get to enjoy the town’s famous strip of scenic beaches and historic destinations.

This laidback destination is sure to give you a relaxing downtime.

So book your travel to Dennis Port now!

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