Dennis is a wonderful town on Cape Cod that works as a great home base for a lot of different types of people. Whether you’re a family with young children, or are looking for a romantic escape, or just want a variety of things to do, it really ticks all the boxes. Not to mention, Dennis is home to some of my favorite restaurants and hotels!
This post is all about the absolute best things to do in Dennis, including restaurants, where to stay, and things to do nearby. I’ve been traveling to Cape Cod for years and years, and I often choose to stay in Dennis, so I’m very familiar with it. Let’s get started on planning your own Dennis itinerary!
Best Things To Do In Dennis, MA
1. Explore The Beaches
One of the best parts of any town on Cape Cod is the beaches, and Dennis is no exception. With beaches on both the Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound, both options provide you with calm, warm water, and wonderful sunsets on the Bay side (but more on that next).
I have a few beaches in Dennis that I visit often and love to recommend to folks. The first is Mayflower Beach, which is a pretty popular one to visit, but worth it. Mayflower experiences dramatic tide shifts, and during low tide, you can walk out onto the ocean floor for quite a ways! This beach is also perfect for walking, and for young children, as the surf is gentle, and the sand is very soft.
I also love Sea Street Beach, which is a smaller town beach on Nantucket Sound. This is also where you’ll find the Pelham House Resort one of the best resorts on the Cape (although, the resort has it’s own private beach section, which is a great perk if you’re staying at the hotel). Sea Street is smaller than Mayflower, but still lovely, and typically has warm water and gentle surf.
These are some more great beaches in Dennis to check out:
- West Dennis Beach
- Cold Storage Beach
- Corporation Beach
2. Enjoy A Sunset At West Dennis Beach
West Dennis Beach is popular during the day, but where it really shines is at sunset. This is one of the best places in the mid-Cape region to catch a sunset, actually!
Sunset here is absolutely beautiful, and you don’t even have to get out of your car to experience it. Just pull into a spot facing the water, and you can enjoy the show right from your car.
Of course, enjoying the sunset from the shoreline is always best, so I do recommend arriving an hour or so before sunset to enjoy the whole thing, relax, and take in the moment.
3. Dine At The Ocean House
My absolute favorite restaurant in all of Cape Cod is the Ocean House restaurant, and this is most definitely one of the best things to do in Dennis, MA that you don’t want to miss! It’s also a popular restaurant that books in advance, but it’s also easy to make a reservation online.
This oceanfront restaurant serves incredible food and drinks, and is literally overlooking the ocean. They also have a wonderful beach bar outside with awesome water views and more casual dining, and then the indoor dining area is perfect for celebrating a special occasion.
I’ve had so many things from here over the years, and everything has been so good. Between pastas, seafood, pizzas, cocktails, etc., I’ve always been impressed with it all.
To make reservations, you can do so online via their OpenTable link on their website starting 30 days in advance. The beach bar is first-come, first-serve.
4. Get A Cape Cod Sweatshirt (And Tons More!) At Cuffy’s
One of the best places for Cape Cod-branded apparel is right in Dennis at the recently renovated Cuffy’s. If you’re new to visiting Cape Cod, you’ll quickly learn that a lot of people shop here for a specific type of sweatshirt, and getting one is almost like a rite of passage to becoming an official Cape Codder! I mean, not really, but maybe unofficially 😉
Cuffy’s recently renovated their Dennis location (they have a second one in Provincetown), and it’s a true shopping destination with a boardwalk, and different buildings selling everything from their famous apparel to candy, housewares, toys and tons more. It’s such a great place to stop, and this should definitely be on your itinerary.
5. Take In The Views From Scargo Tower
One of the lesser-known thing to do in Dennis, MA is visit Scargo Tower, which offers really nice views of Scargo Lake. The tower is only about 30 feet tall, but since it sits on top of Scargo Hill, it feels like you’re much higher when enjoying the views from the top.
Climbing up the tower is also pretty easy since it’s not that tall. It’s a narrow, spiral staircase inside, and they’ve caged the sides so there’s no danger of falling. If you have a fear of heights, you may want to stay ground-level, but otherwise, definitely climb to the top and enjoy the views!
6. Munch On Homemade Ice Cream At Sundae School
Dennis is also home to my favorite ice cream on Cape Cod – Sundae School. Their Dennis location can be found in the village of Dennis Port, and they serve amazing homemade ice cream, sundaes (of course!), and have allergy-aware flavors, too. They also make their own whipped cream from scratch, and use fresh berries in season on their sundaes.
This place gets pretty crowded in the summer, especially on nights and weekends, so come prepared to wait for parking, but know that it’s worth it!
7. Shop At LaBelle’s General Store
Also located in Dennis Port is LaBelle’s General Store, which is a great stop to make when exploring Dennis. You’ll find more Cape Cod apparel here, in addition to well … just about everything else 😂 That’s a good sign for a general store, of course!
One thing to look for here that’s an exclusive to LaBelle’s is the Jams and Jellies from Beach Plum Kitchen. These are locally-made, and the best flavor (in my opinion) is the Beach Plum jam.
8. Explore The Cape Cod Museum Of Art
One of the best things to do in Dennis, MA for anyone who wants to experience the local art scene is the Cape Cod Museum of Art! This is also a wonderful place to visit on a rainy to gain a new appreciation for the incredible art community the Cape has.
The museum itself is small, but features a rotating collection by local artists, sculptures, and beautiful grounds to explore. The museum shop also has a wonderful selection of pieces created by local artists, which is a great way to get a unique souvenir to bring home.
9. Kayak or Paddle Board The Salt Marshes
There are some insanely beautiful areas and salt marshes to kayak or paddle board through in the Dennis area, so for anyone looking to do some outdoor activities on their trip beyond the beaches, this is one you’ll want to consider.
If you need to rent a kayak or paddle board, Cape Cod Waterways and Bass River Kayaks are awesome places to check out. Most people who rent from them are first-timers, so don’t be shy if you’ve never been! The staff are great at getting you set-up with some tips to get you comfortable out on the water, and these two locations are the perfect launching points in the Dennis area.
10. Get The Best Lobster Roll On Cape Cod
One one of my personal favorites in Dennis! Sesuit Harbor Café has the best lobster roll on Cape Cod, so if you’re looking to try this New England staple during your visit, you’ll want to make sure to swing by.
This waterfront seafood joint is a casual place with picnic tables, and it’s also BYOB. My husband and I love to bring a bottle of wine with us when we dine here.
It’s no secret around the region that Sesuit Harbor Café has a pretty epic lobster roll, so it does get very crowded in the summers, especially around dinnertime. You can expect to wait in line for an hour before ordering, and then it can sometimes be stressful getting a table. However, this is another one of those places that’s worth the wait and effort.
I usually like to try and come at an off time for a late lunch or early dinner. It does usually cut wait times in half, so this is something to consider. I usually try to arrive around 3:30pm or so.
Pro Tip: Sesuit Harbor Café is cash only, so come prepared!
11. Head Out On A Lobster Roll Cruise
Sesuit Harbor Café also offers amazing lobster roll cruises on board their S.S. Lobster Roll! If you’re looking to try one of their famous lobster rolls, and want to enjoy a scenic cruise along the Cape Cod Bay, this is a great option.
There are different options to choose from, including lunch and dinner cruises, as well as a special sunset cruise (which I highly recommend!), so regardless of what time of day you want to go, you’re likely to find one that works with your schedule.
Reservations are recommended in the summer season, but they do allow walk-on’s if there’s space available!
12. Visit Devil’s Purse Brewing Company
Cape Cod is home to some great breweries, and Devil’s Purse in Dennis is an awesome one to check out. Known for their Handline Kolsch, which is a fresh take on a lager, they also have some nice IPA’s to check out.
They have a lovely little beer garden outdoors that’s perfect for enjoying while sipping on their crafts brews, and they also allow you bring in your own food to snack on during your visit.
13. Buy An Authentic Cape Cod Bracelet From The Original Designer
If you’re not familiar with the region, you may be surprised to learn that there’s a piece of jewelry that’s synonymous with Cape Cod – the famous Cape Cod screwball bracelet. It was designed and trademarked by Eden hand Arts in Dennis, MA, and gained recognition when Amy Jo Johnson wore it often on the TV show Felicity.
Now, the bracelet is a favorite amongst locals and visitors, and I also own one and love it. As someone who doesn’t love to wear a lot of jewelry, I’m in love with the simple design, and it reminds me of Cape Cod when I’m not there.
Many stores around New England claim to sell the authentic bracelet, but just know that they’re all knock-offs, and stole the design from the original designer. The only place to buy an authentic one is at Eden Hand Arts. Curious to know more? Click the link below to find out everything you need to know about getting one!
14. Bike The Cape Cod Rail Trail
One of the best towns to start the Cape Cod Rail Trail is Dennis, and more specifically, in the village of South Dennis. Not sure what the Cape Cod Rail Trail is? No worries, let me explain.
This amazing rail trail spans from Yarmouth to Wellfleet for over 25 miles, and is completely paved and easy to cruise along. It passes by salt marshes, ponds, and even Nickerson State Park in Brewster. You can access the trail from several areas along the route, but if you start in Dennis and work your way to Brewster, you’ll pass by the most scenic parts.
If you need a bike to rent during your trip, I love Barb’s in South Dennis. They’re right on the rail trail, so it’s very easy to rent your bike, and immediately head off on your adventure.
15. Enjoy A Round Of Golf
If a relaxing round of golf is what you’re after on your trip, Dennis is home to two courses: Dennis Highland and Dennis Pines.
Both are well-rated championship courses, and have all the amenities you’d need like carts, restaurants and lounges for the perfect day on the green.
Things To Do Near Dennis, MA
While there are so many wonderful things to do right in Dennis, I also wanted to share some of the best things to do near Dennis, MA. Between epic beaches, more cute towns and day trip opportunities, there’s a lot to see close by, and I wouldn’t want you to miss it 😉
16. Stroll Through Chatham
Undoubtedly one of the most charming and picturesque towns on Cape Cod is Chatham, and it’s easy to visit from Dennis. Depending on where you’re staying in Dennis, it’ll be about a 20-30 minute drive away, and you can stroll down a wonderful Main Street with amazing shops, eat at some great restaurants, visit a lighthouse and scenic beach overlook, and admire all the gorgeous cottages.
If you happen to visit in July, this is also one of my favorite towns to see hydrangeas 😍
17. Explore The Brewster Flats
The Brewster Flats are the largest tidal pools in North America, and if you visit at low tide (or close to it!), you can walk over a mile out onto the ocean floor to admire wildlife, and feel as though you’re at the end of the world. It’s really such a cool experience.
While many towns along Cape Cod Bay experience this, including Mayflower Beach in Dennis, the best beaches to visit at low tide are in Brewster. These beaches require permits and beach stickers during the day in the summer season, but you can visit after 4pm when they stop checking for stickers.
18. Visit Harwich Port
One of my favorite towns to visit on Cape Cod is Harwich, and specifically, the village of Harwich Port. This is a neighboring town to Dennis, and easy to visit if staying there. In fact, if you’re staying in the village of Dennis Port, you can drive to Harwich Port in less than 10 minutes.
Harwich Port is home to a cute little Main Street with shops and restaurants, lovely beaches, another Sundae School Ice Cream, and lots of charm. In fact, it was even named one of the happiest seaside villages in the U.S.!
19. Take A Day Trip To Nantucket Or Martha’s Vineyard
While staying in Dennis, it’s pretty easy to hop on a ferry to either Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, and if you have the time in your itinerary, I highly suggest you work a day trip into your plans!
Hyannis is about 25 minutes from Dennis, and from there, you can take either the Steamship Authority or Hyline ferry to Nantucket, or the Steamship Authority to Martha’s Vineyard.
From Harwich Port, you can hop on the Freedom Ferry to Nantucket, which also offers free parking for day-trippers.
Here are some posts on the Cape Cod Islands to help you plan:
- Nantucket Day Trip Guide
- Is Nantucket Or Martha’s Vineyard Better For A Day Trip?
- Martha’s Vineyard Day Trip Guide
- How To See Martha’s Vineyard Without A Car
20. Walk The Bass Hole Boardwalk
Yarmouth is home to the beautiful Bass Hole Boardwalk at Gray’s Beach, and this is just a short 10-15 minute drive from Dennis. This boardwalk stretches about a quarter mile over serene salt marshes, offering amazing views of Cape Cod Bay, and is also a wonderful spot for a sunset.
This is a place I have to visit every time I come to the Cape – I just love how peaceful and beautiful it is, and it makes for wonderful photos.
21. Explore The Cape Cod National Seashore
Last on my list is probably one of the best! Regardless of where you stay on Cape Cod, I always suggest that you visit the Cape Cod National Seashore. This area is located in the outer-Cape region, spanning from Eastham to Provincetown, and is also where you’ll find the most beautiful beaches on Cape Cod.
The National Seashore area is home to 6 beaches: Race Point, Herring Cove, Marconi, Head Of The Meadow, Nauset Lighthouse, and Coast Guard. In fact, Coast Guard Beach is often mentioned in lists on the top beaches in the U.S.!
In addition to beaches, you’ll also find scenic hiking and walking trails here, and Nauset Lighthouse, which is a great place to visit for photos.
Where To Stay In Dennis
Splurge: Pelham House Resort: Oceanfront resort in the village of Dennis Port, with dining (including a rooftop bar), a pool, and private beach access.
Moderate: Bluebird: Cute boutique-style hotel that’s been recently renovated by the Lark Hotel Group (which is known for upscale, unique properties). I’ve stayed within a few blocks on this hotel several times, and it’s a great area that’s accessible to Harwich Port, walkable to Sundae School in Dennis Port, and is close to Inman Beach and Sea Street Beach.
Budget: Kingfisher Motel: This motel is in a great location – just a 5-minute drive to Mayflower Beach, and less than 10 minutes from Sesuit Harbor Café. It’s clean, cozy, and very well priced for the area.
Budget: The Kingfisher Oceanside: This is a wonderful motel owned by the same folks as the one above, and it’s literally steps from Sea Street Beach in Dennis Port. Prices are a bit higher than the one mentioned above, but you don’t have to walk far at all to get to a nice beach or Sundae School Ice Cream. You’re also steps from the Pelham House Resort, or a 10 minute walk from Ocean House restaurant for a nice dinner out.
Dennis is also a great place to rent vacation homes –
Click here to browse vacation rentals in Dennis!
Does Dennis Have A Downtown?
The village of Dennis Port in Dennis, MA has a small downtown area, with shops and restaurants lining Main Street. This is also where you’ll find LaBelle’s General Store, mentioned earlier in the post.
What Is Dennis, MA Known For?
Dennis is known for being one of the most family-friendly places to stay on Cape Cod, and for its variety of things to do. It’s also known for Sesuit Harbor Café, which is often mentioned as having one of the best lobster rolls in New England, and also for its famous Cape Cod screwball bracelet.
More posts you may find helpful:
- Best Towns To Stay In On Cape Cod
- Best Time To Visit Cape Cod & The Islands
- Best Things To Do On Cape Cod For First-Time Visitors
- Best Sunsets On Cape Cod
- Awesome Cape Cod Waterfront Restaurants
- Best Beach Towns In New England
- Most Scenic Cape Cod Walking & Hiking Trails
- Best Places To See Seals On Cape Cod
- Ultimate Guide To The Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches
And here are guides to Cape Cod towns I’ve created you may enjoy:
- Best Things To Do In Wellfleet, MA
- Best Things To Do In Harwich, MA
- Best Things To Do In Falmouth, MA
- Best Things To Do In Brewster, MA
- Best Things To Do In Provincetown, MA
- Best Things To Do In Chatham, MA
- Best Things To Do In Sandwich, MA
That’s A Wrap On The Best Things To Do In Dennis, MA
And there you have it! All my tips and suggestions on the best things to do in Dennis, MA to help you plan your trip. Whether you’re using Dennis as a home base for your vacation, or are looking to visit some of the beaches and restaurants, there’s so much to do here to fill just about anyone’s itinerary.