Harwich is an adorable little town in the lower Cape region of Cape Cod, and it just so happens to be one of my personal favorites. I love that it has so much to do, but is also smaller and lesser-known than places like Chatham. There is some great shopping to be had here, wonderful beaches and amazing restaurants.
Looking for all the best things to do in Harwich, MA? Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve spent a lot of time here, and am thrilled to share all the the things I love about this cute little town with you today.
Before we start, one fun fact you should know about Harwich is that Harwich Port, a small village inside the town of Harwich, was voted the second happiest seaside town by Coastal Living! And honestly, when you’re there, you really feel it. Have I convinced you to come visit? Or, are you at least a little intrigued? Then just keep on reading 🙂
Best Things To Do In Harwich, MA
1. Head To The Beach, Of Course!
Harwich is home to some pretty wonderful town beaches, and these should be at the top of your list! Along the Nantucket Sound waters, which are usually warmer and calmer than the Atlantic Ocean beaches, you’ll find soft sand, seashells for collecting and lots of shoreline for beach walks.
Best Beaches In Harwich, MA
Bank Street Beach – This is my favorite in Harwich, and I frequent this beach regardless of where I stay when I visit the Cape. The sand here is very soft, and you can walk for quite a bit in either direction to admire gorgeous beach houses.
Red River Beach – Just down the road from Bank Street is this nice, sandy beach that’s beautiful to sit and relax at all day.
Earle Road Beach – In West Harwich, Earle Road Beach is a great option with super soft sand.
Grey Neck Beach – Another great option in West Harwich. Can be a bit seaweedy, but the sand is very soft, and there are some fun rock jettys to explore.
Harwich, MA Beach Parking
The only beaches in Harwich that allow daily passes purchased at the gate are Pleasant Road Beach, Red River Beach, Earle Road Beach, and Long Pond. All others will require a beach sticker. If you’re visiting Harwich for a short time, you can still get a beach sticker for your stay, but you have to pay for a minimum for a week. I do this when I’m on the Cape for a week or longer in the summer, and find it to be well worth it.
One way around this is to stay at a beachfront hotel! I have a few awesome recommendations later in this post.
2. Explore Charming Main Street
One of the best parts about Harwich Port is the cute little Main Street, which has some really awesome shops and restaurants to explore. When I first started coming to the Cape, Harwich’s Main Street was nice, but it has since really upped its game with really wonderful shopping.
While it’s still small compared to places like Chatham and Provincetown, it’s definitely more than worth your time, even if just for an hour or two.
Best Shopping In Harwich Port
Here are some of my favorite shops that I have to visit every time I’m in Harwich Port:
Below The Brine Bookshop – It’s small, but they have the perfect mix of local writers, best-sellers, new releases, art books and a children’s section. I love this little shop, and pretty much always walk out with something.
Murphy’s General Store – A modern take on a classic shopping experience, they have a wonderful mix of everything from records and home decor, to apparel and candy. This is a must!
Say It Sweetly – I mean, it’s an awesome candy store, and you just have to go in and buy stuff 🙂
Buoys On Main – A great little coastal-inspired home goods store that also has accessories, jewelry and a children’s section.
Solis – A really fun clothing and accessories boutique.
Dune Boutique – A great jewelry shop that uses natural elements from the town (like sand) to create beautiful and sentimental pieces.
3. Dine On The Waterfront
There are a couple of really fun places to dine with a water view in Harwich Port: Brax Landing and The Wequassett Resort & Golf Club.
Brax Landing is perfect for a more casual experience and traditional Cape Cod menu. The restaurant sits right on the harbor with lovely views, and they have an outdoor patio with a fire pit as well. The lobster roll is really good here, and they have great seafood dishes, pub food and sandwiches.
For a more upscale experience, you’ll want to head to the Wequassett Resort, and dine at either the Outer Bar & Grille (great for lunch) or Twenty-Eight Atlantic (best for dinner). Both offer water views, and the Outer Bar & Grille has awesome outdoor seating with ocean views. I really love visiting this one for a fancy-ish lunch and cocktails 🙂
4. Hop On The Cape Cod Rail Trail
Harwich has several entrances to the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and this is a great place to start if you’re looking to explore the trail a bit!
If you’re not familiar with the rail trail, it’s about 25 miles long, and runs through 6 towns on the Cape. This completely paved trail takes you through some scenic parts of the region, passing by cranberry bogs, salt marshes and ponds. It’s also generally pretty easy and flat, which makes for an enjoyable and relaxing ride.
If you need to drive to a trail entrance point and park your car, a great place to start is at Headwaters Drive in Harwich, which can be found by typing in Rail Trail Parking Headwaters Drive into Google Maps, or using these coordinates: 41.707384943911975, -70.08384617337146.
5. Taste The Local Wine At First Crush
You can visit a winery in Harwich! While I will be honest, I do prefer visiting Cape Cod Winery in Falmouth, First Crush is still really fun to visit, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re hoping to sip on the local wines during your visit. And the only reason I mentioned I prefer Cape Cod Winery is based on atmosphere alone. First Crush is really fun, but there’s not a lot of atmosphere to enjoy during your visit. They do have some outdoor tables, but it’s a bit more challenging to sit and stay a while, if that makes sense.
That said, they do a nice job with tastings here, and also offer up some really fun and tasty slushy drinks in the summer! Definitely worth popping over for a visit!
6. Visit The Cape Cod Lavender Farm
One of the most fun things to do in Harwich, MA to support a small farm business is pay a visit to the Cape Cod Lavender Farm. While they’re open March-December to sell all their beautiful products in the off-season, peak bloom time for fresh lavender bunches is late-June through mid-July. If you can time your visit just right for peak bloom, I recommend it!
While they don’t offer U-picks, you’re welcome to stroll around the farm, visit the gift shop and explore the nature trails. It’s such a wonderful and peaceful experience. Before you head out, definitely grab some freshly-harvest lavender bunches!
During your visit, be sure to check out their farm store. They make some really nice skincare products (their lavender hand cream is one of their best-sellers), and pick up some things to bring home and remember your trip by.
Editor’s Note: This is a private residence that is graciously shared with the community and visitors, so I encourage everyone to be respectful of their property while you enjoy all its natural beauty.
7. Take The Ferry To Nantucket
Did you know that there’s a direct ferry from Harwich Port to Nantucket? Well, now you do! Rather than driving all the way to the Hyannis ferry terminals, you can hop aboard the Freedom Ferry for a beautiful ride that gets you to Nantucket Island in 1 hour and 20 minutes.
One of the reasons I prefer Freedom Ferry is because they offer free parking for day-trippers right at the terminal, which makes it so easy. If it’s faster for you to get to the Freedom Ferry terminal than Hyannis’ terminal, this will be a big plus for you, as parking at Hyannis can be complicated and expensive. This terminal is also a lot more relaxed and easy to navigate.
Overall, the Freedom Ferry tickets are a bit more expensive than Hyline Cruises, but once you factor in parking, it’s not that much more.
If you’ve never been to Nantucket, I highly encourage you to consider a day trip or getaway to the island! Nantucket is pretty easy to do in a day and is worth the effort. It’s probably one of the more picturesque places I’ve visited on the East Coast.
Here are some Nantucket posts to help you plan and get you in the spirit:
- Nantucket Day Trip Guide
- Is Nantucket Or Martha’s Vineyard Better For A Day Trip?
- How Many Days Do You Need On Nantucket + Things To Do!
- How To See Nantucket’s 3 Lighthouses
8. Explore Bell’s Neck Conversation Lands
A great little park to explore in Harwich is the Bell’s Neck Conservation Lands, and while it’s not large and expansive, it’s a wonderful place for a relaxing walk during your visit.
Spanning over 250 acres, the park has a trail that’s just over 2.5 miles long, and provides really beautiful salt marsh and river views. In fact, during the month of April, you can see a herring run in the river, which is a very cool experience to witness. Every spring, over a million herring in the Cape Cod region swim through the rivers from the ocean, and head back to the salt ponds to breed. The conservation lands has an area at the west trailhead where you can see this happen!
In addition to the beautiful scenery and spring herring runs, this is also an amazing spot for bird-watching. If you’re an avid birder, you’ll want to pack up your binoculars and walk the trail at this park.
9. Get Ice Cream At Sundae School
You definitely can’t visit Harwich and not go to Sundae School! This is one of the most popular ice cream places in the region, and the only other location is in Dennis Port, so you’ll definitely want to hop in line for a cone when you’re here.
Located along Main Street in Harwich Port, Sundae School serves up delicious homemade ice cream that people go crazy for (myself included). They have fun flavors like Shark’s Tooth and Raz-Oreo, and all the traditional flavors like Strawberry and Mint Chip.
And you’ll definitely want to consider getting a sundae if that’s your thing. I’m usually a straight up ice cream in a cone kinda girl, but I do love getting the occasional sundae from here, too. In the summers, they offer fresh blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and homemade whipped cream for sundaes, and it’s absolute perfection.
10. Go On A Seal Tour
If you’re looking to spot some of the cute little guys during your trip to Cape Cod, a great way to do it is with a seal cruise. And with Monomoy Island Excursions, you can depart right from Harwich Port!
During the tour, you’ll learn fun facts about the local seals, and also spot them both swimming in the water, and sunbathing on the shoreline. And, of course, spotting the seals is fun enough, but the cruise is also scenic, so it’s a win-win.
Pro Tip: Even in the summer, it can be colder out on the water, so come prepared with a sweater or jacket. If you happen to own binoculars, it’s also a good idea to bring them to see the seals even more up close.
11. Pick Up A Hand-Crafted Beach Chair
Harwich is home to the awesome Cape Cod Beach Chair Company, and one of the best souvenirs you can leave the Cape with is one of these hand-crafted chairs.
Despite the company beginning inside the owner’s garage, it’s now expanded to a beautiful barn workshop in Harwich, where each chair is made on-site. Using either yellow balau or teak, chairs are also crafted with Outdura and Sunbrella fabrics, so only the very best materials go into your chair. If you’re looking to invest in the only cheap chair you’ll ever need, this is the place to go.
If you’re hoping to use your chair during your whole trip to the Cape, you can call ahead and pre-order them, and have them waiting for you when you arrive. For an extra special gift, you can also have them monogrammed!
12. Enjoy A Baseball Game
The Cape Cod Baseball League has 10 teams that play every season, and you can root for the Harwich Mariners during your stay! The best part about these games is that they’re completely free, making this a great budget-friendly activities for families.
The Harwich Mariners play at Whitehouse Field in Harwich, and during the summers, there are usually 2-3 games per week at the field.
Editor’s Note: While the games are free, this awesome community activity is run on volunteers. If you can spare it, donations are always welcomed and encouraged if you attend a game.
13. Attend Port Summer Nights
Every Wednesday night in July and August, head down to Harwich Port for Port Summer Nights! During these free events, live musical performances set-up around the village for everyone to enjoy. Plan to arrive early, grab dinner and hit up the shops, and then enjoy your night of music!
14. Go Bumper Boating
Need something fun to do with the kids? Head over to Grand Slam Entertainment Park for bumper boats! But in additional to the bumper boats, you’ll also find batting cages, a radar pitching cage, zip lining and a rock climbing wall.
For a unique activity with the kids while at Grand Slam, they also offer a cool “pan for buried treasure” experience. Curious what that entails? You’ll just have to head over and find out! Or, you pop on over to their website here 😂
15. Head Out On A Fishing Adventure
If it’s a fun fishing tour you’re hoping to tackle (pun totally intended) during your trip, Harwich actually has several fishing tours operators. Here are some to checkout:
- Cape Cod Charter Fishing
- Jail Break Fishing Charters
- Cape Cod Sportsmen
- Captain Mort’s Fishtail
Things To Do Near Harwich, MA
While there’s so much to do right in Harwich, nearby you’ll find some things that are very much worth your time. Here are the things I suggest adding to your itinerary if you’re looking for things to do near Harwich, MA.
16. Explore The Charming Town Of Chatham
Chatham is known for being one of the most picturesque and charming towns on Cape Cod, and since it’s only about 15-minutes from Harwich, this is a place you’ll definitely want to visit.
As mentioned earlier in this post, Chatham is an awesome shopping destination with a long Main Street filled with shops and restaurants. It’s also home to Chatham Lighthouse, a beautiful wind mill, lovely beaches and so much more.
One of my favorite things to do in Chatham, though, is to just wander the streets and admire all the beautiful houses. This is especially amazing in July when the hydrangeas are in peak bloom!
17. See The Brewster Flats
While Harwich’s beaches are beautiful, you’ll definitely want to consider heading to the Cape Cod Bay coast, to see the Brewster Flats for yourself. These are the largest tidal pools in North America, and at low tide, you can walk a mile out onto the ocean floor. It’s honestly such a cool experience!
If you can time your visit just right with sunset, you’ll also get a perfect view of the sun going down over the water during your visit.
Some great beaches to visit in this area for both a sunset and the flats are Breakwater Beach, Paines Creek, and Crosby Landing.
Pro Tip: If you’re visiting in the summer season, keep in mind that Brewster beaches require parking stickers to park in their lots. They don’t require stickers after 4pm, though, so I suggest visiting after this time if you don’t have a Brewster beach sticker.
18. Visit Nauset Lighthouse & The Cape Cod National Seashore
One of the things I recommend that everyone sees when visiting the area is the Cape Cod National Seashore. This is where you’ll find some of the most beautiful and iconic beaches on Cape Cod – the ones you’ve likely seen in stock images and postcards!
My favorite beach inside the National Seashore is Coast Guard, but honestly, all of them are worth visiting.
I also recommend checking out Nauset Lighthouse, which you can see if you visit Nauset Lighthouse Beach. This lighthouse is the one featured on the bags of Cape Cod Potato Chips, and is definitely worth stopping to see it in person. Once you’re back home and cruising the chips aisle at the grocery store, and see the cute little lighthouse on the Cape Cod chips bags, you’ll instantly be reminded about the time you saw it in real life.
19. Walk The Bass Hole Boardwalk
Finally, I also recommend driving about 20 minutes from Harwich to see Bass Hole Boardwalk. Located in Yarmouth, this is not only another wonderful sunset spot along Cape Cod Bay, but is also such a gorgeous area with serene salt marshes and wildlife.
The boardwalk itself extends about a quarter of a mile across the salt marshes, and if you visit on a clear day, I do recommend timing your visit with sunset. The sun goes down right in front of you at the end of the boardwalk, and it makes for such a beautiful experience.
Since you’re in Yarmouth, you may as well also hop on over to The Skipper Chowder House for a cup of award-winning clam chowder, and also grab dessert at Cape Cod Creamery! 😉
Pro Tip: Bring bug spray with you! There are usually mosquitos here because of the salt marshes.
Where To Stay In Harwich
If you’re looking to be within walking distance of the beaches and shops (or, at least, a short drive), you’ll want to stay in the village of Harwich Port. This is where you’ll find Main Street’s shops and restaurants. However, if you’re looking for more of a residential feel to live the life of a local, anywhere in Harwich will fit the bill perfectly.
Here are my recommendations to consider when planning your stay in Harwich:
My absolute favorite hotel in Harwich Port is the Inn On The Beach. Located right on beautiful Bank Street Beach, it has private beach access with loungers and umbrellas, and is a very short walk to the shops and restaurants along Main Street. Rooms are beautifully decorated in a relaxed coastal New England vibe, and there’s a fire pit to enjoy at night.
The Wequassett is perfect for those looking for more of a resort feel. This hotel has a great beachfront location, amazing restaurants, beautiful resort grounds, a pool, fire pits and a championship golf course.
This cute little cottages has the whole Cape Cod package – your own hydrangeas in the yard and is walkable to a beach! This cottage sleeps 4 people with 2 bedrooms, has an outdoor shower, a beautifully updated bathroom and is perfectly decorated with coastal New England style.
Whale’s Tale Cottage is a perfect option if you need a little more space. It sleeps 6 people total with 3 bedrooms, and is also walkable to beaches (or a very, very short drive, depending on if you have a lot of stuff to carry). It also comes with a screened-in porch, outdoor shower, an outdoor patio with a dining table and grill, and is decorated perfectly for coastal New England.
Best Restaurants In Harwich, MA
Harwich is home to some pretty amazing restaurants, and I’ve eaten at almost all of them! Here are my picks for where to eat during your visit.
Mad Minnow – One of my favorite restaurants on Cape Cod is Mad Minnow in Harwich Port. After COVID, they added a great outdoor area with a tent for al fresco dining, and everything on their menu is incredible. My favorite thing here is their filet-o-fish sandwich, which is breaded in cornflakes for a super crunchy texture. I also love their deviled eggs, shrimp & crab cake po’ boy, and crab cake tater tots.
Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse – Amazing for a night of Italian cuisine. Their pasta alla vongole is 👌🏻
Mooncussers Tavern – Awesome martinis and wine list, with a food menu that’s equally as amazing.
Twenty-Eight Atlantic & Outer Bar & Grille at the Wequassett Resort – As mentioned earlier in the post!
Brax Landing – As mentioned earlier in the post!
Does Harwich, MA Have A Downtown?
It sure does! In fact, it’s one of my favorites. Towns like Chatham and Provincetown have more expansive downtowns, but Harwich Port has a lovely little Main Street/downtown area with really nice shops and restaurants. It’s on the small side, but it also seems to develop a bit year after year.
What Is Harwich, MA Known For?
As mentioned, Harwich Port was put on the map when Coastal Living named it the second happiest seaside town in the U.S.!
Harwich is also known for having the largest exhibit on cranberry cultivation at the Brooks Academy Museum.
You may also find these posts helpful:
- Best Time To Visit Cape Cod
- Best Things To Do On Cape Cod For First-Timers
- Best Towns To Stay In On Cape Cod
- What To Pack For Cape Cod
- Best Things To Do On Cape Cod For Adults
- 3 Day Cape Cod Itinerary
- Unique Things To Do On Cape Cod
- Things To Do On Cape Cod In The Fall
- Things To Do On Cape Cod In The Winter
And here are more guides to Cape Cod towns you may also enjoy:
- Best Things To Do In Wellfleet, MA
- Best Things To Do In Dennis, 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 Harwich, MA
And there you have it! All the best things to do in Harwich, MA to help you plan your next trip. Whether you’re looking to stay right in Harwich during your vacation, or you’re hoping to swing by for an afternoon to explore the town and beaches, it’s going to be worth every minute you spend in this happy little seaside town!