Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod, and is such a fun and charming place to visit. While it doesn’t have as big of a downtown feel as places like Chatham, Falmouth or Provincetown, there are still some awesome shops to explore, incredible beaches, and so much amazing history to experience, including the oldest house on the Cape and a picturesque grist mill in the center of town. With so many things to do in Sandwich, MA, you’ll be anything but bored.
Is Sandwich, MA Worth Visiting?
Sandwich is absolutely worth visiting during your stay on Cape Cod. There are lots of fun things to do in Sandwich, MA including lovely shops, historical sites, museums, great restaurants and insanely beautiful beaches. While it’s one of the towns that’s furthest west, making it harder to visit depending on where you stay, it’s definitely worth the effort.
It may also be worth considering visiting Sandwich on your way in or out of the Cape. You’ll likely have to drive past it each way, so sometimes, I stop and walk around Sandwich on my way home, or on my way in if I arrive before check-in time.
Best Things To Do In Sandwich, MA
Here is my list of all the best things to do in Sandwich, MA, and whether you swing by for just a few hours, or stay in Sandwich during your trip, you’re sure to have an amazing time.
1. Visit Town Neck Beach
One of the best things to do in Sandwich, MA is hit up the beach, and Town Neck Beach is my favorite in this area. Even when you first pull into the parking lot, you’ll be greeted with picturesque Cape Cod landscapes, and amazing views from the stairs leading down to the water.
This beach sits along the Bay is about a half-mile long and has soft sand, making it a perfect place for a scenic beach walk, or camping out all day. It’s good to note that there are no lifeguards on duty at this beach, so if you come with small children, this is something to consider. But because you’re on the Bay, the water is typically very calm. Parking fees will apply in-season.
To access this beach, you can park in two different locations. Google Maps will bring you to the closest parking lot for beach access, but if you want to park at the boardwalk (more on that in the next suggestion!), you can also park there, and walk across the boardwalk to the beach.
2. Walk The Sandwich Boardwalk
The Boardwalk is my personal favorite thing to do in Sandwich, MA. I find the scenery to be so stunning, and because you get incredible views of the salt marshes, and end your walk at the beautiful Town Neck Beach, it provides the best of both landscapes.
During the summer season, parking fees will apply during the day, but after 5p, parking lots no longer collect fees. Between Labor Day and June, there is no fee to park to visit the boardwalk. You can park at either Town Neck Beach, or at the parking lot at the end of Boardwalk Road (Google Maps or GPS will take you there by typing in Sandwich Boardwalk).
Note: As of Summer 2022, the boardwalk is currently under repair and closed. Please check local sources to see if it has opened back up before you make a special trip. From the parking lot at Town Neck Beach, you can still take in views of the boardwalk, as some sections are still visible. But walking on it is currently prohibited during construction.
3. Explore The Heritage Museum & Gardens
One of the best things to do in Sandwich, MA that combines history and beautiful outdoor landscapes is the Heritage Museum & Gardens. With 100 acres of gardens and trails to explore outside, and awesome exhibits inside the museum, there’s so much to experience here.
Outside in the gardens at the Heritage Museum, you’ll find a 200-year old windmill, a walking labyrinth, a treehouse for the kids, a maze garden, and lots of seasonal gardens that feature hydrangeas and rhododendrons.
Inside the museum, you’ll find a hand-carved carousel from 1908, an exhibit featuring automobiles throughout history and rotating exhibits that change each year and season, so there’s always something new to discover.
There is an admission fee to visit the Heritage Gardens and Museum, so be sure to click here for current admission rates.
4. Visit The Oldest House On Cape Cod
Dating back to the mid 1600’s, the oldest house on Cape Cod is called Hoxie House, and this is one of the best things to do in Sandwich, MA when visiting. This old saltbox-style home was actually lived in without electricity or plumbing until the 1950s when it was purchased by the town, and went through some renovations to reflect its original existence from the 17th century.
Now, Hoxie House is on display for all to see to appreciate life back in the day of our first settlers in the region. While this is a small little house, and won’t take long to see, visitors are able to tour in the inside in the summer season, and the grounds are open year-round.
You can either walk to Hoxie House from town center, and it will only take about 5 minutes, or you can drive. There is a good-sized parking area for those who choose to drive.
5. Buy Some Homemade Jam At Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen
A bit off-the-beaten-path in Sandwich is the Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen. Just a few miles outside of the town center, you’ll find this amazing little destination, which is equal parts tranquil gardens, a hands-on jam kitchen, a mercantile, nature center and children’s storybook land.
The main attraction for most visitors will be the jam kitchen and mercantile. The mercantile sells their homemade jams, and visitors can even book a jam-making class in Green Briar’s turn of the century kitchen, making this one of the most fun things to do in Sandwich, MA.
Be sure to also stop by the wildflower gardens just outside the mercantile, and if you have children, visiting the Green Meadow Forest will bring to life the stories and characters from famed children’s author T.W. Burgess.
6. Enjoy A Waterfront Meal At The Fishermen’s View
My favorite restaurant in Sandwich is the Fishermen’s View, and with waterfront seating options, as well as a really cool bar and dining room indoors, this is one of the best things to do in Sandwich, MA.
The Fishermen’s View has an awesome patio out back that sits right on the water, as well as an indoor dining room with tall windows that overlook the water, and a more traditional indoor dining room. The bar is also a really fun place to grab a drink, with all kinds of coastal decor like lobster traps and fishing nets strung from the ceiling.
Besides all that, the food here is awesome. I especially love their lobster roll and their crab stuffed haddock. They also have an extensive sushi menu. Overall, this is a great place for both lunch and dinner.
7. See A Live Glass-Blowing Demonstration At The Sandwich Glass Museum
This may seems like a strange thing to do while on a Cape Cod vacation, but if you’ve never seen a glass-blowing demonstration before, it’s actually a really exciting experience. And you can have that experience here at the Sandwich Glass Museum.
The museum does glass-blowing demonstrations every hour, so you’ll be sure to catch one during your visit. In addition to that, the museum does an incredible job showcasing the town’s history through glass pieces. Sandwich’s history in the glass industry dates back to the early 1800s, and you’ll learn all about why it started here, as well as how it rose to prominence in this little town.
8. Walk Around Dexter Grist Mill
In the center of town, you’ll find the charming Dexter Grist Mill, which feels like a scene right out of a storybook. Built in 1654, and restored in 1961, this is still a working mill, which makes it a really cool thing to witness in person.
Walking up to, and around, the grist mill is completely free, and the grounds are open year-round. To go inside the grist mill, there is a small fee, and you’ll get to see the inner-workings of a fully-functioning mill, and learn about its history, and its importance during the glass-making boom in the 1850s. You can even buy freshly-ground corn during your visit in-season, which comes with the mill’s famous cornbread recipe.
9. Discover New & Old Books At Titcomb’s Bookshop
If you love bookstores, then Titcomb’s Bookshop should be at the top of your list when planning out all the things you want to do in Sandwich, MA. This shop began in an old, abandoned barn, and now thrives as a beautiful three-story bookshop that carries everything from new releases and gifts, to used and rare books and magazines. They also have a Literary Rock Garden, where they invite visitors to write the name of their favorite book on a stone, and add it to the garden.
Throughout the year, Titcomb’s also hosts lots of author readings, discussions, and signings. If you have a favorite local author, I highly suggest you keep an eye out on their website here to see what events will be happening during your visit.
10. Kayak Tidal Flats With RideAway Adventures
RideaAway Adventures takes visitors on a unique adventure through the local tidal flats at East Sandwich Beach, where the tide dramatically changes within just a few hours, offering different experiences throughout the tour. At low tide, you’ll get a chance to be up close to the wildlife that lives within the salt marsh ecosystem, and also have opportunities to see all different kinds of birds while you paddle through the waters.
RideAway also offers kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals, and tours in other locations as well if you’re looking for something a bit different. Your options are endless, as Sandwich is full of kayak launching areas and gorgeous marshes to explore.
11. Take In The Views At Scusset Beach State Reservation
A really fun thing to do in Sandwich, MA is to head to the Scusset Beach State Reservation Park, which offers views of both the Cape Cod Canal, and Cape Cod Bay in one location.
Here, you’ll find a mile and a half of sandy beach to explore, and a beautiful rock jetty, which is an awesome place to watch boats come and go from the canal. This is also a great place to bring a picnic, and camping and RVing are also offered here.
The only downside is that the entry for out-of-state residents is pretty high at $40 per vehicle (as of 2022) if you don’t have an MA license plate. However, if you make a day of it, it will be more than worth it.
12. Get Some Ice Cream At Shipwreck Ice Cream
Often open year-round, Shipwreck Ice Cream is an absolute must when planning out everything you want to do in Sandwich, MA. They serve up homemade ice cream in tons of flavors, and even make their own whipped cream for their hot fudge sundaes. They also have a really big seating area in their front lawn where you can sit and enjoy whatever delicious treat you decided on.
Shipwreck is also located just down the street from Fisherman’s View restaurant, so I usually always plan to save room for ice cream after my lunch or dinner there, and then pop on over to Shipwreck for a cone.
13. Get Some Pizza & Wine At The Brown Jug
The Brown Jug is a really cool place to visit, and I always have to stop in during my trips. It’s a gourmet prepared foods and wine shop that also serves up freshly made pizzas and sandwiches.
Out back, they have a little patio called Vines, where you can order a glass of wine and a fresh slice of pizza (or an entire pie), and enjoy the ambiance while you eat.
Inside, you’ll find a wonderfully-curated wine bottle selection and really cool specialty foods. This is one of those unique places you don’t want to miss during your visit.
14. Explore Sandy Neck Beach
While Town Neck Beach is my favorite because it combines a walk on the boardwalk, Sandy Neck Beach is a gorgeous option as well. With over 6 miles of shoreline to explore, it’s also one of the longest in the area.
The views out here are incredible, and while the sand is a bit more course than Town Neck, it’s a great place to go for a long coastline walk. You’ll have a backdrop of beautiful sand dunes and the gorgeous waters of the bay.
Parking fees will apply in season. Click here for more information on beach parking in Sandwich.
15. Visit The Shops
I really love the beautiful shops here, and visiting them is one of the best things to do in Sandwich, MA. There are essentially two shopping areas in town: one is located in the town center by the Grist Mill, and the other is about a mile from town center in an outdoor shopping plaza called Merchant’s Square. Both areas are great to visit, and if you’re up for the mile-long walk, I suggest you do it that way to see the town as you walk around. There are even some smaller shops along the way to make it worth your while.
Here is a list of some of my favorite shops in Sandwich, MA:
- Wish Gift Co. – A beautifully-curated store with all kinds of gifts and unique finds.
- Salt & Stripes – A really cool branded apparel store. The storefront is very small, but they have some great designs, and everything is amazing quality.
- Modern Vintage – Right next door to Salt & Stripes is Modern Vintage which is a gorgeous housewares and bridal shop (but they have mostly housewares).
16. Taste The Local Beer At Treehouse Brewing
One of my favorite breweries of all time is actually Treehouse Brewing, so this is definitely one of the best things to do in Sandwich, MA. Not only is their beer incredible, but they have an amazing seating area with awesome views of Cape Cod Bay.
Because of their limited availability, they do have a bit of a complicated system in place for visitors (as of 2022), which requires tickets for timed entry, so it’s not a place where you can unexpectedly stop by. However, you can make your reservation online, so it’s really quite easy. This ensures that your visit will be awesome, and that they’ll have everything available for you to try and buy.
17. Spend The Afternoon In Falmouth
Falmouth is a beautiful little town on Cape Cod, but many people miss it because it’s pretty far from all the other towns – except Sandwich. If you plan to base yourself in Sandwich, or want to combine both for a day trip, these two towns are only about 30 minutes from each other.
Falmouth has an amazing downtown area with lots of beautiful shops, amazing restaurants and plenty to do. Here are some of the highlights of the best things to do in Falmouth during your visit:
- Visit Cape Cod Winery
- Explore the shops on Main Street
- Rent a bike and check out the views along the Shining Sea Bikeway
- Walk out to The Knob
- Visit Nobska Lighthouse
18. Feed The Fish At Sandwich Fish Hatchery
A great place to visit in Sandwich if you have children is the Sandwich Fish Hatchery. Admission and parking here are free, and while the hatchery itself is pretty small, children will be excited to see all the fish swim and jump around, and have the opportunity to feed them. Be sure to bring quarters with you to purchase the fish food from the vending machines!
19. Scope Out Cool Finds At The Sandwich Bazaar & Flea Market
For the past 15 years, the Sandwich Bazaar & Flea Market has been regarded as one of the best flea market in all of Cape Cod. In the summer season, you can go hunting for treasures every Sunday from 7a until noon at the Oakcrest Cove Field, which is about a 10-minute drive from town center.
Admission to the flea market and bazaar, as well as parking, are completely free for all.
Free Things To Do In Sandwich, MA
The great thing about all the things to do in Sandwich, MA is that many of them are free, and if you visit after 5p, or in the off-season, you’ll also be able to park at the beaches for free. Below is a list of all the free things to do in Sandwich, MA:
- Walk the grounds of Dexter Grist Mill
- Visit the shops and explore the beautiful side streets on foot
- Walk the Sandwich Boardwalk (parking will be free in the evenings, or all the time off-season)
- Town Neck Beach (parking will be free in the evenings, or all the time off-season)
- Sandy Neck Beach (parking will be free in the evenings, or all the time off-season)
- Explore the grounds of Hoxie House
- Walk around Shawme Lake (start at the grist mill)
- Visit Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen
- Visit Falmouth
- Browse books at Titcomb’s Bookshop
- The Sandwich Bazaar & Flea Market
- The Sandwich Fish Hatchery (cost of fish food is extra)
Things To Do In Sandwich, MA In The Winter
Sandwich is a wonderful town to visit, even in the winter. At Christmas, be sure to check out Shawme Lake, as one of the houses along the lake puts out an adorable little Christmas tree in the pond, which is a very heart-warming decoration to see.
Some of the shops will also be open, so be sure to visit the shops, and take advantage of any of the off-season sales they may be offering.
Parking for the beaches and boardwalk will be free in the winter, and with winter sunsets putting on a beautiful display of pinks and lavenders that time of the year, these are some great places to watch the sky turn colors as the sun goes down.
Fishermen’s View restaurant is also open year-round, and a great place for a warm bowl of chowder on a cold day (especially after a brisk, winter beach walk).
The Sandwich Bazaar & Flea Market is also open in the winter, and moved indoors to the American Legion Hall, making this a great thing to do in Sandwich, MA in the winter.
What Is Sandwich, MA Famous For?
Sandwich, MA is famous for being the oldest town on Cape Cod, as well as Hoxie House, the oldest house on Cape Cod that was authentically restored in the 1950s to showcase the traditional way of living in the 17th century.
Sandwich, MA is also famous as an industry leader in glass-making during the 1800’s, and was one of the first places to produce pressed glass.
Best Restaurants In Sandwich, MA
While I’ve mentioned The Brown Jug and Fishermen’s View already in this post, there are other wonderful places to eat in Sandwich. Here are a few more of the best restaurants in Sandwich, MA:
- Cafe Chew – Perfect for a casual breakfast or lunch, with really good sandwiches (great to bring to the beach!).
- Seafood Sam’s – Really great, casual seafood place with delicious chowder and all the traditional seafood staples you’d want.
- Tomatoes Italian Bar & Grill – Wonderful Italian restaurant with a focus on Northern Italian and Sicilian cuisines. Portions are large, so come hungry!
- Father’s Kitchen & Taphouse – A really great place for comfort food classics like pizza, tacos, poutine, pretzels and burgers, and also has a great beer list.
Where To Stay In Sandwich, MA
Sandy Neck Motel: This hotel is only a mile to Sandy Neck Beach, a 10-min drive into town, and has clean and comfortable rooms that are moderately-priced for a more budget-friendly getaway close to the beach.
Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa: If you’re looking to splurge a bit, then the Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa is a great place to consider. They have an on-site spa, cozy, on-site restaurants, and are located right in the town center for you to walk to the shops and restaurants.
Sandwich Inn & Suites: Another great budget-friendly hotel that’s a short, 5-minute drive to town center. This hotel also offers guests a complimentary continental breakfast, and each room has a microwave and mini fridge.
Not finding something perfect for you? Check out Booking.com! I always use Booking.com to book my hotels and vacation rentals, and I highly recommend using them. They always have the best prices, and do a great job mixing hotels, motels and vacation rentals in an easy-to-use format.
You may also find these posts helpful:
- Best Time To Visit Cape Cod
- Best Lobster Rolls On Cape Cod
- Best Towns To Stay In On Cape Cod
- Best Sunsets On Cape Cod
- Summer In New England: Best Places To Go & Things To Do!
And here are some more Cape Cod town guides you may also find helpful:
- Best Things To Do In Wellfleet, MA
- Best Things To Do In Harwich, 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
That’s A Wrap On The Best Things To Do In Sandwich, MA
And there you have it, all the very best things to do in Sandwich, MA to help you plan your next trip. I really love this little town, and I hope you consider visiting on your next vacation on Cape Cod, if you haven’t already. Between the boardwalk, the beautiful beaches, the lovely shops and the amazing restaurants, it’s always a joy to spend time in Sandwich.