08/03/2011 02:15 pm ET | Updated Oct 03, 2011

Family Vacations in Cape Cod: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

Family vacations in Cape Cod can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on pretrip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Cape Cod family vacations.

Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard is a small island a 45-minute ferry ride away from Woods Hole in Cape Cod. This picturesque destination has seven beautiful beaches as well as an upscale shopping center in Edgartown and a fun downtown area in Oak Bluffs full of bars and restaurants. Also available for sightseeing is the Flying Horses carousel, the oldest operating platform carousel in the United States. Martha's Vineyard is a great place for a day's exploration or a weekend getaway.

Address: 509 Falmouth Rd. No. 1C, Mashpee, MA 02649
Phone: 508-477-8600
Hours: Ferries at Woods Hole operate year-round, usually between 6 a.m and 10 p.m. See schedule at Steamship Authority website for specific times.
Price: Adults, $8; children 5 to 12, $4.25; children under 5, free

Coast Guard Beach recognizes Coast Guard Beach as one of America's top 10 beaches. With breathtaking views, soft sand and large waves for surfing, it's easy to see why. If you're lucky, you may spot seals lounging on the beach and enjoying the summer breeze.

Address: Nauset Rd., Eastham, MA 02642
Phone: 508-349-3785
Hours: Parking lots are open daily from 6 a.m to midnight. Salt Pond Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m year-round with extended hours during the summer. Province Lands Visitor Center is open 9 a.m to 5 p.m early May through late October.
Price: Pedestrians, bicyclists, $3; daily vehicle, $15; Cape Cod National Seashore annual pass, $45


Many visitors enjoy the satisfaction of catching and cooking their own fish. Rent a boat at Fishtail Sport Fishing for the day and catch delicious striped bass fish to cook for the family. Also, enjoy the ocean views, the wind and the waves.

Address: Harwich Port, MA. 02646
Phone: 508-432-3783
Hours: Open daily throughout the summer months. Call to book a charter time.
Price: Half day (four hours), $500; three-fourths day (six hours), $700; full day (eight hours), $850

Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises

Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises provide a majestic experience for those who want to learn more about the creatures of the deep. Visitors embark on a three- to four-hour cruise where they can observe humpback, fin and minke whales. On select dates, Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises offer special sunset dinner events that include dancing and live entertainment.

Address: 269 Millway Barnstable, MA 02630
Phone: 508-362-6088
Hours: Cruises are scheduled according to ocean tides, so departure times may vary from day to day. See cruise schedule on website for specific times.
Price: Adults, $47; seniors 62 and up, $40; children 4 to 12, $28; children 3 and under, free

Water Wizz Water Park

Located in East Wareham, Mass., Water Wizz has over 10 rides and attractions, ranging from the Mussel Beach wave pool to the thrilling Hurricane Hill water slide. The Adam Sandler movie "Grown Ups" was filmed at this theme park, and other stars -- Chris Rock, David Spade and Kevin James, to name a few -- have been spotted there as well.

Address: 3031 Cranberry Highway East Wareham, MA 02538
Phone: 508-295-3255
Hours: Open June to September. June 19 to July 3, 10 a.m to 5 p.m. July 4 to August 20, 10 a.m to 6 p.m. August 21 to September 5, 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
Price: Adults, $30; children under 48 inches and seniors 65 and up, $15; children 2 and under: free

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

Learn about Cape Cod's natural environment in this fascinating museum built on 80 acres of conservation land. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History contains two floors of exhibits on whales, indigenous birds, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, frogs, turtles and snakes. Many displays are interactive and kid-friendly.

Address: 869 Main Street/Route 6A, Brewster, MA 02631
Phone: 508-896-3867
Hours: April 1 to May 31, open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m to 3 p.m. June 1 to September 30, open daily from 9:30 a.m to 4 p.m.
Price: Adults, $8; seniors, $7; children ages 3 to 12, $3.50; children under 3 free


ZooQuarium is a great way to interact with some of the mysterious creatures of the deep that live around Cape Cod. Attractions include a petting zoo, tidal touch pool and an educational theater.

Address: 674 Route 28, West Yarmouth, MA 02673
Phone: 508-775-8883
Hours: May 31 to June 30 open daily, 9:30 a.m to 4 p.m. July 1 to September 4, open daily 9:30 a.m to 5 p.m.
Price: Ages 10 years and older: $12; ages 2 to 9: $8; under 2 years: free

What are your favorite vacation spots in Cape Cod?