Located on the 22,000-acre Joint Base Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Camp Edwards is the largest training base in the Northeast. Established in 1936, this military training base resides alongside the Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Otis Air National Guard Base, and other federal and state agencies.
The campus is easily accessible from major Northeastern cities including Boston, Providence, Portland and New York City. Located on the upper end of Cape Cod — a popular destination alongside the ocean — there is plenty to do year-round.
Below are just a few of the attractions residents and tourists frequent. Here are our list of 10 things to do near Camp Edwards.
1. Sandwich Glass Museum
Take a stroll down memory lane. The Sandwich Glass Museum collects and preserves relics from the oldest town in Cape Cod — Sandwich. Glass production is a huge part of this town’s story, which is why the museum offers glass making demonstrations and intriguing exhibits to show, rather than tell, this town’s rich history.
Spend an afternoon learning about the color, chemistry and lighting of glass, perusing the contemporary gallery, and even watching a short documentary that brings history to life like you have never experienced before. A perfect outing to spend with family or friends, look out for their seasonal events like the annual PumpkinFest and Glassblowers’ Christmas.
2. John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum
Travel back in time to the golden age of Camelot. The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the legacy of President Kennedy, his family and their deep connection to Cape Cod.
This multimedia exhibit allows the public to peak behind the curtain of the Kennedy legacy through videos and photographs spanning the years 1934 to 1963. Each display reflects a different theme of JFK and his family’s private life on the Cape. Stop by the museum to experience lectures, screenings, book signings and exhibit openings featuring notable speakers!
3. Cape Cod Beer
Enjoy a cold beer at Cape Cod’s highly regarded first brewery. Cape Cod Beer is a fun spot to kick back on a beautiful day and enjoy quality beer tastings, tours and even a retail store. The premises includes a beer garden tent, a spacious taproom, food trucks and a pop-up kitchen in the summer.
Have a birthday party, company outing, or fundraiser coming up? They also offer up their space to book private events. Whether it be a scheduled event or you’re just stopping in, Cape Cod Beer allows you to bring your own food, order in from a local restaurant, or take advantage of the food available on the property.
It can quickly get crowded on a nice day, so make sure you get there early to find a comfortable spot! With over 15 beers on tap at any given time, there’s something for everyone.
Heritage Museums & Gardens
Explore the largest public garden in Southern New England. Heritage Museums & Gardens is located on 100 acres of spectacular grounds on the banks of Shawme Pond in Historic Sandwich. The gardens feature international collections of rhododendrons, the country’s most comprehensive collection of hydrangeas, and thousands of varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers along beautifully paved paths.
Additionally, Heritage regularly hosts exhibitions from leading national museums on themes like history, technology, art and society. Spend the day wandering and learning with a group of friends, or enjoy the scenic views on a date with your servicemember!
5. Nobska Lighthouse
Take in the scenery from this beloved Massachusetts landmark. The Nobska Lighthouse sits on the east shore of Woods Hole Village on Cape Cod. Scenic views from the lighthouse include overlooks of Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard, the Elizabeth Islands, Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds, and Woods Hole Passage. Look through a state of the art, multi-faceted lens that allows visibility over great distances.
Watch the busy boat traffic in and out of Woods Hole harbor and learn about the boats and ships you see passing by. The grounds are open from dawn till dusk, so stop by anytime to enjoy this beautiful spot!
6. Cape Cod Canal
Bask in the sunlight of the Cape Cod Canal. With over three million visitors every year and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this man-made canal serves as the gateway to historic Cape Cod. Get your heart pumping with a bike ride along the 7- to 8-mile adjacent paved route, or take a leisurely walk with your partner on a gorgeous afternoon.
The Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center offers interesting insights into the history and features of the canal, as well as a family-friendly, free museum. Let loose on the interactive exhibits that include boarding a retired 40-foot U.S. Army Corps of Engineers patrol boat, and scanning live radar to locate vessels in the waterway.
7. Hy-Line Cruises
Cruise the canal and enjoy a number of places and activities. Hy-Line Cruises is a family-owned ferry company operating high-speed ferries from Hyannis to Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard.
Take a ferry to explore the beautiful beaches and rich culture of Martha’s Vineyard, or try out deep sea fishing on a nice afternoon. You can even visit multiple islands — on the same day. Hy-Line’s exclusive “Around the Sound” cruise departs Hyannis for a mid-morning arrival, cruises mid-afternoon to Nantucket, and at sun set you’ll sail back towards Hyannis’ twinkling lights.
8. Whydah Pirate Museum
Unleash the explorer inside you. A must-see historical attraction on Cape Cod, the Whydah Pirate Museum’s one-of-a-kind exhibit tells the untold story of the Whydah, from slave ship to pirate ship, which wrecked off Wellfleet in 1717.
Set your sights on 18th-century pirate treasure, weapons, jewelry and clothing that divers and archaeologists have discovered beneath the seafloor. The Whydah Pirate Museum is a great option for groups of all sizes — an adventure is always better with friends by your side! Plus, the museum often hosts events for summer camps, Scout troupes, birthday parties and other functions.
9. Commercial Street
Explore the vibrant side of the Cape. Provincetown, known for its eclectic arts scene and friendliness to the LGBT+ community, is a popular Cape Cod destination for both tourists and locals. As the main street of Provincetown, Commercial Street is the hub of shopping, dining, art galleries and cabarets.
Provincetown’s ample access to the waterfront means you and your family can spend the afternoon on a whale-watching excursion or visiting nearby beaches and the evening exploring Commercial Street — all within walking distance.
10. Pilgrim Monument
Commemorate the Mayflower’s first landing in the New World. Built in the early 20th century by the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association, the Pilgrim Monument and Museum is dedicated to educating the public about Provincetown’s role in Pilgrim history and American history. Today, millions of visitors climb the 252-foot granite Pilgrim Monument to take in some of the most breathtaking views of the Cape.
Looking for a special reason to visit? Each November, the monument hosts one of Cape Cod’s most beautiful traditions: the Annual Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument, which celebrates the Pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown on November 11, 1620.
Enjoy everything that seaside living has to offer when you call Camp Edwards home. From laid-back afternoons on the beach to explorations of our country’s rich history, there’s always a new activity to do or place to see on the Cape.