Cape Cod Travel

5 things to do when visiting Mashpee

Learn about the Wampanoag, hit the beach, and more.

South Cape Beach in Mashpee. Terrie Cook

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Mashpee is the “friendliest” town on Cape Cod, according to Deb Kaye, town clerk for 24 years and resident for 35 years.

“It’s just such a sweet community,” Kaye said.

There are things to do for people of all ages in Mashpee, Kaye said.

“We have restaurants, shops, music,” Kaye said. “You can go to the beach. There’s mini golf. At Mashpee Commons, the rec department does things for the kids. One night a week they have bands that play in the summer, and people can bring their lawn chairs.”

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Kaye offered the following picks for what to do when visiting Mashpee.

Learn about the Wampanaog people

Mashpee is special because it’s home to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Kaye said.

“They are just the nicest group of people,” Kaye said.

The federally recognized tribe, known as the People of the First Light, has about 2,600 enrolled citizens and 150 acres of Mashpee land, according to its website.

Guests can learn more about the tribe at the Mashpee Wampanoag Museum, billed as the only museum devoted exclusively to Wampanoag history.

Inside the museum, guests learn the history and culture of the Wampanoag people from the Stone Age to present day. Visitors can view ancient artifacts such as domestic tools, baskets, weapons, hunting and fishing gear, and more. There’s also a diorama that shows a typical scene from an early Wampanoag settlement.

The one-room Schoolhouse in Mashpee. Richard DeSorgher

Tour a one-room schoolhouse

Visit one of the oldest schools on Cape Cod: the Mashpee One-Room Schoolhouse.

The schoolhouse was built in 1831 and is where Wamponoag children in South Mashpee were educated through 1901. The structure was moved to Mashpee Community Park in 2008. Visitors can learn about Mashpee’s Native American history as well as what a typical school day was like for children in the schoolhouse in the 1800s.

“We have people from the archives who dress up in that era of clothing,” Kaye said. “They absolutely love, love giving these tours and teaching non tribal members what people of this town went through.”

Hang out at Mashpee Commons

There is always something happening at Mashpee Commons, Kaye said, an open-air shopping center with more than 100 businesses, including restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

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During the summer, Mashpee Commons hosts outdoor movie nights on Thursday nights and live music on Friday nights. A Summer Block Party will take place on July 16, with food trucks, live music, and face painting.

The Lanes Bowl & Bistro is a fun place to hang out, said Kaye. It offers indoor and outdoor seating, bowling, a bistro with locally brewed beers on tap, live entertainment, and an outside bocce court.

“In the summertime, I love going into Mashpee Commons and meeting friends where we can sit outside and enjoy eating, laughing, and people-watching,” Kaye said.

Hit the beach

Kaye recommends visitors check out South Cape Beach State Park, located along the southeast shore of Waquoit Bay.

“It’s gorgeous,” she said of the beach, and noted how soft the white sand is. “There’s a boardwalk that takes you out to a platform.”

Kaye said she has performed weddings at the beach. There are trails for hiking, picnic areas with grills for eating, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset, Kaye said.

Beach goers should know that the beach is also accessible, she said. Sunbathing wheelchairs are available for guests.


Reader recommendations

“The most beautiful town in the Cape,” wrote @steve_parziale

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Food and beverage:

Bleu@laur_gottlieb

Cape Cod Coffee@pat_npup

Naukabout Brewing Company@jvarnet

Polar Cave Ice Cream @allisongilson

The Lure@misscathrynanne

Raw Bar@sunshineandseaweed, @jjmros, @lliu88, @nickgeifman

Siena@auntiejen_reiki

Zoe’s Pizza@cmichienzie

Activities:

B/SPOKE Cape House Studio@laurenhoyerman

Mashpee Commons@jpmuczko, @prepsternewjersey, @tobyjpittman

South Cape Beach State Park@jpmuczko, @jjmros

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