Healthy Travel on Cape Cod By Tricia Silverman, RD, MBA
If you have never been to Cape Cod or traveled “healthy” on Cape Cod, please consider this jewel destination for your next adventure. My family spends time on Cape Cod each summer, and I find it to be particularly lovely as a travel destination from May through the end of September. When picking a place to stay while trying to keep it healthy, here are a couple of things to consider.
- The proximity to beaches, waterways, sidewalks, and trails
- The benefit of having a kitchen if you rent a home, rather than staying at a hotel.
We have stayed at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club https://www.oceanedge.com/, which is on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a biker’s paradise, and have rented several of the condominiums that are on the property. We have also stayed at numerous homes along the bike trail. One helpful advantage of renting a home is that you have more control over your food options, since you can prepare some or all of your food. This also opens up the possibility of exploring exciting healthy markets such as Rory’s, a healthful natural supermarket with locations in Dennis Port and Mashpee https://loverorys.com/, and various farmers markets across the cape https://ediblecapecod.ediblecommunities.com/shop/cape-cod-farmers-markets. One site that I have found helpful for locating homes to rent on Cape Cod is VRBO https://www.vrbo.com/. You can search for rental homes near the rail trail by putting in the words Cape Cod Rail Trail Rental and the name of the town you want to stay in.
In addition to the Cape Cod Rail Trail, the Cape has other paved trails, as well as plenty of biking all over the island. My family has biked on the Cape Cod Rail Trail countless times. The trail is paved and extends 25 miles from the town of Yarmouth to Wellfleet, with Dennis, Harwich, Orleans, and Eastham in between https://www.mass.gov/locations/cape-cod-rail-trail. One of my favorite healthy stops for food is the Fare and Just Kitchen which a 100% plant-based restaurant https://www.fareandjustkitchen.com/. Many other places along the trail have healthy options on their menus, and I have had grilled chicken with salad at the Pizza Shark in Harwich, as well as at Cobies in Orleans https://cobies.com/.
Another family favorite is the Shining Sea Bikeway, which extends from Falmouth to Woods Hole. One of the highlights of this path are the fun stacks of rocks that people have created along a wide expanse of shoreline– a visual delight that my kids really enjoy. My teenaged son’s favorite bike path is the Canal Bikeway on the north side of Cape Cod Canal. The Canal was built in the early 1930’s and separates Cape Cod from mainland Massachusetts. There are bike paths along the north and south side of the canal. The path on the north side starts at an old, but still functioning railroad bridge that lowers to let trains cross the canal, and lifts to let boats through. It then passes campgrounds and hiking trails, and ends at Scusset Beach, a scenic spot with a lovely sandy shore. This is where I was inspired to strike a few yoga poses on a recent journey. I have shared one of the pics below. When you return to the parking area at the beginning of the trail in Buzzards Bay, there is a fantastic Thai Restaurant named Krua Thai https://www.kruarestaurants.com/, which has lots of delicious healthy options. My family particularly likes a chicken ginger dish that comes with vegetables, and the pad see ew which has tofu, vegetables, and flat rice noodles.
One of the fabulous benefits of a Cape Cod healthy vacation is that you can do yoga on the beach in several locations. As mentioned above, you can strike a pose anywhere you desire, or take a class on the beach. I have taken many classes on South Village Beach in West Dennis with Sasha, and instructors from Sasha’s Yoga and Massage http://zenyogaandmassage.com/. I have found the classes to be truly transformative. They have allowed me some wonderful “me time” amidst busy and cozy family vacations. They have made my body feel stronger, more fluid, and more at peace, helping me to make healthy choices in the hours that follow.
Kayaking is a fun way to stay active. Our family has rented kayaks from 3 spots on the cape, and all have offered beautiful views and make for an enjoyable and active family experience. Provincetown is a must-visit town on the Cape. It is one of my favorite places in the world, and offers eye-dazzling kayak excursions. Provincetown offers fun and funky shops, great restaurants, lots of healthy options, and a lively an entertaining nightlife. I love watching the beautiful performers in the streets inviting people to the evening shows at various venues. Another fantastic way to stay active in Provincetown is to climb up the 252 foot granite Pilgrim Monument. https://www.pilgrim-monument.org/pilgrim-monument/
In addition to Kayaking in Provincetown, my family has rented kayaks at two locations in Dennis, and have relished our experiences at all three of the following locations.
Provincetown Aquasports: https://www.ptownaquasports.com/
Cape Cod Waterways on Swan River: https://www.capecodwaterways.com/
Bass River Kayaks and Paddle Boards: https://www.capecodkayaking.com/
There are many trails and places to walk on the cape to enjoy the scenery. Mass Audubon trails on Cape Cod offer wildlife and bird viewing along hikes of different lengths https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/our-wildlife-sanctuaries/explore-by-region/cape-cod. Hiking in the trails is a shady alternative on days where the sun is shining bright, or works well after a beach day.
With it’s over 500 miles of coast, there are no shortages of places to swim on Cape Cod. One of my favorites is West Dennis Beach because the waves aren’t huge most of the time, and you can take a nice long walk on the beach. To find a beach that suits your needs, check out the Cape Cod Chamber’s beach listings by town: https://www.capecodchamber.org/things-to-do/beaches/
Many cape restaurants have healthy options on their menus. One of my go-to dishes available on most menus is fish with vegetables. I have found some of the healthiest menu options at juice bars both on and off-cape. I highly recommend the following juice bars, where I have consumed tasty smoothies, salads, and hot dishes, as well as other mouth-watering treats.
Viv’s Kitchen and Juice Bar: http://www.vivskitchencc.com/
The Local: https://www.thelocaljuice.com/
Whether you travel to Cape Cod or another happy destination, consider keeping your time away healthy and active by biking, kayaking, hiking, swimming, and choosing restaurants that offer healthy options. Incorporating physical activity into your vacation plans can help you to feel more rejuvenated and refreshed when you return home.
Tricia Silverman is a registered dietitian, fitness instructor, and wellness coach. She is an international virtual and live presenter, and specializes in creating and delivering exciting and engaging group wellness programs. As a coach, she helps people to achieve their nutrition, fitness, and wellness goals through individualized coaching sessions. She is the author of the award-winning international Amazon Bestseller, Healthy Dividends: Investments in Nutrition, Movement, and Healthy Habits that Pay Off. She teaches Nutrition Entrepreneurship and Healthy Aging for Northeastern University, and has recently been promoted to a Faculty Lead, where she helps coordinate the Applied Nutrition Program. She can be reached at www.triciasilverman.com.
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