Visiting the Cape Cod town of Brewster? Here are the best things to do in Brewster, Massachusetts, plus our favorite Brewster hotels and restaurants.
By Joe Bills
May 18 2022
Please note that many establishments throughout New England have modified their hours and/or operations in response to COVID-19. Please check with individual businesses and organizations for the latest information before making travel plans.
In the flexing arm of Cape Cod, the town of Brewster, Massachusetts, and neighboring Dennis would be the biceps. Protected by the rest of the “arm,” Brewster’s Cape Cod Bay beaches offer water that is often calmer and warmer than on the ocean-facing side of the Cape. Settled in 1656, Brewster is today home to not just beautiful beaches but also classic old sea captains’ homes (many of which now serve as B&Bs or inns) and other historic structures, a bevy of antiques shops, and some of the best restaurants on the Cape. Here’s a look at some of our favorite things to do in Brewster, MA, plus a worthy selection of Brewster hotels and Brewster restaurants.
The coastline of Brewster includes a series of beautiful public beaches along Cape Cod Bay, starting with Crosby Landing to the east and proceeding through Linnell Landing, Ellis Landing, Point of Rocks Landing, Breakwater Beach, Saint’s Landing, Mant’s Landing (Robbins Hill Beach), and Paine’s Creek Beach to the west. A trip to any of these beaches at low tide is a great way to experience the Brewster Flats, as more than a mile of sandbars, clam beds, and tidal pools are revealed by the receding water. Although the Atlantic Ocean is the star of the show, the inland beaches and fresh waters of Long Pond, Sheep Pond, and Upper Mill Pond are rightfully popular as well.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a popular bike path that follows a former railroad right-of-way for 22 miles through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. The trail also accommodates horseback riders, walkers, and runners. The Brewster portion of the trail traverses Nickerson State Park (where there are public restrooms) and runs roughly parallel to Old King’s Highway (Rte. 6A) for a stretch. Bike rentals, food and drink, and beach access are available in multiple locations along the way.
As a museum of natural history, nature education center, and steward of conservation land, the 17,000-square-foot Cape Cod Museum of Natural History hosts displays of local artifacts and traveling exhibits, offers classes and educational programs for children and adults, and conserves some 400-plus acres of natural habitat, including salt marshes, Wing’s Island, and the beach area between Quivett and Paine’s creeks. A full day could be well spent touring the museum’s whale and bird exhibits, walking the nature trails, and enjoying the wildflower garden.
Brewster is home to some notable historic structures, many of which are open to the public. The Brewster Historical Society is a good place to start, since it is now housed in the 1799 Elijah Cobb House on Lower Road. The historical society also maintains the 1795 Higgins Farm Windmill, now located in Drummer Boy Park (where it was moved in 1974). The Brewster Old King’s Highway Historic District includes much of the territory immediately surrounding a 3-mile stretch of Route 6A (Old King’s Highway); among the highlights are the 1881 Old Town Hall, the 1868 Brewster Ladies Library (the first purpose-built library building on Cape Cod), and a cemetery dating back to 1707. The c. 1659 Dillingham House is one of the oldest buildings on Cape Cod, as well as one of its few remaining historic saltbox structures. The mill at the scenic Stony Brook Grist Mill and Museum still operates on summer weekends, when visitors watch the waterwheel turn and purchase fresh-ground corn meal.
For water-based thrills and exercise, SUPfari Adventures offers instruction in stand-up paddling, swimming, floating yoga, and a lot more, as well as on-the-water eco-tours that entertain while they educate. If an afternoon on the links is more your speed, Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club boasts the Cape’s only Nicklaus Design golf course, while the more accessible Captains Golf Course serves up two 18-hole courses that are open to the public. But if the big courses seem a bit daunting, you may opt instead to step up to the obstacles and hazards of Harbor Lights Mini Golf, where you can drown your sorrows in ice cream if you fail to make par. Hook the fish of a lifetime during a day on the seas with Coastal Charters Sportfishing, which specializes in small-group fishing excursions both inland and offshore.
The many excellent restaurants in Brewster, MA, will be a highlight of any trip. Start your day with a stop at Eat Cake 4 Breakfast Bakery, and you’ll never look at baked goods the same way again. For classic oceanside seafood, you’ll be hard-pressed to top Cobie’s Clam Shack, where fried clams, lobster rolls, and juicy hamburgers set the stage for a dessert chosen from more than 30 flavors of ice cream. A converted fish market, the Brewster Fish House has become a dining hot spot; the entrées are fresh-caught and elegantly served, and the lobster bisque and chowder are to die for. Long considered one of the best restaurants on Cape Cod, Chillingsworth has been drawing discerning diners to the 300-year-old Chillingsworth Foster Estate for more than 35 years. Try the multicourse tasting menu in the formal dining room, or enjoy some drinks and a more casual meal in Chill’s Bistro. For dining on the go, check out the specialty sandwiches at Café Alfresco or the fish tacos at Guapo’s Tortilla Shack.
There is no way that you’ll be done exploring after just one day, so extend your visit with a stay at one of the fine Brewster, MA, hotels. In addition to the premier golf links mentioned earlier, Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club offers luxury accommodations, fine dining, and no fewer than five swimming pools. Candleberry Inn has transformed a 1790s “sea farm” into an award-winning inn that has hosted a laundry list of notables over two centuries. The Captain Freeman Inn offers rooms in a magnificent sea captain’s home right on the bay. The Bramble Inn not only has intimate rooms and beautiful grounds but also houses one of the best restaurants in town. Don’t miss the inn’s version of an early-bird special: a three-course meal for $35, served between 4:30 and 6 p.m. each day. The 1801 Old Manse Inn has been home to generations of seafarers and now offers a dozen distinctive private rooms just a short walk from the ocean.
What are your favorite things to do in Brewster, MA?
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.