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USA Radio

Massachusetts: Exploring History and Culture on the Coast

By Claire Duncan

Located on the sparkling Atlantic Ocean, with unrivaled outdoor adventure, unique culture, and gorgeous surroundings, the coast of Massachusetts offers visitors an ideal escape. With Cape Cod’s natural beauty, Plymouth’s rich history, and the unique island charm of Martha’s Vineyard and maritime heritage of Nantucket, there’s so much to see and do.

Coastal Beauty on Cape Cod

At Cape Cod National Seashore, the activities are endless. Whether you’re looking to hike, paddle, swim, or just go for a quiet walk on pristine beaches, the Outer Cape offers adventure for everyone. At Marconi Beach, high atop the lush and sandy cliffs, I take in the jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay. Afterwards, a trip to the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum seems fitting – JFK signed the bill into law creating the Cape Cod National Seashore. At the engaging museum, I discover fascinating stories and photographs of the Kennedys’ memorable time spent on the Cape.

Plymouth: America’s Hometown

A trip to Massachusetts wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Plymouth, where New England was first established. In this beautiful seaside town, I hop aboard the Mayflower II, a full-scale reproduction of the ship that brought European settlers to New England in 1620. Boasting solid oak timbers and hand-coloured maps, the remarkably detailed vessel also features gifted interpreters ready to share a fun, and historically accurate, maritime tale. Nearby at the Plimoth Plantation, the outdoor living history sites offer a similarly rich experience, where you can learn all about 17th-century Pilgrims and Native Wampanoag people in a unique setting.

Maritime History in Nantucket

A brief, scenic excursion by ferry from Cape Cod, the island of Nantucket is a glittering jewel set in the midst of the Atlantic.  As you disembark the ferry, the aroma of brisk sea air mingles with fragrant flowers reawakens the senses.  This is an island lost in time, with vibrant pink roses and a host of hydrangeas adding allure and beauty to the stunning landscape. 

The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the perilous maritime pursuits of 19th century Nantucket, with over 700 shipwrecks branding the island with the unfortunate moniker “Graveyard of the Atlantic”.  Today, the museum honours those brave islanders who risked their lives to save shipwrecked mariners.

Idyllic Martha’s Vineyard

Another island jewel off the coast of Cape Cod is Martha’s Vineyard which, like Nantucket, is only accessible by ferry or by air. With six idyllic towns to explore, it’s hard to choose what to see first – the brightly painted gingerbread cottages of Oak Bluffs, or perhaps the classic architecture and high-end boutiques of Edgartown. Settling on the latter, I stroll through the bustling streets of the quaint seaport town, abounding with world-class cuisine, specialized shops, and historic homes. I stop in for a delicious handmade ice cream cone at The Scoop Shack, before taking in Edgartown’s scenic harbour views.

At the end of an incredible day, I head to serene Aquinnah, to take in the town’s stunning vistas. It’s a picture-perfect moment, with the shimmering waters, colourful cliffs and setting sun casting a romantic hue over my extraordinary vacation. I can’t wait to come back!

For more information, please visit us:

Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

When you go

Cape Cod

Cape Cod National Seashore
John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum
Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce


Plimoth Plantation
Plymouth County Convention & Visitors Bureau


Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum
Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce

Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce

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