What to do and see in Chatham, United States: The Best Places and Tips

October 26, 2017 Christa Meece

This pleasant, walkable town right at the elbow of Cape Cod is a classic New England vacation spot. Bringing kids? Check out calm beaches like Cockle Cove Beach and Harding’s Beach. If you’re looking for stunning scenery, however, try Chatham Lighthouse Beach. Its tides can be strong (heed the posted warnings), but it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the Cape.
Restaurants in Chatham

1. Chatham Marconi Maritime Center

847 Orleans Rd, North Chatham, Chatham, MA 02650-1165 +1 508-945-8889
Excellent
89%
Good
9%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 127 reviews

Chatham Marconi Maritime Center

Museum, Education, Lectures, and more! Founded in 2002, the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center sits on the 11.3-acre, 10-building campus which comprised the former Marconi/RCA Wireless Receiving Station, once the busiest ship-to-shore station on the East Coast and a significant military installation (during World War II). The Operations Building now houses the Marconi/RCA Wireless Museum offering interactive exhibits tracing the story of wireless communication in Chatham from its formative days with Marconi, through the 20th Century. The recently renovated campus residence, also once known as the Hotel Nautilus, is the Education Center with additional space for administrative offices, classes, and lectures. CMMC began working on STEM classes in 2008 and launched a major education initiative in 2011 when it partnered with the Public Schools of Chatham and Harwich, MA (now the Monomoy Regional School District), and the MIT Club of Cape Cod to develop curriculum and teacher training materials in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The specific focus of the program is on the subject areas of Communications Engineering and Design. These fields are two of the subtopics in the MA Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Frameworks. They also coincide with the mission of CMMC and our emphasis on wireless communications. Finally, we live in the "information age." Innovations are occurring on a daily basis and the products that reach the marketplace are having a profound effect upon society. Our implementation plan includes active roles for both professionals and volunteers in K-12 classrooms throughout Cape Cod. We also offer a wide array of classes and workshops in the summer, a winter science camp, after school programs, and professional development for teachers. To see a complete list of our courses and a preview of our museum offerings, visit our website.

Reviewed By John g - Seattle, Washington

This small but informative museum is packed with a number of displays of historical events in the early history of radio telegraphy in the 20th century all tied in to the Cape Cod and Chatham area. The museum personnel were very helpful and friendly as well. a lot of hands on aspects to the displays.

2. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Wikis Way, on Morris Island, Chatham, MA 02633 +1 508-945-0594
Excellent
74%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
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Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 219 reviews

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Birdwatchers flock to this Cape Cod wildlife habitat with a special emphasis on migratory birds.

Reviewed By Taylor B - Chicago, Illinois

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge has come a long way since it was a gunnery range for the U.S. Army in the 1940s. In 1951, the wildlife refuge was established. Located on Wikis Way on Morris Island off Chatham, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, with Nantucket Sound on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the 7,604-acre refuge is situated along Massachusetts' Atlantic Flyway. It is one of the eight ecologically diverse refuges in Eastern Massachusetts and supports the second largest nesting colony of common terns on the Atlantic seaboard with over 8,000 nesting pairs. There are eight miles of sandy beaches, salt and freshwater marshes, dunes and ponds. And it can only be reached by ferry boat. The goal of the refuge is to provide a habitat for migratory birds. More than 10 species of seabirds, shorebirds and waterbirds nest on the islands. One of the refuge's missions is to protect habitats critical to migratory shorebirds, spawning horseshoe crabs and any other life that may reside in the refuge, such as the Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher and Roseate Tern. In addition, a big part of habitat protection entails the protection of the refuge's natural dunes. Other things of interest for visitors of the refuge are fishing for striped bass and bluefish, walking the trails on Morris Island and visiting the nearby Chatham Lighthouse, which guided sailors for nearly 200 years but now is open for public tours. Thomas Jefferson appointed the lighthouse's first keeper.

3. Chatham Lighthouse Beach

Shore Road, Chatham, MA 02633
Excellent
61%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 358 reviews

Chatham Lighthouse Beach

Reviewed By Nomad0921 - Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Visited at the end of the summer - what a beautiful venue! The beach is almost completely protected by sand bars making the waves benign. The down sides include the heavy private boat traffic and the danger of sharks due to the large population of seals in the area. There was a shark warning sign prominently displayed on the beavh. That said, it's a beautiful beach thst is well worth visiting with family and friends and a good dose of caution and awareness.

4. Chatham Lighthouse

37 Main St, Chatham, MA 02633-2419 +1 508-430-0628
Excellent
54%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 588 reviews

Chatham Lighthouse

One of the most famous and interesting lighthouses on Cape Cod.

Reviewed By Nomad0921 - Wellfleet, Massachusetts

went to the Chatham Lighthouse on a beautiful weather day. We were notcable to take a tour but were able to walk around the grounds. As a working Coast Guard installation the grounds were fenced off with plenty of informational signage as well as warning signs. The grounds were impressive any way. We would like to return to visit the lighthouse itself and recommend a visit if you're in the area.

5. Harding Beach

Harding Beach Road, Chatham, MA 02659
Excellent
59%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 114 reviews

Harding Beach

Reviewed By Loves2Research - Agawam, Massachusetts

Harding Beach is on the sound so there are few waves and a great beach for children. Lifeguards are on duty. The parking lots are adjacent to the beach in to the two sections of beach and offer easy access to haul coolers, umbrellas and chairs needed for the beach.

6. Chatham's Godfrey Windmill

125 Shattuck Pl, Chase Park, Chatham, MA 02633-2260 +1 508-945-5175
Excellent
66%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 57 reviews

Chatham's Godfrey Windmill

Built in 1797, the Chatham Windmill (Godfrey Windmill) is one of the few historic wind-powered grist mills that remain on Cape Cod. It is open for guided tours during the summer months. Twice each year the mill is set in operation and, weather conditions permitting, the mill grinds corn just as it did in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Reviewed By Erik J

Located in Chatham's Chase Park only a few minutes' walk from the downtown shopping district, this historic windmill, first built in 1797 by a Revolutionary War veteran, is the oldest operational windmill on the Cape. Volunteer guides who are friendly and surprisingly knowledgeable will lead you through the inside of the mill, from the base up the perilous stairs, and show you how the machinery works. It's a free and fascinating insight into what colonial life was like on the Cape.

7. Ridgevale Beach

439 Ridgevale Rd, Chatham, MA 02659
Excellent
68%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 87 reviews

Ridgevale Beach

Reviewed By Anniecat2

We were renting a place an 8 minute walk away from the beach. If you're driving I think it's $15-$20 for a days parking pass.

Beach was clean, not a lot going on, as it was cloudy and cool.
There's was a small snack bar and portable rest room station.
Looks like u could rent a kayak or sail boat too.

8. Atwood House & Museum

347 Stage Harbor Rd, Chatham, MA 02633-2229 +1 508-945-2493
Excellent
91%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
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Poor
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5 based on 60 reviews

Atwood House & Museum

Step Back to Cape Cod of centuries past. Your journey begins with a tour of the historical dwelling built circa 1752 by Chatham sea captain Joseph Atwood, and occupied by his descendants for some five generations. Discover Cape Cod's captivating history, art, and culture at the Chatham Historical Society's expanded and upgraded Atwood House House Museum. In addition to the 18th century Atwood House at its core, Museum highlights include: The Joseph A. Nickerson, Jr. Portrait Gallery of Chatham-born local sea captains, painted by Frederick Wright. The Mural Barn, housing the nationally-renowned paintings of local residents by Alice Stallknecht Wright. The Fishing Gallery, dedicated to the history, personalities, and various techniques of Chatham's commercial fishing industry - the first of its kind. Special and multi-media exhibits on regional history, art, and culture. The Historic Tools and Industry Room, including a scale model of Chatham salt works, once a thriving Cape Cod industry in the early 1800's. The recently redecorated Durand Gallery, featuring the collections of the Durand family -- Sandwich threaded glass; Parian Ware; a prized collection of carved birds by A.E. Crowell; and seashells from around the world. The Joseph C. Lincoln Gallery containing manuscripts, first editions, illustrations and ephemera related to the Cape Cod author. The collection of the Chatham Historical Society includes approximately 3000 objects (paintings, decorative arts, maritime artifacts, etc.)--mainly American-made and mostly Chatham related. In addition, our archives contain about 2500 photographs, over 1600 books, and several thousand documents relating to the history of Chatham. These items have been (or are being) cataloged and are available to researchers either by visiting the Society or on the Internet.

Reviewed By Mary K

There is a lot of local history packed in this charming museum. Spend about 21/2 hours touring the 1720 Captain Joesph Atwood House and other exhibits. The cost of admission, $10, included a guided tour of the house, which allows you to get a lot of information without having to do a lot of reading. In addition to the house the museum also includes a number of other exhibits of local interest. Seeing the portraits of Chatham residents from the 30s by Alice Stallknecht in the Mural Barn is worth the price of admission. My only complaint is that no photos were allowed.

9. Chatham Shark Center

235 Orleans Rd, Chatham, MA 02633-1975
Excellent
69%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
3%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 28 reviews

Chatham Shark Center

Reviewed By Wendy S - Hartford, Connecticut

Was supposed to be open when we went according to the website. The kids were quite disappointed. Call first to make sure.

10. Chatham Railroad Museum

153 Depot Rd, Chatham, MA 02633-2011 +1 508-945-5100
Excellent
48%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 32 reviews

Chatham Railroad Museum

Reviewed By travelgirlnyc25 - New York City, New York

It's run by volunteer docents who r happy to share the history of the railroad along w colorful stories to give u a sense of what it was like. They offer many train replicas along w antiquities to appreciate the history. They also have a rare wooden caboose outside u can walk thru. Great for kids and intimate enough that you don't have to spend a full day there. It's fun for all.

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