Falmouth & Woods Hole

What You Should Know

Falmouth is one of the Cape's oldest resort towns. Martha's Vineyard is just a few miles across Vineyard Sound making the Island Queen Ferry one of the best ways to go across for a day trip.

Falmouth (pop. 31,531, 2010 Census) was incorporated in 1694 and was named for its sister town in England by Bartholomew Gosnold. Gosnold, who also named Cape Cod, sailed from Falmouth, England in 1602 and landed upon these shores. It was also the birthplace of Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929), author of "America the Beautiful."

Falmouth daughter, Katharine Lee Bates, author of "America the Beautiful". John Fitts photo.
Why You Should Go

Falmouth has wonderful restaurants and shopping along Main Street and the sleepy little village of Woods Hole, home of the world-famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, makes for a fun adventure. It also has the most shore and coastline of the Cape towns with eleven beautiful harbors.

Falmouth is home to some of the best annual events and festivals on the Cape. There's the Barnstable County Fair in July, Holidays by the Sea in December (featuring the biggest small town parade in Southeastern New England), the Falmouth JazzFest in September and the Falmouth Road Race in August.

The locals are big baseball fans and show their pride in supporting their home team, the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

Those who like history will find themselves instantly at home. The Falmouth Historical Society operates the Falmouth Museums on the Green, a compound of historic buildings on the town's picturesque green. FHS offers lectures, tours (walking and trolley) and other special events throughout the year for adults and children.

Highfield Hall & Gardens is a treat for history buffs who can tour this restored 1878 dwelling. It is now home to a vibrant cultural center which offers concerts, lectures, workshops and special events for adults and children. 

Naturalists and those interested in the Cape's flora and fauna will want to explore the Beebe Woods surrounding Highfield Hall & Gardens as well as lovely Spohr Gardens—an explosion of daffodils in the early spring.

If science is your thing, don't miss a trip to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The scientists at WHOI conduct important research around the world and may be best known for their work with Alvin, the deep submergence vehicle used to survey the resting place of the RMS Titanic in 1986. 


Great Harbor, Woods Hole. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.Waterfront Park on Great Harbor in Woods Hole. Maggie Kulbokas photo.

Romantic Spots

Falmouth’s seaside charm might make it seem like it’s all sea-shanties and flip-flops, but there’s plenty of fine dining options for a romantic night with that special someone. The Glass Onion is a good example, with a menu that’s seasonal and fresh and an atmosphere that’s upscale and classy.

For those looking to make a romantic weekend getaway, the Coonamessett Inn offers plenty of comfortable guest accommodations, function rooms, and an excellent restaurant. Enjoy a quiet, tasteful respite after a day of shopping and exploring with a selection of stuffed shrimp, steamed lobster, and filet mignon. Then take an enchanting stroll through the gardens and grounds while the moonlight dances on the waters of Jones Pond. Spend a night or two in one of the comfortable guest rooms, or reserve a private cottage.

Art lovers should stop by Osborn & Rugh Gallery to see beautiful oil paintings and watercolors from a local husband-and-wife duo. You can even commission a stunning portrait of the two of you.

Family & Kids

Imagine the tickle of a goat eating right out of your hand. Take the family to Peterson’s Farm to see sheep, chickens, goats, and bouncing baby lambs in the spring. The acres of farmland make for a great escape from the busy downtown and gives the kids space to run around and explore. It’s also dog-friendly, so you can bring the pooch to join in the fun.

Woods Hole is also the home of the Woods Hole Science Aquarium operated by NOAA. This small, public aquarium displays 140 species of marine animals, and includes touch tanks and daily seal feedings. Pet a lobster, hold a starfish, and watch seals swim and play. Admission is free, so it’s a great way for the kids to learn and enjoy themselves without breaking the bank.

Travel Tips

Staying in Falmouth: Hotels, Motels & ResortsVacation Rentals

Town Information: Town of Falmouth, Falmouth Public Library (Main, East & North Branches), West Falmouth Library

Churches: Cape Cod Church, Church of the Messiah, Falmouth Baptist Church, First Congregational Church of Falmouth, UCC, Heritage Christian Church, John Wesley United Methodist Church, North Falmouth Congregational Church, St. Anthony's Parish, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Universalist Unitarian Fellowship of Falmouth, Waquoit Congregational Church

Beaches: Menauhant Beach, Old Silver Beach, Surf Drive Beach, Falmouth Heights Beach, Chapoquoit Beach, Megansett Beach, Wood Neck, Stoney Beach