What You Should Know
Wellfleet is uniquely characterized by its geography, culture and people. Located 75 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, it's only 2 miles wide, with beautiful beaches on both the bay and Atlantic sides. Despite its narrow width, strangely enough, it's endowed with beautiful, clear spring-fed ponds, or kettle holes, which were created by glaciers several thousand years ago.
Wellfleet (pop. 2,750), the name of which is thought to have come from "Whale Fleet", was incorporated on June 16, 1763. Until that time it was a part of Eastham referred to as Billingsgate. Today it is known as the "Art Gallery Town", as well as the source of world-famous Wellfleet oysters.
Wellfleet Harbor is an actively changing panorama of fishing boats, yachts, trawlers, and, at low tide, flats of shellfish.
The site of the Marconi Wireless Station in South Wellfleet. Photo by Jane Booth.
Why You Should Go
If you enjoy the outdoors, you'll love Wellfleet! Wellfleet boasts some of the best nature trails in the Cape Cod National Seashore. Don't miss the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp and Great Island trails among others. The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary offers nature trips, cruises, walks, workshops and classes for adults and children.
Biking enthusiasts and walkers will love the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Maintained by the state's Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 22-mile former railroad, runs from Dennis to Wellfleet. For the golf enthusiasts, Wellfleet is home to the Chequessett Yacht & Country Club which features a 9-hole course with two sets of tees for 18 holes of play.
Those who like history and the arts will find themselves instantly at home in Wellfleet. For history buffs, the Wellfleet Historical Society operates a museum on Main Street and offers summer walking tours, lectures and other special events throughout the year.
Known as the "art gallery town," Wellfleet's main and side streets are bursting with art galleries featuring the work of local artists. If you are into entertainment, check out WHAT—the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre—which features live plays and performances, screenings and MET Opera. The Wellfleet Preservation Hall is the town's newly-renovated cultural center—host to great events year-round.
Live bands do not disappoint at the Beachcomber on Cahoon Hollow Beach. And during the summer, the town sponsors free concerts and plays at Baker's Field and square dancing on the town pier.
But the real draw is seafood—oysters in particular. Wellfleet oysters are world-famous and the focus of the Wellfleet OysterFest, held each year in October. Thousands crowd the town's Main Street for a weekend of fun and food featuring and arts & crafts fair, entertainment, vendors and the annual shucking contest. And if you can't make it to the OysterFest, you can always sample these briny sensations at one of the town's many fine eateries.
The Great Island Trail in the Cape Cod National Seashore in Wellfleet. Photo by John Fitts.
Catch a movie at Wellfleet Cinema or spend the evening at one of America's last drive-ins, the Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre. During the day on the weekends and many holidays, the Wellfleet Flea Market is held on the grounds of the drive-in.
Family & Kids
Whether walking up to the window for takeaway or sitting down inside, PJ’s Family Restaurant has everything from burgers to fish tacos to ribs lobster rolls, so even picky eaters won’t go hungry.
Beaches: White Crest, Cahoon Hollow, Mayo, Duck Harbor, Powers Landing, Newcomb Hollow, Great Pond, Long Pond, Gull Pond