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Let the kids splash in salt ponds and climb up and slide down the sand dunes along the beaches of Chatham. Let them bury dad in the cool, wet sand on a hot July day (all except his head, of course). Take them to visit the kettle ponds of Nickerson State Park (named after the area's first settler, William Nickerson). The 22-mile long Cape Cod Rail Trail can be found there, following the original (though now dismantled) railroad right of way through several Cape Cod towns.
While in the area, try stand up paddleboarding with the kids. Easy to do and very affordable to rent, the sport basically entails standing on an oversized surfboard and paddling. Kids love it, whether paddling themselves, sitting on them while mom and dad do all the work, or just using them as an ad-hoc float to jump off. Visit Adventure Chatham/the Cape Cod Beach Chair Company to rent by the day or week. While at their store let the kids sit on their 14 foot tall beach chair in the parking lot- makes a great photo op! www.adventurechatham.com
A visit at the right time to the Chatham Fish Pier along Shore Road/Route 28 will let the kids see the fisherman unloading their catch after a day out at sea.
A really great experience for the kids could be taking one of the seal cruises to look at the seals located near Monomoy. Outermost Adventures, The Monomoy Island Ferry, Beachcomber and Chatham Water Tours all offer seal tours leaving from various areas of town.
The hands-on Cape Cod Children's Museum is not to be missed, with a planetarium, special events, party accommodations, and age-appropriate educational programs. Author of the well-known Peter Rabbit tale, Thornton W. Burgess, lived in nearby Sandwich, and his stories are remembered at the museum named for him on Water Street, and the Green Briar Nature Center. Programs for children and adults keep the action going for young and older.
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster combines education with fun and is a day trip worth the time. Check the website for program schedules.
The Impudent Oyster, on Chatham Bars Avenue, is a fun restaurant and has been a local and tourist favorite for twenty years. Guess what the restaurant specializes in? And fresh, really fresh. Scallops, fish and chips, Portuguese Mussells, hamburgers and salads, too. The atmosphere is lively and fun, and there is a kid's menu. Visitors make the Impudent Oyster a main target of their travels to Chatham year after year.
For a great scoop of ice head no farther. Emack & Bolio's a Boston tradition which has locations in Boston, Cambridge, New York City, Stamford, Orlando and Boca Raton has a shop at 2 Kent Place (with a hidden entrance on Main Street near the Wayside Inn). Buffy's Ice Cream is located at 456 Main Street and Daisy's Old Fashioned Ice Cream at 10 Chatham Bars Avenue (across from Impudent Oyster just off Main Street)