Featured Stories & Articles from Cape Cod Travel Magazine: Extreme Cape Cod
Relaxing on the beach with a book is fun for a day or two, but Cape Cod also has a plethora of action-packed ways to see all the sights in a much more interactive way. Whether flying through the air or paddling down a river, marsh or pond, the views promise to be great and the adventure will be memorable, so don’t forget your camera.
A panoramic air view is a fabulous way to discover other areas you’d like to explore and pilot Chris Siderwicz at Cape Cod Airfield in Marstons Mills has taken thousands of happy people out in his Waco YMF-5 Biplane. The aircraft was built in 1988 and is a replica of a late 1930’s model. The twenty-minute ride offers stunning views of the coastline, bridges and the canal and customized flights are also available.
“People are amazed at how beautiful the Cape is from the sky and how the airplane has a way of relaxing even the most skeptical of passengers,” he says. “I have had an honest 100 percent satisfaction rating from all my customers.”
After the biplane ride whets your appetite for high-in the-sky adventure, you might want to brave the thrill of a free fall from 10,000 feet with Skydive Cape Cod, located right at the same airfield. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never gone skydiving before because the instructors specialize in first-time jumpers and tandem skydiving with parachutes built especially for two people. When you first jump, you’ll free fall at 120 miles per hour for about 40 seconds. Halfway down the instructor pulls the chute and the two of you will float back to earth under a canopy for five to seven minutes before gently touching the ground.
For those who prefer a gentler experience in the air, parasailing is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and people of all ages can participate. At Gold Coast’s Cape Cod Parasail & Jet Ski at the Red Jacket Resort and Blue Water Beach Resort in South Yarmouth, you can fly front-to-back, side-by-side, with one, two or three people at the same time. Customers take off and land on the 31-foot Ocean Pro parasail boat and can opt to dip into the warm waters of Nantucket Sound at the end.
“It’s exciting and it’s also a serene and beautiful sightseeing tour,” says Arthur Kossmann, co-owner of Gold Coast’s Cape Cod Parasail & Jet Ski. “It’s the closest thing you can get to flying. It’s smooth and quiet and beautiful and if you go out on some windier days it can be a little bit wild too, so it covers all bases.”
For a sport that keeps you a little closer to earth where you can enjoy the splash of ocean spray on your face, windsurfing offers a challenging, but exhilarating experience. Jim Ballantyne, owner of Sailworld Cape Cod in Buzzards Bay sells and rents windsurfing equipment and also offers lessons, which he says are essential to learning to windsurf.
“It’s a four step process but you have to know those steps and you have to know the sequence and most importantly you have to use the proper equipment,” he says, promising that customers will know how to windsurf on their own at the end of the three-hour lesson. “Most people who do it are really addicted to it because it is a really gratifying sport.”
Straight long board surfing is a sport that has a huge history behind it, and it has influenced fashion, movies and popular culture. At Sacred Surf School in Wellfleet, the three young surf instructors not only appreciate the perfect wave, but are willing to share their passion and deep respect of the ocean. A lesson from them will teach you how to get up on the board as well as cover safety precautions such as ocean patterns and surfing etiquette.
If tackling the big waves seems a bit intimidating, the newly popular and beginner-friendly Stand Up Paddling (SUP) or Paddle Surfing is a perfect way to ease your way into board sports. Stand Up & Paddle Cape Cod in Osterville offers instruction and guided tours for people of all ages.
“It is a very peaceful sport, no loud noises, just the ripple of water under the board as the paddle goes through the water,” says owner Amy Hotchkiss. “The best part about paddling in these areas is the variety of places we can go and explore - between the fresh water ponds and lakes to rivers, bays to Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay.”
For those staying on the lower Cape, Adventure Chatham also offers lessons and equipment sales and rentals on a pick-up or delivery basis. Their focus is on paddle boarding with SUP-guided excursions and yoga and fitness classes, but they also rent kayaks and beach cruiser bicycles. The close encounter with nature that kayaking offers is a more serene outing, but an adventure just the same and it also offers a great upper body workout.
Great Marsh Kayak Tours, which operates behind Zooquarium in South Yarmouth, provides three-and-a-half to four-hour tours of Parker’s River with several stops along the way to observe and learn about ospreys, horseshoe crabs, scallops, quahogs and marsh ecology. The tour includes a paddle through the marsh with a beach break to eat a bag lunch (bring your own), and a swim in Nantucket Sound.
“We are probably the most education oriented of all the tours,” says owner Bob Wilds. “It’s more of an information kayak tour as opposed to a more casual paddle through the marshes.”
Up the road at Bass River Cruises & Kayaks, Cliff and Abi Smith rent kayaks to those who want to explore the Bass River on their own. “We show them an aerial map about what to do on the river and we ask them what they want to do and then we send them in that direction,” says Cliff, who along with his wife, is also a captain who has also offered family-friendly narrated cruises of the river on his boat, the Starfish, for the past 23 years.
Those looking to paddle around the hidden gems of the Lower and Outer Cape need look no further than Explore Cape Cod. Owned and operated by the incredibly knowledgeable Dick Hilmer, Explore Cape Cod offers a host a guided tours and specialty tours such as a sunrise option and seal tour. Hilmer has been plying these waters for decades and he and his crew happily provide a host of info when leading one of their popular paddles.