As a resident of Cape Cod, it's natural that you'll want to spend a lot of your summer lounging on the world-class beaches. At the same time, diversifying your activities is a good plan, especially if you have children who get bored doing the same thing every week.
Luckily, the Cape and its surrounding area have splash pads, water parks, and private clubs with swimming pools where you and your family can spend a day outside without having to brave the crowded parking lots of the most popular waterfront areas.
Here are some places where you can cool off on a hot summer's day without having to visit a beach.
Heritage Park Splash Pad
Cape Cod’s first splash pad opened at Heritage Park in Mashpee in 2014, and it remains an excellent option if you’re looking for somewhere to spend a day outdoors. The park is also home to Edward C. "Tiger" Long Memorial Playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, and soccer fields, so there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. Of course, you’re likely wondering about the parking situation, and the good news is that this vast green space has multiple parking lots, so you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding a spot.
As for the splash pad itself, it is open between 9 AM and 7 PM every day during the summer and features several spray devices to keep the kids a comfortable temperature. You'll also be happy to know that use of the splash pad is absolutely free and there is shade nearby for parents.
Buzzards Bay Park Splash Pad
Following the success of the splash park at Heritage Park, a second one opened up at Buzzards Bay Park, which is just on the mainland side of the Cape Cod Canal. The park gets a lot of use thanks to its playground, concert gazebo, and splash park, so you can expect to find a bit of a crowd on a hot day. There is plenty of parking, however, and even an overflow lot, so it's usually possible to find somewhere to leave your car.
The splash park is open from 10 AM until 9 PM every day during the summer, and completely free. The various sprinklers in the splash park run on five-minute intervals, so one sprinkler will go off, and another one will turn on every five minutes. There's always water flowing, however, so your kids can keep cool.
Nelson Memorial Park Splash Pad
We're kind of cheating by including Nelson Memorial Park's splash park on this list because A) It's in Plymouth and B) It's right on the ocean. At the same time, this park is an excellent place to bring the kids because a playground and splash park are right beside each other, and they both overlook a small beach. Parking is abundant here, as well, and if the main parking lot is full, there is a free lot across the street and more parking by Town Wharf.
As with the other splash parks, you can use this facility for free. Parking at Nelson Memorial Park is free, as well, so you can head to Plymouth for the day without spending on anything but gas and food. If you’re looking to spend a day off the Cape, this is a worthwhile option.
From one end of the cost spectrum to the other, you could always get a membership at a local club with an outdoor swimming pool. While you'll have to pay for your subscription, it'll give you access to all kinds of amenities that you can your family can use all year round. Members-only clubs on Cape Cod and in nearby communities include the Bay Club at Mattapoisett, Ocean Edge in Brewster, and The Club at New Seabury in Mashpee, so you can make your choice based on what you value the most.
Of course, these private clubs aren’t for everyone, but if you appreciate having space to relax and the ability to use high-end facilities whenever you wish, a membership might be a good idea for you.
Keep Cool in the Heat
As you can see, keeping cool when the mercury rises is entirely possible, no matter your budget. There are free facilities both on and off Cape Cod where you can avoid the beach altogether and still get in the water, in addition to venues that will charge you an annual membership fee but give you access to unparalleled amenities.
Whether you’re simply not a beach person or like to mix it up in the summer, you’ll surely find plenty of options on the Cape.