5 things to do when visiting Dennis

Cape Cod Travel

From beaches to museums to waterfront dining.

Corporation Beach at sunset in Dennis. Terri Bunce

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Beach lovers, take note.

Dennis has the most beaches of any town on the Cape, according to Terri Bunce, a 40-year resident and town clerk for the past 13 years. Dennis boasts 20 beaches, stretching along Cape Cod Bay to the north and Nantucket Sound to the south.

“I think we have everything that a vacationer would want, whether it be beaches, golf, ice cream parlors — which is one of my favorites — amazing restaurants, amazing views at the beaches,” Bunce said.

There are five villages in Dennis: Dennis; Dennis Port; East Dennis; South Dennis; and West Dennis. The town’s central location on the Cape makes it a great home base for day trips to lower and upper Cape towns, Bunce said.

Ahead, Bunce shares her picks for what to see and do in Dennis.

Mayflower Beach in Dennis. Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

When Bunce wants to relax, she spends time on Corporation Beach, which is known for more than its sand and surf.

“It’s a hot spot for people to go to watch the sunset,” she said.

She enjoys walking the beach with her daughter.

“It has a natural charm and beauty,” she said. “It’s best at low tide when there is more beach to walk on.”

Another beach worth checking out is beautiful Mayflower Beach, popular with tourists and where the town’s annual Sand Sculpting Contest takes place, she said.

Last year, Boston.com readers named three Dennis beaches among the best beaches in Massachusetts: Cold Storage Beach, Mayflower Beach, and West Dennis Beach.

Dennis is home to the Cape Playhouse, operated by the Cape Cod Center for the Arts. The playhouse, which first opened in 1927, is billed as the longest-running professional summer theater in America.

“The Cape Playhouse I’ve been to many times to see different musicals or plays,” she said. “You go in there and there are all of these beautiful wooden seats. It’s very quaint.”

The playhouse has attracted famous actors such as Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Betty White, and more. The 23-acre Cape Cod Center for the Arts campus also includes a cinema, art museum, and restaurant.

Outdoor dining at The Lighthouse Inn. Kristi Palma / Boston.com

Bunce enjoys meeting friends at The Lighthouse Inn, a beachfront resort and restaurant located on Nantucket Sound.

“Nantucket Sound is just absolutely stunning,” she said.

Diners can eat inside, with water views through the restaurant’s many windows, or outside on the restaurant’s oceanfront deck and lawn. The food is delicious, said Bunce, who enjoys the shrimp scampi.

“It’s just a very quaint atmosphere,” she said. “I love sitting on their outdoor deck overlooking Nantucket Sound.”

The Lighthouse Inn celebrates its 84th anniversary next month and features West Dennis Light, formerly known as Bass River Light, which was built in 1855. Bunce has officiated weddings at the scenic spot.

Visitors can tour the saltbox home of minister Josiah Dennis, who the town was named after, at the 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum.

“It’s an absolutely stunning house,” she said. “Of course, the rooms are all set up the way they were many years ago.”

The property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes a one-room schoolhouse, a spinning and weaving exhibit, gardens, and a maritime wing.

Sundae School. – Photo Courtesy of Sundae School

What readers recommend in Dennis:

For food and beverage:

Bandera’s Market & Deli@amy_righter, @spaghetti_beach, @ptkb6, @capecodbeachcottage

Captain Frosty’s Fish & Chips@azratahria, @mrshairbear

Chapin’s Bayside@johng_iii, @amy_righter

Clancy’s Restaurant @jenniferhardwich

Cleat & Anchor@astpierre157, @capecodbeachcottage

Devil’s Purse Brewing Company@joercee, @elizabethgyoung, @anncapecod

Encore Bistro & Bar@suzannebair

Grazing Cape Cod@rachelrotunno

Grumpy’s Restaurant @theruthbradshaw

Ice Cream Smuggler@kwalsh_._, @brooke._t, @suzannebair, @ndig789, @sarahdansreau, @jmds1982, @mmcunningham2018

Joey’s Pizzeria@pm.belmont

Kender & Sisters@marbleoc

Knockout Pizza@letsgetglued

Kream ‘N Kone@emuns07

Lost Dog Pub@mmcunningham2018

Red Cottage Restaurant @luke_sundstrom

Red Nun Bar & Grill@elizabethgyoung, @letsgetglued

Sesuit Harbor Cafe@bosfoodgirls, @amy_righter, @kitkathh15, @eshaps44, @capecodbeachcottage, @windmilllane, @emilygoldilocks, @lil_kat_hil

Southside Cantina@astpierre157

Sundae School Ice Cream@memillin, @creedonnick, @jeneralpsych, @cattesq, @elizabethgyoung, @capecodbeachcottage, @luke_sundstrom, @shermthegerm


Swan River Restaurant & Fish Market@philnoirjp

The Breakfast Room@debahl, @jeneralpsych

The Doghouse@amy_righter, @oneil1313, @andrey.ismailzade, @capecodbeachcottage, @pm.belmont

The Lighthouse Inn@jenniferhardwich, @lindazalo

The Merc@suzannebair

The Ocean House@capecodbeachcottage

The Oyster Company@ptkb6

The Pheasant @jyldeering, @emilygoldilocks, @letsgetglued

The Sand Bar@ptkb6

The Sand Dollar Family Restaurant @amacattack12

The Summer Shanty @capecodbeachcottage

The Wee Packet Restaurant & Gift Shoppe@jenniferhardwich, @ptkb6, @seankelleher3

The Wooden Shoe Restaurant & Pub@jenniferhardwich, @chris_c871

Three Fins Coffee @ptkb6,

Woolfie’s Bakery@dorian_elyse, @capecodbeachcottage

For activities:

Chapin Memorial Beach@amy_righter

Cold Storage Beach@amy_righter

Corporation Beach@dorian_elyse, @ndig789

Cuffy’s of Cape Cod@jeneralpsych

Dennis Pines Golf Course@melcock18

Eden Hand Arts@t_lesieur47, @cassief1029

Fritz Glass @tommac43

Howes Street Beach @cassief1029

Josiah Dennis Manse Museum@mim.may, @annaleemay_

Mayflower Beach@matt.faria, @karlaone3, @laurshortall, @jeneralpsych, @luke_sundstrom, @johng_iii, @jeffx74, @pastakitties, @jeanneguerard, @kyliemenendez, @kmlaw13

Pelham House Resort@johng_iii, @will66donoghue, @mmcunningham2018

Scargo Tower@annna_mikaela

Sun Retreats Cape Cod@skaza00

The Cape Playhouse @suzannebair

West Dennis Beach@steve_parziale, @jeneralpsych, @pm.belmont

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