Barnstable and Hyannis
Barnstable and Hyannis, MA | Points of Interest
John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, JFK Memorial, Kennedy Legacy Walking Trail, Cape Cod Scenic Railroad, Kennedy Compound, Cape Cod Melody Tent, Island Ferries.
- Staying in Barnstable/Hyannis: Barnstable and Hyannis Motels & Resorts, Barnstable and Hyannis Bed and Breakfasts & Inns, Barnstable and Hyannis Vacation Rentals
- Visiting Barnstable/Hyannis: History, Beaches, Golf, Culture
- Town Information: Chamber of Commerce, Churches, Library
About Barnstable & Hyannis
The Mid Cape town of Barnstable is comprised of seven villages: Hyannis, Hyannisport, Osterville, Centerville, Craigville, Cotuit, Marstons Mills, and West Barnstable, Hyannis is the largest. Hyannis is also the largest town and economic center of Cape Cod.
Hyannis Harbor is bustling with activity–ferries to the islands, fishing and sailing charters as well as visitors to the JFK Monument and the HyArts Shanties. Main Street is home to shops, restaurants, and a few nightclubs.
Hyannisport, home to the Kennedy Compound, is a quiet & residential part of Hyannis. Craigville Beach on the Nantucket Sound, popular with younger people, is in neighboring Centerville. Hyannis is a good choice for those who want to be centrally located and enjoy a bit of everything the Cape has to offer in an upbeat, popular location.
Barnstable is bucolic in comparison to Hyannis. Historic inns and antique shops line Route 6A in this north side town, which is also home to Sandy Neck Beach and Barnstable Harbor on the Cape Cod Bay.
Statue of President John F. Kennedy outside the JFK Hyannis Museum. Photo by William DeSousa-Mauk.
Incorporated on March 5, 1638, Barnstable (pop. 45,193), named for Barnstaple in in England, was first settled as an agricultural community by the Reverends Hull and Lothrop from the North Shore. For several generations, it remained this way until seafaring citizens settled in and industry turned to the sea.
The limelight shone on Hyannisport during John F. Kennedy’s presidency and the Kennedy Compound, although off limits, is still a popular sight to see from Hyannis Harbor.
- Covell Beach: Craigville Beach Road, Craigville
- Craigville Beach: Craigville Beach Road, Craigville
- Millway Beach: Off Route 6A, Barnstable
- Sandy Neck Beach: Off Route 6A, West Barnstable
- Kalmus Park Beach: Ocean Street, Hyannis
- Orrin Keyes Beach: Sea Street, Hyannis
- Veterans Park: Ocean Street, Hyannis
- Hamblin’s Pond: Route 149, Marstons Mills
- Hathaway’s Pond: Route 149, Marstons Mills
- Burgess Park: Route 149, Marstons Mills
Hiking & Biking
Barnstable has some wonderful conservation land set aside for your hiking enjoyment including Sandy Neck Great Salt Marsh Conservation Area and the West Barnstable Conservation Area.
Mass. Audubon’s Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Cummaquid is a popular location for nature lovers and bird watchers.
Armstrong-Kelley Park in Osterville is Cape Cod’s oldest and largest privately-owned park, open to the public at no charge. The park is operated by the Cape Cod Horticultural Society.
For a true biking experience, head up to the Cape Cod Rail Trail which begins in Dennis and extends 22-miles into Wellfleet. There are plans to expand the Cape Cod Rail Trail through Yarmouth into Barnstable.
Get your clubs out, golfers! Barnstable is home to two championships 18-hole public courses–the Hyannis Golf Course in Hyannis and the Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds Golf Course in Barnstable.
Those who like history and the arts will love the villages of Barnstable. For history buffs, there are four historical societies, three of which have museums: Barnstable Historical Society, Centerville Historical Museum, Historical Society of Santuit and Cotuit and Osterville Historical Museum. All offer walking tours, lectures and other special events throughout the year.
Tales of Cape Cod hosts a fascinating lecture series in West Barnstable and the JFK Hyannis Museum in Hyannis, the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit and the Coast Guard Heritage Museum in West Barnstable are not to be missed.
If you are into entertainment and the arts, you are in the right place. Hyannis’s Main Street features clubs and restaurants with live entertainment and the Cape Cod Melody Tent draws big singers, bands, and comedians each summer. The Cultural Center of Cape Cod in Cotuit and the Barnstable Comedy Club stage live shows throughout the year.
In Hyannis, you’ll also find plenty to do as a family, from dining out to miniature golf, bowling, outdoor concerts and much more. And don’t forget whale watching–Barnstable Harbor is one of only two harbors on the Cape where you can take a whale watch cruise (the other is Provincetown). And with most Cape Cod towns, fishing charters leave most harbors daily.
Several of the villages of Barnstable host their own village festivals and everybody gets into the act come July 4th when there are parades and typically fireworks over Hyannis Harbor.
Hyannis, Barnstable and all the other villages also get into the holiday spirit each year as inns, stores and restaurants open their doors to holiday visitors and of course, Santa who arrives at Hyannis Harbor each year. Information via CapeCodTravel.com