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14 Secret Gardens, Parks and Green Spaces on Cape Cod

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Whether you're into woodlands, wildlife, walking, windmills, or wildflowers, Cape Cod has plenty of outdoorsy alternatives to the sand and surf. Hence, we've put together a handy guide to where you can find a pollution fighting gas station-turned-garden to a 100 acre spread with more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers. From azaleas to zip lines, here are 14 secret gardens, parks and green spaces from across the Cape, mazes and labyrinths included.


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Heritage Museums & Gardens

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Cape Cod's oldest town is home to its most adventurous garden. The property features galleries, a vintage carousel, automobiles, traveling exhibitions, a circa 1800 windmill, maze garden, labyrinth, "more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers," and a brand new adventure park.

Green Briar's Wildflower Garden

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The Thornton W. Burgess Society's "prizewinning wildflower garden is a highlight of any visit to the Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen." The seasonal living museum offers weekly guided tours.

Sandy Neck Nature Trail

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Take a hike! Sandy Neck is a barrier beach system 6 miles long and up to 1/2 mile wide with opportunities for walking, beachcombing, bird watching, photography, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting. Just remember not to hop the fence onto the beach grass - Sandy Neck is carefully managed by the Town of Barnstable for a balance between conservation and recreation.

Spohr Gardens

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Located on Oyster Pond, this six acre woodland garden is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. year round. Operated by the Margaret K. Spohr and Charles D. Spohr Charitable Trust, admission is free "but tax deductible donations are accepted."

Goodwill Park

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"In 1894, long before the community would worry about the loss of open space, Joseph Story Fay gave Goodwill Park to the people of Falmouth. The name reflected his intent: it was a gesture of goodwill to the town." The 86-acre space includes Grew's Pond, Falmouth’s only freshwater public beach, and wooded paths connect Goodwill Park to the trails around Long Pond (think walking, running, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing). There's also volleyball, horseshoes, picnic spaces with fire grills, kayaking, canoeing, and a variety of trees to satisfy the amateur arborist.

Lowell Park

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Play ball! The Cotuit Athletic Association has been the primary tenant of Lowell Park since the late 1940’s and they've been making sure it's the finest baseball diamond on Cape Cod ever since. Home field of the CCBL Cotuit Kettlers, the diamond (plus state-of-the-art Press Box Building and concessions) also sees plenty of action from youth, high school and community baseball teams. In addition, "The Town of Barnstable is always seeking more use of parks and fields for residents and tourists." Consider yourself invited.

Armstrong-Kelley Park

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Owned and operated by the Cape Cod Horticultural Society, dog-friendly Armstrong-Kelley Park is the Cape's "oldest and largest privately owned park open free to the public." The 8.5 acre spread features "30 rare and unusual trees," trails, shady walkways, Buddy's Place-Pet Memorial Garden, 250 rhododendron, and more.

Barnstable High School

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The public high school campus features a meditative memorial garden with labyrinth, plus a water feature with a rolling stone. In June 2014, students commemorated the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots by adding a marble bust of Harvey Milk to Cobb Astro Park's Pathway of Discovery, where similar tributes to Jackie Robinson, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can also be found.

Walking Garden

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A gas station once stood on this Hyannis lot, now a walking garden that doubles as a nursery assisting in pollution control: "The various perennials planted on site were chosen because they have a positive environmental impact: they thrive off pollutants in the ground. Brownfield sites and others in the area will benefit from the “725” garden as it acts as a nursery. These plants can easily be transplanted to other locations throughout the town and assist in pollution control."

Drummer Boy Park

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History meets dog drama and a playground on the Old King's Highway. The site features concerts, events, a museum, and then some. The circa 1795 Old Higgins Farm Windmill was moved to Drummer Boy Park in 1974 and added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places the following year.

Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History

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Founded in 1954, the museum features two exhibit floors, a library, and a wildflower garden next to the main building. In addition, "three nature trails meander through woodland, salt marsh or on the shore of Cape Cod Bay and guided field walks are offered year round, daily in summer."

A. Janet DeFulvio Wildlife Sanctuary Boardwalk

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The Harwich Conservation Trust stewards land across the town, but this 12-acre space features a rare 137 ft. wheelchair accessible boardwalk. "In 1994, the DeFulvio family donated this mix of tupelo, pine and salt marsh to the Harwich Conservation Trust in order to preserve wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, and a serene sense of place. To enjoy the serenity, AmeriCorps volunteers helped to construct a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk and resting bench that offer views of the Herring River salt marsh as well as of an osprey nesting platform. From late March through September, watch for ospreys or “fish hawks” soaring overhead. In late summer to early fall, the tupelos or “beetlebung trees” turn crimson."

Paw Wah Point Conservation Area

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Had it not been purchased by the Orleans Conservation Trust in 1987 for $1.5 million, this 12-acre spread would have become yet another sub-division. These days, the hidden gem is Town conservation land featuring a marked trail and available brochure explaining natural history points. There's also a picnic table overlooking Pleasant Bay and a marshy beach with (seasonally) warm water "that you can have to yourself."

Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

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The sanctuary features a wildlife garden, five miles of trails "to a panoramic salt marsh, sandy barrier beach, and pine woodlands, each attracting a wide array of wildlife" including a "universally accessible trail and an award-winning “green” nature center with numerous exhibits and aquariums."

Heritage Museums & Gardens

Cape Cod's oldest town is home to its most adventurous garden. The property features galleries, a vintage carousel, automobiles, traveling exhibitions, a circa 1800 windmill, maze garden, labyrinth, "more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers," and a brand new adventure park.

Green Briar's Wildflower Garden

The Thornton W. Burgess Society's "prizewinning wildflower garden is a highlight of any visit to the Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen." The seasonal living museum offers weekly guided tours.

Sandy Neck Nature Trail

Take a hike! Sandy Neck is a barrier beach system 6 miles long and up to 1/2 mile wide with opportunities for walking, beachcombing, bird watching, photography, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting. Just remember not to hop the fence onto the beach grass - Sandy Neck is carefully managed by the Town of Barnstable for a balance between conservation and recreation.

Spohr Gardens

Located on Oyster Pond, this six acre woodland garden is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. year round. Operated by the Margaret K. Spohr and Charles D. Spohr Charitable Trust, admission is free "but tax deductible donations are accepted."

Goodwill Park

"In 1894, long before the community would worry about the loss of open space, Joseph Story Fay gave Goodwill Park to the people of Falmouth. The name reflected his intent: it was a gesture of goodwill to the town." The 86-acre space includes Grew's Pond, Falmouth’s only freshwater public beach, and wooded paths connect Goodwill Park to the trails around Long Pond (think walking, running, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing). There's also volleyball, horseshoes, picnic spaces with fire grills, kayaking, canoeing, and a variety of trees to satisfy the amateur arborist.

Lowell Park

Play ball! The Cotuit Athletic Association has been the primary tenant of Lowell Park since the late 1940’s and they've been making sure it's the finest baseball diamond on Cape Cod ever since. Home field of the CCBL Cotuit Kettlers, the diamond (plus state-of-the-art Press Box Building and concessions) also sees plenty of action from youth, high school and community baseball teams. In addition, "The Town of Barnstable is always seeking more use of parks and fields for residents and tourists." Consider yourself invited.

Armstrong-Kelley Park

Owned and operated by the Cape Cod Horticultural Society, dog-friendly Armstrong-Kelley Park is the Cape's "oldest and largest privately owned park open free to the public." The 8.5 acre spread features "30 rare and unusual trees," trails, shady walkways, Buddy's Place-Pet Memorial Garden, 250 rhododendron, and more.

Barnstable High School

The public high school campus features a meditative memorial garden with labyrinth, plus a water feature with a rolling stone. In June 2014, students commemorated the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots by adding a marble bust of Harvey Milk to Cobb Astro Park's Pathway of Discovery, where similar tributes to Jackie Robinson, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can also be found.

Walking Garden

A gas station once stood on this Hyannis lot, now a walking garden that doubles as a nursery assisting in pollution control: "The various perennials planted on site were chosen because they have a positive environmental impact: they thrive off pollutants in the ground. Brownfield sites and others in the area will benefit from the “725” garden as it acts as a nursery. These plants can easily be transplanted to other locations throughout the town and assist in pollution control."

Drummer Boy Park

History meets dog drama and a playground on the Old King's Highway. The site features concerts, events, a museum, and then some. The circa 1795 Old Higgins Farm Windmill was moved to Drummer Boy Park in 1974 and added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places the following year.

Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History

Founded in 1954, the museum features two exhibit floors, a library, and a wildflower garden next to the main building. In addition, "three nature trails meander through woodland, salt marsh or on the shore of Cape Cod Bay and guided field walks are offered year round, daily in summer."

A. Janet DeFulvio Wildlife Sanctuary Boardwalk

The Harwich Conservation Trust stewards land across the town, but this 12-acre space features a rare 137 ft. wheelchair accessible boardwalk. "In 1994, the DeFulvio family donated this mix of tupelo, pine and salt marsh to the Harwich Conservation Trust in order to preserve wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, and a serene sense of place. To enjoy the serenity, AmeriCorps volunteers helped to construct a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk and resting bench that offer views of the Herring River salt marsh as well as of an osprey nesting platform. From late March through September, watch for ospreys or “fish hawks” soaring overhead. In late summer to early fall, the tupelos or “beetlebung trees” turn crimson."

Paw Wah Point Conservation Area

Had it not been purchased by the Orleans Conservation Trust in 1987 for $1.5 million, this 12-acre spread would have become yet another sub-division. These days, the hidden gem is Town conservation land featuring a marked trail and available brochure explaining natural history points. There's also a picnic table overlooking Pleasant Bay and a marshy beach with (seasonally) warm water "that you can have to yourself."

Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

The sanctuary features a wildlife garden, five miles of trails "to a panoramic salt marsh, sandy barrier beach, and pine woodlands, each attracting a wide array of wildlife" including a "universally accessible trail and an award-winning “green” nature center with numerous exhibits and aquariums."