Logo   What to See & Do in Orleans MA
Besides its beaches, Orleans has a rare sight: a museum in the building erected to house the American terminus of a transatlantic telegraph cable from Brest, France to Cape Cod.

by Tom Brosnahan
Travel Info Exchange



Beaches are a main reason visitors come to Cape Cod. Orleans, half-way between Provincetown and the Cape Cod Canal, has them, as well as interesting sights to amuse you on the occasional cloudy day.

Beaches in Orleans

Several good beaches are a short distance from Orleans. Remember: the water at Atlantic-side beaches will invariably be cooler for swimming than the beaches on Cape Cod Bay.

Nauset Beach

This stretch of sand 10 miles long, is a town beach of Orleans and therefore is subject to a daily parking fee. The use of bathhouse and other facilities is included in the fee.

The surfing's not bad at Nauset, and a section of the beach is reserved for it.

Skaket Beach

This beach on Cape Cod Bay, has less surf, but warmer water and a gently sloping beach. It's operated by the town, with lifeguards, parking places, a bathhouse, and a daily use fee.

Pilgrim Lake

This freshwater swimming spot is operated by the town of Orleans. A sand beach runs into the clear water, and a lifeguard is on duty during the summer season. No charge for use of the facilities.

A short detour to the Fort Point off MA 6A reveals a breathtaking view of the surrounding salt marshlands. There are also some nice trails you can take down to the Nauset Marsh.

Other Orleans Sights

French Cable Station Museum

Laid in 1879, the cable came to Orleans in 1891, and the French Cable Station Museum, MA 28 and Cove Road, remains much as it was when the cable was still in use.

The cable later transmitted word of Lindbergh's arrival in Paris, and remained in use until 1959.

The museum is open in July and August, Tuesday to Saturday from 2 to 4 pm.

It's interesting to note that radio pioneer and Nobel prize winner Guglielmo Marconi went to nearby Wellfleet to set up the first wireless station to transmit signals across the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Cod was a good place from which to communicate to Europe.

Jonathan Young Windmill

Built in 1720, the historic windmill now situated in the center of Orleans, overlooking Town Cove just off the MA 28-MA 6A traffic circle (rotary), has moved around. It was taken to Hyannisport in 1897, but moved back to Orleans in 1983, restored, and erected on its present site.

All Cape Cod Beaches

Orleans Hotels, Motels & Inns

About Orleans

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Cape Cod Transportation

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French Cable Station Museum sign, Orleans MA

Take a glimpse into the early days
of translatlantic texting.





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