Cape Cod

Books About Cape Cod. Read These Before Visiting

Cape Cod is synonymous with summer vacation. So is reading books (my vacations are, at least). Combine the two and you’ve got some great reading ahead of you.

It’s cold on the Cape right now. The stretches of days not surpassing 65 degrees might make it seem more like we’re stuck in spring, but summer is on full blast here on Cape Cod.

So, whether you plan to sunbathe on the beach, lay by the pool or lake, or get overly bundled up in cozy socks, leggings, and a hoodie (that’s me!), here are some suggested books about Cape Cod.

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Books About Cape Cod

Reading books about or set in the destinations you visit enriches your time spent there. These are all great options to learn about and get in the mood to visit Cape Cod.

Included on the list are memoirs and fiction or travel guides and natural history books. Learn about the centuries-old history of this unique spit of land jutting out into the Atlantic. Read memoirs depicting the life-altering experience of living on the Cape.

A long list of novels exist that are set on Cape Cod and the islands, but I’ve included just a few of my favorites. There is sure to be something for everyone on this list of books about Cape Cod.

Read more: A Local’s Guide: Answers to 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Cape Cod

Classic Books About Cape Cod

These books are more like love letters to Cape Cod. Thoreau was enchanted by the Cape in the 1800’s, centuries after the Pilgrims called it home. Many other notable artists and authors fell in love and found inspiration on the sandy shores, as well, like Kurt Vonnegut, Sylvia Plath, and Helen Keller.

Cape Cod by Henry David Thoreau

Cape Cod Stories: Tales From Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard by John Miller and Tim Smith

Fiction and Memoirs Featuring Cape Cod

For many authors, Cape Cod is the perfect setting for the characters in their books. Or for themselves, which produces touching memoirs of the impact this one of a kind destination can have.

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

A Year By the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson

The Outermost House: A Year of Life on The Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston

Read more: Let’s Talk About the Travel Bug (for even more book suggestions)

books vacation beach

History and Natural History Books About Cape Cod

Cape Cod has a unique and rich history spanning centuries. All that this land had to offer – fertile soil, forests, wildlife by land and sea – is what enticed its settlement by natives and Europeans alike. Over time, the landscape changed and progressed to the seaside getaway it is today. These books offer some insight into that history.

The Nature of Cape Cod by Beth Schwarzman

Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890 by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Cape Cod Travel Guides Worth Getting

If you’re the travel guide type, these are the ones to invest in. Each edition of An Explorer’s Guide is written by a single author, which sets it apart from other guidebooks that write as a team. Who’s a better guide than Thoreau himself? In the Footsteps of Thoreau details trails and sites that he experienced over 150 years ago.

An Explorer’s Guide Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket by Kim Grant

In the Footsteps of Thoreau: 25 Historic & Nature Walks on Cape Cod by Adam Gamble


More about Cape Cod
Find a hotel, inn, or bed & breakfast if you plan to stay overnight.

There’s some cute Airbnb’s, too! –> Get $40 off your first stay! Click here.

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Reading books about the places you visit enriches your time spent there. Here's a list of books about Cape Cod. Read a few of these before your next visit.

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