The Old King’s Highway, known also today as Cape Cod Route 6A, is on the northern, or bay side, of Cape Cod and travels through some of the oldest villages in America including Bourne, Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster and Orleans. It may seem odd to mesh the words “historic” and “highway” but Route 6A is truly that. Lined with historic houses, theaters, and museums, as well as beautiful fauna, it becomes one of the most profound scenic detours through Mid-Cape.
Running parallel to Route 28 for much of Yarmouth, it is easy to pick up Route 6A from the Main Street Yarmouth hotels or motels. This route is best if you are looking for interesting scenery, historic stops, or a nice route up to the national seashore on a fall day. During the summer, the road can become a bit crowded heading up to Orleans, but it is much quieter than the bustling Route 28 (Main Street,Yarmouth) which experiences most of the traffic from Cape Cod accommodations.
It is also a great idea if you are looking to combine activities and check out the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a biking path that runs along the Cape). Though not the closest way to join the rail trail from Yarmouth hotels, its a nice way to see a different stretch of the path, especially if you and your family have already completed a bit of the Harwich section (see our intro to the Cape Cod Rail Trail here). Sandy Neck beach can also be reached through the Old King’s highway, and is a must see for those looking to find a new Cape favorite. It is long, beautiful, and especially good for beach walks in the mornings or evenings before crowds arrive.
If you are looking to escape a Cape Cod hotel room, and consider your activities more about the journey rather than the destination, here are some side line attractions that make great stops along a day or half-day drive. There’s plenty more of course, and scattered between are shops and delicious little restaurants to pop into, but here are lists of some key attractions for what you may be looking for.
For A Historic Drive:
- Historic Sandwich Village – Sandwich
- Heritage Museum and Gardens – Sandwich
- Trayser Coast Guard Museum – Barnstable
- Winslow Crocker House – Yarmouth
- Josiah Dennis Manse & Old West Schoolhouse – Dennis
- Jonathan Young Windmill – Orleans
For Unique Natural Sightseeing:
1.Sandwich Harbor and the salt marshes – Sandwich
2. Barnstable Harbor and the view of Sandy Neck – Barnstable
3. Ancient Cemetery – Yarmouth Port
4. Scargo Lake & Scargo Tower – Dennis
5. Sesuit Harbor – East Dennis
6. Stony Brook & the tidal flats – Brewster
7. Skaket Beach & Rock Harbor – Orleans
For the Complete Day Trip (click for a map and extensive list of stops):