Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory | Best 5 Things to Do in Hyannis, MA, with Kids
Photo Credit : Kim Knox Beckius
The Kennedy family’s longtime connection to Hyannis has helped make the village one of Cape Cod’s most famous vacation spots. Planning a visit with your family and wondering about the best kid-friendly things to do in Hyannis, MA? These five attractions achieve the nearly impossible: They appeal to kids ranging from preschoolers to teens, and their parents and grandparents, too.
Collecting seashells, building brown-sugar sand castles, splashing in the gentlest waves: This lifeguard-protected beach in the shelter of Lewis Bay is a multigenerational place to embrace simple joys. Even grownups feel enchanted and revived as they keep one eye on the kids and the other on sailboats easing away from the adjacent Hyannis Yacht Club on their wind-powered journeys du jour. The sights are even more exhilarating from the high-flying swings and spider-web-like climbing structure within the wheelchair-accessible playground. A snack bar serves summer treats, or cook your own outdoor feast on a charcoal grill in the tree-shaded picnic area. Before packing up for the day, visit two serene spots overlooking the beach: the Cape and Islands Korean War Memorial and the John F. Kennedy Memorial. At the latter, the words of the president who found solace and direction on the water in Hyannis encircle a fountain pool: “I believe it is important that this country sail and not lie still in the harbor.”
Looking for a quick intro-duck-tion to Hyannis? These land and sea tours aboard World War II and Vietnam amphibious military vehicles are perfectly timed, at 45 minutes long, to keep little ones amused. You’ll trundle past landmarks like the Kennedy family church and Hyannis’s oldest cemetery before driving right into the water for a closer look at beaches, boats, spectacular homes, and a lighthouse — OK, it’s only a replica of Nantucket’s Brant Point Light, making it “a nautical scam … just like this tour,” your guide might quip. Indeed, you can expect the commentary to be feathered with snarky, wry Cape Cod humor and commands to quack three times at passersby. Play along, and enjoy the easy-breezy feeling of allowing your captain to navigate Hyannis’s busy streets and harbor.
Don’t be surprised if the sea-scented Hyannis air sparks a craving for salty snacks. When backseat munchkins beg for bags of chips, you can give them something better: a whole factory filled with dancing potato slices. Monday through Friday year-round, self-guided tours of the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory demystify the process that transforms potatoes into its all-natural, crunchable delights. First handcrafted in a tiny Hyannis shop more than 30 years ago, these distinctly crisp chips are now sold nationwide. It’s more entertaining than you might imagine to watch chips hip-hopping along conveyor belts and into bags. Best of all for families on a budget, tours and sample bags are free.
SEE MORE:New England Food Factory Tours | Cabot Cheese, Ben & Jerry’s, Cape Cod Potato Chips & More
The water’s always a jump-right-in 84 degrees at Cape Cod’s only indoor water park, which means you can splash down slides during a spring shower or body-surf in a blizzard. Yes, you! This 30,000-square-foot, Cape and Islands–themed water amusement center was designed with grownups in mind, too. Water park admission is an included perk for Cape Codder Resort & Spa guests; day passes are also sold on a limited basis (check availability online). With 2-foot-high waves, four tube slides, a 24-seat whirlpool for teens and adults, the Pirate Bay water play area for little kids, and a lazy river that turns brisk and stormy several times each hour just to keep things interesting — plus a café and arcade — you’ll want to stay all day and into the evening, when colored lights create liquid firework effects.
“Cape Bowl” proclaims the antique sign atop this nearly 60-year-old fixture on Hyannis’s Main Street. If 10-pin bowling isn’t retro enough for your family, several lanes are devoted to candlepin bowling: the small-balls, skinny-pins variation invented in Massachusetts back in 1880. Teens love “Mystic Bowling” on Friday and Saturday nights, when a light and sound show enlivens the lanes. Skee-ball anchors the arcade, which also features modern ticket-redemption games. Head here on a rainy or off-season day or just duck in for an hour out of the sun. And for guaranteed whale sightings, check out local artist Greg Johnson’s aquatic murals, which make this alley uniquely Cape Cod.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Hyannis, MA, with kids?
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.