Highland Links golf course - lighthouse
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Highland Links golf course - lighthouse
Playing in the shadow of a lighthouse makes Highland Links a special nine-hole loop. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Cod - whale watching
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Cape Cod - whale watching
Whale watching with the Dolphin Fleet guarantees sightings. The ships launch from Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Art's Dune Tours in Cape Cod
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Art's Dune Tours in Cape Cod
Art's Dune Tours capture the beauty of Cape Cod near Provincetown. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Nantucket Whaling Museum
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Nantucket Whaling Museum
The Nantucket Whaling Museum is filled with maritime artifacts. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Nantucket beaches on Cape Cod
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Nantucket beaches on Cape Cod
The beaches on Nantucket are a big reason why tourists flock here in summer. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Provincetown in Cape Cod
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Provincetown in Cape Cod
The Pilgrim Monument towers over Provincetown, an eclectic seaport filled with shops, bars and restaurants at the tip of Cape Cod. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Dune shacks on Cape Cod
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Dune shacks on Cape Cod
Guests can stay in the dune shacks located in the stunning landscape of the Cape Cod National Seashore near Provincetown. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cape Cod National Seashore
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Cape Cod National Seashore
The dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore are simply stunning during a sunset ride with Art's Dune Tours. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Dolphin Fleet whale watching boat
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Dolphin Fleet whale watching boat
A Dolphin Fleet whale watching boat docks in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod to pick up more passengers. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Blue Rock Golf Resort - hole 4
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Blue Rock Golf Resort - hole 4
The 130-yard fourth hole at Blue Rock Golf Resort. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Captains G.C. - Port Course - 8th
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Captains G.C. - Port Course - 8th
The par-5 eighth hole of the Port Course might be the signature hole at the 36-hole Captains Golf Course in Brewster, Mass. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Plimoth Plantation - Mayflower II
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Plimoth Plantation - Mayflower II
Stopping by Plimoth Plantation is a great tourist excursion for those heading to or from Cape Cod. Courtesy of Plimoth Plantation
Plimoth Plantation - Indian village
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Plimoth Plantation - Indian village
The live Pilgram and Indian villages at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass., make for a great day trip from Cape Cod for all ages. Courtesy of Plimoth Plantation
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Massachusetts: Discover the best of summer -- including great golf and beaches -- on Cape Cod

NANTUCKET, Mass. -- Cape Cod has earned the reputation as one of America's best summer getaways. There are more than 40 golf courses to choose from on the Cape, but it's the beaches, from the tip of the Cape to the sandy shores of the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, that steal the show.

The sand dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore near Provincetown are best explored by a ride with Art's Dune Tours (www.artsdunetours.com). My sunset tour of the dune shacks while watching the sun dip below the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean was one of the highlights of the entire summer.

Whale watching with the Dolphin Fleet out of Provincetown (www.whalewatch.com) is another great excursion into the wild. Tourists flood Nantucket and "The Vineyard" for shopping, dining and the relaxed maritime lifestyle. Renting bikes on Nantucket allows you to explore virtually the entire island, although the excellent Nantucket Whaling Museum (www.nha.org) sits just steps from the high-speed Hy-Line ferry dock (www.hylinecruises.com).

History buffs can visit Plymouth Rock before or after a trip to Cape Cod. The very cool Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org) includes working Indian and Pilgrim villages at one location, a grist mill at another and the Mayflower II docked near the famous rock right downtown.

There's much to love about summer on the Cape, but golfers should know a little secret. Blue Rock Golf Resort Head Golf Professional Patrick Fanning said he believes fall could be an even better time to visit. The courses empty out as the seasonal residents head home, while the courses stay in great shape and the weather remains ideal, all thanks to warm ocean waters, which create a microclimate of milder temperatures than the mainland.

Although many of Cape Cod's best courses are private or require a resort stay, the Captains Golf Course in Brewster is accessible to all. Architect Brian Silva did a nice job intertwining the two layouts, despite designing them years apart. Holes range from 103 yards to 255 yards on the fine par-3 course at Blue Rock , proving that all ages and abilities will love Cape Cod, on and off the beach.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Massachusetts: Discover the best of summer -- including great golf and beaches -- on Cape Cod
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