The Falmouth Shining Sea Trail is named after the words "sea to shining sea" from "America The Beautiful", which was authored by Katharine Lee Bates, who was born in Falmouth. Starting just outside Falmouth Center, the trail provides a nice, level ride on an off-road bike path between North Falmouth and Woods Hole. This is a fantastic trail with gorgeous views of Vineyard Sound as well as Buzzards Bay. The trail now runs from Woods Hole 10.7 miles to County Road in North Falmouth, and will hopefully someday extend all the way to the Cape Cod Canal. Falmouth Center, just a short distance from the trail, also provides many opportunities for visitors including lots of restaurants and many different shops.
Following the old Penn Central Railroad grade, the Shining Sea Trail runs through some beautiful areas and for some distance follows right along the water's edge, with views of Martha's Vineyard on the horizon. In spots, you can literally stop for a swim or picnic right on the beach. True to its name, this is the only trail on the Cape that runs right along the beach in this way. The north section of the trail passes the beautiful Sippewisset Marshes and gorgeous views of Buzzards Bay.
Be sure to see Woods Hole! At the south end, the trail ends at the Woods Hole Steamship Authority parking lot, where it is only a short walk to the sights of famous and quaint Woods Hole. Here you can see the Oceanographic Intitution and its sailing vessels when in port, the National Marine Fisheries and their aquaria which are great fun for the kids, and the famous Nobska light. While tiny, Woods Hole itself is a fantastic destination and opportunity with plenty to see and do. There are many restaurants and stores right in Woods Hole, as well.
From Woods Hole, you can also get the ferries to Martha's Vineyard or to Nantucket. Be especially cautious in Woods Hole, as roads are very narrow and traffic is heavy. Parking is difficult in Woods Hole during the summer. North from Falmouth Center, the trail passes incredible scenery at Little and Great Sippewisset Marshes and West Falmouth Harbor and provides close access to several beaches in West Falmouth, including Chapoquoit Beach
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