Book Review & Giveaway: In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide

Drawn by visions of white sand beaches, quiet salt marshes, roadside clam shacks and good old-fashioned family fun, an estimated six million tourists flock to Cape Cod each year.  Some have been vacationing on Cape Cod for decades but for newbies, the first question they need to answer is, “where in Cape Cod should we stay?” What some people don’t realize is that Cape Cod is 70 miles long with 15 towns, each with its own attractions and personality.

So before you book that beachhouse, I recommend a little research into all Cape Cod has to offer so you can find the best location for your family vacation. When Christopher Setterlund, author and 12th generation Cape Codder offered a review copy of his new book, “In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide,” I was eager to give it a read. We’ve visited Chatham, Brewster, Nauset and Provincetown and stayed in Hyannis and Wellfleet, but I know there are still so many corners and treasures on Cape Cod that we have yet to explore. (Read about my favorite places on Cape Cod here.)

In My Footsteps Cape Cod Travel Guide Book Review

Photo Credit: Christopher Setterlund and Schiffer Publishing

Setterlund does not disappoint in that regard. He begins as you cross the bridge and enter the Cape, then guides you point-to-point from the Upper Cape (the first part of the Cape — like the upper part of your arm), along the northern half up through the Lower Cape (I know it sounds counterintuitive but think of Provincetown at the fingertips of the arm of the Cape) and then back along the southern half. Along the way he offers insights into not just popular destinations but many less recognized spots that only locals would truly know and treasure.

This isn’t a traditional guidebook in that it won’t offer advice on where to stay or where to eat. Nor will it give you in-depth insights into the different towns (like which is more touristy). But this book goes deeper into the soul of Cape Cod and offers a guide to popular beaches, historic homes, lighthouses, bike paths and other attractions that make the Cape, the “Cape.”

In My Footsteps Cape Cod Travel Guide Book Review

Photo Credit: Christopher Setterlund and Schiffer Publishing

What I particularly liked about this book is that each attraction has its own page, with succinct clear directions and visitor information such as hours, parking availability, and entrance fees from Sandwich to Provincetown to Chatham, Falmouth and back to Bourne. Some of my very favorite places on Cape Cod are listed in the book, including:

  • Chapin Beach in Dennis
  • Nauset Beach and Skaket Beach in Orleans
  • Craigville Beach in Centerville

While those beaches are amazing, they aren’t exactly unknown so what excited me was discovering some places that I’d never even heard of and now can’t wait to explore this summer like:

  • Sandy Neck Trails in Sandwich
  • Grays Beach in Yarmouthport
  • Crowes Pasture Beach in East Dennis
  • Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster
  • Cape Cod Rail Trail in West Dennis
  • South Cape Beach State Park in Mashpee

Cape Cod is meant for outdoor fun like swimming, biking, hiking, fishing, boating, and playing in the tidal flats. However, we all know that it isn’t sunny every day and In My Footsteps offers ideas for indoor exploration as well including museums, lighthouses, and historic houses. Trust me, you don’t want to spend your rainy days standing in line getting drenched to shuffle through the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory “Tour” (been there, done that) and Setterlund offers many, more interesting options.

Book review In My Footsteps Cape Cod Travel Guide

Photo Credit: Christopher Setterlund and Schiffer Publishing

The main thing the book is missing is an overall map of the Cape with the various sights listed. I also wish he provided a bit more insight into the best times to visit beaches and sights, especially during high season. For example, places like Chapins Beach may offer parking but in the summer, that parking might be full by 10 am. Also, some beaches are huge and amazing when the time in out but almost non-existent when the tide is high so you’ll need to know this information to fully enjoy your visit. I’d recommend that when you are planning your trip, first take a look at a map to acquaint yourself with the various towns, then start reading In My Footsteps and highlight the sights and activities that would interest your family. Before you know it you will have your whole vacation planned and who knows, the Cape might just become your go to place for creating special family memories.

Book Giveaway

In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide by Christopher Setterlund is published by Schiffer Publishing and available at, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and local book stores. Or, you can enter to win a free copy by leaving a comment below before June 15, 2014 and telling us what you’d like to do on Cape Cod (open to U.S. residents only.)

Disclosure: A free review copy of In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide was provided by Schiffer Publishing and Christopher Setterlund, but the opinions are my own.


3 Comments on “Book Review & Giveaway: In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide

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  1. It’s been years since I’ve been to the cape, but the National Seashore Visitors center in a Eastham had great trails to wander.

      Hi Sarah, thanks for reading and leaving a comment! As the only commenter, you are entitled to the copy of the book. Please email me your address and I will mail it to you. Thanks! tamara (at) we3travel (dot) com.

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