Old King’s Highway
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2021)
- Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
- Length62 miles
Not only does Old King’s Highway run directly through America’s largest historic district, but it is also one of the nation’s most scenic roadways. This beautiful National Scenic Byway runs right along the coast of Massachusetts and gives visitors a beautiful view of Cape Cod and other wonderful towns. Believed to be first created by Native Americans as a trade route, this road is full of historical significance in addition to the gorgeous views. Taking a trip with the family along this 65 mile long road would be a wonderful vacation that will create memories for a lifetime.
Story of the Byway
If you are taking a trip to Massachusetts’ beautiful Cape Cod or other shore towns, the Old King’s Highway is a must to drive along. Designated as a National Scenic Byway in 2021, this Highway stands out for its historical, recreational, and natural qualities. With it being only 65 miles in length, this stretch of road can easily be done in a day and visitors can experience everything that it has to offer. This road is the backbone for America’s largest historic district, so there is plenty of opportunity to learn about the area and how the first settlers built it. There is also an abundance of scenic views and beautiful natural areas that can be found along the Byway. Visitors can stop by at any point to see the Cape Cod Bay or maybe take a break in Nickerson State Park to take in the gorgeous scenery.
The history of the area is what truly makes it one of the most fascinating and intriguing Byways in the entire country. As previously stated, it is located in America’s largest historic district, so there is no shortage of opportunity to learn about the rich history of the area. It is believed that this route was used by Native Americans as a trading route between villages and camps found in the area and has been developing ever since. It then became a route in for early settlers in the area during the 1600s to travel from east to west and can be found being described in documents in 1684. The area then went through an agricultural phase in the seventeenth century where the people first created residences, villages, and farms. Then, once maritime activities became popular in the area during the eighteenth century, the whole culture shifted, and it has become what we know of it today. There are still hundreds of historic structures and early homes that can be found along Old King’s Highway, like the Jonathan Young Windmill. This windmill was created in the early 1700s and most of the machinery is still fully functional from when it was first built!
While the history of this area is incredibly rich, he natural aspects of this area cannot be overlooked. The scenery that acts as a backdrop for this Byway is absolutely breathtaking and can be appreciated by all that drive along it. The views of Cape Cod Bay throughout the entirety of the road are unbelievable as visitors pass through dozens of different ports and harbors full of incredible boats. Not only is the Bay a scenic aspect of the Byway, but there are also plenty of bayside marshes, open vistas, cranberry bogs, and even a large tree canopy that covers a large portion of the road!
The possibilities along Old King’s Highway are truly endless and just about anybody can have a great time. With the gorgeous views and rich history, a trip along this Byway would be wonderful for the entire family and can prove to be a great day trip.
Travel along route 6A from Sandwich to Orleans Massachusetts to experience the Old King’s Highway. This road is 65 miles long and travels through the heart of Massachusetts’ best shore towns. This easy drive can be done in one day or two depending on how much you want to experience!
Points of Interest
Cape Cod Canal Bike Paths
Visitors can rent a bike at one of the many rental shops and take a ride on some of the most beautiful bike paths in the area to see the Cape Cod Canal.
Nickerson State Park
Come visit this beautiful State Park with plenty of recreational activities and opportunities for relaxation in this serene and quaint park.
Jonathan Young Windmill
Built in the early 1700s, this windmills original machinery is still in tact and works to this day!
Cape Cod Museum of Art
View some wonderful art pieces and sculptures at this museum tight along the Byway.
Take a Trip to the Cape
Traveling along Route 6A east toward Cape Cod, visitors have the chance to view some of the most gorgeous landscapes and learn about the rich history of the area. Starting from Route 6A in Sandwich and traveling east, there are immediately historical sites and recreational opportunities that you can visit and experience. Right from the beginning, the Cape Cod Canal Bike Paths are a must for those who enjoy a scenic bike ride. If you are more of a history buff, you can stop by West Barnstable Railroad, which has been servicing passengers since the 1800s and offers excursion train rides for visitors year-round. Here the Byway runs directly through America’s largest historic district, which means that there are endless possibilities to learn about how this area was built up in the past. Right after passing Barnstable, the gorgeous views of the Cape Cod Bay after the Great Marshes. You then can drive through the beautiful town of Yarmouth, which have plenty of notable locations that you can stop and enjoy. About halfway through this 65-mile-long Byway, you can stop by some of the beautiful ports located in the Cape Cod Bay in the Dennis and Brewster area. Towards the end of this journey, there are also multiple chances to view historical and natural locations. Nickerson State Park is a truly wonderful area with walking and bike paths all around and pristine bodies of water. There is also Jonathan Young Windmill, which was built in the early 1700s and has been fully operational ever since! At the end of this Byway, visitors can stop by the beautiful Cape Cod Beaches and enjoy a wonderful weekend with lodging options galore.
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