The Falmouth Bike Path, officially known as the Shining Sea Bikeway, is a paved bike path that stretches out 10.7 miles from North Falmouth to Woods Hole. Along the route, cyclists, joggers, walkers, and rollerbladers can enjoy a number of points of interest including full-service restaurants, an ice cream shop, a custom deli, hiking trails that spur off from the bikeway, salt marsh, and a beach along Vineyard Sound.
The Shining Sea Bikeway is a classic rail trail, built along the route of the old New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad that shuttled passengers to Cape Cod in the early 20th century as the area transitioned from a collection of quiet fishing villages into a bustling tourist destination.
The town of Falmouth opened the bikeway in 1975 after purchasing the right of way and laying down 3.3 miles of paved bike path from Falmouth Center to the Steamship Authority ferry terminal in Woods Hole. In 2009, the town laid down an additional 7.4 miles, extending the Shining Sea Bikeway to North Falmouth.
Where to Rent Bikes Along the Falmouth Bike Path
There are two bike shops along the Falmouth Bike Path, both of which rent bikes, helmets, and children’s bike trailers. Which bike shop to use depends on whether you plan to ride the entire bikeway or only ride a small section.
Bike Zone – North Falmouth
Located at the northern terminus of the Shining Sea Bikeway in North Falmouth, this shop is convenient if you want to ride the entire path to Woods Hole and back again, or if you want to ride a less congested section of the trail.
Located in Falmouth Center, rent bikes here if you want to experience the southern three miles of the bikeway. This section includes beautiful ocean views, a small beach, and ends in Woods Hole, where you can grab lunch and visit the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) visitor center and aquarium.
Points of Interest Along the Shining Sea Bikeway
This table service restaurant features a full menu of seafood and American entrees, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, and lobster rolls. Uncle Bill’s Country Store is located next to the dining room and sells a variety of Cape Cod memorabilia including craftwork by local artisans, postcards, jams and jellies, penny candy (not really a penny), and a ton of other unique items.
Silver Lounge is located near the beginning of the Shining Sea Bikeway in North Falmouth, so you may want to hit this location on the ride back.
Founded in 1775, as old as the nation itself, this 49-acre parcel began as a working agricultural farm. The farmhouse was one of the first homes in West Falmouth and is the original structure built here at the onset of the American Revolution.
Bourne Farm has large fields that overlook Crocker Pond and is a peaceful pastoral setting for a picnic lunch, so remember to pack one if you are riding this section of the bikeway. The property also contains several walking trails if you would like to dismount your bike and have a wander.
In the fall, Bourne Farm is home to a large pumpkin patch and hosts the annual Pumpkin Day, a celebration for young families to enjoy pumpkin picking, food, and activities.
Eulinda’s Ice Cream
West Falmouth Market
Trunk River Beach
Pie in the Sky
This is THE coffee shop in Woods Hole. It is extremely popular with the staff and graduate students from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute as well as commuters to and from Martha’s Vineyard. They are known for organic brewed and espresso coffees as well as their baked goods. The pecan roll is a specialty here. Pie in the Sky also sells breakfast and lunch sandwiches for something more substantial.
If you decide to lock your bike up in Woods Hole, be sure to get a Nitro Cold Brew as you walk around the village.
Stand Up Paddle on Cape Cod
Quick’s Hole Taqueria
If you want a quick, counter-service lunch, then try this seaside take on Mexican cuisine. Located next to Quicks Hole Tavern, the seasonal taqueria serves Cape Codified versions of your favorite dishes. Have you ever tried a lobster taco? Now you can. How about a blackened swordfish Baja Bowl?
Quick’s Hole also serves the traditional versions of Mexican street food, so if you’ve already had enough seafood for the week, then you can just enjoy the basics. I love this spot in the summer. Although the seating can be tight, the food is delicious. Bottled/canned alcoholic drinks are available with your meal.
Woods Hole Science Aquarium
The National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates a small aquarium in Woods Hole that has species of the North and Mid-Atlantic. Although you won’t find many colorful, tropical species here, you can learn a great deal about the local fisheries in New England, as well as the history of the science community in Woods Hole. Many visitors wander around the village and wonder about the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Marine Biological Laboratory. Here, you can learn about how it all came to be. Admission is FREE to all.
The Woods Hole Science Aquarium includes a touch tank for the kiddos and young at heart, as well as some charismatic animals like sea turtles and a pair of harbor seals. If you are riding to Woods Hole along the Shining Sea Bikeway with kids, this is a fun place for some family interaction. There is a bike rack located at the aquarium if you would like to ride to the entrance, or it is walkable from anywhere in the Woods Hole village. The aquarium is closed on weekends and Federal Holidays.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Visitor Center & Store
If you have questions about the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, drop by their visitor center and store where you can ask questions of WHOI staff as well as grab brochures about the institute’s research operations performed across the globe. In the summer months, walking tours are also offered by reservation.
Points of Interest Along the Falmouth Bike Path (Map)
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