Discover Buzzards Bay in a new light as you ride, roll, walk, or run on the Shining Sea Bikeway. This bike path snakes through four of Falmouth’s villages: North Falmouth, West Falmouth, Falmouth Village, and Woods Hole. Along the way, you’ll discover Cape Cod beaches, harbors, forests, and salt marshes.
The Shining Sea Bikeway was one of America’s first 500 rail trails. It’s located on the former rail bed of train service that ran from Boston to Woods Hole. The name “Shining Sea” is in honor of Katharine Lee Bates, a Falmouth native who penned “America the Beautiful.”
The Shining Sea Bikeway is a paved, multi-use trail that runs 10.7 miles from North Falmouth to Woods Hole. Along the way, there are several convenient places to pick up the bike path and enjoy some cycling by the sea. (Download trail map)
Beginning in North Falmouth, get started on the Shining Sea Bikeway at its northernmost point on County Road. About 2 miles down, you’ll ride through an active cranberry bog and the trails of Bourne Farm and Cardoza Farm.
If you want to hop on the bikeway a little farther south, head to West Falmouth, another spot with a convenient parking area next to the bike path. Just south of here, the bikeway takes a turn toward the water and reveals perhaps its most stunning vista: Great Sippewissett Marsh, a spectacular stretch of salt marsh along Buzzards Bay.
Looking for an easy ride into Woods Hole? Start on the Shining Sea Bikeway at Falmouth Village, about 4 miles north of Woods Hole Village. Along the way, you’ll be treated to a scenic tour of Nobska Light and sandy beaches along Vineyard Sound.
Habitats & Wildlife
The Shining Sea Bikeway is the only bike path on Cape Cod that runs alongside the seashore. Nearly one-quarter of the bikeway passes through conserved natural areas, so you can get a close-up view of ponds, cedar swamps, salt marshes, cranberry bogs, and wooded uplands.
As you travel along the bike path, be on the lookout for all kinds of wildlife. In summer, ospreys soar high above the water and great blue herons stalk their prey in the marsh. Foxes, deer, and turtles are also common sights along the bikeway. For the best views of landscapes and life, we recommend getting an early start on summer days.