A Boater’s Guide to Woods Hole

The village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts might be tiny, but this charming Cape Cod destination has an outsized appeal, thanks to its scenic views, its enjoyable shops and restaurants, and it being home to some of the most respected marine science institutions on the planet.

Surrounded by Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound, cruising to Woods Hole takes you through some of the region’s most scenic waters. But the area can be challenging. Boat traffic can be heavy, and includes large ships and ferries. The area also has rocky ledges and powerful currents, so pay attention to channel markers.

Boaters can often find slips and moorings on Eel Pond. There you’ll find Woods Hole Marine (www.woodsholemarine.com; 508-540-2402) and Pinky’s Marina (508-540-2310). To access Eel Pond, you’ll need to contact the Eel Pond Bridge on Channel 13 and ask them to open the bridge. The bridge opens at the top of the hour and bottom of the hour as long as a request is made. Other dockage options include the Woods Hole Yacht Club (www.woodsholeyachtclub.org; 508-548-9205), which sometimes has transient slips, and R&R Marine (508-548-6976). You can find gas and diesel two miles east in Falmouth Inner Harbor.

While in Woods Hole, be sure to visit its several marine science facilities. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (www.whoi.edu; 508-289-2252) is one of the world’s most respected marine science facilities. The Marine Biological Laboratory (www.mbl.edu; 508-548-3705) allows visitors to learn about the lab’s research into marine biology. The Woods Hole Science Aquarium (www.aquarium.nefsc.noaa.gov; 508-495-2001) features local marine life than can be viewed and sometimes touched. And the Buzzards Bay Coalition Visitor’s Center (www.savebuzzardsbay.org/woodshole; 508-540-6222) has interactive exhibits that will appeal to both children and adults.

Visitors to Woods Hole also enjoy renting bicycles and riding along the popular Shining Sea Bikeway (www.falmouthmass.us/bike), a 10.7-mile paved path running from Woods Hole through Falmouth and offering spectacular views of the ocean, salt marshes and cranberry bogs.

Woods Hole is also home to several wonderful restaurants. The Landfall Restaurant (www.woodshole.com/landfall; 508-540-1758) is a popular restaurant overlooking the harbor. Shucker’s Raw Bar (www.woodshole.com/shuckers; 508-540-3850) is a casual dock-and-dine with a large menu. The Captain Kidd (www.thecaptainkidd.com; 508-548-8563) is a low-key restaurant on Eel Pond offering limited dockage to patrons. At the Pie in the Sky Bakery and Café (www.pieintheskywoodshole.com; 508-540-5475), they roast their own coffee and have a huge selection of baked goods, smoothies, sandwiches, soups and salads.