Cape Cod Close-up

Ashley Steel's picture

Cape Cod, quintessential land of summer, isn’t exactly what you might think of when you think of educational family travel destinations.  Mini-golf, ice cream, sunscreen, bikinis, waves, and lifeguards in red t-shirts … what’s there to learn?  How about learning to slow down and look around.  In fact, Cape Cod is a great place to observe closely the many details that come together to make a spit of sand into a family vacation destination extraordinaire.  Is it the zinc on a life guard’s nose or the weathered wooden buoy hanging from a weathered wooden shack?  Would a close-up of that buoy look different than a close up of weathered wood from some other location?


Cape Cod Close-up: A Search Game!


Can your kids recognize the close-up shots below?  If you’ve been to Cape Cod, do these 15 images capture the Cape Cod you know?  And, what sets them apart from a collection of images of another place?   


Cape Cod Lobster


Water, Cape Cod


Ice cream cone


Sand and barnacle, Cape Cod


Seaweed, Cape Cod


Honeysuckle, Cape Cod


Ice cream close up


Wicker close up


Minigolf closeup


Seed pod closeup


crab shell closeup


Seafoam, Cape Cod


Slippershells, on the beach in Cape Cod


Hydrangea closeup


Cape Cod sand, closeup


What images would capture the essence of your family’s vacation destination?  Encourage your kids to look at the details that make a place special and unique.  Is there a special flower or food?  A stereo-typical pattern or texture?  What are the iconic landmarks and what small details might be instantly recognizable?  



It can be challenging to take close-up shots but most cameras and even cell phone cameras have a macro setting that improves photo quality for close-up shots.  Sketching details can be fun too or even making rubbings of plants, plaques, or even fish.  The fun part is not so much the documentation but the internal debate about which details, specifically, represent a place and ought to be captured.


Images: lobster, water, ice cream cone, sand with barnacle, seaweed, honeysuckle blossom, ice cream, wicker table, mini-golf carpet, seedpod from the beach, dots on a crab shell, sea foam, slipper shells on the beach, blue hydrangea blossom, sand.


E. Ashley Steel is the co-author of “Family on the Loose: The Art of Traveling with Kids”, co-curator of, and the Traveling with Kids editor for Wandering Educators.



All photos courtesy and copyright E. Ashley Steel