Cape Cod Canal offers a huge variety of opportunities for recreation. The Canal Visitor Center operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers features a retired canal patrol boat and a theater showing presentations about the canal. The outside deck of the Visitor Center offer comfortable rocking chairs where visitors can watch ships (including cargo ships, cruise vessels, jumbo carriers, and luxury yachts) traveling the Cape Cod Canal and enjoy the wonderful sea breezes. Park Rangers offer interpretive services at the Cape Cod Canal that include bike hikes, guided walks, evening programs, and special kid's programs. The Center is open from May through October, and admission is free.
People who love to walk or ride bicycles can use one of the 11.3-kilometer (7-mile) service roads that line both sides of the Cape Cod Canal. Benches, picnic and parking areas, and comfort stations are provided along the route.
The Bournedale Hills Trail travels the north side of the Cape Cod Canal from Herring Run to the Bourne Scenic Park. The trail has a 1.3-meter (0.8-mile) self-guided loop where hikers can learn about the Canal's historic and natural features.
The Scusset Beach State Reservation also contains a 1.1-kilometer (0.7-mile) trail to Sagamore Hill that was once a meeting ground for the indigenous people and that was later used as coastal fortification during World War II.
Fishing is allowed along the banks of the Cape Cod Canal. There is a handicap fishing area at the Sandwich bulkhead area and at the Scusset Beach pier. Fishers seeking salt water fish and lobsters must obey State regulations and licensing requirements. At present, fishers are not allowed to take herring and alewives due to the serious declines in these species.
At the south side of the Cape Cod Canal, the East Boat Basin has slips for commercial and recreational vessels. Managed by the Town of Sandwich, the Corps of Engineers marina is available to boaters wanting to use the slips or the boat ramp. Powered recreational vessels can use the Cape Cod Canal, but sailing is not allowed unless the boat has auxiliary power that must be in use during passage through the canal.Swimming and scuba diving in the Cape Cod Canal are not allowed due to the fast currents; however, there is a swimming beach on Cape Cod Bay at Scusset Beach State Reservation. Campers will find two trailer and tent camping areas on the north side of the Cape Cod Canal. One is located at the Bourne Scenic Park, and the other is located at the Scusset Beach State Reservation.