Being the sole town on Cape Cod that lacks an English or Native American name, Orleans derives its name from a tribute to Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. This recognition honors France’s aid to the colonies during the American Revolution. Situated at the point where the Lower Cape gracefully curves towards the Outer Cape, Orleans captivates with its enchanting fusion of land and sea. The town demonstrates a genuine commitment to environmental conservation, while both inhabitants and tourists take delight in the diverse range of leisure pursuits. These include activities by ponds, within parks, and notably along the picturesque expanse of ocean and bay beaches.

Orleans offers a plethora of aquatic possibilities, ranging from the excitement of Nauset Beach on the Atlantic Ocean to the breathtaking sunsets and tidal pools of Skaket Beach on the bay. The town’s historical ties to a salt and fish economy have paved the way for a contemporary focus on activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, ecotourism, boating, and various water sports. For those who prefer terra firma, there’s an abundance of delight awaiting on acres of wooded areas, meadows, marshes, and bogs. These landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for leisurely strolls, biking, birdwatching, and unwinding amidst nature’s beauty.


SOURCE: US Census, American Community Survey Program, Estimates for July 2021.

ORLEANS, MA Real Estate Trends for Single-Family Homes

ORLEANS, MA Housing Affordability

Places to stay in ORLEANS, MA

Where to Eat IN ORLEANS, MA

Things to do in ORLEANS, MA

Visit the historic Jonathan Young Windmill.

The Historic Jonathan Young Windmill stands as a cherished landmark in Orleans, MA, offering a glimpse into the region’s past. With its iconic presence on Cape Cod, this well-preserved windmill reflects the area’s rich heritage and craftsmanship. Exploring the intricacies of the Jonathan Young Windmill allows visitors to connect with Cape Cod’s traditions and history. Its enduring legacy captures the essence of the region’s cultural roots. For those intrigued by history and seeking a unique experience, the windmill stands as a captivating testament to time.

Discover artistic excellence at the Academy of Performing Arts.

Experience the vibrant arts scene in Orleans, MA, with the renowned Academy of Performing Arts. Nestled in the charming town of Orleans, this academy serves as a focal point for cultivating artistic passions and nurturing creativity. Offering a diverse array of performing arts classes and workshops, including theater, dance, and music, the Academy of Performing Arts is a must-visit destination for aspiring performers and those looking to refine their artistic talents. Immerse yourself in the world of arts at the Academy of Performing Arts in Orleans, MA, and uncover a realm of artistic expression and growth.

Visit the Addison Art Gallery.

Elevate your Orleans, MA experience with a trip to the esteemed Addison Art Gallery. Situated in this captivating town, the gallery stands as a prime hub for art enthusiasts and collectors. Delve into a diverse collection of contemporary artworks spotlighting both local and national artists. With mediums ranging from paintings to sculptures, the gallery presents a rich tapestry of artistic expressions. Discover the vibrant world of visual arts at the Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, MA, and uncover a treasure trove of creativity and inspiration.

Embrace nature’s beauty on the Cape Cod Rail Trail adventure.

Explore the scenic beauty of Cape Cod in a unique way by venturing onto the Cape Cod Rail Trail. This renowned trail offers an exceptional opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to immerse themselves in the region’s breathtaking landscapes. Stretching through picturesque towns and lush woodlands, the trail provides a perfect setting for cycling, walking, or jogging. Whether you’re a solo adventurer or enjoying a day out with family and friends, the Cape Cod Rail Trail promises a memorable journey filled with captivating vistas and a sense of tranquility. Experience the Cape’s natural charm and embrace an active escape along the captivating Cape Cod Rail Trail.

Journey into Maritime History at the French Cable Station Museum.

Step back in time and uncover the fascinating maritime history of Orleans, MA, at the French Cable Station Museum. Situated in this charming coastal town, the museum offers an engaging journey into the world of undersea telegraphy. Delve into the stories of communication pioneers and the crucial role they played in connecting continents through the transatlantic cables. With meticulously preserved artifacts, interactive exhibits, and informative displays, the French Cable Station Museum provides an immersive experience that educates and captivates visitors of all ages. Explore the remarkable legacy of global communication at the French Cable Station Museum, a must-visit destination that bridges the past with the present.

Discover the beauty of Nauset Beach.

Indulge in the coastal allure of Nauset Beach in Orleans, MA. This unspoiled shoreline invites you to unwind against the backdrop of the ocean’s melody. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin as you stroll along the sandy coast and relish the salty breeze. With its sweeping dunes and mesmerizing views, Nauset Beach offers a haven for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking a serene escape or a day of outdoor exploration, Nauset Beach in Orleans, MA, is an oceanfront paradise that caters to every desire.

Captivating serenity at Rock Harbor Creek.

Posted by Christopher Setterlund, guest blogger of In My Footsteps

Discover the captivating allure of Rock Harbor Creek in Orleans, MA. This idyllic waterway presents a serene escape, inviting you to connect with the tranquility of nature. As you meander alongside the gentle curves of the creek, you’ll be surrounded by lush marshes that teem with a variety of birdlife and aquatic wonders. The ever-changing tides create a mesmerizing display, offering photographers and artists an endless source of inspiration. Whether you’re kayaking along the calm waters, capturing the vibrant hues of sunset, or simply enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, Rock Harbor Creek provides an opportunity to experience the beauty of Orleans, MA, in its purest form.

Unwind and explore Skaket Beach.

Experience the coastal charm of Skaket Beach, nestled in Orleans, MA. This pristine shoreline invites you to unwind and revel in the simplicity of beachside relaxation. With its expansive tidal flats and soft sands, Skaket Beach offers a unique opportunity to explore during low tide, discovering fascinating marine life and seashells. As the sun sets, the beach transforms into a picturesque scene, casting vibrant hues across the sky and reflecting on the tranquil waters. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely stroll, building sandcastles with family, or witnessing the beauty of a Cape Cod sunset, Skaket Beach promises a memorable and captivating seaside escape.

Exploring the beauty of Town Cove.

Discover the captivating beauty of Town Cove in Orleans, MA, a coastal gem that beckons with its serene charm. Offering stunning water views and captivating landscapes, Town Cove is a coveted destination for boating, kayaking, and nature enthusiasts. Nestled within the heart of Cape Cod, this hidden treasure allows you to witness the ebb and flow of tides, encounter a diverse array of marine life, and capture striking photographs. Whether you’re in search of a leisurely day on the water or a chance to connect with the natural marvels of Cape Cod, Town Cove in Orleans, MA, promises an unforgettable experience that encapsulates the essence of the region’s coastal allure.


Orleans boasts a fascinating history, with notable events leaving their mark. In 1897, the town played a crucial role in the installation of a Trans-Atlantic cable linking the U.S. to France, a significant achievement commemorated at the French Cable Station Museum—an erstwhile telegraph station housing artifacts from that era.

During the War of 1812, Orleans faced a British Navy landing party’s attack. Over a century later, in 1918, a German U-Boat fired toward the coast during a search and destroy mission, sinking a passing tugboat, but fortunately causing no fatalities. Orleans stands as the only U.S. site attacked by the Germans in World War I. A piece of maritime history is also on display each summer at Rock Harbor, where Coast Guard Lifeboat CG-36500, used to rescue the SS Pendleton’s crew during a treacherous 1952 winter storm off Chatham, is docked for public viewing.


In East Orleans, the nonprofit Academy of Performing Arts thrives within a unique and historic arena theater. It presents year-round theatrical productions and provides educational opportunities in the performing arts. Orleans boasts a diverse selection of fine art galleries, including the renowned Addison Art Gallery, which has showcased emerging artists and established masters for over 25 years. Additionally, the Orleans Market Square hosts seasonal Artist Cottages, where Cape Cod-inspired visual artists and artisans display their creations.

Culture in ORLEANS, MA

Orleans holds the prestigious title of one of Massachusetts’ 32 officially designated cultural districts by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The Orleans Cultural District encompasses sections of Route 6A and Main Street, offering a plethora of art galleries, museums, antique shops, and historic sites. Among them is the circa-1720 Jonathan Young Windmill. Sports enthusiasts can cheer on the Orleans Firebirds, a team in the Eastern Division of the esteemed Cape Cod Baseball League, with home games played at Eldredge Park.


For educational pursuits, Orleans hosts Orleans Elementary School, catering to children from kindergarten through fifth grade. Nauset Regional Middle School serves students from Orleans, Brewster, Wellfleet, and Eastham in grades six through eight. High school students have the option of attending Nauset Regional High School in Eastham or Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Harwich. Additionally, Orleans offers private elementary education through the Partnership School, accommodating preschool through grade six.