After visiting friends in Chatham, MA (Cape Cod) last year and really enjoying the small town, we booked a rental earlier this month to vacation there with our extended family! We loved staying right off Main Street, and were able to easily walk around town from shops to restaurants to the local small beaches.
I wanted to share my outfits from the week, and spots in the area that were dairy & nut allergy-friendly for my kid. Before any trip I always scour the web for reviews and menus of allergy-friendly spots, so hopefully this can be useful to someone else visiting the area!
Be warned that everything is priced at a premium on the Cape, from lodging to groceries to restaurants. While we opted to rent a house, Chatham Bars Inn is the popular hotel to stay at in the area. It’s very pricey, but has family-friendly amenities between the scenic beach and pool.
The kids were constantly bickering when together, so Nick & I spent a lot of time on this trip splitting up for 1-on-1 time with each one. None of the spots on the list below are particularly exciting, but made for a nice low key family vacation!
Little local beach for toddlers and kids that has bathroom facilities.
A touristy but fine spot to watch the fishing boats unload and the many seals waiting to catch a bite, and then grab a lobster roll for yourself. The restaurant there has very tasty crisp fries, and we enjoyed the scallop roll and clam chowder.
Our friends with kids a tad older like coming here to watch baseball games as a family, and our kids enjoyed the playground. Bathrooms available.
Along Main Street with friendly & helpful staff, and a great selection from gummies to house made fudge and chocolates. I took Rio here for our mom & son day where he was absolutely delighted, and got to try his first ever milk chocolate (in the shape of little cars)!
Allergy note: Dairy and nuts are everywhere here, so I didn’t bring Nori inside but got some pre-packaged candies and gummies for her. The team leader was very patient with my questions, took photos of ingredient labels for items I was interested in, and texted them to me.
Other walkable spots along Main Street
- Chatham Orpheum Theatre had a free kids matinee daily at 9:30AM.
- Eldredge Library is an old library where we spent a little time at each afternoon
- Occasional public events like concerts or Shakespeare in the park that my in-laws enjoyed
- Lots of little shops. My kids loved popping into Chatham T kids daily to look at the toys and clothes. And Ducks in the Window has fun small toys for kids, but FYI the shop is tiny.
A short drive from town. Filipino owned, so in addition to pretty good burgers they also have lumpia (filipino fried spring rolls)!
Allergy note: Mostly or completely nut-free, but since they serve and fry a lot of items with dairy, they said that dairy cross-contamination is likely.
The newer sister restaurant of Mom & Pops that’s walkable in town, and entirely outdoors set under straw tiki umbrellas. Nice Filipino inspired dishes and flavors – kids loved the lumpia, while I enjoyed the flavorful cold noodle salad (sub adobo chicken skewers instead of tofu), tacos, pinoy burger, and the delish ube ice cream sandwich.
Allergy note: many nut & dairy free options, including the same lumpia from their sister restaurant Mom & Pops burger except with a low risk of dairy cross contamination at this location. For this reason, I went here with the kids several times in a week!
Pretty good from their fried plates to fresh seafood. We enjoyed a generous fisherman’s platter with the kids (the scallops are perfect here!) and Nick and I went back on date night for oysters and shrimp cocktail.
Allergy note: This is the only fried seafood spot in the area I felt comfortable with for my kid, since they’re very allergy-conscious and emphasize that everything in their fryers are both dairy and gluten free. You can ask to see their detailed allergen menu.
Local favorite that we popped into several times for either a slice or a loaded pizza. No non-dairy options here, unfortunately, but solid pizza if you do eat dairy.
Asian-owned spot that serves typical cafe food like turkey club sandwiches, but I went for the Asian dishes like nepalese momo dumplings (dairy and nut free). Even without the spicy tomato dipping sauce, the momos had too much of a kick for my kids, but the adults enjoyed them! You can tell that they’re homemade with lots of flavor.
Per Nick: Excellent espresso and matcha drinks (they roast their own coffee) at a small to-go window inside a shaded courtyard—as a bonus, it’s easy to roll up and sit during Rio’s afternoon stroller naps.
Nick and his parents enjoyed the (prepackaged) indulgent ice cream sandwiches here!
Allergy note: The owner was very attentive to allergies, and gave us the ingredients for their coconut milk-based dairy free options.
Another town favorite. Kids under 2 get a free little cup of ice cream with any order!
Allergy info: They have a few nondairy ice creams, but they always tell us that the safest option for a severe dairy allergy is their fruit sorbets (options are mango or raspberry). They let me check the ingredients list, and the staff offers to scoop from a newly opened container to minimize risk of cross contamination.
I love trying Jamaican any chance I can get – the food is so flavorful! Got this as takeout for the adults.