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Cape Cod is a geographic cape extending into the Atlantic Ocean from the southeastern corner of mainland Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. Its historic, maritime character and ample beaches attract heavy tourism during the summer months.
As defined by the Cape Cod Commission’s enabling legislation, Cape Cod is conterminous with Barnstable County, Massachusetts. It extends from Provincetown in the northeast to Woods Hole in the southwest, and is bordered by Plymouth to the northwest.
Since 1914, Cape Cod has been separated from the mainland by the Cape Cod Canal. The canal cuts 17.5 miles (28.2 km) roughly across the base of the peninsula, though small portions of the Cape Cod towns of Bourne and Sandwich lie on the mainland side of the canal. Two highway bridges cross the Cape Cod Canal: the Sagamore Bridge and the Bourne Bridge. In addition, the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge carries railway freight and limited passenger services onto the Cape. Cape territory is divided into 15 towns with many villages.
To the south of Cape Cod lie Nantucket Sound; Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, both large islands; and the mostly privately owned Elizabeth Islands.