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 steps from 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 local spots 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!
Heads up 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 pricey, but has family-friendly amenities between the scenic beach and pool, and friends who go always have a great time.
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. The restaurant there has very tasty crisp fries, and we enjoyed the scallop roll, lobster 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.
Located right on 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 leaders were very patient with my questions, and even took photos of ingredient labels 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 delicious burgers they also have lumpia (Filipino fried spring rolls)! Nick is half Filipino and the cuisine is not yet prevalent where we live, so we were thrilled to find 2 restaurants in Chatham!
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. This spot is entirely outdoors set under straw tiki umbrellas, with tasty & shareable Filipino inspired dishes. My kids loved the lumpia (sells out before the end of day), while I enjoyed the tacos, cold noodle salad (subbed in adobo chicken skewers instead of tofu), pinoy burger, and the scrumptious ube ice cream sandwich. It’s one of the few places in town you can get food and cocktails after 9PM, so Nick & I popped in for a date several times after the kids went to bed!
Allergy note: lots of nut & dairy free options, including the same lumpia from their sister restaurant Mom & Pops but with a low risk of dairy cross contamination at this location. Thanks to this, Nori got to try some for the very first time!
Pretty good from their fried plates to fresh seafood. We enjoyed a generous fisherman’s platter with the kids (the scallops are just perfect here!) and Nick and I went back 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 I popped into several times for either a slice or a loaded pizza. Unfortunately there’s no non-dairy options here, 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 food any chance I can get – their dishes are so flavorful! Got this as takeout for the adults.