Orleans History

Orleans is another town that claims to have been discovered by Leif Eriksson in 1003. We do know that Bartholomew Gosnold, who named the peninsula "Cape Cod," anchored off Nauset in 1602 and Champlain anchored at Nauset in 1605. The first settlers came to the Orleans area in 1644, when it was part of Eastham and the South Parish was created. Orleans became a town in 1797 and nobody today knows just how or why the name Orleans was chosen. At the time the residents were not happy with the French as French ships were harassing American ships and there was talk of war. However, whatever the reason, "Why 'Orleans'?" is a question that always stimulates imaginations of the locals.
"Why Orleans?" if a visitor asks, is easy to answer.
"Because Orleans is a town that has much to offer."

You like the water, no other Cape town can lead you to more of it in short distances. Skaket Beach and Rock Harbor are Orleans' gateways to Cape Cod Bay. Nauset Beach, part of the National Seashore, is Orleans' border on the Atlantic Ocean, more than six miles of barrier beach backed by marsh that protects the town and forms the eastern border of Pleasant Bay and Little Pleasant Bay, one of the most popular areas for sailing on Cape Cod. North of town, Nauset Harbor providers another opportunity for boaters and fishers. Orleans is not just surrounded by water. Water pokes its fingers into almost every nook and cranny of the town.

Orleans is also the commercial center of the Lower Cape.

Orleans Cape Cod Contact Information

279 Orleans Road
North Chatham, MA 02650

Phone: (508) 945-6443
Fax: (508) 945-7837

Orleans Cape Cod Contact Form
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