The Cape Cod Peninsula, which stretches from southeastern Massachusetts to the Atlantic Ocean, offers a coastline of approximately 600 miles. There are over a hundred beaches – with dramatically diverse landscapes, water and sand features. We are lucky enough to live less than 90 minutes’ drive from Cape Cod and visit frequently this summer. It’s time to share my favorite Cape Cod beaches with my readers.
Cape Cod’s ocean beaches are often divided into three categories. I will tell you about my favorite beaches in every category!
- Nantucket Sound beaches (West / south coast in the cities of Falmouth, Hyannis, Dennis Port, Yarmouth and Harwich)
- Bay beaches (Northern coast in the cities of Sandwich, Dennis and Brewster and to Provincetown along the “inside” of the “arm” – see map below)
- Outer Cape / Ocean beaches (East coast, in the cities of Truro, Wellfleet and Provincetown).
You can also follow our road trip through Cape Cod’s best beaches on my youtube channel.
Cape Cod’s best Nantucket Sound beaches
What we love most about them: warm sea water, walks on the beach; They also remind us of the beaches on the Black Sea of our childhood.
The Nantucket Sound in Cape Cod has the warmest (if not the most beautiful color) sea water, which reaches into the lower and sometimes middle 70s in the heat of summer. Some of the best public beaches in this category are Craigville Beach in Barnstable, Old silver beach in Falmouth and Seagull beach in West Yarmouth.
These beaches are very similar to the beaches on the Black Sea where we went on vacation in the former Soviet Union as children. So these were our “beaches” on our weekends on Cape Cod to enjoy our long swim.
My favorite beach on Nantucket Sound is Kalmus Beach in Hyannis. It is the least crowded, so you can usually find a parking spot even on a summer weekend. It is connected to a flat port side Memorial Beach this is popular with families. The parking lot in Kalmus is located behind the lawn and is therefore not immediately visible – an important factor for my relaxation on the beach. I should also mention a designated windsurfing area that adds to my beach entertainment, but it also means that the wind is sometimes quite strong here.
There is a good snack bar with chicken nuggets and lobster rolls as well as well-kept toilets / showers. As is so often the case on the beaches of Cape Cod, all facilities are closed at 4 p.m.
Best Cape Cod’s Bay beaches
What we love most about them: flat sand walks at low tide, sea color
These are the beaches along the north coast (Sandy Neck Beach Park in Sandwich, Mayflower and Chapin Beach in Dennis) and to be honest I only really discovered them in Staycation summer 2020.
My favorite beach in the bay is Corporation Beach in Dennis. Judging by the screen time I give this beach in my video, it’s my favorite beach this summer! I even have my favorite parking lot on this beach (Overflow Howes street entrance). Though you have to brave the pile of loose sand, this makes for a dramatic and rewarding beach entrance.
Tides are important on Cape Cod Bay beaches: to get the most out of your experience, step in at low tide within an hour. This is the time to walk on sand, play in the tidal pools, and simply enjoy the landscape and the remarkable colors of the ocean. The color of the water pulls us back to Corporation Beach this summer, although the sea water isn’t as warm as at Nantucket Sound Beaches.
I also think the Corporation Beach food shack is the best beach food shack in Cape Cod (I know some Wellfleet fans will argue that the title belongs to Macs on the pier. But Mac is overpriced and the beach is next to it it small, so Corporation Beach all the way!)
Best Cape Cod Outer Ocean beaches
What we love most about them:: dramatic views of the sea / dunes
When exploring the outer coast of Cape Cod, be sure to visit the National coast Nationwide protected country with 6 beaches (5 of which are beaches on the outer ocean – Coast Guard, Meadow Head, Marconi, Nauset Light and Race Point; the sixth Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown – is actually a beach on the bay). These beaches have lifeguards and basic toilet facilities, but don’t usually have takeaways (Race Point Beach and Head of the Meadow Beach don’t have lifeguards in summer 2020; also note that there are no daily fees at Head of the Meadow beach this summer.) If you plan to visit the beaches on the coast several times this summer, you should buy an annual pass.
I have to keep that in mind Coast Guard Beach Eastham is often ranked among the top 10 US beaches – partly because of the crystal clear quality of its white sand. It houses the historic Coast Guard house and offers a sweeping view over nausea Spit barrier system and bay.
My favorite beach on the outer ocean is Marconi Beach in Wellfleet. I love the “uninterrupted” river and the dramatic dunes. You are almost certain to spot a seal on this beach, but I never want to spot a shark! (However, there are warning signs). That and the cold water are the reasons why you won’t see me swimming on this beach.
While there is no dining facility on the beach, there is a French bakery at the start Cape Cod Rail Trail The bike path (both the bakery and the path are my other favorites in Cape Cod) will surely help you fill your beach picnic basket to your liking. The bike path starts in Wellfleet and the Marconi Beach exit is about 4 km south.
To get from the parking lot to the beach, you have to descend a steep staircase. Travelers with mobility problems may want to choose a different ocean beach. Check this national park website for detailed access information.
During our explorations on Cape Cod beach this summer, we discovered another gorgeous beach on the Outer Ocean. Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet. It’s not part of the National Seashore Park, but it’s a public beach, though parking is limited here (the famous Beachcomber restaurant is on this beach; they offer food vouchers for parking fees). We visited shortly before sunset (parking will not be picked up after 6 p.m.) and were spoiled with this view while we waited for our table (outside terrace).
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