Cape Cod is one of New England's most famous summer vacation destinations. The region is home to the Cape Cod National Seashore, which protects a 40-mile area of undeveloped sandy beachfront. All public beachfront waters are tested regularly, ensuring safe swimming conditions, with lifeguards staffed on duty during peak season at many popular beach sites.
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Ballston Beach is a charming, spacious beach located at the end of the residential Pamet Road district in Truro, Massachusetts, offering panoramic views of the region's beautiful golden hills, noted as inspiration for famed 20th-century artist Edward Hopper. The lovely Cape Cod beach offers soft sands and surprisingly strong waves, making for excellent surfing and boogie boarding conditions. Ample area is also available for sunbathing and beachfront activities. A bike rack is provided for visitor use, along with public restroom facilities, though visitors should note that no showers are offered and that lifeguards are not staffed on duty. A moderate amount of visitor parking is available, with street parking available nearby.
North Pamet Road, Truro, MA 02666, Phone: 508-487-6983
2.Cahoon Hollow Beach
Cahoon Hollow Beach is one of Wellfleet, Massachusetts' most popular public beaches, located within the Cape Cod National Seashore. The beach, which was named for the Cahoon family of the Outer Cape, attracts large populations of twentysomething and thirtysomething beachgoers, as steep dune paths leading down to the beach tend to discourage family usage or access by older adults with mobility concerns. Water temperatures remain cool during the summer months, making it a very popular spot during weekends and peak access times. Volleyball courts are offered for public use, along with public restroom facilities. Lifeguards are staffed on duty during the summer months. Delicious seafood dishes and clever drinks are served up at the Wellfleet Beachcomber, housed within a converted historic lifesaving station.
Cahoon Hollow Road, Wellfleet MA, Phone: 508-349-9818
3.Chapin Memorial Beach
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Chapin Memorial Beach is an off-the-beaten-path beach in Dennis, Massachusetts, open seasonally to the public for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The beach's low tide conditions create expansive stretches of tide pools, perfect for observing sea creatures and combing for shells and other beach artifacts with young visitors. Miles of off-road vehicle trails are accessible at the beach for visitors with four-wheel drive permits, offering opportunities for off-road driving directly on the sands of the Cape Cod waterfront. Lifeguards are staffed on duty during the summer months, with portable restroom facilities available for visitor use. Visitors should note that the beach is accessible via a short walk from parking areas, with a significant slope down for beach access.
Chapin Beach Road, Dennis, MA 02638, Phone: 508-394-8300
4.Cockle Cove Beach
Cockle Cove Beach is a family-friendly beach in South Chatham, Massachusetts, located at the end of Cockle Cove Road. As one of a number of public beaches lining the city's southern end, the Nantucket Sound beach is known for its warm water conditions, making for prime swimming and windsurfing conditions throughout the season. Calm waves and soft sands make for safe play conditions for visitors of all ages, with narrow but expansive beachfront areas providing space for sunbathing and beach sports. The beach is also a popular spot for kayaking and boating, with access areas provided for water craft. Visitors should note that the beach is heavily populated by seagulls and other seabirds, which are harmless but may fly low near the beachfront throughout the day.
435 Cockle Cove Rd, South Chatham, MA 02659, Phone: 508-945-5180
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Craigville Beach is one of the most popular beaches within the Barnstable area of the Nantucket Sound, located within Craigville, Massachusetts and overseen by the Craigville Beach Association. The beach offers two separate beachfront areas, including the public Craigville Beach area, which is accessible for a daily parking fee, and the adjacent private Covell's Beach, only accessible by area residents. Expansive clean sand beachfront areas attract college students and families alike, with lifeguards staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Kitesurfing is a popular beachfront activity during the summer months, with ample space available for swimming and sunbathing. Though no proper concession stand is offered at the beach, many restaurants across the street from the beach serve up cuisine options to suit all tastes and price ranges.
6.Crosby Landing Beach
Crosby Landing Beach is a lovely and spacious beach in Brewster, Massachusetts that offers convenient access to nearby Nickerson State Park. The beach is a great summer relaxation spot for families with kids, home to many safe, calm tide pools at low tide for young ones to play in and comb for sea creatures. Spacious sands make for great beachwalking stretches, though visitors should note that the beach's boardwalk has some loose boards and should tread carefully. No lifeguards are staffed on duty at the beach, though public restroom facilities are available for visitor use. Bike racks are also offered for visitors, with a small but close and convenient parking lot available.
276 Crosby Ln, Brewster, MA 02631, Phone: 508-896-3701
Dowses Beach is a quaint beach in Osterville, Massachusetts that stretches out along a large peninsular area, offering dual-sided views of the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean. A very large parking lot is offered at the beach, which is heavily littered with seashells, making beachwalking difficult but making for excellent beachcombing conditions. Ample space is available for beach activities such as sunbathing and beachfront sports, with lifeguards staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Rock jetties at the end of the beach make for great spots for waterfront observation, with a large viewing dock accessible for visitors with mobility concerns.
348 E. Bay Road, Osterville, MA 02655, Phone: 508-420-2403
8.Ellis Landing Beach
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Ellis Landing Beach is a calm, quiet beach in Brewster, Massachusetts, offering ample room for visitor relaxation and activities during low tide conditions, though visitors should note that high tide makes much of the beach inaccessible. The seasonal beach is open to the public, though surrounding areas are private beachfront and may not be trespassed by tourists. Grassy areas are available for picnics and relaxation, with small sand dunes surrounding the beachfront area. Public restrooms are offered for visitors, though no lifeguards are staffed on duty. Visitors should note that the beach's public parking lot is small and are advised to arrive early during the day or later in the afternoon to secure parking.
Ellis Landing Road, Brewster, MA, Phone: 508-896-4511
9.First Encounter Beach
First Encounter Beach is a lovely beach in Eastham, Massachusetts and a prime Cape Cod spot for history buffs, named in honor of the first meeting spot between the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower and regional indigenous tribes prior to colonists' settlement in nearby Plymouth. The beach offers warm, tranquil waters and panoramic views of the Cape Cod waterfront, with expansive beachfront areas accessible at low tide and small sand dunes framing day-use areas. A boardwalk area is offered for visitor use, with ADA accessibility features available for visitors with mobility concerns, including handicap-accessible beach chairs. Though no official concession stand is hosted on site, ice cream is sold by carts during the summer months.
Samoset Road, Eastham, MA 02642, Phone: 508-240-5976
, Michigan beaches
Howes Beach is one of Dennis, Massachusetts' most spacious north shore beaches, located along beautiful Cape Cod Bay. The family-friendly beach is open to the public each day during the summer months until 11:00pm, offering lifeguards on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day and ample amounts of visitor parking. Tidal pools are exposed at low tide, making for safe water play spots for young visitors. A connecting trail along the beach's west side links the beach to nearby Corporation Beach, with rock jetties breaking the beach up into several separate sections. Visitors should note that one section within the beach is private and closed for resident use.
Howes Street, Dennis, MA, Phone: 508-780-6159
Kalmus Beach is one of Cape Cod's best seasonal windsurfing spots, located in Hyannis, Massachusetts at the terminus of Ocean Street. The long, spacious beach receives warm waters and waves from nearby Nantucket Sound, with two separate areas offered for swimmers and windsurfers. Lifeguards are staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with public showers and restrooms available for visitor use and a snack bar offering delicious American-style summer favorite munchies. Sands are filled with shells, making beachwalking difficult but creating prime conditions for beachcombing. A large parking lot is available for visitor use, accommodating large crowds throughout peak season.
670 Ocean St., Hyannis, MA 02601, Phone: 508-790-9884
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Long Beach is a massive peninsular beach in Centerville, Massachusetts, stretching out over three different visitor areas offering Atlantic Ocean views on both peninsular sides. The family-friendly beach is a favorite spot for visitors traveling with the entire family in tow, with calm waters and ample areas filled with seashells for beachcombing. A boardwalk at the end of Long Beach Road offers spectacular views, connecting all three main beach areas. Visitors should note that lifeguards are not staffed on duty and that no public amenities are offered, including restrooms and showers. Two parking lots are available on Long Beach Road, providing ample parking even during peak times.
Long Beach Road, Centerville, Mass., Barnstable, MA, Phone: 508-790-6345
Mayflower Beach is a large beach in Dennis, Massachusetts, considered to be one of the city's most scenic beaches. The family-friendly beach on Cape Cod Bay offers extensive tidal pools at low tide for young ones to safely play, with lifeguards staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. A spacious boardwalk connects the beach's large parking lot with waterfront areas, with handicap-accessible chairs and paths available for use by visitors with mobility concerns. A concession stand is offered for visitors, along with public restrooms. The beach connects to nearby Bayview Beach, located a short walk away.
Dunes Road, Dennis, MA, Phone: 508-760-6159
14.Nauset Light Beach
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Nauset Light Beach is a mile-long beach in Eastham, Massachusetts that is located within Cape Cod National Seashore, stretching along outer Cape Cod's eastern coast. The beach is one of the Outer Cape's most popular visitor beaches, open to the public during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Massive dunes flank the beach's shoreline, with a large lookout area offered in the beach's parking lot for panoramic photography. Large waves make for excellent surfing and boogie boarding conditions, with lifeguards staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Historic sites at the beach include Nauset Lighthouse, with a connecting trail offered for visitors to explore the nearby Three Sisters lighthouses. Visitors should note that the beach is a protected nesting site for endangered piping plovers, with nest sites marked and trespassing prohibited.
99 Marconi Site Road, Wellfleet, MA 02667, Phone: 508-255-3421
15.Old Silver Beach
Old Silver Beach is a dual-access beach in Falmouth, Massachusetts, offering one section for area resident use and a second for general public access throughout the summer season. The popular seasonal beach on Buzzards Bay is known to get crowded early in the day, so visitors are advised to arrive early in the day to secure parking spots. Calm, warm waters make for beautiful oceanfront panoramas, though visitors should be advised that currents can be particularly strong at high tide. Lifeguards are staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with restrooms, showers, and a concession stand offered for visitor use.
Quaker Road, Falmouth, MA 02556, Phone: 508-548-8623
16.Paine's Creek Beach
Paine's Creek Beach is an eclectic beachfront in Brewster, Massachusetts, known as a favorite spot for beachcombing due to its high concentration of seashells and other beach gems. The beach, which is open to the public during the spring, summer, and fall months, is a popular family-friendly spot on Cape Cod, known for its extensive tidal pools offering opportunities for safe water play. Tidal pools are often populated by fiddler and horseshoe crabs, allowing families to watch for beach wildlife together. Visitors should note that the beach is most accessible during high tide times, and that during low tide times, the walk from the parking lot can be up to a mile long.
Paines Creek Road, Brewster, MA, Phone: 508-896-4511
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17.Race Point Beach
Race Point Beach is a charming public beach located near Provincetown in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, located within the Cape Cod National Seashore. The beach, which is framed by dunes and stretches along a wide expanse of waterfront, is a popular spot for sunbathers due to the ample sunshine it receives all day long. Because of rough water conditions and a strong undertow, swimming is not recommended in many areas for novice swimmers, though lifeguards are staffed on duty during the summer months. Surfing is also permitted past the beachfront's protected area. The Province Lands Bike Trail, which is accessible off the beach's parking lot, connects the beachfront to nearby Herring Cove.
99 Marconi Site Road, Wellfleet, MA 02667, Phone: 508-255-3421
18.Red River Beach
Red River Beach is one of Harwich Port, Massachusetts' most popular public beaches and is the only beach within the city to offer day-use parking for non-residents. The seasonal beach stretches out long enough to give visitors space even in spite of crowds at peak times, with lifeguards staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Warm Nantucket Sound waters make for excellent swimming conditions, with small waves making the beach a prime spot for young and novice boogie boarders. A canoe and kayak launch area is offered for visitors looking to explore further out on the water. Public restrooms are available, along with a seasonal concession stand.
Uncle Venie’s Road, Harwich Port, MA 02645, Phone: 508-430-7553
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19.Sandy Neck Beach
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Sandy Neck Beach is the longest beachfront in the Barnstable, Massachusetts area, stretching more than six miles long. The 4,700-acre barrier beach is home to lush maritime forest, marsh, and sand dune habitats, showcasing dynamic landscapes and beautiful panoramas. Swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing are popular visitor activities, with lifeguards staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Off-roading vehicle permits are available for visitors to pick up at the Sandy Neck Gatehouse, sold during April. Camping is permitted at the beach, with campfires permitted under visitor control. Public showers and restrooms are also offered, along with a seasonal concession stand.
Sandy Neck Road, West Barnstable, MA 02668, Phone: 508-362-8300
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20.Sea Gull Beach
Sea Gull Beach is the largest saltwater beach in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, stretching along Nantucket Sound to the west of Parkers River. The beach is a popular seasonal spot for high school and college visitors, though calm waters and lifeguards staffed on duty during the summer month also attract families looking for beach getaways. Clean, soft sands make for perfect sunbathing opportunities, with good wave conditions for windsurfing and ample seashells for beachcombing. A bathhouse offers public restrooms, showers, and a concession stand, and a large parking lot accommodates visitors even during peak times. A bike rack is also offered for visitors traveling to the beach on two wheels.
125 Sea Gull Rd, West Yarmouth, MA 02673, Phone: 508-398-2231
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21.South Cape Beach State Park
South Cape Beach State Park is a barrier beach in Mashpee, Massachusetts, overlooking beautiful Nantucket Sound and Martha's Vineyard. The beach is a favorite spot for older beachgoers and visitors with mobility concerns, offering an ADA-accessible boardwalk with an overlook deck for wheelchairs. Beach wheelchairs may be rented on a first-come, first-served basis, with discounted senior parking passes available for visitors ages 62 and older. Free parking is also offered for visitors with handicap license plates. Swimming, fishing, and beachwalking are popular visitor activities, with several trailheads embarking from the beach's parking lot. Visitors should note that dogs are not permitted on the beach between April and September.
Great Oak Road, Mashpee, MA 02649, Phone: 508-457-0495 x101
22.West Dennis Beach
West Dennis Beach is the most popular family-friendly spot in Dennis, Massachusetts, spanning a mile along the shoreline and offering a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages. The beach offers excellent conditions for windsurfing and kite flying, with ample beachfront room for sunbathing and shoreline activities. A children's playground is available for young visitors to use, with beachfront volleyball courts available for adult visitors. Many areas are ADA-accessible, allowing the whole family to have a fun afternoon on the Cape Cod waterfront. A large public parking lot is offered, accommodating over 100 cars, with a smaller eastern parking lot reserved for area residents.
45 Light House Road, West Dennis, MA 02670, Phone: 508-760-6159
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23.White Crest Beach
White Crest Beach is a secluded beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, known as a top surfing hangout spot in Cape Cod due to its rougher water conditions and surprisingly strong waves. The beach, which is also commonly referred to as Surfer's Beach and Four Mile Beach, is lined with immense sand dune cliffs, offers beautiful views of the Cape Cod shoreline, with long and wide stretches of sand for visitor use. Public amenities at the beach include restrooms, concession stands, and popular beach volleyball courts, with lifeguards staffed on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Visitors should note that due to water conditions and steep dune access into the beachfront area, the beach is not recommended for young children and visitors with mobility concerns.
740 Ocean View Dr, Wellfleet, MA 02667, Phone: 508-349-9818
Madaket Beach is a laid-back beach on the west coast of Nantucket Island, accessible via Madaket Road Path. The local beach town surrounding area is best known as the former home of Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame, who lived in a cottage on Massachusetts Avenue overlooking Madaket Harbor. Beachfront biking is a popular activity in the area, with cruisers and Bianchis available for rental at nearby Young's Bicycle Shop. Popular local restaurant Madaket Millie's serves up takeout that can be brought out to the beachfront, including tacos, breakfast burritos, ice cream, freshly-brewed coffee, and a variety of homemade pastries. Many local residents gather to watch the sunset on the beach each evening, with bus service offered between town areas and the beachfront nightly.
Pensylvania Ave, Nantucket, MA 02554
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25 Best Cape Cod Beaches
- Ballston Beach, Photo: Sved Oliver/stock.adobe.com
- Cahoon Hollow Beach, Photo: Sandra/stock.adobe.com
- Chapin Memorial Beach, Photo: Leszek Czerwonka/stock.adobe.com
- Cockle Cove Beach, Photo: ohishiftl/stock.adobe.com
- Craigville Beach, Photo: Tono Balaguer/stock.adobe.com
- Crosby Landing Beach, Photo: Capic/stock.adobe.com
- Dowses Beach, Photo: ValentinValkov/stock.adobe.com
- Ellis Landing Beach, Photo: Bert Folsom/stock.adobe.com
- First Encounter Beach, Photo: triocean/stock.adobe.com
- Howes Beach, Photo: Dave/stock.adobe.com
- Kalmus Beach, Photo: photophil321/stock.adobe.com
- Long Beach, Photo: Chee-Onn Leong/stock.adobe.com
- Mayflower Beach, Photo: steffstarr/stock.adobe.com
- Nauset Light Beach, Photo: CE Photography/stock.adobe.com
- Old Silver Beach, Photo: vlaru/stock.adobe.com
- Paine's Creek Beach, Photo: teleo/stock.adobe.com
- Race Point Beach, Photo: cindygoff/stock.adobe.com
- Red River Beach, Photo: arekmalang/stock.adobe.com
- Sandy Neck Beach, Photo: Tono Balaguer/stock.adobe.com
- Sea Gull Beach, Photo: triocean/stock.adobe.com
- South Cape Beach State Park, Photo: Travis/stock.adobe.com
- West Dennis Beach, Photo: magdal3na/stock.adobe.com
- White Crest Beach, Photo: Melissamyth/stock.adobe.com
- Madaket Beach, Photo: tanialerro/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: pmstephens/stock.adobe.com