Logo   Ten Best Cape Cod Beaches
Cape Cod has nearly 100 beaches. Which are the best? Here are my choices.

by Tom Brosnahan
Travel Info Exchange

Chatham Lighthouse, Chatahm, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Chatham Lighthouse

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Here are my candidates for the 10 best beaches on Cape Cod, with the reasons for my choices:

Falmouth - Old Silver Beach

Because it faces Buzzards Bay, the sea at Falmouth's Old Silver Beach is warmer and calmer than at Nantucket Sound beaches, the sand fine and soft, and the facilities (bath house with showers and toilets, snack stand) good. The slope from the beach into the sea is very gradual, making it great for families. Because it's near the mainland, the parking lot can fill up on hot days, so come early—especially on weekends. More...

Barnstable - Sandy Neck Beach

Though narrow and stony, Sandy Neck, Barnstable's Cape Cod Bay barrier beach is long (6 miles/10 km), the water is warm, it's usually uncrowded, the bird and wildlife watching is good, and facilities (bath house with toilets, snack stand, picnic area with grills) are quite adequate. You can enter from Barnstable or Sandwich. More...

Hyannis - Kalmus Park Beach

Yeah, Hyannis's Craigville Beach is bigger, but Kalmus Park, less than 2 miles south of the center of Hyannis, is two beaches in one: a placid, warm-water beach on Lewis Bay, and a surfier ocean beach on Nantucket Sound. Good bath house with showers and toilets, lifeguards, snack stand, and the even warmer Veterans Park Beach and John F Kennedy Memorial are only 6/10 mile (1 km) to the north. More...

Yarmouth - Bass River Beach

What makes Bass River (or Smugglers) Beach preferable to the many other fine beaches in Yarmouth? Well, it's the very fine white sand, the fishing dock, the views, and the fact that it's two beaches in one: a small part of the beach faces the calm, warm Bass River, the larger part faces Nantucket Sound. Facilities are fine, and you're not far from all the hotels, motels and inns along MA Route 28. More...

Dennis - West Dennis Beach

East across the Bass River from Yarmouth's Bass River Beach, West Dennis Beach is a continuation of the same sand with similar advantages. Indeed, the entire Nantucket Sound shore of the Town of Dennis is one long, splendid beach. Parts are open to Dennis residents only, but West Dennis Beach is open to all, and the drive from many Dennis hotels is short. More...

Chatham - Lighthouse Beach

Yes, I chose Lighthouse Beach because of the Chatham lighthouse, but in fact all of Chatham's fine beaches share the advantage of being behind a barrier beach, shielded from the Atlantic. That means no surf, warm lagoon waters, and plenty of sand. If you want a surf thrill, head out to the barrier. Parking is tight at the beach, but shuttle buses run from the town center. More...

Lighthouse Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Lighthouse Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Brewster - Nickerson State Park

Okay, the beach in Brewster's Nickerson State Park is narrow—it's a pond beach, after all—but look what's around it: beautiful forest, clear glacial kettle ponds, hiking trails, nature talks, 400 campsites, the Cape Cod Rail Trail—a completely different Cape Cod experience. Remember that other Cape towns such as Yarmouth have freshwater pond beaches as well. More...

Orleans - Nauset Beach

How can you argue with a 10-mile-long (16-km) beach? Orlean's Nauset Town Beach faces the Atlantic, meaning the surfing's good, and parts of the beach are set apart for it. There are off-road-vehicle areas. Concerts are held here. Facilities are fine. The fishing is great! More...

Eastham - Coast Guard Beach

Henry David Thoreau called it "The Great Beach," and it's the first land the Pilgrims saw 65 days after leaving Bristol, England in 1620. This broad swath of rough sand in Eastham faces east to the Atlantic in the Cape Cod National Seashore. Reachable by bike path from the Salt Pond Visitor Center, the beach has all the advantages of being in a national park: great wildlife-watching, good facilities, handicap access. Nauset Light Beach is the northward continuation. Bring your surfboard. More...

Provincetown - Race Point Beach

Besides being a fine beach for sunning and swimming, this prime beach in the Province Lands area of the Cape Cod National Seashore has lifeguards, good surf, whales breaching in the offing, the Province Lands Visitor Center, the Race Point Lighthouse, and bike trails from Provincetown. It's even walking distance from some West End hotels and inns. For warmer water and less surf, Herring Cove Beach is just off to the west. More...

—by Tom Brosnahan

All Cape Cod Beaches

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Highlights of Cape Cod

Cape Cod National Seashore

Best Cape Cod Itineraries

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About Cape Cod

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Massachusetts South Shore


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Bass River Beach, South Yarmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Above, Yarmouth's Bass River Beach.

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Surfers on Nauset Beach, Orleans, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Surfers on Nauset Beach in Orleans.

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