5 Best Beaches on Cape Cod
Cape Cod is known for the beautiful white sands, rolling sand dunes, lighthouses, shorebirds, and the gentle waves of Cape Cod Bay. Every summer, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Cape Cod from all over the country to take in the beautiful views and beaches of Race Point, Rock Harbor, Sandy Neck, and other favorites across the Cape. Here are five of the best Cape Cod beaches, in no particular order, featured for their spectacular sunsets, scenic seaside views, beautiful white sands, and pristine shoreline.
Race Point Beach
Provincetown’s beautiful Race Point Beach
Race Point isn’t the most convenient beach on the Cape, but it’s the most remote and has an incredible view of Stellwagen Bank, the marine sanctuary in Massachusetts Bay. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a whale or two off the coast with the naked eye. Race Point is also far away from downtown Provincetown. Race Point also has miles of hiking available on the trails (which are actually bike trails). To get to Race Point, head as far north as you can go on Route 6 (the sign says east, but you’re really heading north). Eventually, you’ll see signage for Race Point. Take that road, and you’ll come to a giant parking lot with sand dunes in the background. That’s Race Point Beach.
Rock Harbor Orleans
One of Cape Cod’s best sunsets
From Route 6, you can take the Orleans rotary to Rock Harbor Road. This leads directly to Rock Harbor, which has some of the most unique scenery for a Cape Cod beach. Pine trees line the harbor and head out into the water, facing west. At sunset, you can catch a glimpse of one of the best sunsets on Cape Cod, and one of the few western-facing beaches on Cape Cod. Get there early if you plan on seeing the sunset, as it tends to get crowded in the summer.
Sandy Neck Beach
Barnstable’s Sandy Neck Beach
Sandy Neck is located off of Route 6A in Sandwich, at the end of Sandy Neck Road. The end of the peninsula is actually located in West Barnstable, while the entrance is in Sandwich. Sandy Neck is part of the 4,000 acres Great Salt Marsh, which is a haven for local birds and wildlife. At the end of the peninsula, you can find beach parking, as well as the decommissioned Sandy Neck Lighthouse (now private property). Sandy Neck Beach is one of the Cape’s most scenic beaches, with sand dunes making up much of the beach, and the Great Salt Marsh just in the distance.
Big waves, cold water, and beautiful views at Cape Cod’s Nauset Beach
Even on a hot day, the water at Nauset Beach is frigid (to be expected at almost any beach on Cape Cod). Nauset Beach boasts clean, soft sands with no dirt or clay, beautiful views, and some of the biggest waves on the East Coast. The fee for the beach is expensive, so you’ll want to spend the entire day there. Pack a lunch, bring a cooler, and bring enough money to visit Liam’s Clam Shack. To get to Nauset Beach, take Route 6 to Orleans, then follow Beach Rd. Further to the north, you can find Nauset Light Beach in Eastham, another very popular sandy beach.
Lighthouse Beach, Chatham
Chatham’s Atlantic facing the white sand beach
Lighthouse Beach, just like the name implies, is located at Chatham Lighthouse in Chatham. While the water might be a little cooler and rougher on Lighthouse Beach than the south-facing Nantucket Sound beaches, it’s the experience and scenery that makes this beach great. Across the water, you can see the beginning spits of Monomoy Island, home to some frequent seals that visit the island. The sands of the beach are incredibly white, with Chatham Lighthouse as the backdrop behind you.
Find the Best Things to do on Cape Cod
Restaurants, hotels, beaches, lighthouses, and activities
Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard might not be gigantic, but they have hundreds of miles of coastline to explore. With all of this coastline, plus the beautiful backroads, historical sites, and seaside restaurants, you can’t possibly soak in all of them. That’s why reading a guide to the area is a great idea, like this one from Fodor’s. This guide has excellent reviews from people who have purchased it and will help you fin the best seafood restaurants in the area, the best beach walks, where to find easy parking at the best beaches, and what the best scenic drives are on the Cape.