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The Five Best Cape Cod Beaches

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Coast Guard Beach, Eastham. Credit: Margo Tabb by Massachusetts Office of Travel


Cape Cod offers some of the best public ocean beaches in New England, with the following earning a spot in our personal Cape Cod Beaches Hall of Fame (in addition to being great cheap travel destinations as you just have to pay for parking):

Coast Guard Beach, Eastham (pictured above) One of the best swimming beaches within the Cape Cod National Seashore’s spectacular 43,604 acres, Coast Guard Beach possesses that one-of-a-kind breezy, carefree, scenic Cape Cod summer beach vibe perhaps better than any other area beach — and with dunes included for your viewing pleasure. No matter how crowded expansive Coast Guard Beach gets here in the summer — and it does — you feel like you have your own space to fully unwind and relax. More on Coast Guard Beach

Bass River Beach, Yarmouth (photo by Eric)

Bass River Beach (also known as Smugglers Beach), South Yarmouth Bass River Beach differs greatly from Coast Guard Beach as the Route 28 area’s higher concentration of commercial and residential elements simply bring more people to the beach. Yes, it can get crowded here, but you’ll still be able to find you’re own spot to the tune of generally more gentle waters — and some marvelous sandy beach to soak up the sun. Bass River Beach offers convenience, too, with changing rooms and restrooms as well as snacks vendors, a really nice fishing deck and volleyball areas. More on Bass River Beach

Nauset Beach, Orleans. Credit: William DeSousa-Mauk by Massachusetts Office of Travel


Nauset Beach, Orleans Like Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Light Beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. I remember going here so many times as a kid and loving it despite the cold water, and the waves and undertoe that could provide a bit of a challenge. Of course, Nauset is no different today, but that doesn’t stop locals and tourists from putting this beautiful stretch of beach on their “A” list. Get here early, the crowds make an appearance right after breakfast (I know, the photo contradicts that statement). Don’t forget, too, the free Monday night concerts at the gazebo during July and August! More on Nauset Beach

Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown. Credit: William DeSousa-Mauk by Massachusetts Office of Travel

Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown Sun, sand, scenery and sunsets all add up to a superb Outer Cape Cod beach experience. As an added bonus, the water at Herring Cove is warmer than many other Cape Cod beaches. Plus, you are close to downtown Provincetown, a lively eclectic, interesting tourist destination filled with seafood restaurants and shops.

Scusset Beach, Sandwich (photo by Eric)

Scusset Beach State Park Reservation, Sandwich

A great aspect about Scusset Beach is you don’t have to drive too far up the Cape to enjoy one of its nicest beaches. Scusset is virtually next to where the Sagamore Bridge connects Cape Cod and the Massachusetts mainland!  Scusset also has many other elements that  visitors want in a Cape Cod beach — fewer crowds, soft sand in the summer (photo was taken in November), a breakwater, relatively warm waters with a slow drop, a campground within the state park and plenty of parking. An added bonus is that the Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail is virtually around the corner, featuring seven miles of paved path. The scenery might not be up to the caliber of Coast Guard or Nauset Beach, but it’s still so pleasant here and with that convenient location to save you on gas money. More on Scusset Beach

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