10 Best Beaches On Cape Cod

Updated On October 4, 2023
Cape Cod

This idyllic peninsula off the coast of southern Massachusetts is a top vacation destination for a reason.

It all started back in 1602 when an English explorer, Bartholomew Gosnold, landed and accumulated a literal boatload of cod fish, giving the area its name.

Later, it was the first stop for the pilgrims before their final stop at Plymouth.

Since then, it’s been the place to go if you enjoy the beach, but prefer cooler temperatures in the summer.

The cape is home to a slew of celebrities, not the least of whom is the Kennedy family, that’s maintained a compound of homes at Hyannisport for close to a century.

President Kennedy had so much love and respect for the area, that during his term, he declared the entire 43,500 acres of shoreline protected by the National Park Service.

The Cape also has one of the largest historic districts in the United States.

A visit to this friendly peninsula will provide visitors with endless family activities, charming towns with eclectic shops and restaurants, history galore, and even a forest that’s been untouched by civilization.

Let’s not leave out the handmade potato chips (yes, that Cape Cod) and lobster rolls.

But without a doubt, the biggest draw on Cape Cod is the beaches.

They are diverse in their surf, unparalleled in their beauty, and primed for fun.

Read on for the 10 best beaches on Cape Cod.

10 Best Beaches On Cape Cod

Old Silver Beach
Old Silver Beach

10. Old Silver Beach – Falmouth, Massachusetts

This laidback beach on the bay side of The Cape is the perfect place for everyone.

Kids will love the gentle waves and tide pools.

Adults will adore the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

It’s never too crowded either.

Restrooms and a burger shack are onsite.

Seagull Beach
Seagull Beach

9. Seagull Beach – Yarmouth, Massachusetts

Seagull Beach takes its name from the many large, feathered birds that call the beach home.

Don’t worry, though, they don’t bother you, as there are plenty of shells for them to peck at.

This is the largest beach on The Cape and is great for the entire family.

The water is warm, the waves are just right for swimming, boogie boarding, and playing in the surf.

Bathrooms and food stands are available.

Marconi Beach
Marconi Beach

8. Marconi Beach – Wellfleet, Massachusetts

Wave enthusiasts will adore this beach named for the famed inventor.

The natural beauty is enhanced by an observation deck that allows for unobstructed views of the entire Cape.

A gentle, but consistent slope into the surf is a dream for skim and boogie boarders.

While taking a leisurely stroll, beachgoers can observe rare species of sea grass and other vegetation.

Restrooms, outdoor showers, and parking are available.

There’s also a bike trail that will take you down the coast and into the nearby town of Wellfleet

Chatham Lighthouse Beach
Chatham Lighthouse Beach

7. Chatham Lighthouse Beach – Chatham, Massachusetts

Soft sand and clear water are the centerpieces of a great day at Chatham Lighthouse Beach.

Another check in the plus column is that it’s free.

This is a great place for families to have fun in the sand and surf.

Seal lovers will also enjoy this spot where the cuties are everywhere.

Sit and relax while watching the fishing boats go by.

It’s also a short walk into town, where you can enjoy a tasty meal or do some shopping. 

Skaket Beach
Skaket Beach

6. Skaket Beach – Orleans, Massachusetts

Skaket Beach is the postcard-perfect beach that many envision when thinking about summers on The Cape.

Calm water and tide pools make it fun for the kids.

The water is warmer than many other beaches in the area.

If you’re into wildlife and great sunsets, you’ll definitely enjoy a day at this beach.

Bathrooms and parking are available (for $20 a day).

Nauset Beach
Nauset Beach

5. Nauset Beach – Orleans, Massachusetts

Early birds will be treated to some of the best sunrises on The Cape, at Nauset.

If you are a fan of seals, this beach should definitely be on your list.

The friendly, floppy animals can be spotted anywhere from the shoreline and surf to the rocks farther out in the ocean.

It’s also a great place to collect colorful pebbles and shells.

Fishing and boogie boarding are allowed in posted areas.

There are bathrooms, parking (for a few), and food trucks galore.

Herring Cove Beach
Herring Cove Beach

4. Herring Cove Beach – Provincetown, Massachusetts

A short walk from historic Provincetown, Herring Cove is the perfect beach for couples or friends to get on a great beach day without the crowds and noise.

The beach is heavy with marsh and rocks, which makes for great photos and a serene environment.

The waves are gentler than in some other areas of the Cape.

Dogs are allowed, as long as the rules are followed.

There are restrooms, dressing rooms, and a concession stand.

Beach wheelchairs are available from the lifeguards.

You can watch the sunset while enjoying one of the nightly concerts during July and August.

Race Point Beach
Race Point Beach

3. Race Point Beach – Provincetown, Massachusetts

Race Point usually can be found on lists of the best beaches, because of its natural beauty.

The high dunes are wonders to view, while also providing a barrier to the outside world.

The plant life is beautiful and the sand is pristine.

The Old Harbor Life Saving Station is great to visit if you need a break from the sun.

This is a great beach for serious sunbathing and some boogie boarding too.

If you like to bike, there’s the Province Lands bike trail.

This will take you all along the coast and right into historic Provincetown.

If you’re a fan of American Horror Story, this beach should definitely be on your list.

Season 10 of the series was filmed in Provincetown, and Race Point Beach was used several times, including the final scene, where Sara Paulson’s character brings the drama, as only a Sara Paulson character can.

Mayflower Beach
Mayflower Beach

2. Mayflower Beach – Barnstable, Massachusetts

The powdery white sand and clear ocean water make visiting Mayflower Beach a joy.

The low tide and gentle waves make it a great beach for smaller kids and anyone that doesn’t like getting knocked around in the surf.

There are interesting tidal and rock pools that are loaded with hermit crabs, clams, and other interesting sea creatures.

Mayflower is the beach to visit if you are into pink sunsets.

Parking is free and the boardwalk starts in the lot and extends out onto the beach.

There are restrooms, a snack stand, and picnic tables too.

If you’re looking for a volleyball game, there’s a net as well.

Mayflower Beach is perfect for a great family day of fun and sun.

Coast Guard Beach
Coast Guard Beach

1. Coast Guard Beach – Eastham, Massachusetts

Named for the historic, former Coast Guard station (which is now a museum), this beach is hands down the most beautiful on Cape Cod according to many visitors.

With idyllic dunes that house lush sea plants, it’s a great spot to relax and recharge.

The beach is extremely well-kept and clean, with plenty of room to spread out or play some frisbee.

The water is crystal clear and has no seaweed.

While the surf can sometimes be too strong for swimming, it’s prime for wave jumpers and those that enjoy frolicking near the shoreline.

Another great aspect is the sandbars, which will allow you to wade out and relax, play, or take some great photos in the middle of the ocean.

The beach is open from mid-June through Labor Day.

There is no parking except for employees and people with disabilities, but a free shuttle will pick you up at a nearby lot.

Restrooms and outdoor showers are available.

There is a bike rack and free beach wheelchairs are available for use.

Cape Cod Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Cape Cod Safety Review

Safety Index:
Cape Cod

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there sharks in the waters of The Cape?


There’s no denying that the waters of Cape Cod are ripe with sharks.

But, using some simple strategies can help you stay safe.

First, stay close to shore and stay with a group.

Next, stay away from the seals. Seals attract sharks.

Listen to the lifeguards and watch for shark planes.

There’s also an app you can download that tracks these pesky predators.

Can you sleep on the beaches of Cape Cod?

While it’s not advisable to just snuggle up in the sand for a snooze, there are several places that allow you to tent camp overnight.

What's the best time to visit Cape Cod?

Obviously, summer is when you’ll find the most activity.

But, early fall is a wonderful time to visit.

The crowds have subsided, the water is still warm, and most things are still open.

It’s cheaper too!

What are the safest beaches on Cape Cod?

Most of the beaches are safe.

Howe, Coast Guard, Paine’s Beach, and Corporation Beach, have stellar safety reputations.

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