Massachusetts : Safety by City
- Cape Cod
- Fall River
- Martha’s Vineyard
- New Bedford
Truro, Massachusetts, is an Outer Cape Cod community that’s home to two villages – Truro and North Truro.
It’s known as the Quietest Town on Cape Cod.
This is a great place to stay for those who want to be close to Cape Cod National Seashore since 50% of the town is within the seashore boundaries.
On this part of the Cape, bluffs rise from the beaches, offering a unique view of the seascape.
You can also visit the oldest lighthouse on the Cape.
Highland Lighthouse has been moved several times over the years due to beach erosion, but it’s now in a sturdy location for at least the next two centuries.
For those who want a hotel, cottage, inn, or resort with a beach view, Truro gives you plenty of options.
What you won’t find here is a bustling downtown.
You can find that in nearby Provincetown.
This region is much more focused on beach and water activities, with several museums and a reportedly haunted stone tower.
While Truro is a safe city, it was also one of two locations connected to the Cape Cod Vampire – a serial killer in the late 60s.
The new book Helltown details the crime, and a limited series is being developed with Robert Downey Junior playing the killer.
While there are no landmarks of the crime, the same seclusion that draws people to Truro for a relaxing getaway is also what this killer found appealing.
Since true-crime stories are so popular these days, I thought that little nugget of info might pique your interest.
Warnings & Dangers in Truro
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk with very low crime rates and even fewer random acts of violence. There are concerns to address for safety from the shore to the summit of Bearberry Hill, but you'll be better prepared for those by the end of this article.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You'll need a vehicle to get around the region, or you'll spend a lot of money on taxis or rideshares. Cape Cod's Regional Transit Authority offers bus routes around the Cape, but it's designed to get people from town to town, not around each town. Bicycle rentals are popular since you don't have to deal with as much traffic or get a parking sticker.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
The theft risk is low, with just eight incidents reported in 2021. That's more than three times lower than it was a decade ago. Even car burglaries are few and far between, but that's likely due to smart drivers locking car doors and leaving windows rolled up.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Truro gets all the severe weather risks of land and sea, including thunderstorms, nor'easters, hurricanes, flooding, extreme winter, extreme temperatures, and winter weather. For every risk, there are guidance and safety tips on the emergency management website.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
No robberies are on record in the past decade, likely due to this city's residential and wilderness aspects. While no Cape Cod city has an inflated risk of robberies, Truro is especially low risk.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is another low risk. With such a rural area and no hard targets, a terrorist group would likely look to target a larger city, like Boston, which is 100 miles away.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Rental scams are the biggest concern here. The best advice is only to use rental companies recommended by the Chamber of Commerce. While you want a good value, you won't find a cheap deal here, and anyone offering one is likely trying to scam you.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
The risk is very low from a criminal perspective. Beach, water, and wildlife safety education is the best way to enjoy all the area's amenities without putting yourself at a higher risk. Solo swimming should be avoided.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Most water in Truro comes from private wells, and it's incumbent on the property owner to get the water tested. When considering a place to stay, you should ask for a recent water quality test.
Safest Places to Visit in Truro
TruroChamberofCommerce.com is the local tourist information website.
The website has a blog that is updated with seasonal information.
You can also check out VisitCapeCod.com to get information about Truro and all Cape cities.
We have an extensive list of travel safety stories on this website as well with updated post-pandemic information.
The Truro Historical Society & Museum is located near the Highland Lighthouse, making for a great two-for-one stop where you can learn about the region’s history while taking a (seasonally available) tour of the lighthouse and the museum there.
While it poses no safety risk, there’s a sad piece of information to share with you that will be helpful to know when you visit the historical museum.
The President of the society was brutally killed at the hands of her son, according to police, in October 2022.
It was the first homicide in Truro in 20 years.
The historical society website has a tribute to her and a place where you can donate in her memory.
Truro Vineyards is a unique experience to sample wine made from maritime grape vines.
The tasting room is housed in an 1830s farmhouse.
A distillery was added in the past few years.
Tours are available seasonally.
Highland Links is a certified True Links 9-hole golf course.
To be True Links, the course must be treeless with seaside land, sand dunes, and a natural roll of hills built into the course.
This is also the oldest golf course on Cape Cod which opened in the 1890s.
It is also part of the national seashore, so it’s open to everyone.
Truro offers beaches on the Atlantic Ocean or facing Cape Cod Bay.
- Ballston Beach
- Coast Guard Beach
- Head of the Meadow Beach
- Longnook Beach
- Beach Point
- Cold Storage Beach
- Corn Hill Beach
- Fisher Beach
- Great Hollow Beach
- Noon’s Landing
- Ryder Beach
Beach Point and Noon’s Landing are the only places that don’t require a parking permit.
The only beach with lifeguards (and only during the summer) is Head of the Meadow Beach.
My jaw actually dropped when I saw photos of the Pamet Area trail system, so seeing it in person must be truly mesmerizing.
Here you’ll walk along seagrass atop the bluffs, weave your way into a cranberry bog, and then up to a stunning view atop Bearberry Hill.
Places to Avoid in Truro
With such a low crime rate, there aren’t dangerous parts of the city or neighborhoods to avoid.
You should always stay off of the private property and respect gated communities and member-only clubs or resorts.
Not all beaches in Truro have the bluffs, but the ones that do bring a certain safety risk.
You need to avoid the edge of the bluffs due to unstable ground.
Even being on the beach below the bluffs can be risky if you’re too close to the base.
You should become familiar with the tide schedules and ask park rangers or locals about the beaches most impacted by high tide.
Some beach paths can be minimized or covered during high tide, leaving people stranded with spotty mobile phone service at best.
I will be the first to admit that I love a stormy coastline more than I love a sunny one.
The ferocity of storms and relentlessness of the waves is intoxicating… from a safe distance.
Storms in recent years have eroded dunes and bluffs to the point where some houses had to be moved, and visitor cottages were hit by sea spray over the roof.
Use extreme caution during choppy seas, and never turn your back on the ocean.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Truro
- Truro has its own police department, and you can contact the non-emergency line at (508)487-8730. The department is also on Facebook @TruroPoliceDepartment.
- Download the Massachusetts Alerts Smartphone app to notify you of emergencies and quickly search for safety information. The app also explains the different watches and warnings you might face in the state and on the Cape.
- Sign up for AlertTruro emergency alerts. This covers any safety concern in the community, from severe weather to road closures to water emergencies. Use the address of your hotel or rental home when you create the account.
- A few public parking areas are available in Truro, but the beaches and other areas will require a parking sticker. Visitors can only get one if they are staying in Truro. You can’t stay in Chatham, for example, and hope the parking sticker from that city works in Truro. The annual beach stickers are only required through Labor Day weekend. After that, anyone can park at the beach.
- In this part of Cape Cod National Seashore, driving is allowed on the Atlantic Ocean beaches using Off-Road Vehicles (ORV). You’ll need to check the national seashore website daily to see an updated map of where driving is allowed, or you can call (508) 487- 2100, Ext. 0926. A permit is required, and many safety issues arise when driving on the beach, especially during the off-season.
- The closest hospital is in Hyannis, which is an hour away (without traffic). Provincetown has an urgent care facility, but it’s not a substitute for an emergency room. Since close health care isn’t available, use extra caution during your activities and carry a first aid kit with you.
- Beach fires are legal with a permit, but a limited number of permits are issued. You can call the Truro Fire Department to apply for a permit. That number is (508)487-7548.
- Box Turtle season starts in the late spring. These rare species are known to be in the roadway, and many get hit each year. While 99% of the time, wildlife officials advise never to touch wildlife, you’re asked to move it off the road using something like a car mat, so you don’t contact it directly. Don’t take it with you or move it very far, as they will try to return home, which could be more dangerous. They are also not good swimmers, so don’t put them in water. All that said, your safety comes first. Don’t swerve into traffic to avoid a turtle; only pull over if you can safely do so.
- Use the Sharktivity App to track shark sightings in this part of the Cape. The town website also has a list of the most recent sightings. Sharks stay active year-round, with a larger presence in the fall, and feed on seals. Stay away from seals, murky water, and water deeper than you can stand in. For the 2022 season, 12 of the 21 sightings were at Head of the Meadow beach.
- You’ll have to deal with typical beach and outdoor creatures, like mosquitos, ticks, poison ivy, and jellyfish. You might not know about two others – the Browntail moth and the Greenhead fly. The moth is dangerous in its caterpillar state, as it’s covered with toxic hairs that cause painful skin rashes to the touch and respiratory issues from airborne hairs. The Greenhead fly is immune to bug spray and feeds off human blood, so the bites itch like a painful mosquito bite.
So... How Safe Is Truro Really?
Truro had 16 crimes total in 2021.
Four were violent crimes, and the rest were property crimes.
While many tourist areas will face a lot of petty theft reports, just eight theft reports were made in 2021.
The city hadn’t seen a homicide in 20 years until 2022 when a man was accused of killing his mother.
You truly don’t need to worry about crime here, but you also can’t let your guard down.
No city is safe enough to be careless.
The unique location of the beaches, regional wildlife, and dangerous weather are the biggest risks here.
Your safety depends on how well you research the risks, follow warning signs, and heed weather alerts.
The tide schedule is also important since you can get trapped by water if you don’t time certain beach or boat treks correctly.
Truro is a great location on Cape Cod, and nearby Provincetown is a little more lively, giving you the best of both relaxed and exciting vacation options.
You’re now better prepared for this amazing trip to Outer Cape Cod.
How Does Truro Compare?
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- Visas - The U.S. State Department requires all international visitors to have a passport no more than six months from expiration and a Visa or Visa Waiver. You can start researching on the department's website using the Visa Wizard module to find the right visa for your trip. It will take up to three or four months to go through the process, so don't delay.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar will be the only currency accepted anywhere on the Cape and across the region. You should exchange currency at home to pay the lowest fees. You don't need a lot of cash here as credit cards are widely accepted, but don't carry more than $100 a day with you.
- Weather - Despite this being a beach destination, there's a rough winter in Truro that can lead to bitterly cold wind chills, snow storms, nor'easters, and ice storms. Bring properly layered outdoor winter clothing with hiking boots. Spring and fall can still be quite cool, so you'll want a jacket and long pants mixed in with some shorts and t-shirts. Summers are warm, but a jacket is still a good idea. Bring bug spray, sunscreen, water shoes, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Airports - Cape Cod Regional Gateway Airport is less than an hour by car, but that drive time could double in the heart of summer traffic. You can also take a boat to Boston from Provincetown and fly out of Boston Logan International Airport. You should plan 3-5 hours for that trip.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is instrumental in planning a trip to a place with weather disturbances that impact flights and boats. Check with your hotel or inn to see if they offer travel insurance for emergency situations or hurricane/storm cancelations.
Truro Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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