On the Beach in Cape Cod

By Contributor

Bev is the co-founder of Staying Native. She left her corporate gig to be able to travel more with her young family. She loves traveling and likes to share her local experiences with others. As an amateur photographer, her stories come with lots of pictures. Bev is Staying Native's lead tweep, moderator of the "Do it like a local" blog and the curator of all things social media.

Monday, Jul 8, 2013

Checklist for a Perfect Day at the Beach

Sunshine, sunscreen, towels, beach chairs, buckets and shovels, swim suits, cooler full of drinks and snacks, and money for ice cream. Yes, I do believe we’ve got all the essentials covered. But, with over 150 beaches to visit on Cape Cod, how do you choose?  Here’s what I learned from our week in Cape Cod.

The Beaches of Cape Cod

The beaches along the Cape’s Atlantic coast are where the cliffs and sand dunes are met by the ocean surf.  Locals refer to this area as the “outer beach”.  From Eastham to Provincetown, the Cape Cod National Seashore runs 6 swimming beaches with lifeguards from late June through the Labour day weekend at the beginning of September.


Mini Baywatch to the rescue

Cape Cod Bay beaches, where the water is more calm and warmer than the Atlantic side, tend to attract families, especially those with young children. During low tide, these beaches have flats that extend for over a kilometer, where the water only gets as deep as your knees.  

Cape Cod also boasts many freshwater beaches, which are sandwiched between the two coasts.


There's my Blue Bucket!Parking

In a perfect world, the parking lot will be as close as possible to the beach in order to reduce the distance across which the beach necessities must be hauled.  Cape Cod Bay beaches typically have smaller, but ideally located, parking lots, which have the added benefit of fewer stairs to descend to get down to the beach. Be aware that if you arrive at the beach before 3pm, parking passes are required and display of stickers is strictly enforced.

Sea Creatures – Up Close

Be on the lookout for horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, clams and starfish, which are found just about everywhere during low tide, especially in the flats of the bay beaches.  If you (or your kids) are so inclined, build a habitat and then collect some specimens to watch.


Building a Sea Creature HabitatCool Off at the Beach

What should you do if the water is not enough to keep you cool on a hot summer day? Don’t worry, the ice cream truck will visit at least three times a day.  I have it on good authority that the blue raspberry ice is delicious.


the Aftermath of a visit from the Ice Cream TruckLocal Tips:

  • The Atlantic or Cape Cod Bay?  Still undecided… head to Orleans and check out both Nauset (Atlantic)and Skaket (Cape Cod Bay) beaches to see which you like best.
  • Local papers publish the daily tide schedule so that you can time your visit with the tides. To see details on the tides for a specific area of the Cape, follow this link.  
  • Facilities at the beaches vary widely - from washroom facilities and full service restaurants to a single portable toilet and visits from the ice cream truck.
  • Some of the town-owned beaches require that you must be a resident or taxpayer in order to get a beach parking sticker.  Others allow nonresidents to purchase stickers by the day or by the week.  Parking stickers for town beaches are usually available for purchase at the town hall.


Off to find some Crabs.

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