Kayaking Cape Cod: the Best Places on Cape Cod to Kayak

Cape Cod’s picturesque coastline and abundant waterways offers kayaking enthusiasts a wealth of water conditions. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker looking for a challenging full-day trip or a novice looking to embark on your first paddling adventure, Cape Cod presents an array of idyllic spots to explore by kayak.

The following list of places to kayak on Cape Cod is broken out by town. Discover hidden gems tucked in secluded tidal rivers, meandering creeks, tranquil kettle ponds, and remote sandy beaches that provide a peaceful escape.

With the freedom to bring your own kayak or rent one from the numerous outfitters across the Cape, the possibilities for exploration are endless. So grab your paddle, soak in the natural splendor, and embrace the serenity of kayaking on Cape Cod, where adventure and tranquility harmoniously coexist.

Jump to a town to see the best places to kayak on Cape Cod:

A kayaker paddling under a beautiful sunrise on Cape Cod.

Kayaking in Barnstable

There are some cool places to launch a kayak in Barnstable, whether you’re looking for a leisurely paddle or a more challenging day trip to explore islands and beaches.

Scudder Lane Town Landing

Scudder Lane Town Landing is a convenient spot to launch your kayak and explore Barnstable Harbor. The calm waters are perfect for all skill levels, and you can enjoy the beautiful views and maybe even spot some seals along the way.

Scudder Lane Town Landing is a great place to launch your kayak if you want to go island hopping. If you paddle to the left you can take a trip around Jules Island and explore a series of tidal rivers. Or visit the islands along the way, including Mollys Island, Sand Island, Hocking Island, and Duck Island.

If you paddle straight out about 2000 feet you can explore Phillis Island. Continue a little more to seeLittle Thatch Island, High Island, Great Thatch Island, and Tupper Island.

If you’re looking for a longer day trip while kayaking in Barnstable Harbor, paddle east (to the right if facing the water) and then head north by Beach Point to access the end of Sandy Neck Beach. You’ll need to paddle about 3 miles to get there, so try to time it so you launch when the tide is going out and return on the incoming tide. This is a trip best taken when the wind is light and water conditions are calm.

Millway Beach

Millway Beach allows you to easy access to explore Masaspin Creek and Salten Creek. Stop off for lunch at the Barnstable Harbor Picnic Site that’s located at the mouth of Masaspin Creek.

If you paddle along the bay to the east (to the right as you’re facing the water) about a mile you can take in the stunning scenery at the nearby Mass Audubon Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary. Keep an eye out for ospreys and other shorebirds flying overhead.

Long Beach

Long Beach, located along Centerville Harbor in the southern part of Barnstable facing Nantucket Sound, offers a unique kayaking experience along an expansive stretch of beautiful shoreline. There’s a few parking spots that are residents only, so if you need a parking pass you can check out Craigville Beach and paddle away from the crowded areas to explore the length of Long Beach.

Head to the left when facing the water to go beach hopping at nearby Covell’s Beach, and then continue on to West Hyannisport. Or head to the right to cruise by Craigville Beach and then cross the mouth of East Bay and you’ll reach Dowses beach.

Barnstable Harbor

Barnstable Harbor is a picturesque spot for kayaking, with its tranquil waters and beautiful shoreline. Bring your kayak or rent one nearby, along with your paddling gear. As you explore the harbor, take in the panoramic views and keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun on the sandbars.

Sandy Neck Beach

Sandy Neck Beach is not only a lovely spot for sunbathing, but it also provides access to great kayaking opportunities. Sandy Neck is a barrier beach with 4700 acres of dunes, maritime forests, and marshes.

Sandy Neck has an ORV Trail and allows camping on the beach in self-contained campers. You can access the main parking lot with a Barnstable or Sandwich beach sticker, and daily passes are available.

Leashed dogs are allowed at Sandy Neck beach year round on the ORV corridor. They aren’t allowed on Bodfish Beach, the main public beach area where lifeguards are present, from May 15 to September 15. Pets are also allowed on the Great Marsh Hiking Trail year-round. Learn more about dog rules for Barnstable beaches.

A boy smiling while kayaing in Bourne, Massachusetts.

Kayaking in Bourne

There are lots of places to launch kayaks in Bourne. Check out this link for more information on Bourne beaches, boat ramps, and parking info.

Cataumet Town Landing

Cataumet Town Landing offers easy access to Red Brook Harbor for kayakers. Bring your own kayak and gear or rent them nearby. Paddle through the harbor’s calm waters, take in the picturesque surroundings, and keep an eye out for boats and marine life along the way.

Back River

Back River in Bourne is a serene location for kayaking enthusiasts. Located on the north end of Phinneys Harbor, north of Monument Beach, this wide tidal river is protected enough that conditions are perfect for kayaking.

As you paddle along the river, you’ll be immersed in lush greenery and the sounds of nature. You can explore Eel Pond, or paddle the length of Back River for a longer trip to visit Mill Pond.

Red Brook Harbor

Red Brook Harbor in Cataumet is a hidden gem for kayaking. There’s a boat launch here that requires a town sticker for parking. Lots of boat activity in this area, so be careful paddling!

Take a run around Bassett’s Island, or visit the multiple beaches located around Scraggy Neck. Head east of Bassett’s Island and you’ll be protected from the open waters, which get a little harder to paddle if you proceed out beyond the western shore.

Monument Beach

Monument Beach is a great starting point for a kayaking adventure. There is a large parking lot near the boat ramp. You can paddle along the calm waters of Phinney’s Harbor and enjoy scenic views of the coastline. Forget what Jimmy Buffet had to say about not wanting to land in Buzzards Bay — Monument beach is a great place to spend the day. Take your time to explore the area and appreciate the peacefulness of this charming beach.

You can explore Tobys Island or head north (to the right if facing the water) into Back River. If you get tired of paddling and want to let the wind guide your journey, check out the sailing lessons at Bourne Community Boating.

Hen’s Cove

Hen’s Cove is a small cove tucked into Buzzards Bay that offers a tranquil setting for kayakers to explore. You can launch at Hen’s Cove Public Beach in Pocasset, or at the Circle Ave Town Landing. Sticker required..

It’s a quick paddle out to Bassett’s Island Landing, a large island that sprawled out protecting Hen’s Cove. This island features over a mile of sandy beaches that make for a great all-day adventure. You can hike to a picnic area at the top of Bassett’s Island and you’ll be rewarded with a cool 360 degree view of the surrounding area.

The south side of the island is open to the public, and there are some nice flats to wade out into off of the southern point. The north side of the island is private, so obey the no trespassing signs — rich people don’t like kayakers like you cluttering up their expensive beach views.

A kayaker taking in the sunset on the Cape.

Kayaking in Brewster

Nickerson State Park:

Nickerson State Park has multiple clear kettle ponds with ample parking, you’ll just need to buy a day pass. If you don’t have your own kayak you rent one and explore Flax Pond.

Cliff Pond is the largest of the Nickerson ponds. You can cross a thin strip of beach from Cliff Pond to Little Cliff pond for a smaller, more secluded paddle. Both are accessible at the same launch point at Cliff Pond Beach at the end of Flax Road. There are multiple sandy beaches surrounding these ponds. Note that dogs are allowed year-round at Nickerson in kayaks on the ponds, but not on the beaches.

Take your time to paddle, swim, and enjoy picnicking along the scenic shores while immersing yourself in the peaceful natural surroundings. For a less populated pond experience, check out Higging Pond. It’s quieter and more off the beaten path.

If you’re looking to fish from your kayak on Cape Cod, Nickerson is a great choice. Most of the ponds are stocked with multiple kinds of trout all season long, including rainbow, brown, and brook trout. The deepest part of Cliff Pond is nearly 100 feet deep, and it can be reached if you launch from Cliff Pond Beach and paddle to the left when looking at the water. In the summer you’ll see a line of fishermen over by this section trying to cast out into the depths. Kayakers can head a little further offshore and drop bait right down there. There are some good sized trout and even salmon available here.

But like all freshwater ponds on the Cape, be careful for blue-green algae blooms, known as cyanobacteria, which produce toxins that are especially dangerous if you are kayaking with your dog.

Paines Creek Beach

At Paines Creek Beach, bring your own kayak or rent one locally to explore the picturesque tidal creek. Launch your kayak and meander through the winding waterway, taking in the beauty of the salt marshes and coastal vegetation. Keep an eye out for herons and other shorebirds as you navigate the shallow waters.

Crosby Landing Beach

At Crosby Landing Beach you can kayak into the calm waters of Cape Cod Bay. A parking pass is needed for the season, but you can access the lot for free in the evenings as well as in the offseason months.

Chatham Harbor is our pick for the best places to kayak in Chatham.

Kayaking in Chatham

Oyster Pond River

Launch your kayak at Oyster Pond Beach or nearby Harding’s Beach to explore the Oyster Pond River. There’s a small parking lot nearby. Enjoy leisurely paddling through the calm waters, surrounded by breathtaking salt marshes. Rentals are available here, and the river is long enough you can turn this into a full-day trip.

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Experience the beauty of Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge by kayak, paddling through the refuge’s scenic waterways by Morris Island and Monomoy Point. If you’re going with your dog make sure to adhere to signs indicating areas closed to pets to protect nesting shorebirds.

Pleasant Bay

There are a few places to launch kayaks in Pleasant Bay, from Jackknife Harbor, Strong Island, or Minister’s Point are a few options.

Jackknife Harbor has a free parking lot and is one of our favorite places on Cape Cod. Watch out for water levels at high tide, sometimes portions of the parking lot get filled with water. The great thing about Jackknife Harbor is that it is one of the only beaches on Cape Cod where dogs are allowed year round, so you can drag your kayak onshore and catch some rays with your dog when you’re done paddling..

If you choose to go under the bridge and kayak into Muddy River you’ll be rewarded with a nice, meandering journey. But be aware that the water flowing under the bridge gets pretty powerful at peak tides, and can be difficult to paddle through. We often see people beaching kayaks at the far end of the bridge and having to walk back across sharp, slippery rocks that line both sides of the river under the bridge.

Try to time the tides so you’re floating into the river as the tide is coming in, and back out when the tide is going out. Much easier, with minimal paddling required.

Stage Harbor

Stage Harbor offers a delightful kayaking experience. Launch into the calm waters and explore the harbor’s scenic beauty. Paddle past picturesque boats and enjoy views of the charming harbor town. Embrace the peaceful atmosphere and savor the coastal charm as you kayak in Stage Harbor. Bring a camera and you can grab some great pictures as you paddle up to Stage Harbor Lighthouse.

Mitchell River

Explore the Mitchell River by kayak for a serene adventure. Launch your kayak at the Bridge Street Town Landing near the Mitchell River Bridge. From there either head North towards Mill Pond and Little Mill Pond, or head South towards Stage Harbor. There’s lots of beaches nearby to check out if you’re willing to paddle far enough, so grab a map and plan your journey.

Kayaking in Dennis, MA, on a small tidal estuary surrounded by grass.

Kayaking in Dennis

Bass River:

Bass River offers a few different options to launch kayaks. It is a wide, slow moving area that’s perfect for a full-day kayaking trip. The calm waters and picturesque surroundings make for a delightful experience. If you need to rent a kayak, there are two companies to choose from.

Keep an eye out for the graceful flight of herons and the majestic presence of ospreys as you navigate through this tranquil estuary. It can get a bit busy here in terms of boat traffic, but it’s shallow enough that most boats stick to the main channel so you can get away from them in the shallower waters if desired.

There are a few places in the Bass River to launch kayaks and paddle boards: Click the map below for a PDF that lists all the public launch points, which include (from South to North):

  • Bass River Beach and Boat Access in Yarmouth
  • Uncle Freeman’s Road in West Dennis
  • Ferry Street Landing
  • Bass River Park
  • Horsefoot Cove Landing
  • Aunt Julia Ann’s Landing
  • Cove Road North Landing
  • Old Main Landing (in Grand Cove)
  • Cove Landing South
  • Highbank Road Landing (Wilbur Park Launch)

You can also launch from locations north of the Bass River in Kelley’s Bay and Follins Pond.

For a full list of places to launch that includes more parking lot details, check out this PDF of all the places to launch kayaks and boats in Dennis which includes all boat and paddle craft landings.

Map of places to launch kayaks and boats in Dennis which includes all boat and paddle craft landings.
Click to view a PDF with full details on where to launch kayaks in the Bass River and throughout Dennis, MA.

If it’s your first time kayaking in the Bass River, here are a few things to keep in mind:

The current in Bass River can be a bit hard to paddle against, so plan to paddle into the tide as you head out so that your return journey will be easier. You don’t want to have to fight the tide, especially if you’re renting kayaks and have to pay overage charges. Watch wind direction too, if you’re paddling into the tide and wind you’re going to get wet.

If you’re taking a full-day trip and planning to stop at beaches along the way, try to time the tides so you go with the current in both directions unless you’re looking for a more rigorous workout. Consider parking a second vehicle at another launch point so you can ride with the tide the Length of the river with the tide.

If you start at the Bass River Boat Access Lot you can pay a daily fee to park, and you’ll launch from a pair of busy boat ramps. It’s a bit chaotic at times. This will allow you to paddle just across the river to reach the back of Bass River Beach (aka Smugglers Beach) or the end of West Dennis Beach. There are some cool marshes to explore behind West Dennis Beach. But novice kayakers best beware of the heavy boat traffic in the channels, as well as waves on choppier days.

Kayaking upriver will bring you past Bass River Park, a great place to stop and picnic. At low tide there’s some nice sandbars just off the launch point here. Further north you’ll reach Wilbur Preserve and the Cape Cod Rail Trail and Route 6 bridges. There you will find Kelley’s Bay, Dinah’s Pond, and the Norse Landing Marsh as you head into Follins Pond. Local lore says that Leif Erickson and the Vikings once stepped foot at Norse Landing. But you’re more likely to see a jet ski or Boston Whaler these days.

There is a lot to explore throughout the length of the Bass River. Several companies rent kayaks and boats here. You can find sandbars and beaches to take a picnic break, or choose paddle up dining options at Sundancers. Watch out for power boats in the deeper main channels, look for the channel markers and steer clear on busy days.

If you’re looking to do some kayak fishing, Bass River is a great choice. We like to follow the Cape Cod fishing reports from On The Water, they’ll let you know what fish are in the area with tips on the best lures to use and the proper techniques to target the species you’re after. Striped Bass, Bluefish, and Squid are favorites that can make their way to the dinner table.

Follins Pond

Follins Pond Landing is located at 20 Follins Pond Road, where there is a small parking lot with boat trailer parking. Located north of Kelley’s Bay

Kelley’s Bay

Kelley’s Bay can be accessed by heading North on the Bass River. You can Launch in Kelley’s Bay from Fisherman’s landing, a small paddle craft launch at 79 Fish Head Road. There’s parking for 12 cars.

Sesuit Harbor

You can launch kayaks and paddle craft on the west side off of Sesuit Neck Road, or on the east side off Cold Storage Road. The mouth of Sesuit Harbor empties into Cape Cod Bay and is flanked on the sides by Sesuit Beach and Harborview Beach, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking to kayak to a beach for the day.

Sesuit Harbor has a short length of sandy beach so you can access the Sesuit Harbor Cafe, which is one of the best BYOB restaurants with waterfront dining on Cape Cod. If you’re kayaking with your dog this is a great place to stop off and take a break while eating fried seafood and lobster rolls at a picnic table overlooking the harbor. It’s great.

Swan River

The Swan River is a more charming, less busy alternative to kayaking at Bass River. One of our first kayak trips on Cape Cod was on a rental from Cape Cod Rentals right off of Route 28. You can launch right from their parking lot. From that location you can head North to Sawn Pond or South to South Village Beach.

The tide was coming in for us so we headed down to the beach. Much of the river is bordered by vegetation, and it’s a nice peaceful ride. You can stop off on a sandy strip on the mouth of South Village beach. We had our dog with us, but she wasn’t allowed to get out of the kayak so we didn’t end up staying very long.

If you are looking for places to launch a kayak or paddle board in the Swan River, there are a few options:

  • Swan Pond River Common Landing at 14 Bakers Way, at the mouth of Swan River
    • Upper County Road Landing, at 3 Upper County Road in Dennis Port (8 parking spaces)
    • Clipper’s Launch, 73 Clipper Land in Dennis Port (8 parking spaces)
    • Indian’s Ford Landing, 98 Indian Trail in Dennis Port (4 parking spaces)

Mayflower Beach

Combine the best of beach relaxation and kayaking adventure at Mayflower Beach. You can paddle along the shoreline of Cape Cod Bay, taking in the awe-inspiring views of the dunes and the sparkling water. Mayflower beach is packed in the Summer, you’ll find it much more relaxing in the Spring or later in the season once the summer tourist rush has subsided.

Kayaking in Salt Pond Bay in Eastham, MA on Cape Cod.

Kayaking in Eastham

Salt Pond Bay

Nestled within the Cape Cod National Seashore, Salt Pond Bay offers a serene kayaking experience. Paddle through calm waters while taking in the breathtaking views of salt marshes and keep an eye out for great blue herons and ospreys soaring above.

Your kayaking adventure in Salt Pond Bay begins at the Salt Pond Visitor Center. Located at 50 Nauset Road, there is ample parking. From there you can launch your kayak or stand up paddle board (SUP) to explore the pristine waters of Salt Pond Bay.

Along the way, experienced kayakers can make a pit stop at Coast Guard Beach, a popular beach destination known for its towering dunes and stunning shoreline. Coast Guard frequently ranks in the top-10 beaches in the Unite States, and is a must-see if you’re vacationing in Eastham.. Due to the heavy surf and currents, less experienced kayakers or those with families should stick to the bay and avoid the open ocean.

Nauset Marsh

At Nauset Marsh your kayaking experience will vary with the tide, offering kayakers a unique journey. During high tide, navigate winding waterways surrounded by vibrant salt marshes. When the tide is low, venture onto the expansive mudflats where seals may be sunning themselves.

Just be careful not to get stuck in the flats! Like many of the best places to kayak on Cape Cod, if you’re visiting Nauset Marsh it’s best to plan around the tides. If you’re planning on a 4 hour trip, try to launch about 2 hours before high tide to allow for maximum water levels.

To access the marsh, you’ll set out from the same Salt Pond Visitor Center (50 Nauset Road) location, but plan your launch during high tide. Keep in mind the changing tides and currents. If you’re a new visitor to the Cape, consider stopping at the Cape Cod National Seashore’s Visitors Center, a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy the scenery while learning more about the recreational opportunities offered nearby..

First Encounter Beach

Another great place to kayak in Eastham is to explore Cape Cod Bay’s tranquil waters with the iconic First Encounter Beach as your backdrop. As the sun sets, the beach’s sand dunes create a picturesque setting that’s perfect for tourists and budget-conscious travelers alike.

You can launch your kayak at First Encounter Beach’s parking lot on Samoset Road. There is a parking fee during the summer, or save some money and visit in the offseason when there is free parking. In the summer months you’ll need to get there early to secure a spot, it gets busy. Then set out for an unforgettable kayaking adventure. Along the way, you can take a break and relax on the beautiful First Encounter Beach or explore the nearby Salt Pond Visitor Center’s trails.

Herring Pond

Herring Pond, tucked away in the heart of Eastham, is a nature lover’s paradise. This peaceful pond is surrounded by lush greenery, and its clear waters offer opportunities for nature photography and wildlife observation.

You can launch kayaks and stand up paddle boards off Herring Brook Road. As you paddle, be on the lookout for the historic Doane Rock, an enormous glacial erratic boulder along the shore, and stop for a rest at nearby Wiley Park Beach to enjoy the serene waters and stunning surroundings.

Kayaking in Falmouth

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Explore the wonders of Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as you embark on your Falmouth kayaking adventure. Immerse yourself in the diverse ecosystems, from open waters, barrier beaches, marshlands and uplands on the south shore of Cape Cod in the towns of Falmouth and Mashpee.

The park is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Learn more by visiting their website.

Take in the breathtaking views, listen to the soothing sounds of nature, and appreciate the conservation efforts that make this reserve a true haven for kayaking enthusiasts. Please follow posted rules and regulations to help protect this fragile landscape. 

Quissett Harbor

Quissett Harbor is a hidden gem for kayakers seeking a peaceful and picturesque experience. Set off of Buzzards Bay, Quissett Harbor offers great kayaking as you paddle along the shoreline, marvel at the charming boats and waterfront homes, and embrace the tranquility of this enchanting location.

When kayaking here, make sure to visit The Knob at the entrance to the Harbor. The Knob offers some great views of Quisset Harbor and Buzzards Bay, and is open from dawn to dusk for hiking, bird watching, and more. It’s a great place to land your kayak and grab a picnic lunch.

Great Pond

The Great Pond Subwatershed in Falmouth and Sandwich has over 5500 acres to explore on your kayak. The Coonamessett River flows into the northern portion of Great Pond, which in turn opens to Vineyard Sound to the South. Perch Pond sits in the northwest corner of Great Pond, and the Dexter River sits to the northeast.

Access to Great Pond at the Falmouth Town Landing off of Harrington Street. There is a paved lot and you can also launch boats on the boat ramp.

Falmouth Inner Harbor

Falmouth Inner Harbor provides an ideal spot for a leisurely paddle. Navigate through the calm waters, cruise by boats bobbing gently along the docks, and take in the scenic views of Falmouth’s shoreline.

Boat and Kayak access to Falmouth Inner Harbor is available at the Falmouth Marine Park, located at 180 Scranton Ave. There’s a bunch of restaurants nearby, so the Marina Park is a good choice for a leisurely day trip in your kayak, followed by lunch or dinner.

Chapoquoit Beach

Chapoquoit Beach offers more than just sun and sand—it’s also a fantastic starting point for a kayaking adventure. Paddle north along the coastline and you’ll pass around Chapoquoit Point and into West Falmouth Harbor. You can continue paddling into the protected waters of Snug Harbor, or access Harbor Head through the southern portion of Snug Harbor.

An inflatable kayak on Muddy River in Harwich, off of Jackknife Harbor in Pleasant Bay.
Muddy River in Harwich, off of Jackknife Harbor in Pleasant Bay, is a gentle kayaking trip perfect for beginners..

Kayaking in Harwich

Pleasant Bay

Kayaks can be launched from Jackknife Harbor Beach in Pleasant Bay from the parking spots alongside busy Route 28, but it’s safer to unload in the parking lot just over the Chatham Line.

There are a few different options for kayaking adventures here, depending on your experience level. Beginners can launch from the beach cruise around the shore and among the boats. If you head under the route 28 bridge you can cruise Muddy River. Try to time the tide so it is coming in as you go up the river, and going back out for your return journey.

For an awesome day trip, head out to the left side of Pleasant Bay and follow the shoreline across the narrow channel to Sipson Island. Sipson Island is a sandy 24 acre island that is open to the public. It’s a great place to beach your kayak and have a picnic on-shore, or to hike the various trails on the island.

For a more challenging day trip, continue past Sipson Island and cross Pleasant Bay to the back side of Nauset Beach. It’s a long trip but you’ll be rewarded with endless stretches of secluded bay beaches. You can walk across Nauset to the sandy dunes and crashing waves of the open Atlantic. On your return trip across Pleasant Bay the setting sun will guide you home. It’s amazing.

Herring River:

The Herring River in North Harwich is a winding river, surrounded by lush greenery and serene landscapes. Keep an eye out for herons wading in the shallows and enjoy the peaceful ambiance as you savor the tranquility of this picturesque waterway.

There is a lot to explore here. The Herring River stretches from Hinckley’s Pond in the northeast, down to West Reservoir and the Harwich Herring Run. At the far southern point the Herring River meets Belmont Road Beach, located near the Harwich/Dennis line.

Wychmere Harbor

Wychmere Harbor offers a picturesque setting for kayaking enthusiasts. Paddle along the harbor’s scenic shoreline, enjoy views of elegant yachts and millionaire’s homes, and watch the rich folks frolic at the Wychmere Harbor Club.

You may see a few seals swimming around in the harbor, and if you bring a fishing rod you can do some Kayak fishing right in the channel. On calm days there is a long, curving Jetty that you can paddle past to enter Nantucket Sound to reach Bank Street Beach to the west. Or paddle east to see more boats in nearby Saquatucket Harbor.

There is a public parking lot on Harbor Road in Harwich Port, including a bathroom facility. You can launch a kayak at the end of the fishing pier using the ramp, or you can launch right off the small sandy beach located to the right of the pier if you’re looking at the water.

Red River Beach

Red River Beach not only provides a lovely stretch of sandy shoreline but also offers a great starting point for kayaking exploration. Daily parking passes are available in the parking lot, which also offers food and bathroom options.

On calm days you can paddle up or down the coast of Nantucket sound in the open ocean. For a calmer kayaking experience, park at the far end of the parking lot (to the left if you’re looking at the water). Head down the back trail by the end of the lot to access the mouth of Red River, and you can begin your journey through the winding river.

Kids will love hunting for hermit crabs and other small sea creatures using this path as well, it’s a nice way to break up a long day at the beach.

Saquatucket Harbor

Saquatucket Harbor is another good place to launch a kayak. Continue on a harbor tour into Wychmere, or head out into the open ocean of Nantucket Sound. The waves aren’t usually big on the Sound-side beaches, so it’s a good starting point for a kayaking day trip.

Hawksnest State Park:

Hawksnest State Park provides a picturesque backdrop for kayaking enthusiasts. Hawksnest is a small, clear kettle pond accessible by several dirt trails. There’s a small wooded lot where you can drag kayaks down to the shoreline. The pond is scenic and undeveloped, save for one camp. It’s not large though, so you won’t have very far to paddle unless you want to keep going in circles.

Watch out for broken glass, not everyone respects this place as much as they should. It’s a fragile environment. Hawksnest has a few small beaches, depending on the water level there may not be much room. It’s a great place to go kayaking with your dog.

Long Pond

Long Pond in Harwich is a large pond that is great for a long kayaking trip. You can launch from the public beach parking lot on Long Pond Road, or the smaller parking lot on Cahoon’s Road. The pond also has access from the public beach lot on the Brewster side of the pond. Note that beach stickers are required to park in these lots during the summer season.

Two Kayaks rest on the beach.

Kayaking in Mashpee

Mashpee River

Paddle along the tranquil Mashpee River, launching your kayak at South Cape Beach State Park (690 Great Oak Road). This picturesque river meanders through salt marshes and offers a gateway to Gooseberry Island, an idyllic destination accessible by kayak. There are numerous other bays and Islands to explore within the Mashpee River as well, with plenty of places to beach your kayak to take a break.

Keep an eye out for local birdlife as you glide through the brackish waters. If you’re looking for a nice place to hike during your trip, the Mashpee River Woodlands are a great option.

Waquoit Bay

For an unforgettable kayaking journey, begin your adventure at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (131 Waquoit Highway).

Waquoit Bay is a vast estuary with diverse ecosystems. Explore the salt marshes and tidal creeks, and consider paddling to Washburn Island for a day of sun and seclusion. The bay’s stunning coastline and abundant marine life will make your trip truly memorable.

There are also some really nice beaches accessible by kayak from Waquoit Bay, including Cousin’s Beach, Hank’s Beach, and South Cape Beach .

Popponesset Bay

Enjoy the serene waters of Popponesset Bay by launching your kayak from the Popponesset Spit Preserve which is located at 183 Nauset Avenue. Paddle across the bay, taking in views of the Popponesset Beach shoreline.

You can also explore the enchanting Thatch Island and Little Thatch Island, a barrier island known for its natural beauty and pristine beaches. The Popponesset Bird Sanctuary is located here, and is a must for Kayakers looking to bird-watch. As you navigate the bay, be on the lookout for seals and shorebirds that call this area home.

Santuit Pond

For a peaceful kayaking experience visit Santuit Pond, a lovely freshwater pond provides a calm retreat with scenic surroundings. . Kayaks can be launched from the Santuit Pond Boat Ramp on Timberlane Drive. Paddle around the pond, passing beautiful shoreline homes and enjoying the tranquil ambiance.

Santuit Pond is a shallow 176-acre enlarged Great Pond with an average depth of 6.5 feet and a maximum depth of 11 feet. The bottom is mostly sand overlain with muck, with some areas of gravel and rubble. It is groundwater fed and forms the headwaters of the Santuit River (aka the Cotuit River).

Jehu Pond

Jehu Pond, nestled within the Mashpee River Woodlands Conservation Area, offers a unique kayaking experience. Start your adventure at the Conservation Area’s parking lot located at 198 Red Brook Road.

Paddle through the serene pond, surrounded by lush forests and abundant wildlife. This hidden gem provides a tranquil setting for kayakers seeking a quiet escape into nature. Because it is bordered by the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge you’ll get a nice sense of what Cape Cod used to be like before development.

As you exit the north side of Jehu Pond, you can take a right to continue north towards Abigail’s Brook. For a longer kayaking trip, paddle to the left as you exit Jehu Pond to take you past Monomoscoy Island. Take a right up into Little River, sandwiched between Monomoscoy Island and Seconsett Island, and you’ll reach Hamblin Pond.

Kayak paddle dripping.

Kayaking in Orleans

Town Cove

Explore the beauty of Town Cove as you embark on a kayaking adventure in this picturesque location. Paddle along the meandering channels, surrounded by stunning salt marshes and breathtaking coastal landscapes.

You can rent kayaks from the Goose Hummock Shop, or launch your own nearby at the Old County Road Town Ramp. You can also launch kayaks at the Cove Road Town Landing.

If you are looking for a full-day trip that is one of the best places to kayak on Cape Cod, you can head east to the backside of the north end of Nauset Beach. For a shorter trip that includes a beach, you can stop at Hopkins Island or Stony Island. Be mindful of the wind when planning your kayaking trip to Town Cove, on windy days you’ll have to work extra hard to paddle into the wind and it can lessen your enjoyment quite a bit.

Nauset Estuary

Delve into the captivating splendor of Nauset Estuary as you embark on a kayaking journey through its serene waters. Whether you bring your own kayak or rent one locally, launching into the calm estuary will immerse you in the beauty that unfolds around you. Paddle along the winding waterways, surrounded by picturesque salt marshes and diverse wildlife. Embrace the sense of tranquility, marvel at the awe-inspiring views, and appreciate the unique allure of Nauset Estuary.

Skaket Beach

Skaket Beach not only invites sun-seekers and beachcombers in the shallow tidal flats, but also provides an ideal starting point for a kayaking expedition. Whether you bring your own kayak or rent one nearby, launching into the tranquil waters will open up a world of scenic delights.

The parking lot tends to fill up quickly on summer days, especially on weekends. But you can get in for free in the evening. The sunsets here are awesome, especially if you can time it with the tide so that the sun reflects off of the tidal pools.

If you head to the right of Skaket Beach while facing the water there is a nice tidal estuary to explore. Heading further north to neighboring Rock Harbor Beach, and you can paddle into the harbor to check out the boats. The parking lot at Rock Harbor is free, so if you’re looking to save some money you can park there and then head south to Skaket Beach.

Be mindful of the tides, the flats here extend far out into Cape Cod Bay. Because of the gentle waters, Skaket Beach is one of the best places to learn how to kayak on Cape Cod.

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake is a 36 acre pond with a maximum depth of 44 feet. It offers a serene and picturesque destination for kayaking enthusiasts. Crystal Lake is a very popular swimming beach in Orleans.

Limited parking is available off of Monument Road, in the Dickinson Conservation Area. There is also a boat ramp where you can launch kayaks on the northern park of the lake, off of Route 28.

Little Pleasant Bay

Discover the hidden treasure of Little Pleasant Bay as you embark on a kayaking exploration in this captivating location. Whether you bring your own kayak or rent one from nearby vendors, launching into the inviting waters will transport you to a world of scenic wonders.

There is a lot to explore here. Spend a day island-hopping to Hog Island, Sampson Island, and Simpson Island. There are multiple beaches you can access by kayak.

Our favorite beach to access by kayak is to head to the eastern shore of Little Pleasant Bay to reach the back of Nauset Beach. This is an awesome full-day kayaking day trip where you can beach your kayak, spend a day at one of the best beaches on Cape Cod, and then paddle home into the sunset.

There are multiple boat launches within Little Pleasant Bay, check out the map for more details.

A kayak on the shore of race point beach.
A kayak on the shore of race point beach.

Kayaking in Provincetown

Provincetown Harbor

Our pick for the best place to kayak in Provincetown is in Provincetown Harbor. There’s such a variety of things to see and do beyond just kayaking, you can make it a full day trip and you’ll have a blast.

There are numerous beaches off of Commercial Street to launch from. Be aware that driving a vehicle down commercial street can be a nightmare in the busy summer days, so if you do need to drive down try not to pick peak-hour weekend days or else you’ll find yourself surrounded by pedestrians. If you park at MacMillan Wharf you can launch at the adjacent beach easily. Or if you need to rent a kayak in Provincetown there are multiple companies who can set you up with hourly or all-day rentals.

There is a lot to explore here. For a short trip you can paddle along the shoreline, taking in the panoramic views of the town, and the bustling harbor. You can easily beach your kayak at various points off Commercial Street to stop off and explore the town and grab some lunch. The water conditions are always very gentle in Provincetown harbor, so this is a perfect place for both beginner kayakers, and also kayakers with children and families.

Provincetown is very dog-friendly, so it’s a great place to kayak with your dog. All of the restaurants and stores allow dogs, and your dog can play off-leash on the beaches so it’s a great chance to let your pet run full-steam with other dogs.

For a longer, more challenging trip you can launch from Commercial Street and head out to the secluded beach at Long Point Lighthouse, which can be seen from the Commercial St. beaches if you look directly out on the tip of land extending from the beach. This is the end of Cape Cod. You can stop off on the inside edge of the harbor and spend a day at the harbor-protected beach, or walk around the edge for the beach side facing the open Atlantic. Be careful kayaking around the tip into the open water though, as the conditions can be rough. It’s much easier, safer, and drier if you stick to the protected part of the harbor and walk to the other side..

If you want to combine kayaking and hiking for a full-day adventure, you can kayak through the flats of the harbor behind Long Point Lighthouse, and walk over the land to reach an even more secluded beach. Make sure to mind the tides and beach your kayak well up beyond the high water mark to ensure it’s still there when you return. The shallow area of the harbor extends to the far right side if you’re looking out at the water. It is well protected so the water conditions are much calmer than to the left side, and you’ll see much less action from boats so it’s great for beginners not looking to play dodge the spinning prop.

Another cool kayak trip in Provincetown Harbor is to follow the shoreline to the left if you’re looking at the water, where you can paddle past the small rental cottages and access several beaches in Truro. The water conditions are often windier and rougher the further you venture towards Truro. Try to time your paddle so you’re returning with the incoming tide to make it more enjoyable on the ride back.

Regardless of which trip you choose, make sure to pick a day that isn’t too windy or you will end up fighting the wind and getting soaked in the process.

Race Point Beach

Race Point Beach isn’t just a sunbather’s paradise—it also provides an excellent starting point for an unforgettable kayaking adventure. It’s part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, so there’s a big parking lot where you can get a parking pass.

Race Point Beach is a great place to do some kayak fishing if you’re willing to venture slightly offshore enough to access the Race, where the water depth suddenly drops quickly. This traps schools of bait. You’ll find striped bass, bluefish, even tuna here. You may see whales feeding. So in theory it is an incredible place to explore on your kayak. But there’s a caveat.

There’s lots of sharks. And while the great whites usually leave kayaks alone, sometimes they don’t. Other times the sharks will sense the struggle of a hooked fish, then show up for an easy meal. So if you do go kayak fishing on cape cod you’re taking a risk, especially on Outer Cape beaches facing the open Atlantic.

Race Point beach has small to midsize waves, so it’s not too difficult to paddle out through the surf. To save you the hassle of hauling a kayak from the parking lot, consider getting an ORV sticker so you can drive it right out to the shoreline. Learn more about Race Point Beach.

Herring Cove Beach

Herring Cove Beach features a long stretch of beach with gentle lapping waves, perfect for a shoreline cruise. Dogs are usually allowed to the left of the parking lot all summer long, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking to kayak with your dog. The path to the beach from the lot is fairly flat, so hauling your kayak won’t wear you out too much.

While there are sharks here, there aren’t as many sightings as at some of the other Outer Cape beaches. It’s a great beach to watch the sunset. There’s a snack bar and a nice bathroom and shower facility at Herring Cove, which is great to wash off and change before you head into nearby Commercial Street for some food and drinks.

If you prefer to kayak by a bunch of naked guys you can paddle to the left if facing the ocean to access Ptown’s nude beach. Just make sure to apply extra sunscreen if you decide to go for the all-over tan while you’re there.

Beech Forest Trail:

Combine a kayaking adventure with an exploration of nature along the enchanting Beech Forest Trail. Launch your kayak into nearby Blackwater Pond, paddle through lily pads along the serene coastline, and then dock your kayak to venture further on a hike of the picturesque trail. You’ll see turtles, birds, and lots of other wildlife while you kayak. The trail takes about 30 minutes to walk.

While not a big pond, kayaking at Blackwater Pond allows you to embrace the harmony between land and water as you enjoy the best of both worlds on this unique and unforgettable kayaking experience. Poetry fans will appreciate that this pond was written about by Mary Oliver in her poem “In Blackwater Woods.”

Pilgrim Lake

Pilgrim Lake in Provincetown the giant body of water on your right as you travel up Route 6 into Provincetown. Formerly known as East Harbor, in the mid 1800’s before the dike under Route 6 was built this was where the Ptown fishing fleet would store their boats to avoid winter storms.

Launch access can be found off of High Head Road.It is big and wide, so on windy days the water can get choppy. But if you plan to kayak at Pilgrim Lake on a calm day you’ll be rewarded with a nice scenic paddle along with the unpleasant hum of nature provided by cars racing by on the adjacent highway.

Because the road construction closed it off, the waters became very brackish and not much wildlife can survive here, so keep your fishing pole at home.

Pilgrim Lake is surrounded by vegetation, so there aren’t a lot of places to beach your kayak and explore unless you want to cross through the large swaths of non-native cattails around the edges. This is too bad, because the towering dunes on the far side are as unoccupied as they are majestic, and worthy of a side expedition if you can brave the swampy edges.

Beware of the tide rushing through the culvert that connects Pilgrim Lake to Provincetown Harbor. The current is powerful enough to suck in your kayak if you get too close. If that happens just duck and slide right through rather than fighting the current and tipping your kayak.

Be careful when kayaking to avoid sharks on Cape Cod.

Kayaking in Sandwich

Scorton Creek

Scorton Creek is a long, meandering tidal river that empties on the north end into Scorton Harbor on Cape Cod Bay. From there you can access nice stretches of beach on both sides.

Within the creek itself there’s lots to explore, with various tributaries including ones that take you through the Old Sandwich Game Farm Wildlife Management Area. When kayaking some sections of Scorton Creek you’ll have more fun if you try to time it around high tide.

Dog in kayak on Cape Cod beach.

Kayaking in Truro

Great Hollow Beach

Great Hollow Beach, located in Truro, is a serene kayaking spot along Cape Cod’s eastern coast. Launch your kayak from the beach and paddle through the calm waters of the Cape Cod Bay.

The bay here has varying depths, offering both shallow and deeper areas for exploration.

The shoreline is sandy, and the surrounding landscape features dunes and salt marshes. It’s a quiet and peaceful place to kayak, allowing you to enjoy the natural beauty of Cape Cod. Keep your eyes peeled for marine life and seabirds that often make appearances as you navigate through the bay.

Ryder Beach

Ryder Beach, also in Truro, is an excellent launch point for kayaking in Cape Cod Bay. The bay’s waters can vary from shallow to moderately deep, providing a pleasant kayaking experience. The coastline is pristine and lined with dunes, offering a tranquil setting for your adventure.

While kayaking in Ryder Beach, you may come across various fish species like flounder and striped bass. The calm bay waters and the scenic surroundings make it an ideal spot for a relaxing day on the water. Paddle along the coast and take in the sights and sounds of Cape Cod’s unspoiled beauty.

Pilgrim Heights

Pilgrim Heights, located in North Truro, is a wonderful starting point for kayaking adventures along the shores of Cape Cod Bay. The bay’s waters in this area can range from shallow tidal flats to moderately deep sections. The coastline is marked by dunes and salt marshes, providing an authentic Cape Cod experience.

Kayaking here offers a chance to spot a variety of fish species, including bluefish and flounder. As you paddle along the bay, you can enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the salt marshes and the scenic beauty of Pilgrim Heights. Take your time exploring the bay’s hidden corners and enjoying the serenity of this picturesque area.

Peters Pond

Peters Pond, nestled in the heart of Cape Cod, is a splendid destination for kayaking enthusiasts. With a surface area of approximately 68 acres, this pond offers ample space for exploration. It ranges in depth from 6 to 40 feet, ensuring diverse kayaking experiences. The shoreline is surrounded by woods, creating a tranquil environment for paddlers.

As you kayak across Peters Pond, you may encounter various fish species, including pickerel and smallmouth bass. The clear, cool waters of this pond make it an inviting spot to relax and unwind. Keep an eye out for the scenic views of the surrounding forests and the occasional waterfowl that call this area home.

Wakeby Lake

Wakeby Lake, located in Sandwich, Cape Cod, is a fantastic destination for kayaking adventures. The lake spans 270 acres and reaches depths of up to 28 feet. The shoreline is characterized by sandy beaches and a mix of residential and wooded areas, providing diverse scenery for your kayaking experience.Wakeby Lake is home to various fish species, including largemouth bass, bluegill, and chain pickerel.
As you paddle along, you can enjoy the calming views of the wooded shores and the nearby homes. Don’t forget to explore the lake’s islands and coves for a more secluded and peaceful experience. This is a great spot for both beginners and seasoned kayakers to relish the beauty of Cape Cod’s freshwater gem.

Ballston Beach

Ballston Beach, situated in Truro, is another fantastic spot for kayaking along Cape Cod’s eastern coastline. This area offers access to the Atlantic Ocean, where you can experience the exhilaration of ocean kayaking. The ocean depths can vary greatly, ranging from shallow areas near the shore to much deeper waters farther out.

The coastline here is marked by towering sand dunes and stunning vistas, creating a dramatic and awe-inspiring backdrop for your kayaking adventure. Keep an eye out for seals and various seabirds that often frequent these waters, adding to the allure of this wild and natural landscape.

Kayaking on a tidal river in Cape Cod.

Kayaking in Wareham

Onset Beach

Onset Beach, located in the charming village of Onset in Wareham, Massachusetts, is a delightful destination for kayaking. The beach provides access to Onset Bay, which features a mix of shallow and deeper waters. The shoreline is sandy, with a view of the Victorian-style architecture in the village.

Kayaking in Onset Bay is a peaceful experience, and you can expect to encounter fish like flounder and striped bass. As you paddle through the bay’s waters, take in the serene surroundings and the picturesque village scenery. Don’t forget to explore the nooks and crannies of this quaint coastal area.

Weweantic River

Weweantic River, located in Wareham, offers a unique kayaking experience with its serene, slow-flowing waters. The river can have varying depths, with some sections being shallow and others offering slightly deeper channels. The banks of the Weweantic River are lined with trees and wetlands, creating a peaceful and natural atmosphere.
While kayaking here, you may spot a variety of fish species, including pickerel and catfish. The calm, winding river is perfect for a relaxing paddle, and you can appreciate the tranquil beauty of the surrounding wetlands. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and enjoy the natural ambiance of this waterway.

Buttermilk Bay

Buttermilk Bay, located in Bourne, Massachusetts, offers a wonderful kayaking experience along the Cape Cod Canal. The bay features a mix of depths, ranging from shallow areas to slightly deeper channels. The shoreline is dotted with private homes and lush vegetation, providing a pleasant coastal setting.

Kayaking in Buttermilk Bay allows you to observe various fish species, including flounder and bluefish. As you paddle through the bay’s calm waters, take in the picturesque views of the surrounding homes and the lush coastal landscape. It’s a great spot for a leisurely day on the water with opportunities for birdwatching and relaxation.

Glen Charlie Pond

Glen Charlie Pond, located in the charming town of Wareham, Massachusetts, is a serene spot for kayaking. The pond covers about 65 acres and features depths that range from 5 to 20 feet. The shoreline is surrounded by a mix of trees and homes, creating a peaceful and residential ambiance.

While kayaking in Glen Charlie Pond, you can expect to come across various fish species, including largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Paddle through the clear waters and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings. The pond’s small island and inlets offer additional exploration opportunities for a day of relaxed kayaking.

Tremont Nail Pond

Tremont Nail Pond, situated in Wareham, is a unique and historically significant kayaking location. The pond is relatively small, covering just 23 acres, and its depths range from 6 to 10 feet. The shoreline features wetlands and remnants of the Tremont Nail Factory, providing a glimpse into the region’s industrial history.

While kayaking in Tremont Nail Pond, you may spot fish like chain pickerel and sunfish. It’s a place for those who appreciate history and nature combined. Paddle along the calm waters and explore the wetlands surrounding the pond, taking in the serene and historic atmosphere.

Kayaking in Wellfleet, MA, in the waves of white crest beach.

Kayaking in Wellfleet

Great Pond

Kayaking at Great Pond in Wellfleet, MA, promises a serene experience on a kettle pond with crystal clear water. Start your adventure in the parking area off Cahoon Hollow Road. You’ll need a Wellfleet parking sticker.

If the water level is high the beach area around the pond can be limited. There are some stairs you’ll need to navigate on your walk to the beach. Be aware that dogs aren’t allowed Wellfleet pond beaches during the summer season.

Herring River

The Herring River is another fantastic kayaking destination in Wellfleet. You can launch your kayak near the Herring River Landing (end of Chequessett Neck Road). This saltwater river offers kayakers the opportunity to explore its winding waterways, salt marshes, and tidal creeks. It’s a tidal river with depths ranging from 2 to 20 feet. While kayaking, you’ll have the chance to admire the unique flora and fauna of the Cape Cod region.

You’ll be paddling along the backside of Great Island if you proceed south as you enter Wellfleet Harbor. For a fun day trip kayaking in Wellfleet, head east out of the Herring River (to the left after you pass under the Chequessett Neck Road Bridge). You’ll pass several beaches where you can stop off for a rest, including Powers Landing Beach and Mayo Beach. Eventually you’ll reach the Wellfleet Town Pier, and you can paddle up to the beach right next to Mac’s on the Pier and a few other restaurant options.

Long Pond

You can launch kayaks at Long Pond near the Long Pond Town Landing (off Long Pond Road). Explore a vast and clear freshwater pond covering over 700 acres.

With a maximum depth of around 30 feet, Long Pond offers a mix of sandy beaches and wooded shoreline. This makes it an ideal location for leisurely kayaking. As you paddle, you’ll be surrounded by a serene forested landscape and may even spot fish beneath the water’s surface.

Duck Creek

Duck Creek offers a distinctive kayaking experience in Wellfleet. Begin your journey by launching your kayak at Duck Creek Landing (Wellfleet Drive-In, 51 Route 6).

If you head north you can explore this saltwater creek as it flows through tidal marshes, with a mix of shallow and deeper areas. The range in depth can vary significantly, making it an exciting place to explore – but be wary of shallow areas at low tide.

Look for Uncle Tim’s Bridge at the northern strip of Duck Creek. If you head south out of Duck Creek you will pass the Duck Creek Railway Bridge as you come to the Wellfleet Town Pier. This is a great place to beach your kayak to grab lunch or find a bathroom.

Wellfleet Harbor

For a kayaking adventure on the open water, consider launching from the Wellfleet Harbor Town Pier (15 Kendrick Avenue). Wellfleet Harbor is a saltwater body known for its scenic beauty and access to the Atlantic Ocean.

There’s a sandy beach beyond the picnic tables of Mac’s on the pier that is a great place to launch kayaks or stand up paddleboards (SUPs). You can drive right over to the beach to drop your kayak, and the pier has a huge parking lot with free parking. Unlike many of the other places to kayak in Wellfleet, which require a beach sticker to park.

While the harbor itself can be quite deep, the shoreline offers a mix of sandy beaches and marshes. Kayaking in Wellfleet Harbor provides an opportunity to take in stunning coastal views and maybe even catch a glimpse of local fishing boats in action.

You’ll have easy access to dining options at the Wellfleet Town Pier, and there’s some nice beaches to explore. Depending on the tides and your energy level, you can venture into the Herring River or up Duck Creek.

White Crest Beach

White Crest Beach, located off Ocean View Drive in Wellfleet, offers kayakers a unique opportunity to explore the rugged Atlantic coast from the water. You’ll need a parking pass to use the lot.

Launch your kayak directly from the sandy shoreline. As you paddle along the coast, you’ll experience the beauty of the Outer Cape with its dramatic dunes and crashing waves. This location provides a different perspective than the pond and bayside kayaking spots in Wellfleet. White Crest Beach is also known as Surfer’s Beach, and is a good place for kayak surfing or stand up paddle board surfing. Watch out for sharks.

Kayaking in Yarmouth on Cape Cod.

Kayaking in Yarmouth

Bass River Estuary

The Bass River Estuary in Yarmouth, Cape Cod, offers a diverse and picturesque kayaking experience. The estuary comprises a mix of tidal saltwater marshes and open waters. Depths can vary from shallow marsh areas to deeper channels in the river, providing a unique kayaking environment.

The coastline here features salt marshes, sandbars, and the occasional waterfront home. While kayaking in the Bass River Estuary, you’ll have the opportunity to observe various fish species, including striped bass and flounder. Paddle through the winding channels of the estuary and savor the ever-changing scenery, from marshlands to open water, all in one kayaking trip.

Parker’s River in Yarmouth

Parker’s River in Yarmouth is another delightful kayaking spot on Cape Cod. The river offers a mix of shallow and slightly deeper waters, making it suitable for paddlers of all levels. The shoreline features residential homes, sandbars, and salt marshes, providing a variety of scenery along your route.

As you kayak in Parker’s River, you may come across fish species like flounder and striped bass. The river’s calm waters and diverse landscape make it an excellent place to explore Cape Cod’s coastal beauty. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the views of the salt marshes and the peaceful atmosphere of this river.

Seagull Beach

Seagull Beach, located in West Yarmouth, is a perfect starting point for kayaking adventures in Nantucket Sound. The Sound offers a mix of depths, with some areas close to the shore being shallow and others going deeper as you venture out. The shoreline features sandy beaches and stunning views of the Sound.

While kayaking in Nantucket Sound, you can expect to encounter various fish species, including bluefish and flounder. The Sound’s gentle waves and wide-open water provide a pleasant and scenic kayaking experience. Enjoy the captivating coastal views and the sense of open space as you paddle in this beautiful setting.

Englewood Beach

Englewood Beach, situated in Yarmouth, Cape Cod, is an excellent starting point for kayaking adventures in Lewis Bay. Lewis Bay offers a mix of shallow and deeper waters, making it a versatile spot for kayakers of all skill levels. The shoreline features a combination of sandy beaches and waterfront homes.

While kayaking in Lewis Bay, you may spot fish like striped bass and flounder. The bay’s calm and protected waters make it a great choice for a leisurely kayak excursion. Take in the sights of the bay’s shoreline, including the nearby Hyannis Harbor, as you enjoy a relaxing day on the water.

These kayaking destinations in Cape Cod offer a diverse range of experiences, from calm ponds to coastal adventures, ensuring there’s something for every kayaker to enjoy.

Lewis Bay

Lewis Bay, nestled in Yarmouth, Cape Cod, is a kayaker’s dream come true. With its combination of serene waters and picturesque coastal surroundings, it’s an ideal location for a relaxing day of kayaking. Lewis Bay connects to Nantucket Sound, offering a mix of shallow and slightly deeper waters, making it suitable for kayakers of all levels.

The shoreline of Lewis Bay is characterized by a blend of sandy beaches and charming waterfront homes. As you paddle through the bay, you can take in the stunning views of the Sound, the surrounding coastline, and even the nearby Hyannis Harbor. The bay’s protected and gentle waters provide a pleasant and scenic kayaking experience.

The bay’s clear and calm waters make it an excellent spot for both wildlife enthusiasts and those looking for a peaceful day on the water. Go beach hopping from Kalmus Park Beach to Veterans Park Beach, paddling up to Trader Ed’s for lunch and cocktails.

As you continue circling the bay clockwise you’ll pass a bunch other beaches and cool spots to land. Stop into Uncle Roberts Cove, and make sure to beach and take a break at Egg Island, at the entrance to Lewis Bay.

Lewis Bay is also close to numerous amenities, including nearby marinas and restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely paddle along the shoreline or an adventure out into Nantucket Sound, Lewis Bay has something to offer every kayaker. So, pack your gear and discover the beauty of Cape Cod from the unique perspective of a kayak on Lewis Bay.

A girl kayaking on Cape Cod.

Kayaking Safety Tips

  1. Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Always wear a properly fitted PFD or life jacket while kayaking. This will keep you afloat in case of an accidental capsize or any other emergency.
  2. Check Weather and Tidal Conditions: Before heading out, thoroughly check the weather forecast and tidal conditions. Avoid kayaking in rough seas, high winds, or strong currents, as they can pose significant risks.
    Remember the 50-90 rule for kayaking in tidal rivers:
  3. Slack tide occurs when the tide stops moving.
  4. One hour into the tide the water will move at 50 percent speed.
  5. At the end of your 2 the rate is 90%.
  6. At the end of your 3 it flows 100%.
    End of Hour 4 it decreases to 90%, and end of hour 5 back to 50%.
  7. At hour 6 only is slack tide again and the tide changes over.
    Plan your trip accordingly and be aware of any changes in weather patterns.
  8. Inform Someone about Your Plans: Let a friend or family member know about your kayaking plans, including your intended route and estimated return time. This way, someone will be aware of your whereabouts in case of an emergency.
  9. Know Your Limits and Paddle in a Group: Be honest about your kayaking abilities and experience level. If you’re a beginner or unfamiliar with ocean kayaking, it’s recommended to paddle with a group or experienced kayakers who can provide guidance and support.
  10. Dress for the Water Temperature: Even on warm days, the ocean water can be cold, so dress appropriately. Wear a wetsuit or drysuit to prevent hypothermia in case of accidental immersion. Additionally, consider wearing protective footwear to safeguard your feet from sharp rocks or marine life.
  11. Carry Essential Safety Equipment: Pack essential safety equipment, such as a whistle, signaling devices, a marine-grade waterproof flashlight, a compass or GPS, and a marine radio or a waterproof phone case. These tools can assist in navigation, communication, and attracting attention in case of an emergency.
  12. Practice Self-Rescue Techniques: Learn and practice self-rescue techniques specific to kayaking in the ocean, such as re-entry techniques, paddle float rescues, and bracing against waves. These skills will help you regain control and get back into your kayak should you capsize.
  13. Stay Alert and Mindful of Surroundings: Keep a watchful eye on other vessels, including motorized boats, ships, and larger waves. Maintain a safe distance from them to avoid collisions or being swamped by their wakes. Be aware of potential hazards like submerged rocks, reefs, or shallow areas.
  14. Stay Hydrated and Protect Yourself from the Sun: Bring ample water to stay hydrated during your kayaking trip. Apply waterproof sunscreen and wear a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing to shield yourself from the sun’s rays.
  15. Practice Leave-No-Trace Principles: Respect the marine environment and wildlife by adhering to the principles of leave-no-trace. Avoid disturbing wildlife, refrain from littering, and follow any regulations or restrictions in protected areas.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when kayaking in the ocean. By following these tips and using common sense, you can enjoy a safe and memorable ocean kayaking experience.

Summary: Kayaking Cape Cod

I hope you find this information helpful for your blog about kayaking in Cape Cod. Each of these destinations offers a unique kayaking experience, from tranquil ponds surrounded by natural beauty to dynamic coastal areas with diverse marine life.

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, Cape Cod’s waters have something to offer. Take in the peaceful landscapes, spot local wildlife, and immerse yourself in the rich natural and historical beauty that the Cape has to offer. So check the tide charts, grab your paddle, and find a place to launch. Happy kayaking!

Best Beaches in Cape Cod for Families

If you’re planning a family vacation on Cape Cod, you’re in luck! The Cape is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, offering a fun and safe place for kids to play and explore. From sandcastles to boogie boarding, there’s no shortage of fun in the sun here. So, pack your sunscreen, towels, and sand toys, and let’s dive into the best beaches in Cape Cod for families!

Inflatable boogie boards are great for kids at the beach.
Inflatable boogie boards are a fun way to ride waves but they don’t have leashes, so they aren’t recommended for younger kids in heavy surf.

As a general rule, surf conditions for Cape Cod beaches fall into 3 categories:

  • Bayside beaches have warmer water and small, gentle waves that are great for young kids
  • Nantucket and Vineyard Sound-facing beaches have small- to medium-sized waves with no rip currents (and less shark activity)
  • Outer Cape beaches facing the open Atlantic have colder water, larger waves, and rougher undertows — and more sharks!

If you are looking for a family beach where you can take your dog, check out our list of dog friendly beaches on cape cod.

  1. Coast Guard Beach

Coast Guard Beach is a picturesque destination located in Eastham,the first beach of the Cape Cod National Seashore as you travel route 6 heading towards the tip of Cape Cod. This beautiful beach offers a wide expanse of white sand and crystal-clear water, making it a must-visit for families looking for a fun and safe place to play in the sun.

A beach wagon makes it easy to carry  all of your kids' beach toys.
A beach wagon is a must-have for families who need to carry many armfuls of beach toys.

Coast Guard Beach is also known for its stunning scenery, with rolling sand dunes and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the perfect place to catch a breathtaking sunrise or sunset while the kids play in the sand and splash in the waves. This beach is on the Outer Cape so the waves are larger than you’ll find on bay-side beaches.

For amenities, Coast Guard Beach has restrooms, showers, and a snack bar. Learn more about Coast Guard Beach. The parking shuttle can be somewhat a hassle here for families lugging lots of stuff. For easier parking at a National Seashore beach drive further up Route 6 and head to Marconi Beach in Wellfleet or Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro.

A boy resting on his sleeping puggle in the beach sand.
  1. Nauset Beach

Nauset Beach in Orleans is another family favorite. This long, wide beach offers plenty of room for kids to run and play, and the waves are great for boogie boarding. Great for long beach walks. There are plenty of amenities, including restrooms, showers, and a snack bar.

Body boarding is a great kids beach activity. Just be wary of sharks at Nauset Beach and other Outer Cape beaches!
Body boarding is a great kids beach activity. Just be wary of sharks at Nauset Beach and other Outer Cape beaches!

Be careful swimming out too far at Nauset. Keep an eye on kids near the water. Some days there will be big, powerful waves and strong rip currents. And the water here is cold!

Great surf spot but it’s also a hotspot for great white shark sightings on Cape Cod. You’re rolling the dice. You’re sure to see tons of seals swimming by, and the sharks are always prowling these shores.

While the public beach at Nauset is one of the best beaches in Cape Cod for families, it can get crowded in the summertime. If you’re looking for more room for children to play, the ORV beach trails at Nauset take it to the next level. Added bonus is you won’t have to lug all your kids’ stuff down to the beach. For that alone getting an oversand driving sticker for the Nauset Beach ORV trails makes the price worth it.

  1. Mayflower Beach

Located in Dennis, Mayflower Beach is a popular choice for families with young children.

Always bring bug repellent when you visit cape cod beaches to protect kids from ticks, sand fleas, and mosquitoes.
Always bring bug repellent such as Cutter or Deep Woods Off when you visit cape cod beaches to protect kids from ticks, sand fleas, and mosquitoes.

The water is calm and shallow, making it a great place for little ones to splash and play. And when the tide goes out, the beach is transformed into a massive playground, with miles of sandbars to explore.

The parking lot isn’t huge and it fills up fast, so plan to get to Mayflower early. If you get shut out, nearby beaches share the same family-friendly water conditions.

  1. Craigville Beach

If you’re looking for a beach with plenty of activities for kids, look no further than Craigville Beach in Barnstable. This beach offers volleyball, sailing, and even a playground, making it a great choice for families with kids of all ages. The waves don’t get too big here because of its location facing Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket sound. Great for little children.

A kid stands under seagulls flying near the ocean at a beach on cape cod.
  1. Corporation Beach

Located in Dennis, Corporation Beach is a smaller beach that’s perfect for families with young kids. The water is calm and shallow, and there are plenty of rocks and shells to collect along the shoreline.

A folding beach shovel provides hours of entertainment for kids.
A folding beach shovel provides hours of entertainment for kids. Just don’t let them dig holes deeper than waist-high.

Plus, there’s a picnic area and a playground nearby, making it a great spot for a family day out. If you don’t get up early enough to get parking at Corporation Beach, consider hitting nearby West Dennis Beach instead. West Dennis beach has a long parking lot with lots of spaces that are a very short walk from your car. Great for parents with young families and lots of stuff to carry, you can take multiple trips easily.

  1. Sandy Neck Beach

If you’re looking for a beach with a little bit of everything, Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable is a great choice for families with children in different age ranges. Older kids can have fun swimming, boogie boarding, hiking and exploring the sand dunes, while younger kids will be safe to splash in the ocean with gentle waves and low chance of rip currents.

Plus, there’s a snack bar and restrooms, making it easy to spend the whole day here. Sandy Neck is great beach in Cape Cod for families with kids of all ages. Afterwards plan visit Hyannis and walk the streets to find lots of family-friendly food options with outdoor seating so you can people-watch.

Sandy Neck also offers oversand driving stickers. Oversand driving means no carrying stuff for parents, so you can bring a lot more with you such as pop-up canopies and heavy coolers without working up a sweat to start your beach trip.

A family walking a jetty at Red River Beach in Harwich, Cape Cod.
A family walking a jetty at Red River Beach.
  1. Red River Beach

Located in Harwich, Red River Beach is a great choice for families who love to explore tidal pools and collect shells. There’s millions of lady slippers here, and some nice jetties. Foot protection is helpful when exploring.

Toy trucks provide hours of entertainment for kids (and hours of peace for their parents).
Toy trucks provide hours of entertainment for kids (and hours of peace for their parents).

The water is fairly calm at all of the Harwich beaches, which face Nantucket Sound. Not a great place to bodyboard, the waves aren’t all that big here and don’t break right. But its a safe place for younger children to swim and splash, and there’s lots of lifeguards here. Minimal rip currents due to the Jetties.

On the plus side, the chances of running into a great white shark are far lower on Sound-side beaches compared to those on the Outer Cape, so parents don’t need to be on guard.

Red River is the only beach in Harwich that offers daily parking stickers. It’s our pick for the best beach in Harwich for families because of the long parking lot which allows you to park close to your car, helpful if you’re lugging a bunch of toys and stuff for the kids.

The town collects seaweed often, so the beach is usually fairly clean. But the jetties trap the seaweed, and it’s always piling up. Bring flip flops or water shoes. There aren’t any sandbars, but at low tide kids can walk to a path on the left side end of the long parking area and explore the area behind the parking lot to hunt for hermit crabs and small fish by the mouth of Red River.

Sunset at Skaket Beach is perfect for families on vacation on Cape Cod.
Sunset at Skaket Beach on Cape Cod is beautiful — but make sure to bring your bug repellent!
  1. Skaket Beach

Located in Orleans, Skaket Beach is a must-visit destination for families looking for a calm and tranquil bay-side beach experience. With its soft, white sand and minimal surf, this beach is perfect for young children who want to play in the water without getting knocked over by big waves.

Folding beach buckets are a must-have for kids, and they fold down for easier storage in your car.
Folding beach buckets are a must-have for kids, and they fold down for easier storage in your car.

At low tide, the water recedes and reveals miles of sandbars, perfect for exploring and collecting seashells. And if you’re lucky, you may even spot some horseshoe crabs, which are a common sight on this beach.

Skaket Beach offers stunning views of Cape Cod Bay, with a wide expanse of ocean and sky that seem to stretch on forever. It’s the perfect place to catch a breathtaking sunset reflecting off of tidal pools in the flats. Great beach to find hermit crabs. Bring bug repellent for the evening.

For amenities, Skaket Beach has restrooms, showers, and a snack bar, making it easy to spend the whole day here. The relatively small lot means you need to get here early in the summer.

A boy playing with a watering can in a sandbar pool.
  1. Falmouth Heights Beach

Falmouth Heights Beach is a great choice for families looking for a beach that’s both fun and convenient.

Toy boats are great to entertain kids on bay-side beaches or in pools formed by sand bars.
Toy boats are great to entertain kids on bay-side beaches or in pools formed by sand bars.

This beach is situated just a short walk from the town center, making it easy to combine a day at the beach with some shopping and dining in town.

Falmouth Heights Beach is a popular destination for families with older kids. Bring flip flops or crocs, the sand can be a little rocky.

Falmouth heights beach also offers nice views of Martha’s Vineyard, which is just a short ferry ride away.

There’s a restaurant/bar nearby which is great to satisfy whining children, and hopefully buy parents more time at the beach afterwards.

    A young boy in a yellow beach hat crawls across the sand on Cape Cod.

      Herring Cove Beach sits at the tip of Cape Cod at the end of Route 6. It’s great for a day trip to Provincetown — hit the beach, visit the great dog park, and then walk commercial street for dinner.

      Herring cove has bathrooms at each end of the main parking lot, changing areas, and a tasty snack bar. Absolutely killer sunsets.

      Smaller kids will love the water, it’s warmer than the Outer Cape beaches and the waves are minimal. Nice long beach to walk and find cool rocks, and enough room for families to spread out if you walk a little ways from the entrances.

      Parents should be aware of a few things: There’s poison ivy in the beach grass near the entrance paths. coyotes are unfortunately too common and they can be aggressive, climbing over the dunes. Don’t take too long a walk with kids to the left if you’re looking at the ocean, a long way from the main public beach there’s an adults-only nude beach. And of course there’s always the great white sharks, but there’s less of them sighted here then on other beaches. Woo-hoo.

      Learn more about Herring Cove Beach.

      A young boy crawls in the pool of a sandbar with Nugget the Puggle at family-friendly Race Point Beach in Provincetown.
      It’s safe to explore the sandbar pool formed in the incoming tide at race point beach in Provincetown towards the tip of Cape Cod.

        Race Point Beach in Provincetown is our pick for the best beach in Cape Cod for families. Great sand, relatively gentle waves. Good place to see seals and maybe a great white shark. So it’s not the safest beach around to swim at.. Stay near shore and be alert, don’t let your kids wade out too far. If you’re looking for a safe place to swim or big waves to surf, pick somewhere else.

        The main parking lot at Race Point is huge, with multiple levels of parking. Get there early to limit your walk, but it never fills up. There’s a nice bathroom and changing facility, outdoor showers. No food stand, better bring what you need.

        It’s a short hike from the parking lot to the wide beach. Race point has miles of ORV trail access on each side of the public beach, but typically closes for nesting shorebirds much of the summer. Boo. If you drive to the south you can access an incredible sandbar pool that’s perfect for young kids, you can drive nearly within arms reach of Race Point light, and eventually reach Hatches Harbor where there is a lot to explore.

        There’s also decent fishing for stripers and bluefish from shore, assuming the seals leave you any to catch. You can often see whales fairly close to the shore.

        Race Point Beach is a few minutes’ drive from Commercial Street to grab food when the youngsters start complaining about being hungry. Or bribe them into silence with one of the many ice cream or fried seafood joints on your ride back down Route 6.

        Learn more about Race Point Beach.

        Race point beach at sunset with a sand dune silhouetted against the glowing sky.
        Race Point Beach gets peaceful at sunset as the crowds thin out. It’s a short drive from tons of family-friendly dinner options in Provincetown.

        Honorable Mentions

        • Marconi Beach in Wellfleet has great waves and tall dunes that extend far in each direction. Really cool beach. If you’re willing to walk a ways in either direction you can find a nice place to spread out. But the steep stairs and long walk are a drawback if you’re lugging beach stuff like a pack mule for your family. Sit near a sandbar for gentler wave conditions. Good beach to surf. Be careful swimming or surfing far from the protected beach, sharks are always cruising around.
          Learn more about Marconi Beach.
          • The bayside beaches all along Cape Cod: beaches facing Cape Cod Bay are great if you have babies or young children. Many have wide tidal flats making it shallow and warm. Great sunsets.
        • South Beach is Chatham requires a boat, but if you anchor off the back of the island you can walk over to a wide-open beach on the open Atlantic with large surf and a great chance of spotting a great white shark. Tons of seals and cool wildlife. Not a swimming beach on the open-ocean side, but a memorable day trip even bored teenagers will enjoy.
        A boy crawling next to his puppy towards the Atlantic ocean at Marconi Beach
        Race ya to the water!

        Things to remember when taking your kids to the beach on Cape Cod

        To make sure your family has the most fun possible when taking your kids to the beach on Cape Cod, here are some things to keep in mind:

        A beach cabana or umbrella can help keep kids cool on hot days.
        A beach cabana or umbrella can help keep kids cool on hot days.
        • Bring bug spray: A must-have. Ticks love to wait on beach grass for a friendly leg to bite. In daytime you may run into biting black flies (they’re fast!) and greenheads (easier to kill when they land). Later in the day sand fleas and no-see-ums come out, especially on bay-side beaches. Use cutter or deep woods off.
        • Shade from the hot sun is important for kids and adults alike. Consider a beach umbrella or beach cabana to keep cool. Use wide brimmed hats. Drink lots of water.
        • Watch out for sharks: Most great white sightings are on the outer Cape beaches, from Chatham up to Provincetown. Seals are everywhere, and the sharks aren’t far behind. Use caution and don’t swim out too far. Bay-side and Sound-side beaches have far less risk. Learn how to avoid getting bitten by a shark.
        • If you want to bring your dog, check out our guide to dog-friendly beaches on Cape Cod. Most Cape beaches allow dogs in the off-season only, but the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches allow dogs all summer (unless they’re closed due to nesting shorebirds, which unfortunately occurs for much of the summer in recent years).
        • Get there early on weekends to get parking. otherwise you’ll be driving on to another beach looking for spaces while the kids continue to whine and complain in the back seat. Rough way to start a vacation day.

        Summary: Best beaches for families on Cape Cod

        Cape Cod is a great destination for families looking for a fun and safe beach vacation. With so many beautiful beaches to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect spot for your family to relax and play in the sun.

        Beaches on Cape Cod all tend to be busy in the summertime, so plan ahead and get there early for parking. If you want to bring your dog, check ahead for restrictions due to nesting shorebirds.

        Whether you’re boogie boarding on the Outer Cape or exploring tidal pools at a bay-side beaches, you’re sure to create family memories that will last a lifetime. So, grab your sunscreen and bug spray and hit the beach! Don’t forget to bring a few ice cold drinks. Family vacations all but require it.

        Skaket Beach: Your Guide to a Perfect Beach Day in Orleans, MA

        Cape Cod is known for its beautiful beaches, and Skaket Beach in Orleans, MA is one of the best. Skaket Beach offers soft white sand, warm waters, and absolutely stunning sunsets. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore endless tidal pools, or cool off in the water, Skaket Beach has something for everyone.

        In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan the perfect day at Skaket Beach.

        About Skaket Beach

        Located on the bay side of Cape Cod in Orleans, Skaket Beach is known for its soft white sand and warm waters. Like many other bay-side beaches, Skaket Beach offers stunning views of the sunset reflecting over Cape Cod Bay. Skaket Beach is accessible by car, bike, or foot. In the summertime the parking lot fills up quickly, but you can get in at night for free to take in the sunset.

        Skaket Beach at low tide reveals large stretches of soft, fine white sand.

        Sand Quality and Sandbars

        Skaket Beach is known for its soft, fine-grained sand, which is perfect for building sandcastles or lounging on the beach. The sandbars at Skaket Beach are also a popular attraction, especially for small kids. The wet sand has an almost silty feel as it slides between your toes.

        During low tide the flats become exposed, allowing you to walk far out and discover the tidal pools. Exploring the tidal flats is a fun activity for all ages, and you will find lots of seashells, hermit crabs, or other treasures along the way.

        Water Conditions

        The water at Skaket Beach is generally warm and calm, making it perfect for swimming, wading, or just splashing around. Water temperatures range from the mid-60s to low 70s during the summer months, and are cooler in the spring and fall. Compare that to the high-50s to mid-60s range at nearby Nauset Beach, which faces the open Atlantic Ocean and has much rougher surf conditions. Don’t expect waves at Skaket.

        If you’re planning to swim here, be sure to check the tide schedule, otherwise you’ll walk out forever to find deep enough water.

        One big plus about swimming here is that you have an extremely low risk for getting bitten by toothy apex predators. The shallow water and lack of seals puts Skaket Beach in the running for the safest beach on Cape Cod — great white sharks have never been spotted in the beach area. There are no rough waves or rip currents either. Perfect for kids to play.

        Kayaking and paddle boarding are also popular activities here. The long open flats make it a great place for beginners to fall off a few times in shallow water. You can cruise up the tidal inlet and over to rock harbor for a nice round trip journey.

        Tidal pools forming as the tide goes out at skaket beach on cape cod.
        The tidal pools begin to form as the tide goes out.

        Watching the Rock Harbor Fireworks

        Skaket Beach is a great place to watch the rock harbor fireworks, especially if the tide is out a bit and the beach has lots of room to spread out.

        Plan to get there early, driving around the Rock Harbor area is a zoo the night of the fireworks, and parking spots fill up fast.

        The tidal inlet at Skaket Beach, with Rock Harbor visible in the distance.
        The tidal inlet at Skaket Beach, with Rock Harbor visible in the distance.

        Fishing at Skaket Beach

        Cape Cod Bay is a popular destination for fishermen, with opportunities to catch striped bass, bluefish, and other species. Surfcasting is the most common method of fishing at many Cape Cod beaches, but at Skaket Beach the tidal flats make it difficult to cast into deeper waters unless you walk far out from shore.

        For better fishing opportunities, consider kayaking from shore or chartering a boat out of Rock Harbor, which is adjacent to Skaket Beach (to the right if you’re looking at the water).

        If you walk towards Rock Harbor, a tidal inlet offers deeper water. As low tide approaches water starts to drain out, which may offer fishing opportunities to target predators hunting for meals caught in the exchanging water flow.

        Sunsets at Skaket Beach are among the best on Cape Cod.

        Sunsets at Skaket Beach

        Skaket beach offers one of the best sunsets in Orleans. The sky lights up and reflects off of the tidal pools, creating a blinding mirror. Watching the sunset from the beach is a magical experience. Walk out to the blazing horizon, or bring a blanket or chair and settle in for a relaxing evening on the main beach.

        A few lucky cars in the parking lot are facing a view of the sun over the ocean, nice on buggy nights when you’re tired of swatting things.

        Here’s a tip for beginners looking to find the best sunset on Cape Cod beaches: bring bug spray! Long sleeves, pants, and covering up your feet helps too. At night this beach can be loaded with mosquitoes and sand fleas, making it miserable for uncovered flesh.

        Sunsets reflecting off the water at Skaket Beach make for one of the best sunset photos on Cape Cod.
        Sunsets reflecting off the water at Skaket Beach make for one of the best sunset photos on Cape Cod.

        Beachcombing in Tidal Pools

        In addition to swimming and sunbathing, Skaket Beach offers a variety of other activities. Exploring the tide pools is a fun and educational activity for kids and adults alike, and there are often crabs, snails, and other sea creatures to be found.

        Kids who bring a net and bucket can collect treasure for hours. It is a place to find razor clam shells. It is very easy to spot hermit crabs scurrying their shells around the edges of small pools at low tide. Scoop ’em up in your bare hands – they don’t bite!

        Planning Your Skaket Beach Trip

        When planning your trip to Skaket Beach, there are a few things to keep in mind.

        • You can get a daily pass at the beach, or a week-long or season-long sticker.
        • Passes are required from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, but the beach is free in the evenings to watch sunsets.
        • Passes are required at the start of Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.

        The best time to visit is during the summer months when the water is warmest, but the beach can get crowded. The parking lot will fill up early, especially on weekends and hot days. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, consider visiting in the spring or fall. Although in recent years the fall seasons on Cape Cod are much busier.

        For the best sunset photograph opportunities, time your visit so sunset occurs the tide is out. This makes little pools that reflect the sunshine, it’s incredible.

        Be sure to bring sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water, as there is limited shade on the beach. Bring bug spray for later in the afternoon and evenings. It gets nasty. And for many vacationers having a few cold adult beverages while relaxing on the beach is a requirement.

        A Golden Retriever Puppy splashing water in a tidal pool at Skaket Beach.

        Skaket Beach Dog Rules

        The town of Orleans dog rules include:

        • Dogs are prohibited at Skaket Beach from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day
        • That same dog regulations apply to Rock Harbor as well.
        • Nauset Beach’s rules for pets are even more stringent, prohibiting dogs from April 1st through Labor Day.

        If you’re looking for a beach in Orleans that allows dogs during the summertime, you’ll need to go to the ORV trails at Nauset Beach (assuming the beach isn’t restricted due to nesting shorebirds, which is often). Learn more about the oversand driving trails.

        The final rays of the setting sun at Skaket Beach.

        Nearby Attractions

        In addition to the beach itself, the surrounding area offers plenty of other attractions. The town of Orleans has a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries to explore, and there are also several hiking and biking trails nearby so you can access the beach for a fun all-day biking trip.

        Time to Hit the Beach!

        Skaket Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a beautiful beach on Cape Cod. With its soft white sand, warm waters, and stunning sunsets, This beach offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore tide pools, or catch some very gentle waves, this is the perfect spot.

        So pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and head to Skaket Beach for a day of fun in the sun!

        Nauset Beach: A Visitor’s Guide

        Nauset Beach is a stunning coastal destination located on the outer edge of Cape Cod in Orleans, MA. Situated facing the Atlantic Ocean, it stretches from Nauset Bay in the North down to the mouth of Chatham Harbor. it is known for its pristine shoreline, rolling sand dunes, and captivating natural beauty. It is a top pick for beachgoers looking for a memorable vacation experience, and one of the best beaches on Cape Cod.

        With its unspoiled landscape, Nauset Beach is a must-visit destination for people who love big waves. It has everything you could want from a seaside location — miles of clean sand, refreshing water, stunning views, and lots of activities to enjoy. Whether you are looking to relax on the sand, take a dip in the ocean, fish, or surf among the great white sharks, Nauset Beach has something for everyone.

        Vacation Activities at Nauset Beach

        Man walking in the sand at nauset beach.

        Long Beach Walks

        With 10 miles of pristine coastline, Nauset Beach is one of the best beach walks on Cape Cod. You can stroll along the water’s edge for miles, breathe in the fresh ocean air, and take in the beautiful views of the rugged Atlantic Ocean. The curve of the shoreline obscures your path ahead, providing a sense of the unknown waiting just around the corner.

        If you walk to the south (to the right of the public beach if facing the water) you’ll come to Exit 1 of the the ORV trails. Many miles beyond, at Exit 8, you’ll come to the end of the beach at Chatham Inlet, one of the coolest views on Cape Cod. Look for the flash of Chatham light.

        If you’re walking the length of the beach, make sure to cut across to the warmer waters of Pleasant Bay, which is located behind the Southern part of Nauset Beach. It’s a long trip by foot but worth it. If you’re not up for the long walk, it’s much easier to get there on the oversand driving trails.

        It gets hot and there’s little opportunity for shade, so bring lots of water if you’re planning to hike the beach. There can be insects such as green heads, sand fleas, or the small black flies which are fast and hard to kill. We bought an electric bug zapper racket and it is a cool thing to have when they come out, it’s fun to hear them crackle. Nothing ruins a late summer afternoon at the beach then becoming a pincushion for hungry insects.

        Exposed roots from beach grass on the dunes of Nauset beach.
        Exposed roots from beach grass shows the effects of erosion. Please don’t walk on the beach grass!

        A note for new visitors to Cape Cod: Nauset Lighthouse is not located at Nauset Beach. Head north to Nauset Light Beach in Eastham if you want to see it, it’s a short walk from that parking lot (and also near the Three Sisters lighthouses site). To see Chatham Lighthouse from Nauset Beach, walk all the way to the point at the South side beyond Exit 8 of the oversand vehicle trails. Learn more about visiting lighthouses on Cape Cod.

        Seal swimming near the shore at Nauset Beach in Orleans, MA on Cape Cod.

        Swimming

        The waters of Nauset Beach are refreshing and inviting. And crisp. The water is cold due to Nauset’s location facing out towards the open Atlantic. Expect temperatures ranging from the high 50’s to the low 60’s later in the summer.

        Whether you are a seasoned swimmer or just looking to cool off, the ocean is perfect for taking a dip. With its long, wide stretch of sand, there’s plenty of room for everyone to find a spot to relax and enjoy the water. Don’t swim out too far though. There are seals everywhere. And Nauset Beach is loaded with great white sharks.

        It is safest to swim in crowded areas near the lifeguard-protected beach. Lifeguards are always on the lookout for sharks and will clear the water if one is spotted.

        If you swim at more remote locations at Nauset you’re taking a gamble. Don’t swim out too far, and stay in a group to reduce your chances of an encounter with a hungry predator.

        A Striped Bass swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off of Cape Cod.

        Fishing

        Nauset Beach is a popular spot for anglers, and for good reason. With its abundance of fish, you’re sure to have a great time casting your line dand reeling in your catch. Striped bass are a popular target, as are bluefish. The seals sure catch a lot of them. You may not be so lucky.

        Surfcasting for striped bass at Nauset Beach definitely isn’t what it used to be. Chunk bait, eels, or sea worms are good if you’re using live bait with a heavy sinker, You can also Cast variety of lures such as topwater plugs, heavy spoons such as Kastmasters, or large baitfish imitations.

        In the summer you’ll often see a lot of boat fishing activity just off the shores of Nauset Beach. When striped bass are in the area you’ll see the boats stacked right on top of each other all day long. Schools of bluefin tuna sometimes park off the shores of Nauset, giving a nice near-shore opportunity to catch these awesome fish.

        Our boy ARB catching a sand eel while trying to wire line jig for stripers off Nauset.
        Our boy ARB catching a sand eel while trying to wire line jig for stripers off Nauset.

        If you’re a surfcaster looking for more action closer to shore, scan the horizon for diving birds and the shadows of schools of baitfish. If you see chopping at the water’s surface you may have found a school of Bluefish—voracious predators and will bite at almost anything, making them a fun catch that’s easy to hook if you’re fishing with kids.

        While you can catch fish at Nauset using a kayak, it’s not a great idea given the amount of shark activity. Occasionally kayaks and paddle boards get bitten here, so use caution and pay attention.

        You’ll need a Massachusetts saltwater recreational fishing permit to fish Nauset and the other ocean beaches of Cape Cod.

        Sunrises at Nauset Beach

        One of the best things about Nauset Beach is the spectacular sunrises. There’s nothing quite like watching the sun come up over East-facing ocean beaches as the water reflects the sky filled with a burst of colors. It’s a breathtaking sight that you won’t want to miss, but you’ll have to get up early for the privilege.

        The sunrises alone justify the cost of the Offroad Camping sticker.

        Nauset beach sunsets sink into the silhouette of the dunes behind you.

        Sunsets

        Nauset Beach faces East, so the sun will sink behind you into the silhouette of beach grass cresting the dunes. An orange reflective glow will illuminate the beach and highlight the whitewater of crashing waves as your shadows stretch down to the shoreline..

        But if you’re looking for an epic sunset reflecting off the water, you’ll need to venture away from the main parking lot area. Head south on the ORV trail areas for an awesome view of the sun setting behind Pleasant Bay.

        If you’re looking for an easier way to see a sunset in Orleans consider bay-side facing beaches such as Skaket Beach or Rock Harbor. Both offer large tidal flats at low tide, with relaxing sunsets reflected over the water which offer a great photo opportunity.

        A sand castle waits for the ocean waves to wash it away on Cape Cod.

        Beach Activities

        Nauset Beach has a range of beach activities that are perfect for people of all ages. From beach volleyball to frisbee, there’s always something fun to do on the sand. The main beach gets pretty packed during the summer season, but if you’re willing to walk a ways you’ll find plenty of room in each direction to spread your blanket and enjoy fun and games in the sun.

        View from the oversand driving corridor at Nauset Beach in Chatham.
        View from the Southern end of the oversand driving corridor at Nauset Beach in Chatham.

        Surfing and Body Boarding

        Nauset has big, powerful waves and offers some great opportunities for surfing or bodyboarding. With one great big white caveat. Hungry sharks.

        So paddle out, but be careful. Don’t go out too far from shore. Stay in groups. Look for nice breaks on the sandbars, but be aware that the adjacent channels are prime hunting spots for apex predators.

        And if you see spotter planes for sharks circling nearby, get out of the water. Fast!

        Children playing off of exit 6 on Nauset Beach's oversand driving trails.

        Family Activities

        If you’re on vacation with kids, you’ll find plenty of things for them to do at Nauset Beach. There’s lots of space for children to run around and play, and plenty of room to set up away from the water. The surf can be rough here and there’s other dangers such as strong riptides and sharks, so be careful if your kids go out swimming or bodyboarding.

        Some sections offer nice sandbars which offer a little protection from the ocean’s might. But always be alert if your kids are walking the shoreline, at high tide the waves come in fast and hard. Nauset is great for shell collecting (loads of Wampum!), and it’s also a great place to build sand castles.

        For families with really young children, the strong waves and rip currents here are not ideal. Other beaches nearby on the Cape Cod Bay side are much better options if you’re looking to let little toes splash in the water.

        The walk to the beach from the parking lot is fairly flat, which is helpful for parents lugging armfuls of beach toys along with their chairs and coolers. Learn more about the best beaches for families on Cape Cod.

        Snuggling under a blanket after a long day at Nauset Beach.
        Nugget snuggling under a blanket after a long day at Nauset Beach.

        Day Trip to Nauset Beach

        If you’re looking to plan a fun day trip in Orleans, plan to spend the day relaxing at Nauset Beach, getting there early and staying through Golden Hour and sunset.

        But if you can’t take a full day in the sun, there’s a ton of fun things to do within a few minutes drive from Nauset Beach:

        • Grab afternoon drinks and snacks at one of the many area restaurants (we like Hog Island Beer Co.)
        • Grab takeout food to eat at the Jonathan Young Windmill overlooking Orleans Cove
        • Head over to Rock Harbor to walk among the tidal pools while you take in the sunset over endless tidal flats
        • Take in an Orleans Cardinals baseball game later in the evening

        Facilities and Amenities

        Parking

        Parking can be a challenge at some beaches on Cape Cod, but Nauset Beach has plenty of parking available. But plan to get there early on busy weekend days.

        The lot used to be long and wide, but a strong storm in 2018 came right up to the parking lot. It ruined Liams, an epic beachside clam shack, and also forced the beach to change the parking layout. If you get there later on busy days you’ll park in the upper lot area, and you risk getting shut out.

        Daily parking passes are available. You also have to pay an entrance fee on your bicycle or as a walker, so plan accordingly.

        Restrooms and Changing Areas

        There are plenty of restrooms and changing areas at Nauset Beach, so you don’t have to worry about finding a spot to freshen up.

        Showers

        After a day at the beach, you’ll want to rinse off all the sand and saltwater. Luckily, there are outdoor showers available for you to use.

        A puppy splashing in the waves of nauset beach.

        Picnic Tables

        Nauset Beach has a number of picnic tables by the main boardwalk available for visitors to use. You can pack a lunch and enjoy a meal with a view. Or better yet picnic on your blanket somewhere closer to the ocean.

        Beach Concessions:

        If you don’t want to bring your own food, there are beach concessions available where you can buy snacks and drinks.

        Nugget the puggle takes.a hard earned nap at Nauset Beach's oversand driving trails.
        Nugget the puggle takes a hard earned nap after a long day of resting in the shade on Nauset’s ORV trails.

        Nauset Beach dog rules

        Nauset Beach allows leashed dogs on the ORV section of the beach during the summertime. Assuming that it isn’t not shut down for piping plovers or other nesting shorebirds. It’s always recommended to check online for information about dogs on Nauset Beach to make sure that access is currently being allowed.

        • Nauset Public Beach: Dogs are prohibited from April 1st through Labor Day
        • North of Nauset Public Beach Parking Lot: Dogs are prohibited from April 1st through Labor Day
        • South of Nauset Public Beach Parking Lot to Trail #1: Dogs are prohibited from April 1st through Labor Day
        • South of Trail #1 to Chatham Inlet: Dogs are allowed on the beach in summertime! Dogs are required to be on leash (not greater than 30 feet) at all times April 1st through Labor Day
        The entrance to oversand driving trails at Nauset Beach.

        Off Road Vehicle Trails at Nauset Beach

        Nauset Beach is home to an extensive off-road vehicle (ORV) trail system that allows visitors to explore the beach in a unique way. An ORV sticker gives you access to many miles of unspoiled beach, far away from fighting for towel space at the crowded public beach.

        A valid sticker is required to access the oversand driving trails, so be sure to check the regulations before heading out. The stickers aren’t cheap for non-residents of Orleans. And the ORV trails are often closed or reduced in the summertime due to nesting shorebirds. So check ahead before visiting, or else you may find yourself grumbling while carrying all your stuff on foot from the main parking lot.

        View of oversand driving trails in rearview mirror.

        On busy summer weekends you can expect the length of the oversand trails to be packed bumper to bumper. Getting there by mid morning ensures you get a good spot. It fills up next to the sandbars fast.

        And expect some inconsiderate people to show up mid afternoon on weekends and pull in the 5 foot gap between parked cars to ruin any sense of privacy, especially if you’re at the lower numbered exists that are closer to the main lot.

        A row of campers lined up by exit one of the oversand driving corridor.

        Camping at Nauset Beach

        ORV stickers are also available for campers so that you can spend the night and wake up to the sound of crashing waves and an awesome sunrise.

        Camping at Nauset Beach is much nicer than at Race Point Beach’s ORV trails because you’re able to park wherever you want to find a secluded spot. At Race Point they stack campers together in a small area that’s much like a Walmart parking lot, it’s a much different vibe.

        Most campers here are slide-in models mounted on the back of pickup trucks, which make for a much easier ride out than longer two wheel drive motorhomes. Be mindful of high tides, during certain moon cycles the water will come up right to the base of the dunes and you’ll want to park accordingly.

        Learn more about ORV trails on Cape Cod.

        Great white shark sightings at Nauset Beach occur all summer long - be careful when swimming or surfing!

        Nauset Beach Shark Safety

        In recent years, there have been an increasing number of shark sightings off the coast of Cape Cod, and especially at Nauset Beach. It’s important to be aware of the potential risk when swimming or surfing here.

        To stay safe while enjoying Nauset Beach, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines. For example, don’t swim alone, stay close to shore, and avoid swimming at dawn or dusk when sharks are more active. The beach also has a shark detection system in place, which alerts lifeguards when a shark is detected in the area.

        The severe bleeding first aid kits are a stark reminder of the threats posed by Great White Sharks at Nauset Beach.
        The severe bleeding first aid kits are a stark reminder of the threats posed by Great White Sharks at Nauset Beach..

        View tips on how to avoid getting bitten by a shark, or learn more about great white sharks on cape cod.

        Seals gather on the shore of Nauset Beach in Orleans, MA

        Summary

        Nauset Beach is a stunning destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, take a dip in the ocean, or explore the natural beauty of Cape Cod, Nauset Beach is the perfect place to do it.

        With its range of activities, facilities, and amenities, Nauset Beach is an ideal spot for families, couples, and solo travelers. And while there are risks associated with swimming in the ocean, if you follow the guidelines and stay aware of your surroundings, you can enjoy the beach safely.

        Nickerson State Park: A Visitors’ Guide

        Nickerson State Park in Brewster is an ideal summer destination for families, friends, and couples looking for a serene and peaceful place to spend their vacations. It is a popular attraction that offers plenty of outdoor recreational activities for all ages.

        Nickerson State Park covers over 1,900 acres of pristine woodlands, ponds, and campgrounds. The park is known for its picturesque beauty and tranquil surroundings, making it a favorite among nature enthusiasts. The park was named after Roland C. Nickerson, who donated the land to the state of Massachusetts in the early 1900s.

        Camping at Nickerson State Park

        If you’re a camping enthusiast looking for a natural setting, Nickerson State Park is the place to be. The park has over 400 spaces across eight camping areas, each with its own unique charm. Nickerson is a cheap alternative to avoid expensive rentals or worn down hotels on Cape Cod.

        The campsites at Nickerson are spacious and well-maintained, with fire pits and picnic tables. You can choose from tent sites or trailer sites depending on your preference. Most sites are wooded and they offer varying levels of privacy. Reserve early in the season to get sites with lots of room or near trails down to the ponds.

        Many camping areas are situated around several freshwater ponds, which offer stunning views and recreational opportunities. There are also parking areas near these ponds for easy access, great if you’re lugging stuff for your family. The park has modern restrooms, free hot showers, and a dump station for campers’ convenience. Nickerson’s campground is very family-friendly, with activities for kids and adults alike planned throughout the summer.

        In addition to traditional camping, Nickerson State Park also offers group camping for large families or groups of friends. The group sites have access to electricity and are close to the park’s amenities, including the beach and hiking trails.

        Hiking trails in Nickerson State Park are perfect for walking your dog.
        There’s lots of new smells to sniff out on the hiking trails in Nickerson State Park.

        Hiking and Biking Trails

        Nickerson State Park has over 400 acres of woodlands, ponds, and trails that are perfect for hiking and biking. You can explore the park’s natural beauty and scenic routes by renting a bike or by taking a leisurely walk on one of the many trails. Our favorite easy loop for beginners is the path around Little Cliff Pond which starts in the beach parking lot.

        The park also has an 8 mile paved bike path that connects to the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which stretches for 22 miles through 6 towns of Cape Cod. Rail trail access can be found right near the park entrance. The Rail trail gives you access to locations across the Cape, and is great for families on short rides as well as for serious bikers on all-day trips to attractions that are further away.

        There are paved and dirt path biking trails throughout Nickerson state park that connect to the cape cod rail trail.
        The wooded hiking and biking trails throughout Nickerson State Park reveal reveal a glimpse into the natural beauty of Cape Cod.

        The hiking trails in Nickerson State Park are well-maintained and suitable for hikers and mountain bikers of all skill levels. The park has several trailheads that lead to different parts of the park, including the Cranberry Bog Trail, the Cliff Pond Trail, and the Maple Swamp Trail. The trails are marked with signage, making it easy to navigate through the park’s dense forests and lush wetlands. There are also fire roads which provide nice hiking or mountain biking options through undeveloped cape cod nature at its best.

        One of the highlights of hiking in Nickerson State Park is the stunning views of the freshwater ponds available on many trails. The park’s ponds are surrounded by lush vegetation, and many of them have sandy beaches where you can take a break from hiking and go for a swim. Remember to bring bug spray and watch out for ticks.

        Several ponds Nickerson State park stock trout in the spring and the fall and are accessible fishing from shore.
        Several ponds in Nickerson State offer fishing for brown trout and rainbow trout that are stocked in the spring and the fall..

        Fishing at Nickerson State Park

        Fishing enthusiasts will love Nickerson, which has several freshwater ponds with trout, bass, and other fish species. You can fish from the shore, or you can bring a small boat or rent a kayak to try your luck in the deeper waters.

        The park’s ponds are well-stocked with trout and offer excellent fishing opportunities. Check out the stocking schedule. Fishing is allowed year-round in the park, although certain ponds are closed during the winter months. See below for more information about the Nickerson State Park ponds.

        Swimming and Boating at Nickerson State Park

        If you’re looking for a place to cool off on a hot summer day, Nickerson State Park has several freshwater ponds with sandy beaches and clear water. The park has four main swimming beaches, including Flax Pond, Cliff Pond, and Higgins Pond. The beaches are supervised by lifeguards during the summer months, making them safe for families with children.

        In addition to swimming, the ponds at Nickerson State Park are perfect for boating and kayaking. You can rent a canoe, kayak, or rowboat from the park’s rental office and explore the ponds at your own pace. The park also allows motorized boats on some of the ponds, although there are restrictions on the size and speed of the boats.

        There is a daily parking fee charged May 14 through October 30 for access to the ponds at Nickerson State Park.

        Man and son canoeing on a pond in Nickerson State Park.
        Paddling the ponds of Nickerson State Park is a great way to experience the beauty of unspoiled Cape Cod.

        Flax Pond

        Flax Pond is one of the most popular swimming beaches in Nickerson State Park. It has a sandy beach with clear water and is supervised by lifeguards during the summer months. The beach is perfect for families with children, as the water is shallow off of the beach. There are also picnic tables and restrooms available. Parking for Flax Pond is located right next to the beach, making it easily accessible.

        Flax Pond is a 48 acre kettle pond with a maximum depth of 75 feet. It is a great spot for fishing, with stocked trout, smallmouth bass, bullhead, and sunfish being the most commonly caught fish. You’ll need to wade out a bit to reach deeper water. Trout are stocked in spring and fall, and some holdover trout (mainly brown trout) survive.

        Kayaks and stand up paddle board rentals are available at Flax Pond. Call ahead to reserve yours during the summer season. Only boats with electric motors are allowed. View depth chart and fishing info for Flax Pond.

        Flax Pond is accessible on foot from camping areas 1, 2, and 5.

        The sun reflects off of Cliff Pond in Brewster, one of the best trout fishing ponds on Cape Cod.
        The sun reflects off of Cliff Pond in Brewster, one of the best trout fishing ponds on Cape Cod.

        Cliff Pond

        Cliff Pond is another popular swimming beach in Nickerson State Park. It is a 206 acre pond with a maximum depth of 96 feet. The undeveloped shoreline is 2.6 miles long. The beach has a sandy bottom and clear water, making it ideal for swimming. There are several areas with beach access.

        Parking for Cliff Pond is located a short distance away from the beach on Flax Pond Road, or you can access the beach on the other side on Nook Road, where the boat launch is located. . It is accessible on foot from camping areas 4, 6, and 6x. The beach is supervised by lifeguards during the summer months and has restrooms and changing rooms available. There are also picnic tables and charcoal grills available for public use.

        Cliff Pond is a great spot for fishing, with plentiful stocked trout, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch being commonly caught. For kids just chuck out a worm on the book and you’ll catch pumpkinseeds or bluegills as fast as the bobber hits the water.

        To reach the deepest depths to target trout on hot summer days, walk to the left of the main beach by the parking area on Flax Pond Road until you reach the next beach on the strip of land located between Cliff and Little Cliff ponds. It can get quite busy in the summertime.

        View depth chart and more fishing info for Cliff Pond.

        The view from the hiking trail around Little Cliff Pond.
        Taking in the view from the hiking trail around Little Cliff Pond.

        Little Cliff Pond

        Little Cliff Pond is a hidden gem in Nickerson State Park. It is a small pond with a sandy beach and clear water, making it perfect for swimming. It is accessible from camping areas 6 and 7.

        There’s a small boat launch area in the main parking lot for small boats with electric motors, but no beach access on that side. The beach on the other side of the pond from the parking area, and can be reached by trails from the main parking lot or down the sandy path from the adjacent camping area. Little Cliff Pond’s beach is unsupervised, so caution is advised when swimming. There are no restrooms or changing rooms available, but there are picnic tables available for public use.

        Little Cliff Pond is a great spot for fishing as well, with stocked trout (spring and fall) and largemouth bass being commonly caught. Bass can be caught by taking a rowboat or kayak and fishing up to the grass and lilly pads that surround much of the pond. There’s also a few areas to fish from shore. If you’re not having luck finding a place to cast out you can easily walk over to Big Cliff Pond which is much larger and deeper.

        The entrance to Little Cliff Pond trail, a gentle loop that passes by Cliff, Little Cliff, and Higgins Ponds.
        The entrance to Little Cliff Pond trail, a gentle loop that passes by Cliff, Little Cliff, and Higgins Ponds.

        Higgins Pond

        Higgins Pond is a serene freshwater pond located in Nickerson State Park that isn’t easily accessible by car. The pond is 25 acres with a depth of 66 feet and clear waters.

        You can reach it by walking on the trail around Little Cliff pond. Higgins has a sandy beach with clear water, making it a perfect spot for swimming. The real draw here is the hike to reach it, so it’s a lot quieter than the Cliff or Flax pond beaches. Great stop to picnic if you’re walking or biking the trails.

        Higgins pond used to be for catch-and-release fishing only, but now you can eat your catch. Cartop boats or canoes are allowed but only with electric motors. The access road isn’t the best, use caution.

        The most commonly caught fish at this spot are stocked trout, bullhead catfish, and pumpkinseeds. Fly fishing with smelt imitations, streamers, or nymphs is a good option here. View depth chart and fishing info for Higgins Pond.

        Other Nickerson State Park ponds

        Other ponds at Nickerson State Park include Eel Pond, Keeler Pond, and Grassy Nook Pond.

        Cyanobacteria blooms in ponds are very harmful to pets and people.
        Avoid swimming in ponds closed due to cyanobacteria blooms which are very harmful to pets and people.

        Warning about Cyanobacteria blooms

        Cyanobacteria blooms are a natural occurrence that can happen in the Nickerson State Park ponds. Cyanobacteria are a type of algae that can sometimes reproduce rapidly, leading to what is known as a bloom. These blooms can produce harmful toxins that can be dangerous for both humans and pets. If you notice signs saying don’t swim or fish, use caution!

        Cyanobacteria blooms typically occur during the summer months when water temperatures are warmer, and the amount of nutrients in the water is high. The blooms can look like blue-green scum on the surface of the water, or they may cause the water to turn a greenish color. They can also have a musty or foul odor.

        It is important to avoid contact with water that has a visible cyanobacteria bloom, as well as any water that looks discolored or murky. Ingesting water with high levels of cyanobacteria toxins can cause a range of symptoms, including skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

        Pets can be especially vulnerable to cyanobacteria blooms, as they may be more likely to swim in or drink the water. Signs of cyanobacteria poisoning in pets include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death.

        If you suspect that you or your pet may have been exposed to cyanobacteria toxins, seek medical attention immediately. It is also important to report any suspected cyanobacteria blooms to park officials so that they can take appropriate action. Avoiding contact with affected water is the best way to stay safe and healthy while enjoying the ponds at Nickerson State Park.

        Nugget the Puggle walks in the woods of Nickerson State Park on Cape Cod.
        There’s lots of cool places to explore with your dog in woods at Nickerson!

        Dog Rules

        If you plan on bringing your furry friend along to Nickerson State Park, it is important to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding dogs. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:

        On the beaches of the ponds:

        • Dogs are not allowed on any of the beaches at Nickerson State Park, with the exception of Flax Pond during the off-season (from October 1st to April 30th).
        • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times when outside of the campground area.
        • Dog owners are required to clean up after their pets and dispose of waste properly.
        • Dogs are not allowed in any of the bathhouses, restrooms, or picnic areas.
        • Dogs are not allowed in the water or on boats.

        Since you can’t have dogs at the beaches in Nickerson, check out our guide to dog-friendly beaches on Cape Cod or pet-friendly restaurants in Brewster.

        In the campground:

        • Dogs are allowed in the campground area, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
        • Dogs are not allowed in any of the bathhouses or restrooms.
        • Dog owners are required to clean up after their pets and dispose of waste properly.
        • Dogs must be kept quiet and under control at all times to respect other campers.

        It is important to note that failure to comply with these rules and regulations may result in a fine or even expulsion from the park. Keeping your dog under control and respecting the rules of the park will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

        If you’re staying here with your dog, check out other dog friendly activities in Brewster.

        Reggie the French bulldog up close.
        Leashed dogs are allowed in the campground, but pets aren’t allowed on the beaches at Nickerson State Park.

        Other Outdoor Activities at Nickerson State Park

        Nickerson State Park has plenty of other outdoor activities to offer, including picnicking, horseback riding, and bird watching. The park has several picnic areas with tables and grills, making it a perfect place for a family barbecue or a romantic picnic with your loved one.

        The park also has a horseback riding trail that takes you through the scenic woodlands and ponds. The trail is open from mid-April to mid-November, and you can rent horses from the park’s stables.

        Nickerson State Park is also a paradise for bird watchers, with over 190 bird species spotted in the park. You can spot bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons, among other species, in the park’s wetlands and forests.

        The beach trail from the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History leads to a secluded beach.
        The beach trail from the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History leads to a secluded beach.

        Nearby attractions

        There’s some good restaurants nearby and lots of shopping down route 6A. When you camp at Nickerson you’ll be a close drive to the beaches of Brewster, as well as Nauset Beach and Skaket Beaches in Orleans.

        If you’re looking for a nice sunset, Nickerson is located near several public beaches in Brewster that offer great opportunities for sunsets. There really aren’t any good sunset opportunities within the park except at the ponds, but typically when it gets dark then the bugs come out so be prepared.

        Brewster is also home to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, which is a great place for families to visit on their vacation. There’s a nice long trail leading to the beach there that’s a good day trip as well.

        Crosby Landing Beach in Brewster is a quick car ride from Nickerson State Park to catch a sunset.
        Crosby Landing Beach is a quick car ride from Nickerson State Park to catch a sunset.

        Conclusion

        In conclusion, Nickerson State Park is a perfect destination for anyone looking for a peaceful and serene getaway on Cape Cod. The park’s natural beauty, recreational activities, and historical sites make it a popular attraction for families, couples, and outdoor enthusiasts.

        Whether you’re camping, hiking, fishing, or simply lounging on the beach, Nickerson State Park has something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and head to Nickerson State Park for an unforgettable vacation on Cape Cod.

        Cape Cod lighthouses

        Cape Cod is famous for its picturesque lighthouses that dot the coastline. These lighthouses served as beacons of light for sailors, warning them of dangerous shores and guiding them safely to harbor.

        Today, these Cape Cod lighthouses are popular tourist attractions that offer stunning views of the ocean and a glimpse into the Cape’s rich maritime history. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most iconic lighthouses on Cape Cod and learn about their fascinating histories.

        The Cape Cod lighthouses include:

        Like many Massachusetts lighthouses, some of the lighthouses of Cape Cod are still actively in use. If you’re looking to do a Cape Cod Lighthouse tour, be aware that some require reservations and others aren’t open to the public so it’s best to plan ahead.

        Bass River Light

        Bass River Light is a beautiful lighthouse situated on the eastern bank of Bass River in South Yarmouth. The lighthouse was first constructed in 1856 and played an important role in guiding ships into the busy Bass River harbor. The lighthouse stands tall at 40 feet and is made of brick and cast iron, making it a distinctive landmark on Cape Cod.

        Today, Bass River Light is no longer in operation and is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard as a historical landmark. The lighthouse is open for public tours during the summer months and visitors can climb to the top to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area.

        It’s a great lighthouse to view on a kayak trip on Bass River. The nearby park also provides a great spot for picnicking, sunbathing, and enjoying a relaxing day by the river. If you’re a fan of lighthouses or just looking for a peaceful spot to spend a summer day, Bass River Light is definitely worth a visit.

        Chatham Lighthouse is located across the street from the parking lot for Chatham Light Beach.
        Chatham Lighthouse is located across the street from the parking lot for Chatham Light Beach.

        Chatham Lighthouse

        If you’re looking for a Cape Cod lighthouse that’s easier to access, consider Chatham Lighthouse. It is located in Chatham right next to a free parking area which can get busy during the summertime. Chatham Lighthouse has been warning sailors of dangerous waters since 1808. The current tower was built in 1877 and stands at 80 feet tall. Chatham Light was originally a pair of lighthouses, called the “Twin Lights.”

        Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Cod coastline. You need to book tours through the US Coast Guard Auxiliary website.

        This area is also home to the Chatham Lighthouse Beach, a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing. Really nice beach. Tons of great white shark activity here though, don’t swim out too far.

        The view of Chatham Light Beach beneath Chatham Lighthouse.
        The view of Chatham Light Beach, which is overlooked by Chatham Lighthouse.

        Highland Lighthouse, aka Cape Cod Lighthouse

        Highland Lighthouse, also known as Cape Cod Lighthouse, is located in North Truro and is one of the oldest lighthouses in the United States. The tower was first built in 1797 and was moved back several times due to erosion. In 1857, the current tower was built, standing at 66 feet tall.

        Highland Lighthouse is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod. Like many Massachusetts lighthouses, it has a very rich history. Visitors can climb the tower and learn about the lighthouse’s fascinating history, including how it played a role in warning ships during World War II.

        Visiting Highland Light is a great way to cap off a beach day if you’re at nearby beaches like Head of the Meadow Beach or Coast Guard Road beach. It’s also located right next to the Highland Links golf course. While leashed dogs are allowed on the Highland Lighthouse property, they’re not allowed in the lighthouse itself or in the adjoining museum.

        Highland Light, also known as Cape Cod Lighthouse, offers a great view of the sand dunes below.
        Highland Light, also known as Cape Cod Light, offers a great view of the sand dunes below.

        Hyannis Harbor Light aka Lewis Bay Lighthouse

        Hyannis Harbor Light, also known as Lewis Bay Lighthouse, is a charming lighthouse located on the east side of the Hyannis Harbor in Barnstable. Lewis Bay Lighthouse was first constructed in 1849 and underwent several reconstructions before its current structure was erected in 1929. The lighthouse stands at 24 feet tall and features a white conical tower with a black lantern on top. Hyannis Harbor Light played an important role in guiding ships into the busy harbor and was vital to the local fishing industry.

        Today, Hyannis Harbor Light is no longer operational and is maintained as a historical landmark by the town of Barnstable. Visitors can enjoy views of the lighthouse from the harbor or take a short walk to the nearby pier for an up-close look.

        The surrounding area features a variety of shops, restaurants, and other attractions, making it a great spot for a day trip. If you’re interested in lighthouses or simply looking for a picturesque spot to enjoy the Cape Cod scenery, Hyannis Harbor Light is definitely worth a visit.

        Long Point lighthouse guards the entrance of Provincetown Harbor.
        Long Point lighthouse sits on a secluded beach at the entrance of Provincetown Harbor.

        Long Point Lighthouse

        One of the most iconic and picturesque lighthouses on Cape Cod is the Long Point Light in Provincetown. This lighthouse has been guiding sailors safely through the treacherous waters off the coast of Provincetown for over 200 years. The lighthouse was first built in 1826 and was operated by a series of dedicated lighthouse keepers who were responsible for keeping the light burning bright through all kinds of weather.

        Today, the Long Point Light is a popular destination for visitors to Provincetown. The lighthouse is located on a narrow strip of land that extends out into the harbor, providing stunning views of the surrounding water and coastline. It can be seen from the harbor beaches off of Commercial Street. Visitors can reach the lighthouse by taking a leisurely walk along the beach at low tide on the Provincetown causeway (a sometimes-submerged dike), renting a boat or kayak, or by taking a ferry or water taxi.

        In addition to its scenic beauty, the Long Point Light also has a fascinating history. During the Civil War, the lighthouse was used as a lookout post by the Union Army, who were stationed in Provincetown to protect against Confederate raiders. Today, the lighthouse is a beloved landmark and a symbol of Cape Cod’s rich maritime history.

        If you visit Long Point Lighthouse, watch out for poison ivy on the narrow paths! It’s everywhere. This is an awesome spot to bring a picnic, and it’s really quiet with few visitors even in the summertime due to the remote location.

        The view of long point lighthouse as seen from commercial street in Provincetown, ma, on cape cod.
        The view of The view of long point lighthouse as seen from commercial street in Provincetown.

        Monomoy Light

        Monomoy Light is a unique lighthouse located off the coast of Chatham, at the southern end of Cape Cod. The lighthouse was first established in 1823 and has since played an important role in guiding sailors through the dangerous waters around Monomoy Island. In addition to its rich history, the lighthouse is also known for its stunning location, which offers unparalleled views of the surrounding seascape.

        Visitors to Monomoy Light can reach the lighthouse by taking a scenic boat ride or kayak paddle from Chatham. Once on the island, visitors can explore the lighthouse and its surrounding area, which is home to a variety of unique wildlife species. Visitors may also spot a variety of seabirds, seals, and even the occasional whale in the surrounding waters.

        One of the highlights of a visit to Monomoy Light is the opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline. From the top, visitors can see miles of pristine beaches, as well as the historic fishing villages that dot the coastline

        Nauset Lighthouse overlooks Nauset Light Beach in Eastham, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
        Nauset Lighthouse overlooks Nauset Light Beach in Eastham, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

        Nauset Lighthouse

        Nauset Lighthouse, aka Nauset Light, is one of the most recognizable lighthouses on Cape Cod. It is located in Eastham and is known for its distinctive red and white stripes.

        The lighthouse was first built in 1838 but was moved back several times due to erosion. In 1923, the current tower was built using the tower erected in 1877 at Chatham lighthouse, and stood at 48 feet tall. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

        One of the biggest draws of Nauset Lighthouse is its proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches on the Cape. Nauset Light Beach, which is located just a short walk from the lighthouse, is a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. The beach is known for its towering sand dunes, wide expanse of sandy shore, and stunning ocean views. The parking lot fills up fast in the summertime. In addition to Nauset Light Beach, nearby Coast Guard Beach is another must-visit spot, known for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear water.

        Visitors to Nauset Lighthouse can take a free tour of the lighthouse and climb to the top for spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area. Visit nausetlighthouse.org for tour dates and times. The lighthouse museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the area, including the story of the original Nauset Light which was swept into the sea during a storm in 1911. For those looking for a fun day trip filled with history, natural beauty, and outdoor adventure, a visit to Nauset Light and the nearby beaches is a must. While you’re at it, check out the nearby Three Sisters Lighthouse area.

        Nobska Point Light

        Nobska Point Light, aka Nobska Light, is an iconic lighthouse located in the charming town of Woods Hole. The lighthouse has been standing for over 150 years, guiding sailors through the treacherous waters around Martha’s Vineyard since the 19th century. It was originally known as originally called Nobsque Light, and is also known as Nobska Point Light. It’s located near Nobska beach, not far from the Woods Hole Ferry Terminal.

        One of the most popular activities for visitors to Nobska Light is to climb to the top of the lighthouse and take in the panoramic views of Vineyard Sound and the surrounding area. From the top, visitors can see miles of pristine coastline, as well as the historic villages and towns that dot the landscape. The lighthouse also features a museum where visitors can learn more about the important role it played in the region’s past.

        In addition to exploring the lighthouse itself, visitors can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in the surrounding area. The nearby beaches offer great opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing, while the surrounding trails are perfect for hiking and biking.

        Race Point Lighthouse at the tip of cape cod in Provincetown sits by the ORV trails of Race Point Beach.
        Race Point Lighthouse sits at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown by the ORV trails of Race Point Beach.

        Race Point Lighthouse

        Race Point Lighthouse is located at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown. The lighthouse was first built in 1816 and was reconstructed several times over the years.

        Today, visitors can stay overnight in the lighthouse keeper’s house, which has been converted into a cozy bed and breakfast. The lighthouse offers stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding landscape, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.

        Race Point Lighthouse is easy to access if you have an ORV sticker to Race Point Beach. You can practically reach out the car window and touch it on the drive by. Otherwise you’re going to have to take a very long hike on the ORV trail from the main beach parking lot. It’s a cool lighthouse but not sure it’s worth that long walk.

        The Race Point Beach ORV trails lead you within inches of Race Point Lighthouse on Cape Cod.
        The Race Point Beach ORV trails lead you within inches of Race Point Lighthouse.

        Sandy Neck Light

        Sandy Neck Light is a picturesque lighthouse located on the Cape Cod Bay side of the Cape in the town of Barnstable, at the entrance to Barnstable Harbor. The lighthouse was originally built in 1826 and has since been rebuilt several times, with the current structure dating back to 1857. Sandy Neck Light stands at 48 feet tall and has a white conical tower that is made of brick and capped with a black lantern. The lighthouse was an important navigational aid for mariners in the 19th century.

        Sandy Neck Lighthouse was relit in 2008. Today, Sandy Neck Light is still operational and is maintained by the United States Coast Guard. While the lighthouse itself is not open for tours, visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery and peaceful surroundings at the nearby beach and nature reserve.

        The surrounding area offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and birdwatching, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re looking to escape the crowds and experience the natural beauty of Cape Cod, a visit to Sandy Neck Light is a must.

        Stage Harbor Lighthouse

        Stage Harbor Lighthouse, located in Chatham, was first built in 1880 and stands at 48 feet tall. The lighthouse was used to guide ships into Stage Harbor and served as a navigational aid for sailors. Today, the lighthouse is privately owned and is not open to the public, but visitors can enjoy views of the lighthouse from Stage Harbor Road.

        Today, the Stage Harbor Lighthouse is a popular attraction for visitors to Chatham. The lighthouse is located on a small island that can be reached by a short boat ride or kayak paddle. It is a charming red and white striped lighthouse, which has been beautifully restored and maintained over the years. It is currently privately owned, so you aren’t able to visit.

        Aside from its scenic beauty, the Stage Harbor Lighthouse also has a fascinating history. During World War II, the lighthouse was used as a lookout post by the Coast Guard, who were on the lookout for enemy submarines in the waters off Cape Cod. Today, the lighthouse serves as a reminder of Cape Cod’s rich maritime history and is a popular spot for taking photos, enjoying a picnic, or simply taking in the stunning views of Stage Harbor.

        The three sisters Lighthouses are a short walk from the parking lot of Nauset Light Beach in Eastham.
        The three sisters Lighthouses are a short walk from the parking lot of Nauset Light Beach in Eastham.

        Three Sisters Lighthouses

        The Three Sisters Lighthouses are a group of three iconic lighthouses located in Eastham on Cape Cod. They’re part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and are located a quarter mile from Nauset Light Beach on Cable Road.

        These lighthouses have a unique history and are a must-visit attraction for anyone on vacation in the area. The lighthouses were first built in 1838 and served as navigational aids for sailors traveling along the Cape Cod coast. At the time, the lighthouses were spaced 200 feet apart, each with its own distinctive appearance. Because there already was one light (the Cape Cod Light) in Truro, and two lights (the Twin Lights) in Chatham, it was decided that there should be three lights at the location halfway up cape cod so sailors could easily distinguish between the other lights.

        Over the years, the Three Sisters of Nauset lighthouses were moved several times due to erosion, and by 1911, they had become obsolete and were decommissioned. However, local residents fought to preserve the historic landmarks and succeeded in having replicas of the lighthouses built on the original site. Today, visitors can see the three identical replicas standing in a row, giving a glimpse into Cape Cod’s maritime history.

        The Three Sisters Lighthouse location is a favorite spot for photographers and history buffs alike. Located in a beautiful coastal setting, they’re surrounded by sandy beaches and picturesque dunes. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the nearby Cape Cod Rail Trail or enjoy a picnic on the nearby beach while taking in the stunning views of the lighthouses. The Three Sisters Lighthouse site is a great way to follow up a visit to Nauset Lighthouse after a day at Nauset Light Beach.

        Wings Neck Light

        Wing’s Neck Light, located in Pocasset, is a beautiful lighthouse located a few feet from the shore on a small point of land overlooking Buzzards Bay, so it offers stunning views of the surrounding coastline. Visitors to Wing’s Neck Light can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the bay, or explore the nearby trails and beaches for a closer look at the local wildlife.

        One of the unique features of Wing’s Neck Light is that visitors can actually stay in the lighthouse keeper’s cottage, which has been beautifully restored and converted into a vacation rental. The cottage offers all the modern amenities that you would expect, while still retaining the historic charm of the original lighthouse. Imagine waking up to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, and spending your days exploring the beautiful beaches and coastline of Cape Cod.

        In addition to the lighthouse itself, the surrounding area is home to a variety of attractions and activities. Visitors can enjoy hiking and biking on the nearby trails, fishing or kayaking in the bay, or simply relaxing on the nearby beaches.

        Woods End Lighthouse in Provincetown can be reached by a long walk over a deserted white sand beach.
        Woods End Lighthouse in Provincetown can be reached by a long walk over a deserted white sand beach.

        Woods End Lighthouse

        Woods End Lighthouse is a charming lighthouse located at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown. First established in 1872, the lighthouse has a rich history of guiding sailors safely through the treacherous waters off the coast of Cape Cod. During World War II, the lighthouse was used by the U.S. Navy to monitor enemy ships and submarines. Today, the lighthouse is an iconic landmark and a testament to Cape Cod’s rich maritime history.

        Visitors to Woods End Lighthouse can reach the area by taking a short boat ride or kayak paddle through Provincetown harbor and then a short walk. Or you can walk over the Provincetown Causeway at low tide for a nice day-trip walk on a beautiful, very secluded beach.

        Once you arrive you will be greeted by the charming red and white striped lighthouse, which has been beautifully maintained over the years. There are stunning views of the surrounding waters, which are teeming with marine life.

        One of the highlights of a visit to Woods End Lighthouse is the beautiful remote beach nearby. The beach is accessible only by boat or by hiking through the sand dunes, which means that it is never crowded and always peaceful (until the crowded boat of tourists arrives, anyway). A perfect day trip. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing day soaking up the sun and taking in the beautiful views of the surrounding coastline without the hassle of summer tourist crowds.

        The aerial view of Woods End Lighthouse in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod
        The aerial view of Woods End Lighthouse in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod shows the remote sandy beach that’s a perfect day trip hike.

        Summary: Cape Cod Lighthouses

        Cape Cod’s lighthouses offer a glimpse into the region’s rich maritime history and provide stunning views of the ocean. Whether you’re interested in history or just want to take in the natural beauty of Cape Cod, a visit to one of these iconic lighthouses is a must. So the next time you’re on vacation on Cape Cod, be sure to stop by one of these lighthouses and experience their charm and beauty for yourself.

        Best things to do in Cape Cod

        Cape Cod is a beautiful vacation destination located in Massachusetts. Known for its picturesque beaches, charming towns, and rich history, Cape Cod offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply relaxing by the water, Cape Cod has something for everyone.

        If you’re looking for things to do on Cape Cod, here’s a list of our favorites plus a few recommendations from our readers.

        Cape Cod Attractions

        Hit the beach

        Cape Cod is world famous for our beautiful beaches. On a nice day, this is the thing to do. Plan a road trip and head out early, or find a local beach near where you’re staying and throw down a towel for the day.

        The Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches are a must-see. With 40 miles of pristine coastline, there are tons of opportunities for hiking, biking, and birdwatching. Take a cool road trip and visit a few during your vacation. You can get a season pass pretty cheap that lets you into them all.

        As a general rule, the outer cape beaches facing the open Atlantic Ocean offer large waves colder water. Sound-side beaches have warmer water and smaller waves. Bay-side beaches are great for sunsets, the warmest water, gentle waves, and many have wide tidal flats.

        The character of the beaches is different depending on which town you visit, so branch out and try some different options around the Cape to find the vibe you’re looking for. Want to learn more? Check out these articles to find the best beach for your family or a dog-friendly beach.

        Dog silhouetted while fetching a ball at the beach on the cape cod national seashore.
        Our recommendation for the best thing to do on cape cod – hit the beach!

        Shopping

        If you’re looking for a lively day of shopping and dining, Cape Cod has many options. Provincetown is a vibrant cultural hub located on the tip of Cape Cod. Visit commercial street for lots of easy food options and tons of shopping. For a more upscale shopping experience, hit Chatham. And keep an eye out for the many craft fairs that pop up all summer long. Shopping is one of the most popular attractions in Cape Cod on rainy days, so be prepared for crowds during the summer season.

        No shopping trip on Cape Cod would be complete without dumping some money into the stores of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Both of these picturesque islands just off the coast are an easy day-trip on the ferry. They offer stunning views, historic lighthouses, and boatloads of New England charm. Consider visiting in the offseason for a more peaceful experience.

        Platter of raw oysters on ice.
        Fresh Cape Cod seafood can be found everywhere, including these raw oysters.

        Eat good food and enjoy some cocktails

        Seafood is a specialty on Cape Cod. You’ll find plenty of seafood shacks and restaurants serving up fresh lobster, clam chowder, and other delicious dishes. Pretty much every restaurant on the Cape seems to offer some forms of fried seafood. But dig a little deeper and you can find food options of all types.

        Have your pet with you? View a list of restaurants that allow dogs.

        Remember, you’re on vacation. Possibly with your family. So day drinking is always a good option. There are several breweries and a winery that offer tastings and tours. Have your dog? Learn more about cape cod breweries that allow dogs.

        Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of Cape Cod’s many farmers’ markets and craft fairs, where you can sample locally grown produce and handmade goods.

        Outdoor Activities

        Bicycling

        Bicycling on the Cape Cod Rail Trail is a great option for outdoor enthusiasts, providing many scenic routes for cyclists and walkers to explore the Cape’s natural beauty. Options range from short, family-friendly bicycle trails to all-day trips across the Cape.

        For a scenic biking path, check out the National Seashore trails in Provincetown. Hardcore enthusiasts can ever bike the length of the Cape as part of the the Pan-Mass Challenge fundraiser.

        Fishing for striped bass at sunset is one of our favorite things to do on Cape Cod.
        Fishing for striped bass is one of our favorite things to do on Cape Cod.

        Fishing

        Cape Cod is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. From the deep sea to the shoreline, there are countless opportunities for anglers of all skill levels to cast a line and catch a variety of species. If you’re planning a vacation to Cape Cod and love fishing, here are some options to consider.

        1. Deep Sea Fishing For those who are looking for a bigger challenge and a chance to catch bigger fish, deep sea fishing is a popular option. There are many fishing charters available that will take you out to the deeper waters off the coast of Cape Cod, where you can catch species like tuna, cod, striped bass, and bluefish. Most charters provide all the necessary equipment and will clean and fillet your catch for you to take home. Or find a cheaper but more crowded party boat for some day-trip fishing.
        2. Shore Fishing is a popular option for those who prefer to stay on land or fish while enjoying the beach. There are many beaches and piers throughout Cape Cod that offer great opportunities for shore fishing. Surfcasting at beaches is a great option for those who are new to fishing, as it requires minimal equipment and can be done without a guide or charter. Shore fishing options run the entire length of Cape Cod, from the canal to the remote beaches of the National Seashore in Provincetown.
        3. Fly Fishing is a popular technique for catching fish in Cape Cod’s freshwater rivers and streams. The Cape has streams and ponds that are stocked with trout and other species, including the Mashpee River, Herring River, Swan Pond River, and Cliff Pond. Fly fishing guides are available that will take you to the best locations and provide instruction on technique and equipment.
        4. Kayak Fishing is a great way to explore Cape Cod’s waterways to catch fish. Kayaks allow you to access shallow areas that are inaccessible to larger boats or deeper spots in lakes, which can give you an advantage in finding fish. Kayak rentals are available throughout Cape Cod.
        5. Family-Friendly Fishing If you’re traveling with kids or just looking for a more relaxed fishing experience, ponds are a great family-friendly fishing option on Cape Cod. Young kids will have a blast pulling in bluegills and pumpkinseeds. Older kids will enjoy catching smallmouth and largemouth bass, or view the list of stocked trout ponds in Massachusetts if you’re looking to catch a tasty dinner.
        Hiking remote beach trails is one of our favorites things to do on cape cod.
        Hiking remote beach trails is one of our favorites things to do on cape cod.

        Hiking

        Every town on Cape Cod offers some cool hiking trails. Choose from wooded paths, remote beach walks, or easy walks wide enough for strollers.

        Our favorite day-trip hike is a visit to Woods End light in Provincetown that is accessible on a dike at low tide off of Commercial Street. You’ll be rewarded with unbelievable views on a secluded beach towards the end of Cape Cod. For a longer trip you can walk much further to find Long Point Lighthouse.

        One of our favorite things to do on Cape Cod is to take our dog on hiking trips. View a list of dog-friendly hiking trails.

        Whale Watches

        Whale watch boats are a fun day trip on Cape Cod that’s a great activity for families. Whale watch boats leave from many towns across the Cape, from Woods Hole to Hyannis, Harwich, and Provincetown. They often head to Stellwagen Bank, a popular whale feeding spot.

        You can also see whales from the shores of some beaches in the summer such as Race Point Beach in p-town, a little further away but for free.

        View from the beach of Provincetown harbor at night.
        A view of Provincetown harbor at night.

        Boating and Kayaking

        Cape Cod offers fun boating for crafts of all sizes. Protected bays and harbors offer great scenery for beach hopping or a slow booze cruise. Head offshore for a day trip to the Islands or to chase down some fish for dinner.

        Boat rental options exist across Cape Cod. Our favorite boat rental day trip recommendation is to rent a small boat in Provincetown and head across Provincetown Harbor to Long Point Lighthouse and beach. It’s a quick ride in a protected harbor, great for novice boaters. Plus you can cruise around the harbor and anchor up off several beaches on Commercial Street to grab food and do some shopping.

        Kayaks and standup paddle boards are also available to rent across the towns of cape cod. Take it easy in a local pond, or challenge yourself on an all-day trip across Pleasant Bay to the back of Nauset beach. Paddling around rivers or harbors in the early morning provides a peaceful reprieve from the summer tourist crowds.

        Standup paddle boarding is a great way to explore Cape Cod's many kettle ponds.
        Standup paddle boarding is a great way to explore Cape Cod’s many kettle ponds.

        Camping

        Cape Cod has tons of cool campgrounds, from the canal to the tip of Provincetown. It’s an affordable alternative to expensive rentals or cookie-cutter hotel rooms. Waking up to chirping birds and distant ocean waves crashing is a great way to start the day. Many campgrounds offer easy access to fishing in kettle ponds or even the canal, perfect for outdoorsy-types.

        View a list of our favorite campgrounds that allow dogs.

        Cape Cod Baseball League

        Sports fans won’t want to miss the opportunity to catch a game of the Cape Cod Baseball League, which showcases some of the best amateur players in the country. Watch future major league stars up close all summer long.

        Cape League Baseball games have been one of the best free things to do on Cape Cod for generations. Great for families with kids. Many teams have playgrounds or other activities around so you accommodate kids with different ages and interests.

        Race Point Lighthouse as seen from the ORV trails of the Cape Cod National Seashore in Ptown.
        Race Point Lighthouse as seen from the ORV trails of the Cape Cod National Seashore in Ptown.

        Historical and Cultural Sites

        Cape Cod has a rich history, and there are several museums and cultural sites that offer a glimpse into the region’s past.

        • One of the most iconic landmarks is the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, which commemorates the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims in 1620. The wide steps require decent endurance to climb, not recommended for families with really small kids. Nice view.
        • Another great option is the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, which offers beautiful gardens, a vintage carousel, and exhibits on Cape Cod’s maritime history.
        • For those interested in the Cape’s seafaring heritage, the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis is a must-visit destination.
        • To learn more about nature on Cape Cod, check out the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster. Nice trail to hike.
        • Lighthouses are another favorite. Chatham Light is easy to reach by car, with a nice view of the beach below. Woods End Light and Long Point Light in Provincetown are accessible by a long walk on a deserted stretch of beach. Highland Lighthouse in North Truro is close enough to the golf course that you may end up hitting it with a golf ball.
        Boy standing in the mouth of a Megladon Shark at the Great White Shark Conservatory in Chatham.
        The Great White Shark Conservatory in Chatham lets kids learn about sharks up close!

        Family-Friendly Activities

        Cape Cod is a great destination for families, with plenty of activities that will keep kids of all ages entertained. In addition to family-friendly beaches, our first pick, there are lots of other things to do in cape cod for kids:

        • The Cape Cod Children’s Museum in Mashpee is a great option for younger children, offering interactive exhibits on science and nature.
        • The Great White Shark conservatory is fun for families to learn more about why they shouldn’t swim out too far on Cape Cod beaches
        • The Whydah Pirate Museum is interesting as well for those who love pirates.
        • Mini Golf options are everywhere, and usually not far from ice cream stands. A classic way to kill a few hours.
        • The Cape Cod Inflatable Park in Yarmouth is another popular option, featuring inflatable obstacle courses, slides, and more.

        Off-Season Activities

        While Cape Cod is a popular summer destination, there are plenty of activities to enjoy during the off-season as well.

        Warm spring days offer opportunities for solitary nature walks, visits to gardens or wildlife refuges, bicycle trips, or fishing outings before the summer crowds set in. In the fall, beaches and tourist spots become less crowded and many restaurants stay open. Winter is much quieter but there are festive holiday events and decorations.

        In recent years the offseason has remained busier than in the past, making it hard to find solitude. But the lack of traffic and crowds provides a much more pleasant experience then fighting your way down route 6 during weekends in the tourist season. Much easier to find the “cape cod charm” that has attracted people to the cape for generations.

        Hope you found this list of things to do in Cape Cod helpful!

        Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a relaxing vacation, Cape Cod has fun things to do for everyone. With its picturesque beaches, charming towns, and rich cultural heritage, this New England gem is a must-visit destination. Plan your trip today and experience all that Cape Cod has to offer.

        Breweries that allow dogs on Cape Cod (and a few Wineries Too)

        Looking for a dog-friendly brewery on cape cod? There’s a bunch of great places and great beers you can check out. Here’s an updated list of breweries that allow dogs on cape cod.

        We’ve also included a few cape cod breweries where dogs aren’t allowed too, in case you’re trying to complete a cross-cape brewery crawl. And a few dog-friendly wineries made the list as well. Because you’re on vacation. Drink up.

        Most of the breweries on Cape Cod allow dogs in outside areas where beer is consumed, but usually local rules prohibit pets from areas where food is being prepared.
        There’s a lot of dog-friendly breweries on Cape Cod. Just make sure your canine companion is at least 3 human years old and isn’t driving. Rules are rules.

        Aquatic Brewing

        661 Main St, Falmouth, MA

        Friendly, well-behaved, quiet, on-leash dogs will be allowed in the taproom at Aquatic Brewing. It’s indoor seating only — first come, first served.

        Light snacks available for purchase from the bar. Bring-your-own food is allowed, including takeout or delivery from local restaurants, and there is rotating Food Truck availability. So there should be lots of good crumbs for your dog to sniff out.

        There are 26 shared parking spaces located around their building, and town public parking is less than 10 minutes walk in most directions. That should help walk off some of those IPAs you just swilled down.

        Visit website


        Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery

        876 E Falmouth Hwy, Falmouth, MA
        (508) 372-6740

        Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery has a location in Falmouth, but there’s also another location on Martha’s Vineyard in Edgartown.

        Visit website


        Most of the breweries on Cape Cod that allow dogs have outdoor seating that is pet-friendly so you can enjoy a flight of beers while your dog joins you.

        Barnstable Brewing

        485 W Main St, Hyannis, MA
        (774) 470-6989

        Barnstable brewing has a nice outdoor patio that allows dogs.

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        Buzzards Bay Brewing – Bourne Taproom

        85 Main St, Buzzards Bay, MA
        (508) 264-5680

        Are dogs allowed at Buzzanrd’s Bay Brewing? Not any more!

        Buzzard’s Bay Brewing is located in Westport, MA Their taproom in Bourne is on the Cape Cod side of Buzzard’s Bay. They used to allow dogs at this brewery but now they don’t due to insurance/liability issues due to dog owners not being responsible and letting their pets run amok. Bummer.

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        A dog drinks beers in a taproom on Cape Cod.
        Remember. Be responsible. Little dogs should always drink 5oz flight glasses, not full pints.

        Cape Cod Beer

        1336 Phinneys Ln, Hyannis, MA
        (508) 790-4200

        Cape Cod Beer allows well behaved dogs and children. Dogs must be friendly, on-leash & vaccinated.

        Dogs are allowed under their beer garden tent (when it is up) and in the retail store year-round.

        Per the Barnstable Board of Health, dogs are not allowed in the warehouse tap room when food is being prepared in their pop-up kitchen.

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        Cape Cod Winery allows dogs at their location in Falmouth, MA.

        Cape Cod Winery

        4 Oxbow Rd, East Falmouth, MA
        (508) 457-5592

        Famouth’s Cape Cod Winery has a large post-and-beam tent placed over crushed seashells where dogs are allowed to watch you drink. They sell over 9 kinds of wine.

        Visit website


        Devil’s Purse Brewing Company

        120 Great Western Rd, South Dennis, MA
        (508) 694-7171

        Devil’s Purse has an outdoor beer patio that is open whenever the Brewery is open. Dogs are welcome here. You can grab a few pours and then take some cans for later on.

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        Hog Island Brewing Co. in Orleans on Cape Cod allows dogs on their outside seating area, but not inside.

        Hog Island Beer Co.

        28 West Rd, Orleans, MA
        (508) 255-2337

        Hog Island Beer Co. in Orleans allows dogs outside. But not inside. So your dog will need to wait while you go in and order beer or food.

        There’s a nice lawn outside with chairs and tables where your dog can catch some shade while you drink away a hot summer day.

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        Naukabout Brewery and Taproom

        13 Lake Ave, Mashpee, MA
        (508) 444-9822

        Naukabout Brewery and Taproom has a 5,000-square-foot outdoor beer garden with four patio areas. Inside you can belly up to the long wooden bar in a cozy Cape Cod setting.

        But you can’t do it with your dog. Per town rules in Mashpee dogs aren’t allowed here.

        Visit website


        Brewski is the resident dog at Provincetown Brewing Co. If you're lucky and he's there when you visit you can give him a few sniffs hello. If not you can sniff around his doghouse which sits right by the main entrance. Check him out on instagram: brewski_pbc
        Brewski is the resident dog at Provincetown Brewing Co. If he’s there when you visit you can give him a few sniffs hello. If not you can sniff around his doghouse which sits right by the main entrance. Check him out on instagram: brewski_pbc

        Provincetown Brewing Co.

        141 Bradford St, Provincetown, MA
        (508) 413-9076

        Provincetown Brewing company is very dog-friendly. P-town is the most dog-friendly town on the Cape Cod, and this brewery is part of the reason why.

        While you’re there you might bump into Brewski, brewery’s dog. If he’s not there you can probably still sniff around his doghouse to get a scent.

        Don’t take your dog into the bathroom if he/she is easily offended by images of fornicating smurfs. Seriously. Kids may ask some interesting questions after visiting the restroom as well.

        Visit website


        Nugget finds a cool spot to rest while visiting Truro Vineyards, which allows dogs in their outside areas where there is plenty of seating with activities and food trucks.
        Nugget finds a cool spot to rest while visiting Truro Vineyards, which allows dogs in their outside areas where there is plenty of seating with activities and food trucks.

        Truro Vineyards

        11 Shore Rd, North Truro, MA
        (508) 487-6200

        Truro Vineyards is a family-owned winery with a tasting room & a gift shop. It’s located in an 1830s farmhouse, and they offer wine tastings and tours.

        Dogs are allowed outside, where there is food truck dining. There’s a huge open area with chairs and lots of room to spread out a picnic blanket.

        But keep your dog away from the grapes. They get enough fertilizer without your pet’s help.

        Visit website


        One benefit of seeing the glass as half full is that you always know it's time to order your next round.
        One benefit of seeing the glass as half full is that you always know it’s time to order your next round.

        We hope you enjoy checking out all the great breweries that allow dogs on cape cod. You’re on vacation after all. So bottoms up!

        How to avoid a great white shark attack on cape cod

        great white shark alert! cape beach sharks are on the prowl all summer long. Is it safe to swim on cape cod?

        You can’t avoid them, so follow these tips to reduce your chances of ending up in a shark’s belly. 

        (more…)

        Oversand Beach Driving: Beach ORV Trails on Cape Cod

        Tired of lugging all your stuff out to an overcrowded beach? These tips will prepare you to drive on the oversand trails at some of the most beautiful beaches on cape cod.

        Learn about the beaches on cape cod with ORV access, how to get an ORV Sticker, and what equipment you’ll need.

        (more…)
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