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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- The Cape Cod National Seashore beaches are just a short drive away north on route 6, offering miles of pristine beaches and scenic views
- Nauset Beach is a bit closer, a must-see if you’re looking for bigger surf or a long beach walk
- Nickerson State Park in Brewster is a great place to camp nearby and to take a swim in a freshwater pond
- There are a few cape cod lighthouses nearby, including Nauset Lighthouse at Nauset Light Beach
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!