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Welcome back to Cape Cod. Here’s what to expect this summer

Blue Rock Golf Course in South Yarmouth.Red Jacket Resorts

First, keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all model for beaches on Cape Cod and the Islands this summer. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, not all beaches have opened their restrooms this summer. A little research before you go will make for a much more enjoyable trip (especially with the bathroom part). Concession stands are also hit-and-miss. Beaches such as Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown and Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro do not have lifeguards this year. Visit the website of the town or beach of your choice before you load the chairs and cooler in the car.

There are a few Cape Cod beach-wide rules this summer to keep in mind. No bonfires are permitted on the beach. Social gatherings should be limited to no more than 10 people. On the beach, maintain 12 feet between towels/beach blankets. Wear masks if social distancing is not possible (though they’re not required when swimming). And, this might be a bitter pill to swallow, but refrain from beach sports such as volleyball, soccer, and bocce.


Biking and hiking paths are open. Keep dogs on leashes and maintain six feet between yourself and other hikers and bikers.

There will be limited-to-no trash receptacles at beaches, so plan for a carry-in, carry-out kind of day. Ferries (Steamship Authority, Hy-Line Cruises, Freedom Cruise Line, Island Queen Ferry, Patriot Party Boats, Bay State Cruise Company, Boston Harbor Cruises, and the Provincetown Fast Ferry) are running on schedule. Golf courses are open.

If you are traveling to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, or Nantucket from within Massachusetts, or from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey, you are not required to self-quarantine. Otherwise, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts — including Massachusetts residents returning home — are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.


All Massachusetts Phase III reopening guidelines apply to the Cape and Islands, therefore the following businesses are allowed to be open: Movie theaters and outdoor performance venues; museums, cultural and historical sites; fitness centers and health clubs; certain indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact; professional sports teams, under the authority of league-wide rules, may hold games without spectators.

Retail stores are open. Restaurants are open for outdoor dining, pick-up, takeout, and limited indoor dining. But this is Cape Cod in the summer, who wants to sit inside?

Christopher Muther can be reached at Follow him @Chris_Muther and Instagram @chris_muther.