Now that summer is in full swing, we’re rounding up some of the best beach picks from Globe staffers to help readers explore New England’s coveted coastlines.
New Englanders wait all year for the months that are upon us, and people are — understandably — escaping to the coast in droves.
Be it a Saturday morning or a Wednesday afternoon, you can already count on a steady crawl of traffic going over the Bourne and Sagamore bridges. But for many, it’s worth it. There’s something OK about sitting in gridlock when salt air, lapping waves, and sunny skies are on the other side.
Here’s a look at some of the greatest shorelines along the arm of the Cape, and what to expect when you get there.
Coast Guard Beach
Recently ranked among the top 10 beaches in the nation, we can’t talk about the Cape without talking about Coast Guard Beach. Located in Eastham, Coast Guard is a prime destination for swimming, relaxing, hiking, and soaking up the natural beauty of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Seals are often spotted here, which means an occasional shark sighting can’t be ruled out, either. From mid-June to Labor Day, nonresidents should expect to park at “Little Creek,” located a short distance west of the beach, where a shuttle picks up passengers. The cost for vehicle parking is $25, and $15 for those on bicycle or on foot. There is no entrance fee for active-duty military and their dependents with proper ID, or for children under 16, according to the National Park Service website.
How to get here: 2 Ocean View Drive, Eastham, 02642. Click here to see a map.
A little more mid-Cape is the unique and sprawling Mayflower Beach in Dennis. At low tide, you can walk for miles along the tidal flats, making it a perfect spot for sunsets, sandcastles, and skim-boarding. Located on the Cape’s calmer Bay side, the water here is warmer compared to some of the Atlantic-facing coastlines, and is usually seaweed-free. With parking, a snack bar, and restrooms on site, this powder-soft sand beach is among the Cape’s most accessible, and it was recently ranked one of the best on the Cape by travelawaits.com. But be wary: The parking lot fills up fast. Daily rates are $25 for weekdays and $30 for weekends, or a $75 weekly parking fee from Memorial Day to Labor Day, according to Capedays.com.
How to get here: 2 Dunes View Road, Dennis, 02638. Click here to see a map.
Old Silver Beach
Getting closer to the bridge, Old Silver Beach in Falmouth is a popular option for families with its warm, calm water, and top-notch views of Buzzards Bay. A jetty splits the beach into public and residents-only zones, and each area has its own parking lot, snack bar, and bathrooms. As it’s located just around the corner from downtown Falmouth, this beach tends to get pretty busy. Parking is $20, according to falmouthma.gov.
How to get here: 296 Quaker Road, Falmouth, 02556. Click here to see a map.
Race Point Beach
Taking it all the way back up to the tip of the Cape off Route 6 in Provincetown, Race Point Beach is a paradise for those who like the remote, raw feel of the Outer Cape. Located in the northernmost point of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Race Point features high dunes, historic lighthouses, and colder Atlantic-facing waters. There are bathrooms, a gift shop, and a Life-Saving Station that houses a small museum. An observation deck gives a panoramic view of the area, where whales and seals can sometimes be spotted. This beach was the only Massachusetts beach to make this year’s AAA Best Beaches in New England roundup, which described the views of the endless seas as breathtaking. There is a parking lot on site, and the access fee is $25 for vehicles, and $15 for those on bicycle or on foot. There is no entrance fee for active-duty military and their dependents with proper ID, or for children under 16, according to the National Park Service website.
How to get here: Drive to the end of Race Point Road off of Route 6 in Provincetown. Click here to see a map.
Don’t see your favorite here? Tell us which spot you’re partial to and we may include it in a future story: