Cape Cod, a hook-shaped peninsula of the U.S. state of Massachusetts, is a popular summertime destination. It’s the site of quaint villages, seafood shacks, lighthouses, ponds and bay and ocean beaches.
In the large town of Hyannis, the John F. Kennedy Museum is the first stop on the Kennedy Legacy Trail through downtown, where ferries depart to the resort islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
An arm-shaped headland on the east of Massachusetts, Cape Cod is often considered synonymous with ‘beach’ and offers some of the best beach destinations not just in the United States but in the world.
Featuring a boundless stretch of astounding coastline, historic sites, natural attractions, and tropical flora and fauna, Cape Cod is among the most-visited places on earth.
The Bay is divided into four sections namely the upper, the middle, the lower, and the outer cape. Wellfleet, a town in the Outer Cape, consists mostly of the National Seashore of Cape Cod Bay.
While there is plenty to do in Cape Cod, beach activities such as swimming, kayaking, jet-skiing, boogie boarding, boating, whale watching, and fishing are some of the most popular around the entire region.
Find below a list of the top beaches in Cape Cod Bay and discover what each of them offers you.
1. Craigville Beach
Regarded as the most famous beach in Barnstable, Craigville is a public beach located in Nantucket Sound. There is also a private beach, Covell’s Beach, nearby. Unlike the usual private beaches in Cape Cod, Craigville’s parking is open to non-residents for a parking fee.
The huge beach has clear, smooth sand and picturesque landscapes.
Come summer, kitesurfing becomes one of the most popular activites in the area. Swimming and sunbathing are also highly enjoyed here.
Though the beach is a favorite spot for college students and teenagers, the area sees all kinds of tourists.
The long, beautiful stretch of beach has several public amenities on offer such as showers, restrooms, boardwalk, swimming lessons, and even lifeguards. Craigville Beach is disabled accessible. There are rental shops from where you can rent chairs and umbrellas.
2. Monument Beach
Located in the town of Bourne, Massachusetts, Monument Beach is an extensive, tropical beauty that looks out onto the entrance of Cape Cod Canal. Despite its size and location, the surroundings are amazingly serene and not overcrowded at all.
The dock that sits close to the beach offers brilliant views of the sea. You could also jump off into the waters from here in cannonball-style.
The waters at the beach are calm and idyllic for families with kids. Lifeguards patrol the area.
Public facilities offered at Monument Beach include concession stands, restrooms, boardwalk, picnic areas, bathhouses, and a huge parking space.
Windsurfing and beach volleyball are widely-enjoyed activities at the beach.
3. Grays Beach
Also known as Bass Hole Beach, Grays Beach is located in Yarmouth, Massachusetts and is a nice, saltwater beach on Cape Cod Bay.
The beach is at the opening of Garden Creek and has a long boardwalk that extends over a salt marsh partway to the beach. The boardwalk offers gorgeous views of tropical flora and fauna and marine life.
Even though the beach is not too large, there is a spacious picnic area which features a gazebo.
Across Dennis’ Chapin Beach, Grays Beach is open to the public and has lifeguards for your safety. There aren’t any showers or food stands at the beach but you can bring a packed lunch and make a picnic out of it.
There are restrooms available for public use.
The size of the beach and the low tide water makes it perfect for children to swim and splash around while adults can enjoy laying on the sand.
4. Sea Gull Beach
Sea Gull Beach is on the Sea Gull Beach Road in Yarmouth, MA and is just west of Parker’s area. The largest and the most famous beach in Yarmouth, Sea Gull is widely popular among teenagers and young adults.
Quite a few seagulls can be spotted around the area.
The beach is quite large which makes ample space for visitors to lounge around, relax, and enjoy water activities. The water at Sea Gull is amazingly calm and ideal for a refreshing splash. The sand floor is soft and clean and is great for sun-basking.
Sea Gull Beach has a spacious parking space and is also a great spot for windsurfing and beachcombing.
Facilities at the beach include bike racks, attendants, showers, food stalls, restrooms, swimming lessons, and is also disabled-accessible.
5. Cahoon Hollow Beach
Located in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Cahoon Hollow Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the town and sees a lot of visitors around the year, mostly youngsters and those in their twenties and thirties.
The Beach has an amazingly melodramatic landscape with giant sand dunes on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. There are two long pathways between a 75-foot sand dune and the beach parking lot.
The Wellfleet Beachcomber, a widely-popular seaside restaurant and bar, is highly famous among youngsters.
Public facilities include lifeguards, restrooms, food stalls, attendants, volleyball area, and two separate options for parking. The beach gets fast full on weekends and public holidays so arrive early in the morning.
6. Mayo Beach
Overlooking Wellfleet Harbor, Mayo Beach is within proximity to the Breakwater Light. The long, grassy beach has a picturesque landscape.
Parking at the beach is free for all. There is a playground across the street at Baker’s Field.
During high tide, the beach waters are perfect for swimming. For beachcombing enthusiasts, there are lots of various specimen of seashells on the hard sand floor around the beach.
Mayo Beach is also an ideal spot for yoga enthusiasts who like practicing by the beach.
Common facilities at the beach include bike racks, restrooms, and boardwalk. Many restaurants are located near the adjoining dock area.
7. Ballston Beach
The beautiful Ballston Beach, located in North Pamet Road, Truro, overlooks the enormous Atlantic Ocean and has gorgeous golden hills at its backdrop.
An inspiration to Truro artist Edward Hopper, Ballston is a fairly huge beach with a nice, smooth sand floor. The waters provide idyllic waves for boogie boarding and surfing.
There are residential houses on both sides of the beach but that doesn’t prohibit Ballston from being highly popular among beach-goers.
Public facilities at the beach include restrooms, parking space, and accessibility for the disabled.
8. Town Neck Beach
Located in Sandwich, MA, Town Neck is a fun beach escape for youngsters and adults alike. The popular Cape Cod Bay Beach is backed by the significant Sandwich boardwalk which is prevalently used by visitors to jump into the water, an enjoyable activity in the area.
The beach is rocky and has several dunes in the background. Town Neck’s location near the entrance of Cape Cod Canal complements the beach with picturesque views of boats entering and exiting the Canal.
The water here is rather calm and there are attendants on lifeguard duty for the safety of visitors. The tranquil waters also make Town Neck a great option for swimming and kayaking.
The parking lot is a short walk from the beach and is highly spacious.
Other facilities at the beach include restrooms and beach chairs and umbrellas.
9. East Sandwich Beach
A stunning stretch of coastline on Cape Cod Bay, East Sandwich Beach can be found lying behind a line of grassy dunes beyond a row of beach cottages. Located on North Shore Road, the beach is huge but sees lesser crowd making it perfectly serene and relaxing.
The sand here is soft and waves not too high. There are rock jetties around the area and smaller dunes to walk around.
The parking for East Sandwich Beach is a short walk from the beach and takes you over a small dune.
Restrooms, lounge chairs, and umbrellas are available for public use. There aren’t any food stalls but you can bring your lunch and enjoy a picnic at the beach while your kids build sandcastles.
10. Sandy Neck Beach
Considered among the highly-revered beaches in Cape Cod Bay, Sandy Neck is a six-mile-long beach typically acknowledged for its off-roading trails.
The water here is comparatively colder to most other southern beaches in Cape Cod but it is still amazing for swimming. This barrier beach has a pebbly exterior but offers brilliant views of the ocean.
Off-roading, a huge sport here, is restricted early in the season due to the shoreline being a breeding ground for the threatened species of piping plover.
The access to Sandy Neck begins at Sandwich, however, the beach itself is in Barnstable which enables inhabitants of both townships to get special deals on periodic beach stickers.
11. Breakwater Beach
One of Brewster’s most famous beaches, Breakwater Beach is a mile-long, sandy beach which flows across Cape Cod Bay.
During mid-summer, the water temperature stays a mild 65 to 70 degrees making the beach highly apt for swimming in the afternoon or evening.
Pleasant dunes line the seashore and the sand floor is full of shells and marine life – a great opportunity for kids to beach comb around the spectacular jungle gym. An ice cream truck frequents the area and is quite a refreshing delight for kids and adults alike.
Occasional sailboats can be spotted around the area brought ashore during low tide and remain stranded here.
There are no lifeguards on duty at Breakwater Beach but some common public facilities such as portable toilets and snack and refreshment carts can be found in the area.
12. Coast Guard Beach
Often considered as one of the top 10 beaches in the United States, Coast Guard beach has been recognized for its awe-inspiring vistas by several magazines, channels, and reviewers.
A part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Coast Guard paints the perfect picture depicting the brilliance of Cape Cod Beaches. The amazing landscape includes marshlands and stunning dunes.
Though the beach is highly popular and sees a lot of visitors, it is not difficult to find a quaint spot if you don’t mind exploring around a little bit.
Large waves at the Coast Guard beach creates great opportunities for boogie-boarding and surfing.
The parking at the beach is not very large and is for residents only, however, non-residents can park at the nearby Little Creek parking lot and hop on the shuttle that runs every few minutes.
A boardwalk runs right to the beach making it accessible for the disabled.
There are lifeguards, showers, restrooms, and even handicap chairs available at the beach.
13. Nauset Light Beach
Another jewel in the crown of Cape Cod National Seashore, Nauset Light Beach is a mile-long sandy beach backed by gigantic dunes and brilliant views. Located in Eastham, the beach is among the most popular ones on the Outer Cape.
Marked by the notable Nauset Lighthouse, the beach is connected to the adjoining parking area by a wooden staircase. Nauset Light Beach is a hit among families and has a huge observation area within the parking space that offers great views and superb photography options.
The large waves here make it ideal for swimming, boogie boarding, and surfing.
Public amenities at the beach include shower areas, restrooms, lifeguards as well as beach chairs and umbrellas.
14. Mayflower Beach
Revered as the most scenic beach in Dennis, Massachusetts, Mayflower Beach is not just highly admired but also a great hit among family vacations in and around the town.
With small tides, large coastline, lifeguards, and tide pools, Mayflower almost has everything that can make it one of the most ‘family-friendly’ beaches in the United States.
A boardwalk brings you from the large parking space to the beach which makes the beach conveniently accessible.
Though there are no showers around the beach, other public facilities such as restrooms, picnic area, chairs for the disabled, and food carts are readily available at Mayflower Beach.
The beach was named as one of the best in the US in 2011 by the popular Parents Magazine.
15. Skaket Beach
Skaket, located in Orleans, MA, is a large stretch of fine sand shoreline that engulfs one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Cod.
An amazing spot for sunset lovers and photographers, the beach offers gorgeous sunsets every evening.
Skaket’s warm water are seamlessly fitting for swimmers while the amazing flats during low tide make room for long strolls by the beach. Kite flying is also an active sport in the area. Friendly tropical critters inhabit the tidal pools during low tide.
A great spot for watching boats as they travel to and from Rock Harbor, Skaket Beach can contain many visitors on any given day. Its huge 175-cars-at-a-time parking space makes driving to the beach effortless. Space fills faster during weekends, sunny days, and public holidays.
Several amenities for public use can be found near the beach, some of which include lifeguards, showers, restrooms, picnic area, chairs for the disabled, and food and drinks stalls.