The flats at Crosby Landing in Brewster. Photo by Dawn Sternlieb, courtesy of the Brewster Chamber of Commerce.
The Lower Cape is host to numerous natural attractions, and as with any other part of the Cape, there are a plethora of beaches for people to flock to. There are beaches that are better for swimming, beaches that are more suited to sailing and water sports, beaches that provide perfect sunbathing opportunities, and beaches that have great sandcastle making territory.
Kate Paradise, the office administrator for the Orleans Chamber of Commerce, and Kyle Hinkle, the executive director for the Brewster Chamber of Commerce, provided some insight into the best beaches in the Brewster and Orleans area.
- Nauset Beach, Orleans: According to Paradise, this beach is “the most popular and the one people absolutely love”. Nauset is an ocean beach, so expect water temperatures to run a bit cooler here than at the beaches on Cape Cod Bay, with water temperatures peaking in August near 70 degrees.
There is ample parking and access to the Outer Beach for vehicles that can handle the drive in the sand and have the proper permit.
Another plus to Nauset Beach is that Liam’s At Nauset Beach is located right off the parking lot, serving up fried seafood and burgers to hungry beach-goers (and they accept credit cards). There are also free concerts held on Monday nights in July and August from 7-9 p.m.
Visitors can pay at the entrance to park for $15/day. Visitors can also opt to purchase a one-week permit ($60), a two-week permit ($110), or a seasonal permit ($125 for people staying in Orleans, $175 for people staying in neighboring towns). The permits are good for all the beaches in Orleans that require stickers, not just Nauset. The permits are available at the Nauset Beach Administration Building at 139 Main Street, Orleans. People applying for a permit need a copy of their rental agreement and their vehicle registration.
- Skaket Beach, Orleans: This beach doesn’t offer the surf of Nauset, rather a more relaxed atmosphere, especially good for families with small children. Situated right on Cape Cod Bay, Skaket has sand flats at low-tide and easily swimmable waters at high tide. There aren’t many rip currents here and the water temperature tends to be warmer than at Nauset, usually by several degrees, with some locals comparing the water temperature at peak season to a bath-tub. The tidal pools offer up delightful sea-creatures at low-tide, including hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, and periwinkles, among others.
- Breakwater Beach, Brewster: According to Kyle Hinkle, “Breakwater is very popular because it is relatively flat, has a big parking lot, and there is a lot of great sand.” Like all the salt-water beaches in Brewster, Breakwater is on Cape Cod Bay, which means the water temperature stays relatively warm in the summer time and there are plenty of flats to enjoy.
Hinkle adds “Brewster has a reputation for having the most dramatic flats on the Cape”, so visitors who are looking to get the true experience of the Cape Cod sand flats should come to Brewster to get the full effect.
To park at the Bay Beaches in Brewster (as well as any of the town landings at the ponds), visitors need to go to the Town Hall, which sells the permits 7-days a week. The prices are not set until the town meeting held in May, but once the prices are set, they are listed here.
Dogs are not allowed on Brewster public beaches from May 1st to October 1st, something visitors should take into consideration when choosing their beaches. Orleans has similar restrictions.
- Crobsy Landing, Brewster: Another popular Brewster Bay Beach is Crosby Landing, according to Hinkle. The beach is right near Nickerson, so campers who want to enjoy the salt-water and don’t want to venture to far away from the park can enjoy the water here.
- Cliff Pond, Nickerson State Park, Brewster: Among the other beaches in Brewster are the many ponds and according to Hinkle, Cliff Pond is one of the most popular ponds in Brewster. Located in Nickerson, there is no need to have a beach sticker to come and enjoy the water here. The parking lot does fill up, but there are other ponds nearby in Nickerson. Jack’s Boat Rental rents out various boats to visitors and is located right on Cliff Pond.
The shallow part of the water is marked off by a floating rope so that kids don’t get in over their heads.