The calm and soothing waters of Cape Cod Bay, accessible from several Outer Cape beaches in Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.
For people staying on the far reaches of the Cape, there are a variety of ocean and bay beaches to choose from. The thin outer arm of Cape Cod is bordered on either side by Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, pockmarked with ponds in between, meaning that every town past Orleans has all imaginable beach offerings.
Jim Russo of the Eastham Chamber of Commerce, Jennifer Pierce the executive administrator for the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce, and Suzanne Thomas, the beach administrator for Wellfleet, provided some insight into what beaches they would personally recommend to people coming to the Outer Cape.
- Coast Guard Beach, Eastham: According to Russo, Coast Guard Beach is consistently voted among the top 10 beaches nationwide, so it is no wonder that this beach got Russo’s recommendation. Along with Nauset Light Beach (also operated by the Cape Cod National Seashore and located a few miles down the road), Russo said these two beaches are “spectacular…they run for miles and miles.”
To get a beach sticker, you just stop at the entrance. Rates are $15 per day, $45 for a season pass, and there is even a $10 pass for seniors aged 62 and older that is good for the whole season as well.
Coast Guard Beach is also handicapped accessible and has wheelchairs that are capable of traveling over the sand. Parking is limited, but there is shuttle access from half a mile down the road.
- Bee’s River (First Encounter Beach), Eastham: “My favorite hang out is by Bee’s River,” says Russo. Bee’s River is part of First Encounter Beach in Eastham, located on Cape Cod Bay. “No matter how low it gets, it’s always cool water.” said Russo.
To purchase stickers, visitors need to go to the Natural Resources building at 555 Old Orchard Road in Eastham. The town stickers are $15 per day and there are options for weekly, monthly, and seasonal passes as well, all of which can be used at the bay beaches and ponds.
- Great Pond, Eastham: Of all the ponds in Eastham, Russo says this is his favorite because “it’s never overly crowded and it has a beautiful small beach.” Russo adds that the water is crystal clear.
The beach has changing rooms on the Herringbrook Road side which also has the bigger beach (there is a smaller beach on the Great Pond Road side).
- Ocean Side Beaches, Wellfleet: According to Jennifer Pierce, there are four big ocean side beaches in the town of Wellfleet. They are Newcomb Hollow, Cahoon Hollow, Whitecrest, and Lecount Hollow (Maguire’s Landing).
Only Wellfleet residents can get a beach sticker for the town beaches, but Whitecrest has day parking rates and Cahoon’s Hollow is located at the Beachcomber, so people can use their parking lot if they eat at the Beachcomber. Whitecrest is popular among surfers.
Pierce said that of all the beaches, Lecount Hollow (Maguire’s Landing) has the easiest access. All have fairly large sand dunes, so none are super easy, Pierce added.
- Long Pond, Wellfleet: For visitors looking for more relaxed climes, Long Pond is extremely accessible and has mild waters. There is also a floating dock in the pond which is fun to jump off of.
Pierce mentioned that visitors can bike there safely from town, although to park at any of the ponds in town, visitors still need a beach sticker. There are only two portable toilets here and no other facilities, so visitors should come prepared.
Pierce added that there is a beach in town that doesn’t require a sticker. It is Mayo Beach and it is located on Cape Cod Bay. Pierce said Mayo Beach is a free beach, although the parking lot is small. There is a larger town parking lot nearby. The beach is located right near town, so visitors can go and grab a bite in Wellfleet center once they are done at the beach. There are restrooms located at Baker’s Field, which is near the beach as well.
In general, beaches on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Outer Cape, including Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, Whitecrest Beach in Wellfleet and Ballston Beach in Truro are known for their strong waves and surf--ideal for those who love watersports. The temperature on the ocean side is also a bit cooler than the temperature on the bay.
Bay beaches including First Encounter Beach in Eastham, Mayo Beach in Wellfleet and Corn Hill Beach in Truro are known for their calmer, milder waters. The temperature also tends to be a tad warmer on the bay.