Seafood shacks, quaint beach cottages, and dune-lined beaches – Cape Cod is a major tourist hotspot for a good reason.
Taking up nearly 600 miles of the southeastern Massachusetts coastline, Cape Cod is the perfect destination to soak up the summer sun. And where better to take in all the sun after a harsh winter than on the best beaches in Cape Cod?
Whether you’re looking for prime surfing conditions, family-friendly beaches with tidal pools, or the perfect beach conditions for taking long walks, Cape Cod has a beach for you. Here are our tips, which we created in partnership with Hotels.com.
Check out our post on the best sunglasses for the beach.
Cape Cod beach resorts
There are some incredible Cape Cod hotels on the beach. You can find a mix of luxury hotels, family-friendly beach resorts, quaint cottages, relaxing guest houses and large private rental houses.
Most travelers visit Cape Cod from June through to September to make the best use of the Cape Cod beaches. However, going during this time does mean more crowds, so make sure to book one of best Cape Cod hotels on the beach early to snap up the best Cape Cod hotels on the beach!
Best Beaches in Cape Cod
With more than 130 beaches in Cape Cod, it’s no wonder it has some of the world’s finest beaches!
Here are a few of the best Cape Cod beaches to explore.
Best family-friendly beaches in Cape Cod
These Cape Cod beaches tick all the boxes for a family-friendly outing – including chilled waves, lifeguards, bathrooms and lots of space.
Craigville Beach, Centerville
This is the most popular beach in the Barnstable area with all of the typical beach amenities you’d expect on the main beach. It’s a popular spot for kite surfers in the summer months, and a favorite hangout for college students and teenagers. The water is also a bit warmer than other beaches in the area – a bonus for kids!
Amenities include parking lot, lifeguards, restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, and a nearby snack bar. It is also disabled accessible.
Mayflower Beach, Dennis
The tidal pools at Mayflower Beach are always a hit with young explorers. During low tide, kids can walk for miles exploring the tidal pools searching for shells and sea life. It’s also large enough to set up all your beach gear.
Amenities include a parking lot, lifeguard, restrooms, a small boardwalk, a picnic area, and a snack bar.
Cold Storage, Dennis
With Dennis being a well-known beach town, it has a few family-friendly beaches. The calm waters make it a popular beach to bring your floaty – which the kids love!
There are lifeguards and restrooms, but no snack bar so make sure to bring your food and drinks.
Best surfing beaches in Cape Cod
Surfing in Cape Cod is growing in popularity as more tourists’ flock to the beaches searching for great waves. Just remember that the water is cold, so wetsuits are recommended!
While most of the beaches have surf potential, here’s the most popular ones.
Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore
Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, this beach is rated among the best in America. Amongst surfers, it’s known for its consistent shortboard/longboard summer swell.
Apart from great waves for surfing and boogie-boarding, this beach features amazing landscapes including marshlands and dunes. Non-residents will have to park at the nearby Little Creek parking lot and hop onto a shuttle that runs every few minutes.
Nauset Light Beach, Orleans
Nauset Light Beach is another extremely popular beach in the Cape Cod National Seashore, protected by a high dune bluff. The beach is among the most popular ones on the Outer Cape.
It’s popular for families but also an excellent spot for swimming, boogie-boarding, and surfing. The beach features a sandbar break that has quite reliable surf. When conditions are right, it can get quite crowded.
Marconi Beach, Wellfleet
Marconi Beach is popular for surfing due to its consistent steep right running at higher tides when the swell is up. The beach is protected by dunes and home to seals! While the beach is quite popular, its massive size means that there’s plenty of space for everyone to spread out. Note that you’ll have to carry your surfboard along a steep descending staircase to get from the parking lot to the beach.
Best beaches for the sunset in Cape Cod
There are a few prime locations in Cape Cod to witness the most amazing sunsets from the beach. Here’s a few.
Skaket Beach, Orleans
A fantastic spot for sunset lovers and photographers, the beach offers gorgeous sunsets every evening. Skaket is a large stretch of shoreline that surrounds one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Cod.
The nearby Rock Harbor makes this beach a prime spot for watching boats travel up and down. Which makes sunset hour even more spectacular! The beach also opens up even more during low tide, making room for long walks on the beach.
Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown
A sunset with a lighthouse view! Herring Cove Beach is part of the National Seashore, located at the Cape’s very tip, just miles from downtown Provincetown. The sunsets here are stunning, and the views wonderful any time of day.
For the athletic bunch, take your bicycle for a sunset ride on the nearby bike path.
Best beaches for walking in Cape Cod
Looking for a long, leisurely stroll on the beach? Here’s where to head to in Cape Cod.
Harding’s Beach, Chatham
Take a long walk along the tall dunes, with views overlooking Nantucket Sound and North Monomoy Islands. You can walk from Bucks Creek in the northwest to the historic Stage Harbor Lighthouse in the east.
Cape Cod Canal, Bourne
Okay, not technically a beach, but Cape Cod Canal is the best spot for walking in Bourne. There’s a total of 13-1/2 miles of paved trails great for walking, cycling and rollerblading line either side of the canal.
There are several parking spots along the trails, including at Bell Road on the Cape side and Buzzards Bay Park on the mainland side.
Best secluded beaches in Cape Cod
Looking to hide away from people? These hidden spots provide incredible views without the crowds.
Bound Brook Island Beach, Wellfleet
This beach is so secluded that you’ll need to navigate a few dirt roads and then walk a few hundred yards over the towering dunes and beach grass to reach the sandy shore. Depending on when you visit, you could be the only ones on the beach, enjoying the sweeping views of Cape Cod Bay all by yourself.
Crowe’s Pasture Beach, Dennis
Crowe’s Pasture Beach in Dennis offers a more rustic, old-school Cape Cod beach experience. A narrow trail through marshlands and woods in the conservation area turns into a mile-long dirt path that eventually opens up to a hidden beach. It’s one of the most secluded spots in the entire Cape, with a mix of sand, marshy lands and seagrass.
Ready to hit the beach this summer?
This region has some of the best beaches in America, no doubt about that. The best beaches in Cape Cod offer something for everyone, and we recommend visiting a few to find your favorite. Whether you’re all about the surf, building sandcastles with the kids, going for long strolls or simply laying back and absorbing the sun, a Cape Cod vacation could do the trick!