Beaches

Cape Cod National Seashore comprises 43,604 acres of shoreline and upland landscape features, including a forty-mile long stretch of pristine sandy beach, dozens of clear, deep, freshwater kettle ponds, and upland scenes that depict evidence of how people have used the land. A variety of historic structures are within the boundary of the Seashore, including lighthouses, a lifesaving station, and numerous Cape Cod style houses. The Seashore offers six swimming beaches, eleven self-guiding nature trails, and a variety of picnic areas and scenic overlooks.

Here are a few Cape Cod National Seashore beaches in no particular order:

Pleasant Bay
Nauset Beach in Orleans is a beautiful sandy beach with excellent surf, and is very popular for swimming. It is operated by the Town of Orleans. Lifeguards are on duty daily during summer. Concerts and other activities are held here periodically in summer. Check with the Town of Orleans for schedules and events. more information...

Directions: At the Eastham Orleans rotary on Route 6, turn right onto Route 6A for about one-half mile, then turn left onto Route 28. At the first traffic signal turn left for Nauset Beach in Orleans, or continue straight on Route 28 to Chatham.

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Coast Guard
The Great Beach, so named by Henry David Thoreau, starts here. This sandy strand offers opportunities to study coastal beach processes, including longshore transport of sand and coastal erosion. more information...

Directions: One and one-half miles East on Nauset and Doane Roads (on road to beach from Salt Pond Visitor Center). Look for brown and white signs.

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Nauset Light
Nauset Light Beach consists of a broad, sandy beach that is contained by a steep glacial scarp behind it. During winter months, the beach profile is considerably lowered, sometimes exposing features such as the brick foundation of one of the earlier Three Sisters lighthouses. more information...

Directions: One mile north of Coast Guard Beach on Ocean View Drive in Eastham

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Marconi Station
The Marconi site uplands are a landscape slowly recovering from European land-use practices, which stripped the landscape of topsoil, and then further from the effects of Camp Wellfleet, which added to the impoverishment of the vegetative cover during World War II. The landscape today, however, serves as an important upland heath community, which harbors several rare species, including broom crowberry and two types of poverty grass. more information...

Directions: Six miles north of Salt Pond Visitor Center, off Route 6 in Wellfleet.

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Pamet Valley
Ballston Beach exemplifies coastal beach processes. While the dune has been breached by the ocean several times in recent years, coastal transport of sand (longshore transport) has reestablished the barrier beach at this location. more information...

Directions: Traveling north, the Pamet Valley crosses Route 6 in Truro center, 2.2 miles north of the Wellfleet/Truro line. Take the "Pamet Roads/Truro Center" exit for access to the Pamet Valley Area.

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Province Lands
The Outer Beach . This portion of the Cape is accreting (building) as a result of "long shore" transport of sand from the glacial scarps to the south. The shoreline here drops off dramatically, allowing whales (and vessels) to come close inshore. more information...

Directions: From Head of the Meadow, travel Route 6 north toward Provincetown for six miles. Turn right onto Race Point Road at first traffic light. Look for signs marking the Beech Forest area and Province Lands Visitor Center. Race Point Road ends at Race Point Beach. To get to Herring Cove Beach, go to the end of Route 6.

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