It is difficult to identify the best beaches without specifying for whom: fearless surfers or timid toddlers, party types or incurable recluses? At the bayside and sound beaches, for instance, the water tends to be much more placid than it is on the ocean. So without further ado, here’s some of the best for different reasons.
Sandy Neck Beach: This relatively unpopulated, 6-mile barrier beach, extending from the eastern edge of Sandwich to sheltered Barnstable Harbor, features pretty little dunes seldom seen on the bayside. Hike in far enough (but avoid the nests of Piping Plovers), and you’re sure to find a secluded spot.
Nauset Beach: Located along the outer “elbow” of the Cape, this barrier beach descends all the way from East Orleans to a point opposite Chatham — about 9 miles in all, each mile increasingly deserted. The entry point, however, is a body squeeze: It’s here that the young crowd convenes to strut their stuff. Administered by the town of Orleans but still considered part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Nauset Beach has paid parking, restrooms, and a snack bar.
Race Point Beach: Unlike many of the beaches closer to Provincetown, which are tacitly reserved for gays or lesbians, Race Point — another Cape Cod National Seashore beach, at the northernmost tip of the Cape — is strictly nondenominational. Even whales are welcome — they can often be spotted with the bare eye, surging toward Stellwagen Bank. The Province Lands Visitor Center at Race Point (tel.508/487-1256) has particularly good views.
Thanks to Frommer’s for this information. This is just a short list of the spectacular beaches that can be found. For more information about the beaches and especially our favorite, Paine’s Creek Beach, just ask when you’re here.