The Beach Times

What's Open on Cape Cod?
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 27, 2020


There's a lot of uncertainty around the globe, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces closures to numerous businesses and makes air travel far more challenging and risky.

This issue has led to many people putting off their travel plans for the near future, choosing to stay close to home.

If you live somewhere in the Northeast, you're likely within driving distance of Cape Cod, and the good news is that many outdoor venues are open to visitors.

Here's a look at some of the top activities you can participate in while following social distancing protocols and staying safe on Cape Cod.

The Beaches

If you're going to be around people during a COVID-19 outbreak, you should stay outdoors, and the beaches of Cape Cod provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the weather. All six beaches on the Cape Cod National Seashore are open for visitors, as are other popular destinations like West Dennis Beach, Kalmus Beach, Bank Street Beach, and Breakwater Beach.

Depending on the beach you visit, you can also rent a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or jet ski, giving you even more activities during your time on the Cape.

Cape Cod has enough beach space that you can spread out without feeling overcrowded, allowing you to enjoy your vacation without the risks of higher density locations.

Hiking Trails

There are hiking and walking trails everywhere on Cape Cod, and you can walk all day in some of these areas without encountering another human being. These trails are maintained by groups like Mass Audubon, MassWildlife, the Barnstable Land Trust, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and various local groups, giving you all kinds of variety.

Some of the paths, such as Great Island Trail, go through coastal marshes while others, like the Lowell Holly Reservation, take you through the woods around the area's kettle ponds. Other hiking areas that you'll want to explore include Beebe Woods, Sandy Neck Beach Park, and the Knob, depending on how far you want to walk and your preferred destination.

Bike Paths

The trails on Cape Cod aren't all reserved for hiking, as there are over 114 miles of bike paths to explore that will take you through some of the region's most secluded environments.

The biggest name of this list is the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs 25.7 miles between South Yarmouth and South Wellfleet, passing ponds and forests along the way. The trail makes it easy to socially distance while seeing some of the Cape's most beautiful locations.

For a more urban bike ride, you can cycle on the Cape Cod Canal's 7 miles of trails. These paths are on both sides of the canal, as are easily accessible for beginners because they're mostly paved.

In the Falmouth area, the Shining Sea Bikeway takes you from North Falmouth to Woods Hole while providing Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound views. The trail is less than 11 miles long, with numerous access points throughout Falmouth.

Smaller bike trails like Head of Meadow Trail in Truro, Nauset Marsh Trail near Coast Guard Beach, the Chatham Loop, and the Province Lands Trail in Provincetown also provide excellent opportunities to explore Cape Cod's natural environment and avoid the crowds.

Pop-Up Drive-Ins

You might think that going to the movies is out of the question when socially distancing, but Cape Cod has a solution for you: the drive-in.

For years, the Wellfleet Drive-In was the only venue of this nature on the Cape, and it's still the only permanent one. However, there are pop-up drive-ins in West Yarmouth, Hyannis, and Falmouth that provide another way to spend your time in the evening on the Cape.

The cost of these venues varies, but they're generally an affordable way to see a movie without the risk of sitting beside a stranger in a crowded theater.

Fishing and Whale Watching Charters

If you're driving to Cape Cod, you'll have the opportunity to bring a boat with you, if you have one at home. Otherwise, there's still the opportunity to get on the water because numerous fishing and whale watching charters are open for business.

Cape Cod Whale Watch in Provincetown and Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises are operating with enhanced safety protocols, giving you the chance to see rare sea mammals in their natural environment.

As for fishing charters, most of the boats are currently operating, including Affordable Cape Cod Charter Fishing in Chatham, Reel Deal Fishing Charters in Truro, and Helen H Deep Sea Fishing in Hyannis.

Check around because many other charter companies are operating with enhanced sanitizing and safety procedures in effect.

Staying Close to Home

Cape Cod isn't closed for tourism, as many businesses have taken it upon themselves to keep their customers safe during this challenging time.

The Cape's beaches and parks are also open and offer a low-risk destination on your vacation.

Remember that there could be quarantining protocol in effect if you're from outside of Massachusetts, but many other northeastern states are considered "safe" by state officials.

COVID-19 has made travel more difficult, but several of the Cape's top attractions are up and running, giving you the rare opportunity to experience some of the country's most beautiful locations without the crowds.



Activities Beaches Biking Drivein Movie Things To Do On Cape Cod Whale Watch

Jackknife Cove: A Hidden Gem on the Lower Cape
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, February 10, 2020


Jackknife Cove

While the beaches on Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound, along with the Cape Cod National Seashore, get much of the attention on the Lower Cape, there are quieter places to spend your day that are just as enjoyable.

Jackknife Cove, for example, sits where Harwich and North Chatham meet, right on Pleasant Bay, and provides a serene, relaxing environment for locals and visitors alike.

If you want to spend a day with space to do your own thing, and without having to fight for a parking spot, Jackknife Cove is an excellent option on the Lower Cape.

How to Get There

Despite being a bit hidden, getting to Jackknife Cove is surprisingly easy.

The beach sits on Route 28, which you can take directly from downtown Chatham or Orleans. You can also take Route 39, exiting on Bay Road, from Harwich, or the Mid-Cape Highway from Brewster, taking Exit 11 and then turning onto Pleasant Bay Road.

Once you arrive at Jackknife Cove, a bonus is that you don't require a beach sticker because parking is free.

There's a small pull-out along Route 28 where you can leave your car, and it's only a short walk from there to the sand and water of Pleasant Bay. There's also a parking lot at Jackknife Beach, which you can reach by following a small road that is just south of the pull-out.

Getting to the parking lot involves driving down a hill, but it's smooth enough that even a small car can make it without any trouble.

About the Beach

There are a few things you should know about Jackknife Cove Beach before you head to its shores.

For starters, the beach is excellent for kids because it's sheltered from the ocean and has incredibly warm water. The cove is also very shallow, so your children can play without worry.

Keep in mind, however, that the beach doesn't have restrooms or lifeguards, so you're on your own as far as those amenities go. The sand isn't the nicest, either, as the beach doesn't receive the same level of care as others in the area.

You should also keep in mind that while parking is free, it isn't as extensive as other nearby beaches. In theory, you should be fine for parking, but you might want to get there early in the summer, just in case.

Once you have a parking spot, you can spread out and find a spot all to yourself because the beach is vast.

If you're unable to get to the beach early, consider coming after dinner to walk the beach as the sun sets for the day. Locals love this place in the evening because it's incredibly scenic and calm.

Kayaking, Sailing, and Windsurfing

As you arrive at Jackknife Cove, you'll see numerous boats secured in the water off its shores. That's because the cove is a popular place to anchor for the day, and there are even some mooring buoys available.

You can launch a small boat at Jackknife Cove, but remember that you'll have to carry it to the water from the parking lot. You'll see a variety of sailboats, canoes, and kayaks on the beach as you arrive, so get your boat in the water and enjoy the calm atmosphere.

Some rental companies will deliver a kayak to you on Jackknife Cove, which is perfect if you're unable to bring a boat with you to Cape Cod.

Bringing a Dog

A final noteworthy aspect of Jackknife Beach is that it's the only beach in Chatham that allows dogs during the summer. Dogs are limited to before 9:00 AM, and after 6:00 PM, so you'll have to consider the rules when taking your pet for a walk.

If you've brought your furry friend on your Cape Cod vacation, it's nice to know that you can let it run free on the beach during certain times of the day.

A Peaceful Day on the Lower Cape

The Lower Cape is an outstanding place to spend your vacation because it's full of magnificent scenery, fascinating historic sites, and some of the country's best beaches.

With so much to offer, it's no wonder that the area is so popular with visitors, particularly during the summer months.

Luckily, there are places like Jackknife Cove, where you can get away from the crowds while still enjoying the pleasant natural environment of the Lower Cape.



Beaches Chatham Dog Friendly Cape Cod Harwich Jackknife Cove Lower Cape

Cape Cod National Seashore: More Than Just Beaches
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, February 5, 2018


With nearly 40 miles of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod National Seashore is, rightly so, known for its beaches. The area has six main beaches, Coast Guard, Nauset Light, Marconi, Head of the Meadow, Race Point, and Herring Cove, in addition to smaller, lesser known ones, but there is so much more to the area than the waterfront.

In total, the National Seashore is 43,607 acres in size, and there are countless activities to be found in the space that are sure to keep you occupied throughout your vacation.

Want to go hiking? No problem!

Interested in history? We’ve got you covered!  

Love seeing animals? You’ll never run out of opportunities!

Yes, by all means, hit the beaches when you visit Cape Cod National Seashore but don't forget to explore the other sites and activities that this beautiful and diverse area has to offer. We’re confident you’ll love what you see.

A Little Bit of History

On an official basis, Cape Cod National Seashore is relatively new, as it was given its national park status in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy and his family spend plenty of time vacationing on Cape Cod, and he wanted to preserve this exceptional region for future generations.

Overall, however, the land has been in use for about 9,000 years, when it was first inhabited by American Indians.

The first Europeans made their way to the region in 1620, spending about a month here before finally settling in what is now Plymouth. The area was attractive to settlers in future years because of its abundance of fresh water, fertile land, and protective landscape.

Cape Cod National Seashore has deep colonial roots that become clearer and clearer the more you spend time here. But first, you’ll want to get to know the natural environment, which is why so many people visit in the first place.

Hiking and Biking Trails

Feel like going for a hike? There are plenty of places to do so. In the South Wellfleet area sits Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail, a moderately challenging hiking area that goes through an oak and pine forest before coming out in a swampy area with a boardwalk. The trail is just over a mile in length, so it can be completed quickly.

Pilgrim Spring is another short hiking trail in North Truro. The path is relatively simple, with a moderate grade and plenty of on-site parking, and is only 0.7 miles long. The site leads to the place where the pilgrims first tasted fresh water on Cape Cod, making it a historically significant trail, as well.

For a biking experience, Nauset Marsh Trail provides a comfortable ride with the option to extend the trip to Coast Guard Beach. The actual trail is a 1.3-mile loop and is peaceful, with very few elevation changes, and has some breathtaking views along the way.

Wildlife Encounters

While you're out and about, keep an eye out for some of the area's unique wildlife. More than 450 animal species live at Cape Cod National Seashore, including 25 protected species and 32 endangered or rare species.

On the coastline, you could encounter large marine mammals, turtles, gulls, and waterbirds. As you move inland, you are more likely to see the land mammals and reptiles that live in the woodland, swaps, and grasslands. One particular animal to keep an eye out for is the piping plover, a rare bird that nests in the sand. About 5% of the world's population of piping plover live at Cape Cod National Seashore.

The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is one place worth checking out nearby because it has salt marshes and woodlands that are a hot spot for wildlife sightings.

You might also consider taking a boat trip out into the ocean if you have your heart set on seeing some sea mammals up close. If you're lucky, you might even come across the endangered North Atlantic right whales that feed off Race Point.

Landmarks and Sights

Sitting in Eastham between Coast Guard Beach and the Salt Pond Visitors Center is Doane Rock, a large boulder left behind by the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which covered most of Canada and large chunks of the United States, about 15,000 years ago.

As the story goes, when the glaciers melted, they left behind some geological abnormalities and one of them is this rock. It is named after John Doane, a deacon who was one of the first settlers in the area. He lived on this land in 1644, in a time when very few Europeans were around. The rock’s appearance might not blow you away, but it’s worth having a look at if you have the time because of its history.

After that, swing by The Three Sisters Lighthouses or Nauset Light while in Eastham, The Pilgrim Monument and Race Point Light in Provincetown, and Highlands Light in Truro. There is something that draws people to lighthouses and monuments, and these are some of the most prominent on The Cape.

Museums and Visitor Centers

We mentioned the history of the area before and what better way to learn about the history of Cape Cod National Seashore than by spending time at a museum?

In the north, you have options like Provincetown Museum, which is right at Pilgrim Monument, and Old Harbor Life-Saving Station Museum, on Race Point Beach.

Moving further south, Highland House in Truro and The 1869 Schoolhouse Museum in Eastham are worth a visit, especially if Cape Cod's history excites you the way it does for many other people who spend time here.

The area’s visitor centers are top-notch when learning about what makes the district so distinctive. The Salt Pond Visitor Center is perhaps the top choice, as it is full of interactive displays and shows educational films. There is also an on-site museum and bookshop.

Further north is The Province Lands Visitor Center, a smaller building that also shows educational films in its indoor theater and has a bookstore. The building has an observation deck, as well, which provides panoramic views of the ocean, sand dunes, Pilgrim Monument, and Race Point.

Embrace Life Away From the Beach

Of course, you’re sure to get plenty of beach time in when visiting Cape Cod in the summer. After all, that’s probably the reason why you’re visiting this area in the first place. At the same time, it’s good to know that there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied when spending time at Cape Cod National Seashore.

If you ever need a day away from the beach to let your sunburn heal or relax away from the heat, the National Seashore has you covered. So, plan your next Cape Cod Vacation around the Cape Cod National Seashore and you will soon notice that Cape Cod National Seashore is unlike the other National Parks you have visited in the past.



Activities Beaches Cape Cod Eastham Hiking Provincetown Truro Vacation Wellfleet

Finding Cape Cod's Secret Beaches
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, January 24, 2018


If you’re heading to Cape Cod this summer, you’ll surely check out some beaches at some point. After all, we’ve got some of the best beaches in the entire country, and you’d be selling your vacation short if you don’t stop by a few of them.

The thing is, you’re not the only one with this idea. Crowds can be an issue at the area’s most popular beaches, making these areas less appealing for those who want to relax. When travelling with kids, you might also want a quieter beach, just to make things easier to handle.

Well-known beaches like Nauset, Coast Guard, and West Dennis, while scenic, are very popular during the summer. There’s also parking, which is another issue altogether.

Luckily, there are a few hidden gems throughout the Cape that you can check out if you are interested in the sand, surf, sun and a more peaceful setting. It doesn’t matter what part of Cape Cod your vacation rental is on, there’s a secret beach nearby.

Thumpertown Beach in Eastham photo credit- Cape Cod Online- Vacation Cape Cod

We'll start this list off with an easy one, as Thumpertown Beach isn't exactly hidden, nor is it difficult to find. The beach is, however, far less crowded than many Cape Cod beaches and provides a quiet place to enjoy the sun. The beach is popular with locals who don't want to navigate the crowds of Sunken Meadow Beach and First Encounter Beach, which flank Thumpertown Beach. Best of all, this beach has a small parking lot and stairs running down to the sea, making it accessible for everyone.

You can get to Thumpertown Beach quickly from Route 6 in Eastham. Look for McKoy Road and then take it to Thumpertown Road, where you'll come across the parking lot. The beach is excellent for family vacations because the parking lot is close to the water.

Bound Brook Island Beach in Wellfleet

Making the trek to Bound Brook Island Beach is all about the views. On a clear day, you can stand on one of the 50-foot-high sand dunes overlooking the water and see Provincetown to the north and Plymouth to the west, all the way across Cape Cod Bay.

To get to the beach, you'll have to take Bound Brook Island Road, which is mostly dirt, all the way to a dirt parking lot. The road isn’t well-marked, but you will see a sign directing you to Atwood Higgins House. It might look like you’re heading down a private driveway, but you’re not. Keep going, and you’ll eventually find parking. Once you reach the parking area, it's a bit of a hike down to the water, and you'll have to navigate the dunes along the way. Hey, no one said finding your own personal paradise was going to be easy.

Cow Yard Landing in Chatham

A beach that's not really hidden, but isn't busy either, is found in North Chatham. Cow Yard Landing beach is more for boating than anything else, as you'll see a number of watercrafts in the ocean, making it a great place to stop if you're looking to do some kayaking.

Luckily, the beach is easy to find, as Cow Yard Landing sits in a residential area just off Old Harbor Road and close to Route 28. There's plenty of parking along Cow Yard Lane, as well, so you won’t have to worry about searching for a spot.

Crowes Pasture Beach in Dennis

Discover one of the more secluded beaches on Cape Cod in the Crowes Pasture Conservation area in Dennis. It will necessitate some effort to reach the beach, as you'll walk a mile-long trail through some marshland to get to the sand from the parking area. The good news is this beach is basically untouched by civilization, other than some oyster farms, providing a rustic experience.

To reach the beach, exit Old King's Highway at South Street and follow the signs directing you to the Crowes Pasture Conservation Area. Follow the signs to the parking area and go from there.

Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History in Brewster

Perhaps the simplest seashore on this list to find, due to its location directly behind the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, this beach is well worth the stroll. The seaside area is massive, with tons of white sand and space to stretch out away from the crowds.

While you can't park right at the museum, unless you're a paying customer, spots are available at Drummer Boy Park. From the park, it's a five-minute walk along Main Street, or Route 6, to the museum and then a short stroll along a marked trail to the water.

Forget About the Crowds

If the crowds are the one thing keeping you away from the beaches of Cape Cod, all it takes is a little effort to find a flawlessly secluded location to enjoy. Peace and quiet are abundant all over The Cape, even in the summer; all you have to do is know where to look.

When you plan your Cape Cod Vacation, whether you're looking for activities for your children or you want to sit on the beach with absolutely nothing to do, there's fun for everyone on Cape Cod's scenic beaches.

*Photo Credit CapeCodOnline.com



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