The Beach Times

Beaches That Allow Offroading on Cape Cod
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, June 10, 2019


 

The beaches of Cape Cod provide a paradise for all who visit them, but did you know that you can drive your vehicle in search of secluded spots with no one else nearby? Many residents of the Cape take advantage of this feature every year because they can escape the crowds and relax in peace on quite pieces of sand.

As a visitor to Cape Cod, you might find it more challenging to go ahead with this venture, but if you drive to the area and have a four-wheel drive vehicle, nothing is stopping you from offroading on some of the Cape’s exceptional beaches.

Here is a list of some of Cape Cod's top ORV beaches, along with the rules and regulations that you must follow.

 

Rules and Equipment

 

To access any of Cape Cod's beaches in your vehicle, you must, first of all, have a four-wheel drive truck or SUV. Attempting to drive on the sand without this equipment is a recipe for failure and will lead to you getting stuck. In fact, officials won't even let you attempt it.

Before being permitted on these beaches, your car or truck will have to pass an inspection. If you've passed an inspection in the last year, you might be spared this time around, but park employees are allowed to have a look at your vehicle at any point to make sure it meets the requirements. You're also required to have the following six items in your vehicle at all times: a tire gauge, a spare tire, a shovel, tow straps, a jack, and a support board. All of these articles will assist you if you get stuck in the sand.

Each beach has its own rules that you’ll have to follow. We’ll outline many of these rules and regulations later in the article.

 

Safety Information

Staying safe is crucial whenever you're close to the ocean, so make sure you follow the advice and instructions of local town administrators. You'll also want to keep an eye on the tide chart yourself, just in case you miss a warning that is put out by the town.

When driving, try to stay out of the ruts. While you'll probably want to follow the tracks of other vehicles in soft sand, as they will provide more traction, you'll want to avoid deeper ruts because they can cause your car or truck to bottom out and get stuck.

The reason for bringing a tire gauge is to monitor your tire pressure. You should lower the pressure in all of your tires to between 11 and 15 psi because this provides better traction in soft sand.

 

Nauset Beach in Orleans

Nauset Beach in Orleans frequently closes because of the threatened and endangered birds that reside on its shores, but if you happen to be around when it's open, there's nothing like it. You'll need to have your vehicle inspected before you can purchase a beach access sticker, which is $66 for residents and $196 for out of towners, with discounted rates available for the winter.

You can spend the night on the beach if you have a self-contained vehicle, defined here as a camper, motorhome, or trailer with a water source and toilet. The permit for taking these vehicles onto the beach costs $266 per year. Fires on the beach are prohibited.

 

The Cape Cod National Seashore

Depending on the time of year, much of the Cape Cod National Seashore allows ORV access, but you'll have to be prepared for closures here, as well. Vehicles are permitted everywhere from Race Point Light to Long Nook Beach, which is just south of Coast Guard Beach.

During the spring, however, there are restrictions on many places along the beach because of piping plover nesting, and you'll also see beaches closed when there are unsafe conditions or work being done to prepare the beaches for the summer. On Coast Guard Beach, you can only access the sand in your vehicle between 6:00 PM and 7:00 AM for night fishing purposes, as it's too busy during the day.

To get a permit to enter the Cape Cod National Seashore in your vehicle, you'll have to pass a vehicle inspection, have all the required safety equipment, view the orientation program, and purchase a pass. This pass will cost you $50 for seven days or $150 for the entire year. Keep in mind that rental vehicles are not permitted and you must be the registered owner of the truck to obtain a pass. If you wish to spend the night on one of the beaches, you’ll need a self-contained vehicle pass, which is $225 per year or $75 per week. Camping is only permitted on Race Point Beach, and trailers are prohibited.

 

Sandy Neck Beach in West Barnstable

In Barnstable, certain portions of Sandy Neck Beach are accessible via offroad vehicle. The beach is very long, and much of the vehicle-friendly area is at the far east end of the park. To reach these areas, turn right onto the trail that is just north of the Sandy Neck Gate House. This trail will take you to the dunes, which you can drive on until you reach your desired location. You can drive all the way out near Beach Point, which is a secluded area where you can find a piece of sand all to yourself.

To obtain a beach pass, you'll have to provide your driver's license, proof of address, and vehicle registration at the Sandy Neck Gate House. Barnstable residents can buy a pass for $30 for the winter or $90 for the year, while non-resident passes are $60 for the winter and $180 for the year. You are permitted to spend the night on the beach if you have a self-contained vehicle, although it will cost you an extra $5-10 per night. You can also use a tent in the designated camping area. Campfires are allowed with a permit.

 

Chapin Memorial and Crowes Pasture in Dennis

In Dennis, you’ll have access to two ORV-friendly locations in a relatively small area at Chapin Memorial and Crowes Pasture beaches.  Chapin Memorial Beach provides easy access to the sand through its main parking area. Once you head through the parking lot, turn left and head south along the beach until you find a spot to yourself.

At the far east end of town is Crowes Pasture Conservation Area, which is home to a long stretch of beach that is ORV-friendly. Getting to this beach is a little more complicated, however, as you'll have to turn onto South Street from the Old King's Highway. Follow South Street in a northeast direction until you get to the sand. From there, turn right, and you can follow the sand out to Quivett Neck. There are plenty of secluded spots on this beach, especially since it's not as popular with tourist beachgoers as many others in the area.

The Town of Dennis doesn't offer daily or weekly passes, so you'll have to purchase an annual ORV sticker if you want to take your vehicle onto one of its beaches. The sticker costs $150 for locals and $300 for everyone else. Your vehicle might have to pass an inspection before being allowed on the sand, and only the registered owner can drive it. No rental cars are allowed, and these beaches do not allow overnight stays of any kind.

 

Watch for Closures

Keep an eye out for beach closures that could impact your ability to drive on a particular beach. In the spring, for example, many beaches close sections to protect the piping plover, a threatened shorebird that nests in the Cape’s sands, most notably on the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Poor weather or damaged beaches could also lead to closures, particularly for offroad vehicles. Have a look at your desired beach’s website and social media pages to make sure it’s open before venturing onto the sand.

As long as you take the necessary precautions, you should have an excellent time exploring Cape Cod’s beaches in your vehicle.



Barnstable Cape Cod Beaches Cape Cod National Seashore Chapin Beach Coast Guard Beach Crowes Pasture Dennis Long Nook Beach Nauset Beach Offroading Orleans Provincetown Race Point Sandy Neck

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