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31 Best Beaches on Cape Cod (with something for everyone!)

An aerial shot of a long, beautiful beach on Cape Cod, and a forested area just off shore.

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As a Massachusetts native, I’m lucky to have spent a good amount of time on Cape Cod — or down the Cape, as we call it. This place is absolute heaven in the summer, with charming towns, fresh seafood, historic lighthouses and, of course, incredible Cape Cod beaches! 

Despite being a long, skinny peninsula, Cape Cod’s unique geography offers a surprisingly diverse collection of beaches on three bodies of water: the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod Bay, and Nantucket Sound. Whether you want calm waters and amenities or are looking for a wilder, more remote escape, there are beaches in Cape Cod for every kind of traveler.

There are a few things you should know, though.

First, Cape Cod is extremely busy in the summer, and no beaches are secrets anymore. Start your beach days early if you want to get a good spot.

Summer traffic is intense here, too. While the drive from one end of the Cape to the other should only take 90 minutes, it can be much longer than that in high season, and I don’t recommend a day trip from Boston to the Cape during the summer unless you’re taking the ferry to Provincetown. You’ll also want to plan your parking ahead of time, as some beaches require permits or only have parking for residents. Even beaches with public parking often charge steep daily rates. 

Alternatively, off-season on the Cape can be absolutely lovely — I especially love the fall months here. It won’t be swimming weather, and some businesses will be closed, but the charm is as vibrant as ever.

Additionally, sharks are often found just offshore on the Cape. But don’t let this scare you — the vast majority of Cape visitors have a perfectly safe time swimming. Be sure to follow all signs and local warnings, avoid swimming with seals or schools of fish, and follow these tips from the National Park Service.

From the Sagamore Bridge to the tip of Provincetown, here are my picks for the best beaches on Cape Cod! 

Planning a trip down the Cape? Be sure to check out my detailed guide to the towns of Cape Cod, a guide to the best things to do in Cape Cod, and my guide to eclectic, fun Provincetown.

This post was published in May 2024 and was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Riana Ang-Canning.

An aerial shot of a long, beautiful beach on Cape Cod, and a forested area just off shore.
Nauset Beach, a gorgeous beach on Cape Cod, via Shutterstock.

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