Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Beaching it

A very general beach overview for newbies - by susan

Cape Cod is all about its beaches.  Most of us hit the beach now and then…. for sunbathing, swimming, walking, shell collecting, or trying to find the elusive piece of beach glass.  Everyone knows the Cape is home to the most beautiful beaches in the world.  Each beach, of course, has its own personality and that’s part of what makes beach going on the Cape so much fun, the sheer variety.

Before we post about our favorite beaches, let's start with some “shore” facts.  (GEEK ALERT: I love facts, skip this paragraph if you don’t) The beaches (and all of Cape Cod) are terminal glacial moraines which were formed in the last ice age about 16,000 – 20,000 years ago.  We have over 550 miles of coastline here to explore and at least 100 beaches.

Most of our visitors come in the summer and in general, the swimming is great in July and August.  For sure, some hardy folks (and kids) do swim in June and September and a few locals of questionable sanity do that "polar bear thing" in the dead of winter (while I’m curled up by the fire).

The north side beaches on Cape Cod Bay offer the least surf and tides that go out forever; making them perfect for young children to swim and go hunting in the tidal pools.  Last year in tidal pools at Sandy Neck my daughter and I  found crabs, starfish, clams, and even a small lobster.

 Sandy beaches and warmer water (relatively speaking for New England) can be found on the South side beaches along Nantucket Sound.  At those beaches you will find a more rolling surf but still great for kids.

The real action is the east side beaches, the Atlantic Ocean.  They have big surf (watch for undertows) and colder water, making them wonderful for adults or teenagers to enjoy.  Surfers of all sorts head to the Atlantic: body, board, and wind surfers are out much of the year. 

The National Seashore is on the east side too, 40 miles of beautiful beach.  From these east facing beaches you can see all sorts of sea birds, an occasional whale, and seals too (I wouldn’t get to close to either, they are not as friendly as they look).

All in all, our beaches have something for everyone, lighthouses, treasure hunting, hiking, bonfires, and my favorite sport, people watching! Watch this space for posts about our favorite beaches.  Go grab your beach chair, put on some sunscreen, and enjoy!  


  1. I regretably haven't been to the cape beaches in some time (still trying to get my body temperature back to 98.6) but for those fur covered swimmers no place is as beautiful as you describe!!! Stumbled on your blog and it reminds me of why I need to plan another visit soon.

  2. Took a vacation to your beautiful backyard as a kid, the August temps of 68 did not nearly feel as bone chilling as they do now. The Cape is a special place as you describe if you can handle the invigorating surf.....if not, I recommend a wet suit or a 10 day caribbean cruise!

  3. Hey the ocean temps here get into the low 70's at times! Come back and visit soon and check it out. Or go to one of our 365 ponds on the Cape and there you will find some water temps like a bath tub!



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