Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spectacular Sandy Neck Beach

Home of the heart-shaped rocks - by susan

My favorite beach is Sandy Neck. It’s a 6 mile long coastal barrier beach which is shared by the towns of Sandwich and Barnstable. Sans a resident beach sticker, the $15 daily fee is a real bargain.

It has everything and more for a fabulous day at the beach: a snack bar, bathrooms, showers, lifeguards, wheelchair ramps, great boogie boarding, and even hiking and horse trails!

Sandy Neck is best enjoyed at low tide because otherwise it’s a bit rocky, so be sure you have beach shoes or flip flops for this beach. Before you, go check this tide chart (use Barnstable Harbor Beach) and get down to the beach a couple of hours before low tide. Soon you'll see the sandbars appear magically before your eyes, a few feet off the water's edge as the tide goes out.

Grab your beach stuff and wade thru the water between the shore and the sandbars and claim a good spot. Your kids will love playing in that “river” between the sandbars and the shore; that’s where all the crabs and starfish are. If you want a closer look at them, put them in a bucket filled with seawater but don’t take them home. When you're done examing them, carefully put them back where you found them. This is a perfect time to teach children to respect nature.

Each year the sandbars are different due to winter storms, but usually it's shallow enough to wade from sandbar to sandbar. The only thing to watch out for: if the tide is still going out there is an undertow between the sandbars. Now in my experience it's never been a serious undertow. I can easily walk thru it but you might not want to let your little toddlers play there; the "river area" is the best for the little ones.

If you're a good beach walker you can head west and walk all the way to Scorton Creek (a couple of miles I’d guess) or head east and walk all the way down to the very tip of Sandy Neck. There you'll find a small and very private cottage colony with a lighthouse. This lighthouse is privately owned (so don’t try to get in it). It was “headless” (no light) for 75 years until October 2007 when, by private donations, it was lit again and is now solar powered.

Oh, about those heart-shaped stones…. Sandy Neck is known among collectors of beach detritus as the place to get small heart-shaped rocks. So as you go beach walking, keep your eyes down and you'll find these treasures. Over the years I’ve collected hundreds of these gems. (see part of my collection below)


  1. Now Susan, Sandy Neck is best utilized at sunset or under moonlight w/ a bottle of Rose Moet...game?

  2. The collection of "hearts" from the local beaches is a gem.....the personal touches have made this a very special read~

  3. Hit the beach and maybe you'll find one.



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