Anyone making a list of New England’s great parcels of public land would be sure to include the Cape Cod National Seashore on the list (along with Acadia National Park, the White Mountain National Forest, and the Green Mountain National Forest).
The Cape Cod National Seashore was created by President Kennedy on August 7, 1961. The park has nearly 40 miles of seashore in the towns of Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans and Chatham, and encompasses 43,500 acres. In addition to the seashore and its beautiful beaches, the Cape Cod National Seashore has marshes, ponds, wild cranberry bogs, trails, lighthouses, and much more. Over 3 million people visit it every year.
There are two visitor centers for the Cape Cod National Seashore: the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham (open year-round), and the Province Lands Visitor Center in Provincetown (open mid-May through October).
The Beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore
The Cape Cod National Seashore is home to six beaches, some of which are considered to be among the finest in the United States. These include:
- Coast Guard Beach, Eastham
- Nauset Light Beach, Eastham
- Marconi Beach, Wellfleet
- Head of the Meadow Beach, Truro
- Race Point Beach, Provincetown
- Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown
These beaches are open to the public for sunbathing and swimming. All of the beaches have lifeguards from late June through the last week of August. There are entrance fees for the beaches.
There are three bicycle trails (PDF) in the Cape Cod National Seashore:
- The Nauset Trail (1.6 miles) which can be accessed from the Salt Pond Visitor Center parking area in Eastham or the Doane Rock picnic area also in Eastham.
- The Head of the Meadow Trail (2 miles) which can be accessed from High Head Road in Truro or the Head of the Meadow Beach parking area in Truro.
- The Province Lands Trail which consists of a 5.45 mile loop trail, and spur trails of 1.1, 0.50, and 0.25 miles. This trail may be accessed from the Beech Forest parking area, Province Lands Visitor Center, Race Point Beach parking area or the Herring Cove Beach parking area, all of which are in Provincetown.
There are 12 self-guided trails (PDF) in the Cape Cod National Seashore, five of which are in Eastham, two of which are in Wellfleet, four of which are in Truro, and 1 of which is in Provincetown.
Cape Cod National Seashore Lighthouses
There are seven lighthouses within the Cape Cod National Seashore, including:
- Chatham Light in Chatham
- Highland / Cape Cod Light in Truro
- Long Point Light in Provincetown
- Nauset Light in Eastham
- Race Point Light in Provincetown
- Three Sisters Lighthouses in Eastham
- Wood End Light in Provincetown
Photo credits: The picture of the sign for the Cape Cod National Seashore is from Wikipedia. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. The picture of the sunset at Race Point Beach is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. The picture of Nauset Light is from Wikipedia. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.