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The Best Beaches in Eastham, MA
(And Places to Stay Nearby!)

Updated: July 26, 2021

Where are the best beaches in Eastham?

According to the world-famous "Dr. Beach" (the guy who evaluates and rates the best of the best beaches), the top beach in town is this one ...

View from atop a dune to the beach and ocean, people on the beach and in the wavesCoast Guard Beach
The #1 Atlantic Ocean Beach in Eastham


Coast Guard Beach regularly makes Dr. Beach's "Top 10 in the USA" list.

Along with beautiful Ocean-side beaches, Eastham has some wonderful spots on the town's Cape Cod Bay shoreline, too!

Like this beach which holds a special place in our country's history ...

Sea grass-covered dunes, expansive stretch of beach and ocean viewsFirst Encounter Beach
The #1 Cape Cod Bay Beach in Eastham

Many more Eastham beaches merit "honorable mention" status. Read on to find out about all of them!

The Best Atlantic Ocean Beaches in Eastham

#1 - Coast Guard Beach

Once again this year, Coast Guard Beach made Dr. Beach's Top 10 list ... along with others in some of the most famous and exotic locales in the USA. :-)

Deserted beach, tall dunes, and ocean wavesPeaceful Morning at Coast Guard Beach

The good Doctor gets no argument from me - except I think it should have been much higher up on the list, as it has been in prior years!

From your first glimpse of Coast Guard Beach, you'll see why this is such a special place. 

Two-lane road paralleling the coastline, views of the beach with the old Coast Guard station on the hillApproaching Coast Guard Beach on Ocean View Drive

The old Coast Guard Station for which the beach was named sits high on the dune overlooking the Atlantic.

*Note: The station isn't open for tours. But it's a perfect spot for memorable photo ops!

Large white Coast Guard building with green shutters, overlooking the beachOld Coast Guard Station in Eastham, MA

From that vantage point, you'll also have awesome views of Nauset Marsh and peeks of ocean in the distance.

View of the marsh, inlets and outer beachNauset Marsh at High Tide

And then, there's the main attraction: the dazzling shoreline!

Soft sand, towering dunes, crashing waves. And sometimes, if you're looking out to sea at the right moment ...
 

As with all Atlantic Ocean beaches on the New England coastline, the water at Coast Guard is chilly, even in mid-summer. Actually, it's downright cold ... mid- to upper-60s.

But that doesn't deter hearty swimmers, surfers and boogie boarders from plunging into the rolling waves and sparkling water.

Prefer to stay warm and dry? This beach is also phenomenal for long walks!

  • Body of Water: Atlantic Ocean

  • Crowd Factor: Coast Guard Beach does get busy on hot summer days. But most people tend to congregate near the first lifeguard station. If you walk a little way up or down the beach, it's easy to find "alone space".

  • Amenities (Seasonal): Lifeguards, restroom and shower facilities. Coast Guard Beach is also handicapped accessible and has over-sand wheelchairs available in season.

  • Beach Address:  2 Ocean View Drive, Eastham, MA  

  • Parking Availability: In season, vehicles must park at Little Creek Shuttle area, 1.5 miles west of the beach. Watch for signs on Doane Road.

    From the shuttle area, transport shuttles run regularly to and from the beach. If you arrive by 10:30 a.m., you should have no problem finding a parking spot and little waiting time for a shuttle to pick you up.

    (*Note: Very limited parking is available at the beach, and in-season it's reserved for vehicles bearing an Eastham resident parking sticker or a disabled parking permit.)

    Parking/Beach Entrance Fees: National Seashore entrance/parking fees apply every day in season and on weekends only in spring and fall. In the off-season, parking and entry are free.



#2 - Nauset Light Beach

Runner-up spot for the best Atlantic Ocean beach in Eastham goes to Nauset Light Beach.

Rolling waves hitting the shore, pastel sunset sky over the oceanSunset at Nauset Light Beach in Eastham

Not to be confused with Nauset Beach in Orleans, this is Nauset Light Beach - named for the lighthouse that stands guard about 300 feet inland from the bluff.

Red and white lighthouse and weathered-shingle keepers houseNauset Lighthouse at Dusk

Nauset Light Beach is about a mile north of Coast Guard Beach, and it shares many of the same attributes: beautiful sand, good surf, cold water, and lots of room.

This is one of the best beaches in Eastham for snapping some amazing photos. If you stand at the viewing area near the parking lot, you'll have a perfect vantage point for shots of the lighthouse and the ocean vista from atop the dune.

** SPECIAL NOTE - In pre-Coronavirus times, Nauset Lighthouse was open for free tours several days each week, from early May through late October.

Now that Covid-restrictions have been lifted, I'm hopeful that the interior tours will resume sometime this summer. Even if they don't, though, you can still walk the grounds and snap photos.

  • Body of Water: Atlantic Ocean

  • Crowd Factor: This is a very popular beach, but a short walk down the beach in either direction will take you away from the crowd. 

  • Amenities (Seasonal): Lifeguards, restroom and shower facilities.

  • Beach Address: 120 Nauset Light Beach Road, Eastham, MA

  • Parking: There's a good-sized parking lot at Nauset Light Beach. One section of the lot is reserved for Town of Eastham residents. The remainder is open to anyone with a National Seashore pass or payment of a daily fee. The lot usually fills by 10 a.m. during the summer months.

Update: July 2021

Due to ongoing construction, parking at Nauset Light Beach is extremely limited.

The National Parks Service is advising visitors to choose a different beach until construction is completed.

Best Cape Cod Bay Beaches in Eastham MA

#1 - First Encounter Beach

My vote for the top spot on the town of Eastham's Cape Cod Bay coastline goes to First Encounter Beach.

This is the historic beach I mentioned above. It's where the Mayflower Pilgrims first encountered a band of Native Americans after landing on Cape Cod in November of 1620.

Sun shining on the beach and reflecting off the waterNovember Afternoon at First Encounter Beach

First Encounter is a very family friendly place to spend the day. Although older kids normally prefer the big surf at Coast Guard and Nauset Light, First Encounter's warm, calm waters are much more safe for the tiny tots in the family.

The crankiest the water ever becomes at First Encounter is when the wind is honkin' in an on-shore direction. Then the big kids will love it here, too, especially if they're into wind surfing or kite surfing!

Kite surfers skimming the whitecapsKite Surfing at First Encounter
  • Body of Water: Cape Cod Bay

  • Crowd Factor: Does get quite busy in July and August.

  • Amenities (Seasonal): Lifeguards, restroom/bathhouse facilities. Ice cream truck comes around daily in the summer months. Oversand wheelchairs available in season. Call (508) 240-5000 to reserve.

  • Beach Address: 1699 Samoset Road, Eastham, MA

  • Parking: Decent number of spaces, but the lot fills on busy days. Town of Eastham parking fee or sticker required in season.


#2 - Sunken Meadow

The runner-up spot for the best Bay-side beach in Eastham goes to Sunken Meadow.

Picket fence on the beach and view of the BaySunken Meadow Beach

It's not the most scenic beach in town (IMHO), but it does have a decent amount of space. It also has the warm, calm waters that Cape Cod Bay is known for. That's undoubtedly why Sunken Meadow appeals to so many families with small children.

  • Body of Water: Cape Cod Bay

  • Crowd Factor: Not usually an issue.

  • Amenities: None, except restroom facilities (porta potty) in season.

  • Beach Address: South Sunken Meadow Road, Eastham, MA.

  • Parking: Very limited. Town-issued sticker required. 


#3 - Cooks Brook Beach

Cooks Brook is one of the smaller beaches in Eastham. But the lovely view of the Bay and the dunes make this beach well worth a visit.

Sandy shoreline, small dune, and jetty into the waterCooks Brook Beach
  • Body of Water: Cape Cod Bay

  • Crowd Factor: Rarely gets very crowded.

  • Amenities (Seasonal): Lifeguard, restroom facilities (porta-potty). Beach wheelchair available. Call (508) 240-5000 for info.

  • Beach Address: Steele Road, Eastham, MA

  • Parking: There's a good-sized lot at Cooks Brook. Daily fee or town-issued sticker required.

#4 - Campground Beach

I'd put Campground in the "Honorable Mention" category.

This is a small-ish beach that's popular with folks who own a home or rent a cottage in the neighborhood.

View of the beach, looking in from the sand flats of Cape Cod Bay at low tideCampground Beach

When the tide is high, there's not a lot of room to spread out at Campground. When the tide is out - as it is in the photo above - there's lots more sand.

If you're renting in the area (more about that in a minute), and you time your visit according to tides chart, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy Campground Beach!

  • Body of Water: Cape Cod Bay

  • Crowd Factor: It does get crowded at Campground Beach during the summer. To have "first dibs" on a good spot, get there early.

  • Amenities: None, except restroom facilities (porta potty). Beach wheelchair available in season.

  • Beach Address: 500 Shurtleff Road, Eastham, MA

  • Parking: A reasonable amount of parking spots for the size of the beach. Daily fee or town-issued sticker required.

#5 - Dyer Prince Beach

Also in the "Honorable Mention" category, Dyer Prince is an off-the-beaten-path Eastham beach - literally. There's a trail at the end of the parking area that leads to a small, quiet stretch of sand on Cape Cod Bay.

Dyer Prince is a nice place to spend a few peaceful hours with that special someone, or just hang out on your own reading a book and watching the wildlife.

  • Body of Water: Cape Cod Bay

  • Crowd Factor: Not usually an issue.

  • Amenities: None.

  • Beach Address: Dyer Prince Road, Eastham, MA

  • Parking: Very limited. Town-issued sticker required.

Beach Parking Fees, Passes & Stickers

All public beaches in the town of Eastham are open year round.

In season, expect to pay a daily fee or buy a beach pass/sticker.

Off-season, entrance and parking are free.

Here's where to find all the details about:

Lodging Near Eastham's Best Beaches

What's better than spending the day at a great beach? Being able to walk or ride your bike there any time the spirit moves!

To get you started on your vacation lodging research, I've picked out some excellent options near the best beaches in Eastham.

Coast Guard Cottage

It's always a challenge to find a rental this close to Coast Guard, let alone overlooking the beach. If you're planning the perfect romantic getaway to Cape Cod, have a look at this cute cottage!

More rentals near Coast Guard Beach ...

Nauset Light Beach Cottage

This home is so close to the Ocean than you'll hear the surf and smell the salty air from your open windows. Plus, it's just a short bike ride from here to Coast Guard Beach, and only a few miles to the Bay side of town, if you'd like to "mix and match" your beach experiences. ;-)

More rentals near Nauset Light Beach ...

First Encounter Vacation Home

Take an easy stroll from this rental home to First Encounter. Or hang out on the private beach just steps away from your door. (Notice the water view from the bedroom window!) ...


More rentals near First Encounter Beach ...

Sunken Meadow Rental House

Just a short (10 minutes or less) walk to Sunken Meadow, this home has Cape Cod Bay views and plenty of living space for 10 people.


More vacation rentals near Sunken Meadow Beach ...

Cooks Brook Beach Cottage

This adorable rental cottage is just a minute or two walk from Cooks Brook. And it's recently been renovated in Cape Cod style.


More vacation rental properties near Cooks Brook beach ...


Campground Beach Cottage

There are lots of very nice (and quite moderately priced) vacation rental cottages in the neighborhoods around Campground Beach. This one is a nature lover's paradise!

More vacation rentals near Campground Beach ...


Have fun at the beach in Eastham!


Related Pages:

About the Town of Eastham MA


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