Updated: August 11, 2022
Chatham beaches range from expansive strands on the wild and crashing Atlantic Ocean, to small family-friendly beaches on the sedate waters of Nantucket Sound.
The Sound-side beaches are wonderful for small children, beach sports and relaxing afternoons.
But it's the Ocean beaches that you'll photograph over and over and remember for years to come.
Lifeguards, restrooms, shower facilities, and food concessions (on-site or mobile) are available at some Chatham beaches in season only.
See individual beach descriptions and handicap accessibility information below for details.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, at most beaches in Chatham non-residents may park only by paying a daily fee or showing a weekly pass issued by the town. Seasonal passes are also available.
Click here for beach parking fee and pass information.
If you asked me to name one beach in Chatham that's a "must-visit", I'd have to say Chatham Light Beach, for sure!
If you asked me to name one beach in Chatham that's a "must-visit", I'd have to say Chatham Light Beach, for sure.
This is the beach that's right in front of Chatham Lighthouse. (It's also referred to as "Chatham Lighthouse Beach" or just "Lighthouse Beach".)
Granted, with its dangerous currents, major drop-offs from sand to sea, and summertime shark sightings - this is not the best swimming beach in town. In fact, swimming is highly restricted here and sometimes not allowed at all, for just those reasons.
However, this enormous and ever-changing shoreline is perfect for hanging out in a beach chair, watching for seals, and long romantic walks.
The scenery at Chatham Light Beach is, in a word: Phenomenal!
Ask any local to suggest a nice beach that's away from the crowd, and they'll probably mention Forest Beach.
This is one of the more quiet beaches in town (relatively speaking). In addition to the usual swimming and sunning, this is also a great place to view local wildlife and gather a bucket of beautiful shells.
Families with small children love this beach!
Tucked in between Forest and Ridgevale beaches, Cockle Cove is a small beach with gentle surf, warm water, and sweeping views.
I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing this beach might have been named for the wealth of pretty little cockle shells that line the shore. [Photos and more info about Cockle Cove Beach ...]
Ridgevale Beach is one of the largest and most popular south-side Chatham beaches.
One of the really neat features at Ridgevale is its little inlet creek. The super-calm creek waters make a good splashing spot for small children, while older children and adults enjoy swimming in the Sound.
This is an excellent spot for shell collecting, too.
Hardings is another popular Chatham beach on Nantucket Sound.
The sand is nice here, there's a designated swim area, plenty of room for beach sports, and a walking trail that leads to Stage Harbor Light.
Note: Active and retired US Military personnel are given free access to Harding's Beach with a valid military photo ID
Just a short drive or easy walk from Main Street, Oyster Pond isn't a "pond" in the traditional sense. It's actually a pretty, saltwater inlet off Nantucket Sound.
This is a totally family-friendly beach. Little tykes can splash around in the warm, calm waters. Older kids love the swim raft. And picnic tables and charcoal grills are there for anyone to use.
In season, several Chatham beaches have a beach wheelchair, MobiMat and/or ramp to help visitors with mobility limitations access and enjoy the beach.
For more information about accessibility at beaches in Chatham MA, contact the Recreation & Beach Department at (508) 945-5175.