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Free Beaches

by Jerry L.
(Albany NY)

Question: Are there any free beaches on Cape Cod?


My wife and I are going to Cape Cod for the first time in May. We're not planning to spend all our days at the beach. But we would like to visit a few different beaches while we're there.

Our vacation budget is limited so I'm hoping to find some nice beaches where we don't have to pay an entrance fee. Can you help?

Updated: March 9, 2021

Dee's Reply: Hi Jerry - I'm so glad you asked this question! Yes, I can help.

You haven't said when in May you'll be here. And your timing matters.

Here's why ...

Free Beaches Before Memorial Day Weekend


If you'll be here before Memorial Day weekend, you'll find most beaches open without any charge for entry or parking.

The exception is the town of Bourne beaches where you'll need a town-issued parking sticker to park in the town-managed parking lots. If you park without the sticker, you're likely to be fined if you're caught. (It's not worth the risk, IMHO!)

Free Beaches After Memorial Day Weekend


Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches


Cape Cod National Seashore begins charging entry fees on Memorial Day weekend.

But ... they're only charged on the weekend from Memorial Day until mid-June. Then, they begin charging every day until after Labor Day.

So, if you'd like to visit these National Seashore beaches (highly recommended, by the way!), go any weekday in May - except Memorial Day Monday - for free entry:

Coast
Guard and Nauset Light in Eastham


Marconi in Wellfleet

Head of the Meadow in Truro

Herring Cove and Race Point in Provincetown.

Town-Managed Beaches


Each town on the Cape sets its own beach rules and fees.

Some towns begin collecting parking fees on Memorial Day weekend. Most don't begin charging until mid-June.

In my town-by-town beach guides, I have all the info about each town's fees and stickers and when they're required.

You'll find those guides and lots more beach-related information here.)

Free Beaches Year Round


Are any Cape Cod beaches are totally free to visit all year round? Yes!

Here's my page that will tell you all about Free Year-Round Beaches on Cape Cod.

They're all well worth a visit!

I hope this information helps. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

Best Regards,

Dee

P.S. I know it's not polite to ask someone's age, so I won't. ;-)

I'll just mention that if you're aged 62 or over, you're eligible for a US National Parks Senior Pass.

The Senior Pass gives free admission, all year long, to National Parks and Federal Lands across the USA. That includes all 6 beaches managed by the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Free US National Parks passes are also available for military members and their families, as well as for disabled individuals.

For more about the US National Parks passes, see my reply to Nancy's question, here.

And here's where you'll find information and tips for parking at National Seashore beaches in season.

Comments for Free Beaches

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Parking free before 6 or 7am?
by: Anonymous

Do you know when the attendant on duty to collect the parking at the National Seashore beaches? I am hoping to get there to see the sunrise.

Dee's Reply: The parking lots open at 6 a.m. I don't think they start checking passes and collecting fees at that hour. But I'm not sure what time they do. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to call the National Seashore to find out. The main phone number for CCNS is (508) 771-2144.

~Dee

Free after 5--but can you park
by: Anonymous

Can you park at West Dennis Beach after 5?

Dee's Reply: I've never had a problem parking at West Dennis Beach after normal beach hours without a parking pass.

To confirm that it's okay, I just called the Town of Dennis Beach Department. The lady I spoke with told me, "Yes, you can park there without a pass after 5 p.m."

~ Dee

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