The Best Beaches to Go Off-roading on Cape Cod

It’s no secret that Cape Cod’s number one asset is its beaches, with enough sand to suit any need.

So you surf and it’s waves that you seek? No problem, I would suggest Nauset Beach in Orleans or Marconi Beach in Wellfleet at the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Want calm waters and a great view? Try Duck Harbor in Wellfleet or Skaket Beach in Orleans. You happen to be a history buff in need of a tan? Worry not; First Encounter Beach has all that you require.

We’ve got big beaches and small beaches, fresh water beaches and salt water too; we have beaches on bays, and beaches on oceans, and beaches on harbors. There are beaches for kite-surfers, and sunbathers; for swimmers and fishermen. But a particular favorite among the locals and visitors alike would have to be the Cape’s off-road beaches.

On the rare occasions that piping plovers elect to cooperate, there are few things better than the feeling that comes with airing down your tires and driving six miles-per-hour along the sea to set up for a morning, afternoon, or even an evening out on the beach. This is a list of some of the Cape’s finest beaches on which you may lawfully drive. (Check with each town to make sure the beach you want to visit is open to off-roading, as beaches begin to open again.)

Sandy Neck Beach, Barnstable
One of the most revered and certainly one of the most popular beaches on Cape Cod, Sandy Neck is a six-mile long barrier beach. This beach is known for its off-roading trails, though often falling prey to plover-related closures, buying a sticker here is a risk worth taking. Sure, the water’s cold. Yes, the shore is rocky. But these are the sacrifices that we make for days of bringing a grill and a cooler full of 100% non-alcoholic beverages (hey, rules are rules). You can go for the day, set up a fire in the evening, crash in your Winnebago all night long and wake up early and watch the sun rise up over the Bay. Not a bad way to spend a day on Cape Cod.

Head of the Meadow Beach, Truro
The off road vehicle corridor at the Cape Cod National Seashore is comprised of miles of unspoiled beaches managed by the National Park Service to accommodate ORV enthusiasts and other beach goers. While they can be tricky to deal with in terms of beach fires, the Seashore is accommodating of fishing and pets. While often shut down for those plovers, there are few things more beautiful than the miles of unspoiled natural scenery at the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Chapin Beach, Dennis
The Town of Dennis is blessed with beautiful, long, clean, and sandy beaches on the north side, notably at Chapin Beach and Crowes Pasture. The Dennis Conservation Commission allows the area to be traversed by beach vehicles if used cautiously, with due concern to environmental and human values.

Race Point Beach, Provincetown
Take all the nice things I said about the National Seashore vis–à–vis Head of the Meadow and apply them here as well. Stop by the Province Lands Visitor Center located on Race Point Road just before the beach parking lot for some educational fun before you head out. You’re also just a brief jaunt from the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown center. It’s a great place for surfing and bodyboarding in some of the biggest waves along the Cape.

Nauset Beach, Orleans
Beautiful sunrises, excellent bass and blue fishing, surfing, sunbathing, swimming in cool ocean waters, and year-round off-road vehicle access. If heaven was a place on Earth, it would (naturally) be on Cape Cod and it would be called Nauset Beach. Those folks in Orleans are serious about their rules: no animals without leashes, no alcohol, no fires, etc. And plovers do seem to be drawn to the place like a moth to flame. But nevertheless, the views are spectacular, the waters are rough and exciting and you can camp on the beach with your motorhome.

By Staff
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