Eastham MA

Gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Town of Eastham is a coastal resort community straddling the arm of Cape Cod. Located on the lower Cape, the town is bounded on two sides by land, the other two by water, the Atlantic Ocean, and Cape Cod Bay.

Eastham is a quiet town with several Ocean and Bay Beaches, a host of kettle ponds, pretty country lanes, panoramic views of Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and lots of wide-open space for nature lovers. Pre-colonial stands of oak and pine were long ago harvested for fuel and shipbuilding and the terrain of the town is now heavily salt marsh and sand.

The town was originally home to the Nauset Indians. In 1651, it was incorporated by a group of Pilgrims who settled here. About one third (4800 Acres) of the Town is included in the National Seashore National Park.

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Eastham Beaches Information:

Parking at Eastham town beaches requires a sticker, available at the Natural Resources building on Old Orchard Road, (508) 240-5972. Stickers are free for residents; for nonresident renters, the cost is $20 for one week, $30 for two weeks and $50 for the season. Visitors can park for $5 a day. But note that although Eastham resident stickers are good for both town and National Seashore beaches, visitor stickers purchased from the town are good only at town beaches and not Seashore beaches.

While the National Seashore beaches have lifeguards in season, Eastham town beaches do not, with the exception of Great Pond Beach, on Great Pond Road, and Wiley Park, on the other side of Great Pond off Herringbrook Road. Wiley Park also has a small playground and restrooms and is great for families. Eastham beaches have no concession stands, but the ice cream truck visits each one periodically all day long. Town beaches that dot the bay side include First Encounter, which is beautiful but can get crowded. To get away from it all, drive beyond the main parking lot and find a spot down by the river, where the beach is lovely and the water is calm. First Encounter is one of the few beaches in Eastham with real restrooms, the other two being Wiley Park and Cook's Brook; the others have portable toilets.

Moving up the bay coast, you'll find Thumpertown Beach, which is nice but has limited parking and a stairway down to the beach. Just north of Thumpertown is Campground Beach, which has a larger parking lot and easier access to the beach but can get cramped at high tide. Cook's Brook is quiet and pretty, as is Sunken Meadow; both have limited parking and are frequented largely by the occupants of nearby cottages.

On the ocean side are two popular Cape Cod National Seashore beaches--they're easy to find, just turn east at the Visitors Center off Mass. Rt. 6 and keep driving. Coast Guard Beach has virtually no parking at the beach, but there is a large lot just a half-mile away that is serviced by a frequent shuttle bus. Or, park at the Doane Rock picnic area and hike through the woods and over the boardwalk--a pretty walk, but long if you're carrying much gear or have young children. Just to the north is Nauset Light Beach, whose namesake lighthouse was moved back from an eroding cliff in 1996. The lot here fills up fast. If you're really desperate, you can park at the high school on Cable Road, but it's a hearty walk from there. You may want to note that Nauset Light Beach features a towering stairway that leads down to the beach, so if your party includes someone who has difficulty with stairs, choose Coast Guard Beach instead, as it has a gentle ramp leading down to the sands.

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