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lighthouse beach - chatham

The summer season is here, and just in time for warmer temperatures and sunshine, we’re revealing the top seven beaches on Cape Cod. In no particular order, these are some of the true favorites:

Coast Guard Beach - Eastham

Stunning Coast Guard Beach in Eastham is a popular space for surfing and birding. Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, a free shuttle runs back and forth from the visitor center during the busy summer months.

Mayflower Beach – Dennis

Also part of the Seashore, Mayflower Beach in Dennis is an extremely popular location. Surfers and boogie boarders come here for the waves, but the location is also praised for its scenery. The beach offers lifeguards, a boardwalk, restrooms and showers.

Race Point Beach – Provincetown

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message in a bottle on beachPhoto: Blew Bird

You’ve likely watched a movie or even read a book about finding a message in a bottle. As it turns out, sometimes the story is real life.

When it comes to Cape Beaches, finding a message in a bottle isn’t really that uncommon. Last month, a young family discovered their own bottle while walking along Falmouth Heights Beach and searching for shells.

The family says their three-year-old actually found the bottle. They picked it up, opened it, and found a message supposedly from the U.K, inside. The message was dated 2009. The family says they plan to put their own message in a new bottle and keep the gesture going.

It’s not the only such discovery. Last December another man claims he found an old glass bottle with a message

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sipson island

It’s been hundreds of years since people were last allowed to explore Sipson Island, but after all this time it’s finally open to outside visitors. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for some, as the island’s been closed off to the public for more than 300 years.

The Sipson Island Trust recently purchased the land for conservation and educational purposes. It’s the first time the island’s changed ownership since the early 1700s when it was purchased for private use.

Until recently, Sipson Island was the only privately-owned island remaining in Pleasant Bay, and the only one without public access. The trust is hoping to someday establish more educational programming for the island, including the ability to help teach kids about the island’s role

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rexhame beach - marshfieldPhoto: Kate Hannon

If you’re looking for a great beach to take the entire family, consider a trip to Rexhame Beach in Marshfield. The beach is an ideal spot for four-legged friends and their human family members.

While many public beaches on the south shore don’t allow dogs to come out on the beach during the summer season, that’s not the case at Rexhame Beach. Located at the far end of the parking lot is one of the main entrances to the beach, and it even provides a stand with dog bags.

Just off the parking lot is a gated entrance leading to trails running along the South River. If you don’t want to take your dog on the beach you can easily connect up with one of the nearby dog hiking trails near the beach.  The hiking trails are good for dogs

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sailboats in marblehead harborPhoto: Leslie Stormes

Dating all the way back to the 1600s, Marblehead is known for its narrow streets and centuries-old buildings. It’s seafaring history, however, is what put the town on track to being named the “Yachting Capital of Massachusetts”.

If you ask some, though, it may really be the “Yachting Capital of the World”. For generations Marblehead Harbor has served as the starting and ending port for international races.

To this day, the once prosperous fishing port remains a renowned location for sailing. While only about 20,000 people live in Marblehead, the town boasts around a half-dozen different yacht clubs, catering to grownups and kids alike.

The oldest yacht club in Marblehead dates back to the late 1800s. The town,

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coast guard beach - eastham ma

Coast Guard Beach is once again ranked as one of the best. The beach recently took the number six spot when it comes to the annual list of the best beaches in the country, compliments of Dr. Beach. Last year Coast Guard Beach sat in the number five spot.

Not only is the beach special for its unique attributes, but it’s also the only New England beach to grab a spot on the list this year. Beaches are ranked in terms of everything from water temperature and cleanliness to safety and the softness of the sand.

In fact, 50 different criteria are taken into consideration. The professor behind the ranking system has been coming out with the list for decades, with his selections based on personal visits and federal data collected by the EPA.

As for

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north truro air station - truro ma

Now the destination of curious visitors to Cape Cod, the North Truro Air Station maintains a unique history. Spurred by Russia testing its first atomic bomb, the North Truro Air Station was born in the early 1950s. Its location was utilized to monitor Soviet bombers, as one of the first radar listening stations.

Decommissioned, however, in the mid 1990s at the end of the Cold War, most of the land of the abandoned military site came under control of the National Park Service, and part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Still though, its old barracks, officers’ quarters, buildings and even a bowling alley remain. While the radar dishes are no longer there, the concrete pads where they used to stand remain in the ground.

Some buildings have been

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highland light - truro ma

One of Cape Cod’s most prominent landmarks is closed for the time being. Truro’s Highland Light just closed down for at least a year, part of a $1.2 million project to address safety and structural concerns with the lighthouse.

Known as Cape Cod’s tallest and oldest lighthouse, the Highland Light currently sits on the National Register of Historic Places. Also known by some as Cape Cod Light, it is traditionally open for guided tours during select months of the year, with its grounds open all year long.

Owned by the National Park Service and part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, a non-profit operates the lighthouse as a tourist attraction, while the Coast Guard operates the light. It’s a landmark, though, that’s served Cape Cod for centuries, with

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With good waves for boogie boarding and for surfing, Ballston Beach presents a quiet, less crowded option for beachgoers on Cape Cod. This Truro beach also allows for some outstanding views, not just of the ocean but also of the nearby hills.

Nature isn’t just responsible for the scenery, though, it’s also gradually changing the beach itself. For years now the beach has been at the mercy of Mother Nature, with hurricane force winds just a few years ago heavily damaging the dune and flooding the nearby parking lot.

That was followed up by yet another winter storm and another overwash, creating an even wider opening in the dune. It’s a theme that’s repeated itself over and over again. That’s led area leaders and residents to question the future of the

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nauset beach - orleans maEfforts to protect Nauset Beach from future erosion likely include a proposal to construct a new dune at the beach. It’s a temporary solution Orleans town selectmen are pondering as the winter season quickly approaches.

Recently town selectmen looked at a number of different backup plans in anticipation of another rough winter season ahead. Last winter the beach took a real beating, and it’s hoped that the beach administration building will at least make it through one more summer.

Several months ago a popular snack shack had to be relocated to higher ground, and a beach office, parking lot and restrooms could be next. Constructing a new dune, alone, could total at least $1 million, still a much lower cost than moving everything that currently sits in the

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