Why Sandy Neck is So Sublime


Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

When it comes to some of Cape Cod’s best beaches, it turns out Sandy Neck is a true favorite of both locals and visitors alike. This six-mile barrier beach is technically shared by both Barnstable and Sandwich, as Sandy Neck Beach Park contains well more than 4,000 acres of land.

This means plenty of space to lounge out on the sand, plus also explore sand dunes, salt marshes, maritime forests, and freshwater wetlands. The beach is a particularly fun spot for those of all ages during low tide, and thousands upon thousands of people visit it each year.

Low tide is when sandbars emerge, making it fun to wade in the shallow water and look for crabs and starfish. If you’re motivated enough, you can walk all the way to the tip of Sandy Neck.

This area is marked by a few cottages and a privately-owned lighthouse. If you walk a couple of miles or so in the other direction, you’ll eventually reach Scorton Creek.

Sandy Neck Beach Park also allows camping, or you can sometimes drive out on the sand with an off-road vehicle permit and the correct equipment. Sometimes too, there are organized hikes and walks you can join at Sandy Neck.

During certain times of the day, horses are allowed in parts of Sandy Neck, as well. If you’d rather explore on two wheels, there are some trails that allow fat-tire biking.

Keep in mind, though, some trails and sections of the front beach are closed during certain times of the year to help protect endangered shorebirds. If you don’t have a residential beach sticker, you’ll need to pay a daily parking fee to use the public parking lot.

Like many coastal areas, there is a threat of erosion at Sandy Neck. While extra sand has been used in the past as a short-term solution, a longer-term solution may be warranted in the future. Last year, some grant money was earmarked to help relocate the parking lot and enhance the primary dune at Sandy Neck.

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