#1 Skaket Beach
#1 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
Situated in the town of Orleans on Cape Cod Bay, Skaket features warm, calm waters and a flat shore, making it ideal for families. During high tide, kids can swim as parents and lifeguards look on, while low tide exposes tide pools and more sand for walking. Just be sure to arrive early: The beach's parking lot is often full by 11 a.m.
#2 Sandy Neck Beach
#2 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
The pebbly Sandy Neck Beach spans 6 miles in Barnstable, a town in Mid Cape Cod. Known for its 4,700 acres of dunes, marshes and forests, this beach doubles as a wildlife refuge for a variety of animals, including the endangered piping plover bird. Plus, Sandy Neck boasts charming shacks and cottages, as well as walking and off-roading trails.
#3 Race Point Beach
#3 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
The rough waters at Provincetown's Race Point are ideal for surfing, but the beach also has some shallow areas available for swimming. If you'd rather stay on shore, you can sunbathe or bike the adjacent Province Lands Bike Trail. Race Point Beach is also home to the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, which dates back to the late 1800s and accepts visitors seasonally.
#4 Coast Guard Beach
#4 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
Eastham's Coast Guard Beach in Outer Cape Cod regularly earns accolades for its stunning views and dunes. Beachgoers will find large waves for surfing and boogie boarding, plus volleyball courts and the beach's namesake, a former coast guard station. To get to the beach, non-residents must bike or park in the Little Creek lot and use the free shuttle.
#5 Ballston Beach
#5 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
If you want to avoid the masses of beachgoers at other Cape Cod beaches, consider visiting Ballston Beach. Located in the town of Truro, this beach offers less-crowded sands for lounging, consistent waves for water sports and picturesque golden hills for photo ops. In fact, Ballston's tranquil setting inspired work from American painter Edward Hopper.
#6 Cahoon Hollow Beach
#6 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
This Wellfleet beach is popular with the younger crowd for its lively social scene on and off the sands. Beach bums flock here to surf, sunbathe and sip drinks at The Beachcomber bar. Families with little ones and older adults should be mindful that Cahoon Hollow Beach's entrances include steep dunes, which require holding on to ropes to traverse.
#7 Craigville Beach
#7 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
Offering showers, umbrella rentals and handicap accessibility, Craigville Beach attracts swimmers and sunbathers to its wide swath of shore. Parking is easier to find here than at other sandy spots in the region, but keep in mind that like many other Cape Cod beaches, Craigville requires buying a beach sticker (or permit) to park on-site.
#8 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
Provincetown's 30-plus miles of beaches and plethora of amenities make it one of the Cape's most popular beach towns. When you're not taking a dip in Race Point or Herring Cove's waters, get a dose of culture at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum or shop for art, antiques and more at Commercial Street's boutiques.
#9 Chatham Lighthouse Beach
#9 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
While swimming at the beach is not recommended due to its strong currents, Chatham Lighthouse Beach offers nature walks and chances to spot fishing boats and migrating seals. What's more, it's only a mile from downtown Chatham and is home to a working lighthouse, which you can climb on select summer days.
#10 Nauset Beach
#10 in Best Cape Cod Beaches
The 10-mile-long Nauset Beach attracts active travelers in droves. In addition to featuring protected areas for swimming and boogie boarding, this Orleans beach offers off-roading trails and designated sections for surfing. Plus, Nauset's gazebo hosts free outdoor concerts on Monday (and occasionally Thursday) evenings in July and August.