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Exploring Cape Cod: The Outer Cape (Part 1)

- Alex

Cape Cod Massachusetts is known for many things: beaches, sandy dunes and beach grass, relaxing atmosphere and quaint New England charm. My family and I have been traveling to the Cape along with some other relatives for the past nine years. Throughout those nine years, it has earned itself the title of my favorite vacation spot.

Cape Cod is shaped like a big flexing arm. From the fist down to near the elbow is called the Outer Cape. The elbow region is known as the Lower Cape and the first part of the bicep is called the Mid Cape, and the remaining part of the arm is called the Upper Cape. Being that Cape Cod is a peninsula, there are two types of beaches: ocean beaches and bay beaches. If you’re into body-numbing water, try out the ocean beaches. If you are sort of wimpy, the bay beaches provide warmer water. However, both are equally as beautiful and very typical ‘Cape Cod’.
We tend to spend more time in the Outer Cape, especially the Provincetown area because that’s where the better beaches are. The ocean beaches on Cape Cod are protected by the Cape Cod National Seashore, so their beauty is preserved and no settlements can be built on the many acres of sprawling sand dunes. However, you do have to pay to get onto these beaches. If you are only going for a day or two, you can purchase a day pass for $15. But if your stay will be a little bit longer, you should invest in a $45 season pass (which is what my family does). Although it’s a longer drive from our rental house, the Outer Cape is the prettiest part of the peninsula.

Provincetown is a fun, touristy, busy town at the top of the Cape. While some shops are artsy (there is a big artist colony there) and interesting, others can be a bit risqué. As you walk along Commercial Street, you’ll encounter many different types of people but it’s a very carefree atmosphere and is always an enjoyable time. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a climb up the Pilgrim Tower which provides wonderful views of the town and surrounding sand dunes. Or if not, you can walk the avenue and shop. When eating in Provincetown, I recommend George’s Pizza. They have an outside deck with relaxing views of the harbor and a nice escape from the busy street outside.

Around Provincetown, the beaches my family and I tend to visit are Herring Cove, Race Point, and Head of the Meadow. Herring Cove is an accessible beach that is part bay and part ocean—so the water is a very satisfying temperature. Right next door to Herring Cove is Race Point. Both are surrounded by picture-perfect sand dunes and beach shrubbery. If you’re interested in seeing more of these dunes, you can go on dune tours (I recommend Art’s in Provincetown) and truly see these majestic dunes for all that they are. Anyway…Race Point is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest beaches on the Cape. With wooden fences and sand dunes, it is the epitome of Cape Cod beaches. But, be prepared for a long, hot walk on sunny days if you want to go farther down the beach because the parking lot isn’t too close to the beach area. So if you aren’t looking for a long walk to get to the beach, I recommend Herring Cove.

A little further down from these two is Head of the Meadow Beach, dubbed ‘Head of Lettuce’ by my family. Past experiences have been very seaweed filled, but this year however, we didn’t encounter any! The coolest thing about Head of the Meadow is at low tide, there are a bunch of sandbars. And these are FUN sandbars—perfect for boogie boarding or body surfing.
Next time I’ll be sharing more information on the Outer Cape because that’s usually where my family and I spend most of our time. And believe me, it is time well spent.



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