Best Beach on Cape Cod: Lighthouse Beach in Chatham
A perfect summer beach day in Chatham, Massachusetts
What makes Chatham's biggest beach worth the trip
Crowds of vacationer and daytrippers typify summer on Cape Cod as much as endless offerings of fried seafood. But masses of humanity are more easily ignored when facing a striking expanse of open ocean.
That's the case at my favorite spot on Cape Cod: Lighthouse Beach in Chatham.
It's my top pick for the perfect place to spend a day on the shore.
The air is clear and breezy. Wild roses bloom on the dunes. The sand feels good on bare feet.
What to do
It's the kind of beach best suited for a day of simple, subdued pleasures. Bring a sketchbook, a small picnic basket and a pastel beach towel. For a quick stroll, there's a picturesque lighthouse nearby.
Best of all, unlike at some other typical destinations in the area, Chatham is on the outer "elbow" of the curving, flexed arm spit of land that is the Cape.
The result? The view at Chatham is truly the full expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretching out beyond the sandbars.
As a destination, the Town of Chatham proper is cute in a quaint, have-tea-with-grandma way. It has none of the flamboyance of Provincetown, and it also lacks the disappointingly suburban and overly touristy feel of parts of the Cape that are closer to the mainland.
This difference is a good thing. Chatham simply and perfectly matches the ideal of what a New England seaside town should be. Or at least, how a passing visitor might want it to appear for a day.
Chatham is about 20 miles from Hyannis and 90 miles from Boston.
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