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Cape Cod Outdoors

Updated on September 28, 2015
Cape Cod beach.
Cape Cod beach.

Travel Tips

Cape Cod Outdoor Adventures

by George Bogosian

As with all vacation destinations there are the highlights and then there are the out of the way spots…. and those very often capture the essence of a place. They tend to reveal what was here before we all showed up. I’m not preaching ruination by participation but getting off the beaten path has always proved a valuable experience. You know…slow down and smell the roses. Cape Cod has many gems to explore and I continue to visit the Cape and discover new locations. I tend towards the natural beauty of the place and not all the shopping…..but I know where TJ Max is located in Orleans!

Coast Guard Lighthouse and Beach is easy to find and it’s a few miles down Nauset Road; which is right by the Salt Pond Visitors Center on Route 6 in Eastham. (map below will help in its location) You can bike to the Lighthouse and beach from the visitors center on a paved bike path.

These great historic icons of the Cape are a reminder of the early times of sailing and whaling this coastline. There were once 20 working lighthouses on the Cape.

Early morning or off season will get you in the small (40 cars) parking lot by the lighthouse. Otherwise you use their remote parking and get shuttled to the lighthouse and beach. You can also park at the visitor center (no charge) and bike to the lighthouse and beach area on a paved woods trail. It’s about a two mile ride. The beach there is one of the best (on America’s 10 best list) with miles of beach walking if that’s your flavor. They have changing rooms and outside showers. They have interpretive plaques overlooking the beach and you can use your cell phone to access more history…just punch in the stated numbers per topic. The view across Nauset Marsh is spectacular with lots of bird watching in this area.

The book, The Outermost House by naturalist Henry Beston chronicles a season living in a 20x16 cottage on the dunes.... it's a great read to capture earlier times on the Cape. It was built in 1928 and the sea reclaimed it in 1978. It was located off to your right of the lighthouse. Mother Nature will have her way.

The remote part of this adventure is walking down the Coast Guard Beach to your right for about a mile…. and then follow the shoreline into the tidal area of Nauset Marsh.

There was a great driftwood and debris structure the last time I was there, in 2010. (video included) It was made by anyone who happened to pick up some beach driftwood, bottle, plastic, etc and added it to the “artwork” created. It’s probably gone by now…. but maybe another has begun; I’ll look in 2011. It’s a quiet spot none the less and it is an out of the way destination if you like to be off the beaten path. The changing tide brings the seals into the inlet for fishing; much to the chagrin to the local two legged fisherman.

Nauset Lighthouse which was moved back from the shoreline to save it from being reclaimed by the sea is a short walk or drive away. There’s usually a volunteer there to give a tour and information. A short walk from there is the Three Sisters Lighthouse which were small lighthouse towers built to help distinguish the Nauset light from other lighthouses. The “Sisters” were moved a short walk away to keep them preserved.

They look like miniature (and are) lighthouses and are interesting to visit because of their history.

The Salt Pond Visitors’ Center has some short films about the Cape and that is worth the stop.

It is Cape Cod’s National Seashore main visitor center. (I like main attractions when they serve a useful purpose) The rangers there are useful and have lots of information, including my favorite map of the Cape produced by the National Park Service. These are free for the asking. You can view and print this map on line for your planning stage. Cape Cod National Park Service map will get you there. Oh yea, there’s a great short walk (1.3 mi) around Salt Pond that begins just outside the visitor's center. I walk that trail often and I always see something new. It’s a coastal and woods walk….easy going. Try doing the hand rope walk for the blind with your eyes closed to remind yourself of the magic and wonder of sight. It’s also right there outside the center. Your eyes will miss fewer sights after that experience.

Art work on the beach??


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    • bigocean profile image

      George Bogosian 7 years ago from New England

      I have to chuckle when I write about a special spot, because there are so many "gems" in our travels. One simply has to be attentive and follow ones desires... and the "great" spots find you.

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      LKing 7 years ago

      Another treasure find, thanks for sharing. Finding these special spots is the highlight of one's travels. Keep us informed of your next venture.