Sandy Neck Beach Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Submitted by
Address:Sandy Neck Beach
Fee: Day pass is $15 (weekdays) and $20 (weekends and holidays)


Bathrooms: yes
Water/Snacks: yes

It’s easy to skip the local playground sandbox during the summer when so many beaches beckon, especially on Cape Cod, which can seem like one giant sandbox.

Sand Neck

It’s easy to skip the local playground sandbox during the summer when so many beaches beckon, especially on Cape Cod which can seem like one giant sandbox. Certainly there’s no lack of choices, but for those who might like to avoid major crowds of vacationers, Sandy Neck Beach Park, a six-mile-long barrier beach in Barnstable County, is perfect.

Among its other charms, Sandy Neck has a gorgeous beach, sand dunes, historic dune shacks, maritime forests, freshwater wetland areas, vernal pools, and a salt marsh. There’s a network of trails which take visitors into the interior of the 1,500-acre park and can be accessed either from the beach or from near the gatehouse at the entrance. There’s even a remote campsite about three miles away from the parking lot for those willing (and able) to carry in all their equipment. You couldn’t ask for a more unique beach camping experience.

Sandy Neck has been recognized by the state of Massachusetts as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern for its fragile dunes and multiple endangered species, including piping plovers and least terns. Visiting and explaining this to your kids can be an easy teaching moment as you explore. Several nature programs are offered at the park from spring through fall, including guided nature hikes to look for piping plovers, rare Diamondback Terrapins (and their nests), as well as talks about the flora and fauna found in the area.

Two upcoming events are perfect for families, one in August and one in September. The first is a Summer Flora & Fauna Hike on Wednesday, August 19 from 10 a.m to noon, which is a 1.5-mile hike through Sandy Neck’s Great Marsh and sand dunes to explore barrier beach flora and fauna with Barnstable Land Trust and Sandy Neck Manager, Nina Coleman.  The second to put on your calendar is a guided Hike for Terrapin Hatchlings on September 9 from 10 noon, when you’ll be searching Sandy Neck for tiny tracks of hatchling terrapins with as the quarter-sized newborns make the treacherous journey from their sandy dune nests to the safety of the marsh.

One thing to keep in mind, the parking lot is capped at 200 cars, so make sure to get there early to get a space, especially during weekends. There’s a concession stand, showers, and restroom/changing facilities. The beach can be rocky in places, so water shoes are also a good idea.

Plan B:

If it doesn't seem like a good beach day, the Heritage Museums & Gardens is about 15 minutes away in Sandwich. Kids will love the  vintage carousel, the labyrinth and the Hart Family Maze Garden..

Where to Eat Nearby:

There's a concession stand at the beach with snack items.


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