Beach Town

By Jaci Conry | Photography by Dan Cutrona

With 68 miles of sparkling coastline, Falmouth has some of the finest beaches on Cape Cod. There are 10 public beaches in town, each with its own distinct allure. Some have rocky shores perfect for beachcombing, others are prime spots for people watching. There are family-oriented beaches with shallow waters and those that tend to get bigger waves, which attract adventurous types. Some beaches are optimal at sunset and there are others where you should plan to arrive early in the day.

Parking is available at all public beaches with a resident beach sticker that lasts the whole season; non-residents may purchase stickers by the week or month; and at select beaches, it’s possible to buy a day pass. 

Read on for a primer that will help target the perfect beach for you.


Menauhant Road, East Falmouth

A five-minute walk from the more heavily frequented Falmouth Heights Beach, Bristol draws a smaller crowd who prefer a more relaxed experience and a little more space to spread out. There’s a small creek that flows between Little Pond and Vineyard Sound where kids enjoy attempting to catch sea creatures in the tidal surge. There’s a large parking lot and resident beach stickers are required.


Chapoquoit Road, West Falmouth

Long and narrow, this beach overlooking Buzzards Bay tends to have a secluded feel. With medium-sized waves, it’s a hot spot for windsurfers and skim boarders. Resident stickers are required, but out-of-town day-trippers can get lucky if they bike to the beach since it’s a short detour off the Shining Sea Bikeway. At sunset, when there are no parking restrictions, the lot is a wonderful spot to catch the sun dipping beneath the horizon.


Grand Avenue, Falmouth

This large stretch of sand draws a diverse mix of active 20-somethings engaged in a game of volleyball or Ultimate as well as older folks who set up camp with their extended families. Arrive early—resident parking is limited and it can get so crowded you may be sitting towel to towel with a fellow sun worshipper you’ve never met. The beach has a paved boardwalk with benches that appeals to walkers and two restaurants are mere steps away: The Casino Wharf FX and The British Beer Company.


Menauhant Road, East Falmouth

The longest beach in town, Menauhant is divided into an east side and a west side by a tidal stream that connects Bournes Pond to Vineyard Sound. It’s seldom crowded here and the shoreline is typically full of sea treasures. While the waters are warm, the current is strong and the waves can be big, much to the delight of bodysurfers. Resident stickers are required, or you can pay a one-day rate of $10 to park.


County Road, North Falmouth

Tucked away off the beaten path in one of North Falmouth’s residential neighborhoods, Megansett is wide and sandy and privy to lovely views of the boats moored in Megansett Harbor. Primarily frequented by local families who stroll to the beach from their weathered-shingleclad homes nearby, it’s possible to park in the small lot with a resident sticker.


Gifford Street, Falmouth

Nestled in Goodwill Park, this freshwater pond has a sandy shoreline. Since the park is shrouded by towering trees, parts of the small beach are in the shade, which can be delightful on a hot, humid August afternoon. There’s a roped off swimming area and volleyball nets set up on the sand. It’s a great spot for a family picnic, and just beyond the beach are barbecue grills and picnic tables. If the kids tire of the beach, take a break in the park’s playground.


Gosnold Road, Woods Hole

Less than a mile from the center of Woods Hole, this small beach—one of Falmouth’s better-kept secrets—feels like an idyllic haven. Usually quiet and crowd-free, the shores are sandy. Sheltered from the southeasterly breezes, there are seldom any waves. Local kids call to one another as they conduct a search for hermit crabs or clamber along the jetty. Owned by the Marine Biological Laboratory, the beach has a small lot for resident parking.


Quaker Road, North Falmouth

Easy to get to from Route 28, Old Silver tends to draw out-of-towners, who will wait hours in their cars—seriously—for a parking spot to open up. (The lot is open to anybody for a $20 fee.) It’s easy to understand the appeal: white sand and shallow waters, there’s fun for all ages with onsite windsurfing and paddle board rentals and tide pools across the street. At the end of the beach, the Sea Crest Beach Hotel has an outdoor bar that appeals to the 21-plus crowd.


Surf Drive, Falmouth

Here, convenience is key. Surf Drive, where the beach sticker office is located, is the closest beach to town center, and there’s also a concession stand on site. For $15 you can park here for the day. Waters tend to be calm and the parking lot never seems to fill up. The beach stretches over a half mile, so there’s usually no problem finding your own spot in the sand. Look across Vineyard Sound to Martha’s Vineyard and watch the Island Queen transporting passengers to and fro.


Sippewissett Road, Falmouth

The favorite family beach in town, Wood Neck is situated in Sippewisset, on the western Buzzards Bay-facing shore of Falmouth. The sand tends to be pebbly, which makes it a great site for shell collectors. At high tide the beach becomes very narrow, but during low tide sandbars make it possible to wade far out into the ocean. Behind the beach’s grass-covered dunes is Little Sippewisset Marsh, a haven for children who love to hunt for crabs, minnows and barnacles. A tidal current connects the beach to the marsh, but beware as some days it moves very fast. While the parking lot is large, it fills up quickly so be sure to get an early start on the day.

A few more great photos that didn’t make the print edition…

Wood Neck Beach

Wood Neck Beach

Surf Drive Beach

Old Silver Beach

Old Silver Beach

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