If you want to learn more about Cape Cod National Seashore or simply need facilities, make this state-of-the-art visitor center in Eastham your first stop.
Salt Pond Visitor Center is the perfect place to begin your explorations of Cape Cod National Seashore. As the national park’s main facility for visitors, it offers amenities, educational exhibits and even a gift shop.
Walk through the center’s exhibits and learn all about the seashore around you. Discover the area’s past, along with present conservation efforts. Become acquainted with the creatures that call the seashore home, from migratory birds to box turtles and harbor seals. Check out artifacts and photos from the local Mashpee Wampanoag and Aquinnah tribes.
Step into the theater to watch an entertaining yet educational screening. Five short films play here on continuous loop, each covering a different aspect of the seashore and its history. Learn about the fascinating discovery of an 11,000-year-old campsite on the beach, which probably housed some of the area’s first settlers. Hear Henry David Thoreau’s thoughts on the area. The author loved Cape Cod so much that he named a book after it.
The atrium features an eye-catching visualization of Cape Cod and its waters. Examine the models of native flora and fauna that surround the atrium’s perimeter.
Purchase a souvenir of your trip in the gift shop. This little store offers everything from books on the area to Cape Cod-themed apparel.
Step outside to the observation point. You are rewarded with 360-degree views across the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. If you look carefully, you may spot seals or even whales swimming offshore in winter and early spring.
Several great hiking trails begin at Salt Pond Visitor Center. Nauset Marsh Trail skirts around Nauset Marsh and then circles Salt Pond. You can either hike or bike this 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) trail. If you want a shorter trek, go to Buttonbush Trail. This 0.25-mile (0.4-kilometer) sensory trail was created with the visually impaired in mind. It features a guide rope, sturdy boardwalks and large braille signs.
Salt Pond Visitor Center is open daily throughout the year. To accommodate the high season rush, it has extended hours during the summer. Everything within the center has free admission. A large lot offers complimentary parking to cars, buses and RVs.