South Cape Beach State Park
After a day at South Cape Beach State Park, you’ll understand why Cape Cod’s shoreline is so renowned. The sandy beach is very visitor friendly, but it remains resolutely natural and untainted by development. As the only saltwater beach in Mashpee, South Cape Beach State Park is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
South Cape Beach is located on the Nantucket and Vineyard sounds. The water here is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so you can enjoy what is an unusually warm swimming experience for New England. Look out across the water, where you can see stunning views of Martha’s Vineyard.
The white sandy beach stretches for more than a mile. There are lifeguards on duty during the summer high season. Lay out your beach towel and enjoy a day of sunning and swimming. Go fishing for stripers and bluefish.
You will notice a variety of coastal environments along the beach. Walk among dunes, salt marshes and kettle ponds. It is a barrier beach, meaning the beach itself runs parallel to the coastline and separated by a lagoon.
South Cape Beach is very popular during the summer and gets packed quickly. If you want some more privacy, walk farther down the coastline where the crowds tend to thin out.
Take a stroll along the dunes via the wooden boardwalk. The dunes are a favorite nesting place for the endangered piping plover, so the boardwalk allows you to explore without disturbing the birds.
Continue your walk inland. The adjoining Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is full of nature paths and hiking trails.
Learn more about the area and its ecosystem on an interpretive tour. The Department of Conservation and Recreation regularly leads these walks during the summer.
South Cape Beach has two parking lots, one for Mashpee residents and another for visitors. Visitors pay a daily parking fee between May and September. If you visit during the off-season, parking is free.