DescriptionOccupying 40 miles along Cape Cod's coastline, the 43,608-acre Cape Cod National Seashore offers dunes constantly reshaped by storm and wind, marshland, glacial cliffs and dense forests. Spared the scars of industrial buildup, the beaches, ponds and open fields remain protected in a natural state. The cape also is marked by weathered cottages, villages and lighthouses.
General InformationThe national seashore is open all year. Park headquarters is at the Marconi area in Wellfleet. Near the headquarters are high cliffs that afford good views of the beach and ocean, and an inland nature trail traverses a white cedar swamp unusual to the cape. At Pilgrim Heights in North Truro is a spring thought to have been the Pilgrims' first source of fresh water. The spring is reached by a nature trail.
The Province Lands Visitor Center in Provincetown (open daily 9-5, mid-Apr. to mid-Oct.), phone (508) 487-1256, and the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham (open daily 9-4:30), phone (508) 255-3421, provide information and exhibits about the national seashore. Both centers offer evening programs that are presented in adjacent amphitheaters in the summer; check locally for hours and schedules.
Guided walks and lectures are offered July through October. Interpretive shelters provide historical exhibits. Self-guiding nature trails are open all year; trail leaflets are available at visitor centers and at the head of each trail.
There are four picnic areas, and picnicking is allowed on all beaches; a permit is required to build an open fire. Swimming is permitted on six beaches in the summer and lifeguards are on duty from late June through Labor Day. No license is required for saltwater fishing, but a state license is required for freshwater fishing, and a town license is needed for shellfishing.
Hunting is permitted in season for upland game and migratory waterfowl; federal, state and local laws apply. Camping is prohibited in the seashore, except in privately owned campgrounds.
Three paved bicycle trails, originating near the visitor centers and at the head of the Meadow Beach parking lot, lead to beaches and picnic areas. Trail maps are available at the visitor centers.
ADMISSIONADMISSION is charged at the beaches daily, late June-early Sept.; Sat.-Sun. and holidays, Memorial Day-late June and early Sept.-Sept. 30. The cost is $20 (per private vehicle); $10 (per motorcycle); $3 (per pedestrian or bicyclist).
PETSPETS must be physically restricted at all times; leashes are not to exceed 6 feet. Pets are not allowed in public buildings, picnic areas or on trails and are permitted on swimming beaches only during the off-season.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to the Superintendent, Cape Cod National Seashore, 99 Marconi Site Rd., Wellfleet, MA 02667; phone (508) 771-2144.
GEM DescriptionWind-swept dunes, lighthouses, forests and 40 miles of protected shoreline distinguish this 43,608-acre national park.