Wide, clean, and blanketed with soft sand, the Cape Cod National Seashore boasts miles upon miles of beaches that are great for kids and families. While many Cape Coddians claim their local spot is tops, the following beaches check all the boxes essential for family fun, including plenty of space, fun (but not too intense) waves, and helpful extras like lifeguards, bathrooms, and easy parking that can make a good beach day a great one.
Once you've had your fill of sandcastling and shelling, go explore the region's charming towns for more fun things for kids to do at the Cape. If you want to experience our Massachusetts shoreline with an island vibe, check out our favorite beaches and activities on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, too.
Craigville might be the most popular beach in the Barnstable area, but its huge size ensures that you'll always find a place to park a blanket and gear. There's plenty of space in the parking lot, too ($15 weekdays, $20 weekends). Situated on Nantucket Sound, the water is a little warmer here than some other parts of the Cape, which is a bonus with kid swimmers. Expect lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and a well-stocked snack bar right across the street.
Got a tide pool explorer? At low tide, kids can walk for miles along Mayflower's tidal flats, looking for sea life or shells. It's also a wide enough beach in most parts to allow plenty of room to spread out your gear and keep playing kids close, and there's also a lifeguard, restrooms, a small boardwalk, and a picnic area, and snack bar. Parking fee is $20 on weekdays, $25 on weekends.
On the east side of this popular beachy town, Cold Storage has calm waters that will make the floatie set happy. Go rock scrambling on the jetty and find the whale etched into one of the rocks. There are lifeguards and restrooms but no snack bar, so bring your own drinks and food. The parking lot requires a residents only sticker between early morning and early evening hours, but lots of people drop kids and one grown-up with the gear and park nearby.
Some 10 miles long between Orleans and Chatham, this lifeguarded beach is a hit for kids who love to swim, boogie board, and surf. There are also restrooms, changing rooms, outside showers, and a snack bar. On hot days, you can go early for a stunning sunrise, or in the early evening (Mondays only) for a free, early-evening family concert. Parking fee is $20 daily.
Macaroni Beach steps down to some big wave action in Wellfleet. Photo by Meagan Newhart
Another good boogie boarding and surfing spot, Marconi Beach is known for pristine sand and beautiful shoreline. It's not as packed as some mid-Cape beaches, but can get crowded on weekend days, so try to score parking ($15 daily) early. Note: The stairway to the beach is well-done and sturdy, but a little tricky with strollers.
Rolling waves, lots of room for beach games, and occasional seal spottings make Coast Guard a great trip for families with active or adventurous kids. There are also restrooms and outdoor showers. Catch a shuttle bus (running very 10 minutes or so) from the Little Creek Parking area nearby that leaves regularly to ferry beachgers to Coast Guard.
Head of the Meadow—Truro
Go out low tide to explore sea life in tide pools, skim board across the flats, and more. Locals love it for the big parking lot ($15 per day) that's a five-minute-tops walk from the beach, but you can also expect lifeguards, restrooms, and rinse-off stations.
Race Point dunes lead to a picture-perfect setting on Cape Cod's tip. Photo by lori_holder via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
It's hard to find a more glorious sunset than Race Point, way out on the Cape's northern tip. Quieter than many of the Cape's most popular beaches, this stretch of shoreline is also a great spot to glimpse seals and see interesting birds soaring above the magnificent dunes. There are restrooms, changing rooms, and showers. Parking fee is $20 daily.