Are you on the hunt for America’s best beaches? Cape Cod, the hook-shaped peninsula off the coastline in Southeastern Massachusetts, is a haven for New Englanders to soak up the summer sun. Mayflower Beach’s beautiful views, soft sand, and low tides make it a favorite among beachgoers.
East Coast Beaches
While the Northeast has its fair share of unfavorable temperatures, beach season brings bouts of gorgeous weather, plenty of warm sunshine, shade, and countless fun outdoor activities. From the stunning Ogunquit Beach in Maine to Cape Cod’s best beaches, don’t write off the Northeast just yet when you’re planning your next beach vacation. Massachusetts beaches make up miles of coastline and boast some of the most stunning beaches in the country.
Where is Mayflower Beach?
Cape Cod is home to nearly 600 miles of stunning coastline. From kid-friendly tide pools to prime surfing conditions, Cape Cod is one of the most diverse beach towns in the US. You can find Mayflower Beach on the northern Dennis, MA shoreline on Cape Cod Bay. Mayflower Beach stretches from Nobscussett Point at the eastern end to Chapin Beach.
Cape Codders and out-of-towners alike enjoy the low tides, soft sand, stunning scenery, and vibrant sunsets. You’ll often see people playing frisbee, taking a walk along the boardwalk, eating a meal in the picnic area, or taking photos along the water.
Mayflower Beach also has lifeguards on duty throughout the season and public restrooms. So if you’re looking for the perfect vacation spot this summer, Mayflower is the place to be.
Why Mayflower Beach?
The East Coast is home to some of the best beaches the US has to offer. So what makes Mayflower Beach not just a New England staple but a favorite among people from all over? Mayflower Beach is essentially three beaches in one. While things can get a little busy during the peak season on The Cape, beachgoers can usually find an open, comfortable spot at Mayflower to tan, read, swim, or play in the sand. It’s also one of the more child-friendly beaches with low tides and an on-duty lifeguard. If you can, go to the beach during a weekday to experience it with fewer people around.
Facilities at Mayflower Beach
Mayflower Beach is one of the best beaches for families with young kids. Experience this unique shoreline with plenty of room for frisbee games, building sandcastles, and playing in the shallow tide pools.
There are public restrooms, lifeguards on duty, and a picnic area. The picnic area is a great spot if you need a break from the fun at the beach. Pack some sandwiches, cold drinks, chips, and enjoy the perfect lunch by the sea. When you’re ready to leave, wash off at the showers to remove the sand before heading home.
Parking at Mayflower Beach
There are three parking lots available for visitors. The parking lot conveniently connects to the beach via a gorgeous boardwalk. You can find parking on Dunes Road, Chapin Beach Road, and Bayview Road. If you’re visiting from Memorial Day to Labor Day, there will be parking fees in place. Daily parking rates are $20 for weekdays and $25 for weekends for an all-day pass. You can also get a $75 weekly parking fee if you’re planning to spend more time soaking up the Cape Cod sun.
Dennis MA residents can purchase a season pass for $40. Are you coming from out of town? There’s also a $300 non-resident seasonal option you can use to spend the entire summer at the beach.
To learn more about the Dennis MA beach department, check out the town’s official website.
When is The Best Time Visit to Cape Cod?
If you’re heading to The Cape for the beach, it’s best to travel in the summer. Massachusetts is known for unpredictable weather. The winter months are cold and snowy, while the summer can bring over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cape Cod usually has beautiful, warm weather from May to September. If you’re planning to swim at Mayflower Beach, it’s best to go during the peak of the hot season. June, July, and August are the hottest months. You can still enjoy the bright sun and soft sand during May, September, and sometimes even October, but the water temperatures will be significantly cooler. You may want to opt for a boat ride or enjoy the beach from the sand rather than the water.
Tip: If you’re looking to vacation on a budget, the shoulder months like May, June, September, and October will usually bring in fewer crowds, and room rates will likely be lower.
Things to Do in Dennis, MA
After a day at the beach, the fun doesn’t have to end. Head back home or take a break in your hotel room and get ready for an exciting evening on The Cape! Dennis has something for everyone, from sipping on spirits to shopping and learning more about the area’s history.
Head over to the Main Street of old Downtown Dennis Port to check out the quaint local shops, local eateries, and an impressive collection of wine and spirits. Dennis is also known to host festivals, wine cruises, and tasking events throughout the year. Click here for upcoming wine tasting events you don’t want to miss. Most of the events happen during the warmer months, but you might find some fall or winter events too!
Explore the Bass River on a paddleboard or a kayak with Cape Cod Waterways. If you’re craving more adventure this summer, take a ride on the Bass River with Cape Cod Waterways. Cape Cod Waterways has been operating since 1985, and they specialize in outdoor adventures. The friendly staff helps ensure you have a blast, and don’t worry about renting equipment; they have everything you need for your watery outing. Feel free to bring your kids too. Cape Cod Waterways has kid-friendly activities for the whole family.
Explore some of Cape Cod’s finest artists at the CCMoA. The museum was founded in 1981 and beautifully preserves creations from local artists throughout history. The CCMoA is home to some of the most fascinating things to see in Dennis Port, and all of the items are created locally. Check out the film screening room and seven unique galleries filled with treasures, master creations, and gorgeous artwork. The museum also offers education programs to help you discover your inner Monet. The CCMoA is located on Hope Lane and welcomes visitors from Thursday through Sunday. Be sure to check out the museum shop on your way out for a keepsake.
Speaking of history, if you’re craving more of it, you can head over to the West Dennis Free Public Library. This free library features the Dennis Historical Society’s collection with a plethora of interesting facts about the city’s history. The West Dennis Free Public Library also hosts free events for locals throughout the year, including reading programs, lectures, book talks, and more.
Since the 1950s, people have come to Susan’s Garden Mini Golf to play miniature golf courses. This 18-hole course features a quintessential retro design and is a perfect activity for visitors of all ages and levels. Play a round of mini-golf at Dennis Port at night if you want to beat the crowds and the summer heat! Finish off the night with a tasty meal at the Cleat & Anchor, an American-style restaurant and tavern serving up traditional Cape Cod favorites with a bit of contemporary flair. The restaurant is just down the road from Susan’s Garden Mini Golf!
The Dennis Public Market is a local favorite. This open-air market has been around for over a century! Scope out some of the best fresh foods at this market in the heart of Dennis Village. You’ll find a large selection of fresh-caught fish, top-quality meats, traditional groceries, wines, beer, local delicacies, and so much more. If you’re not interested in cooking but still crave a homestyle meal, you can also find cooked meals and sandwiches ready to heat and eat! Take a meal home and enjoy a classic Cape Cod sunset while you dine.
If your little ones are still full of energy, Dennis, MA has over ten playgrounds where kids can run, play, jump, and explore even after a day at the beach. The small Dennis Playground with plenty of equipment is located right off 6A. If you’re interested in other Dennis playgrounds, click here for a full list.
These play areas also offer shade, so you don’t have to worry about your kiddos getting a sunburn.
Hart Farm Nursery
The Hart Farm Nursery first opened in 1947 as a fresh vegetable producer. Today, the nursery is a full garden center perfect for a romantic afternoon. While a nursery probably doesn’t scream a romantic outing, the Hart Farm Nursery’s fragrant blooms and eye-catching trees make this the perfect pit stop for couples in the area. There’s a lot more to Hart Farm than garden supplies. Check out the fresh seasonal vegetables, locally grown fruits, and an assortment of fantastic jellies and jams to take home.
Where to Stay in Near Mayflower Beach
Mayflower Beach Rentals
There’s no lack of gorgeous homes and apartments for short-term rent near Mayflower Beach. You can find everything from quaint seaside shanties, one-bedroom apartments, family-style homes, or full-on mansions. A lot of rentals in the area are Rentals-By-Owner, meaning you can find them on platforms like Airbnb.
If you’re planning on spending time down The Cape this summer, look for a beach-side rental that accommodates you and your guests. Like any seaside property, the prices are higher during the peak seasons. Most renters charge by the week during the summer months, with prices ranging depending on the location and size of the rental.
Whether you want to score a killer deal on a night at a hotel or go for a top-end luxury experience, there’s something for every style and budget.
If a hotel is more your vibe, the Starlight Lodge Cape Cod is only 1.8 miles from Mayflower Beach and has everything you need for the perfect stay on The Cape. Another great choice is the Sesuit Harbor House, only 2.7 miles from Mayflower Beach and conveniently located near local shops and eateries.
Where to Eat Near Mayflower Beach?
Aside from spending the day enjoying the gorgeous views, warm sand, and beautiful weather, one of everyone’s favorite parts of a trip is the food. You don’t have to go far to enjoy a great meal in Cape Cod. There are also local grocery stores if you want to pick any essentials for your stay. Plus, if you’re a seafood lover, Cape Cod is home to some of the freshest seafood available in the country.
There is no lack of delicious restaurants, pubs, and cafes in the area to satisfy your every craving. Here’s a look at a few local favorites you won’t want to miss.
Breakfast & Lunch
If you need some serious fuel for your day adventuring around Cape Cod, spending the day playing in the waves at Mayflower Beach, or checking out any other local Dennis, MA favorite spots, these are the best breakfast and lunch joints in the area! However, if you’re the type of person who can’t function without coffee in the morning, your first stop of the day should be Three Fins Coffee Roasters. This wonderful coffee shop has specialty coffee with beans sourced from fair trade small farms. Three Fins even has sturdy tumblers if you want to bring your coffee with you to the beach!
From a stack of Fresh toast, crispy bacon, and farm-fresh eggs, be sure to check out the following places.
The Good Friends Café in West Dennis is everything you’d expect from a local favorite. They serve up delicious home-cooking-style meals for breakfast every day. Be sure to come hungry because these generous portions will fill you up for the rest of the afternoon. Hit up the award-winning Grumpy’s for a hearty breakfast. Grumpy’s has been voted the “Best Breakfast” by the Cape Cod Reader’s Choice!
Another one to try is The Breakfast Room. Since 1971 The Breakfast Room has been feeding locals and visitors fresh, tasty breakfast dishes. They serve breakfast every day until 2 pm.
The best seafood joints usually accompany the best beaches! There’s something about going out for seafood after a day at the beach that just hits right. You’ll find some of the freshest fish and shellfish in local spots around Dennis. While it might be impossible to list all the seafood places around, there are a few can’t-miss places, especially if you’re visiting the Mayflower Beach area for the first time.
Head to Chapin’s Bayside if you’re in the mood for classic Cape Cod eats. This spot has that “just off the beach” vibe and is close to Chapin and Mayflower Beach. Chapin’s Bayside is great for all ages, has all the Cape Cod menu essentials, and has a great bar area if you want to wash down your fried shrimp with an ice-cold brew.
Another place worth visiting is Fin. Fin is an upscale, contemporary seafood restaurant that gets fresh local ingredients daily from farms, sea farms, and sustainable fisheries. If you’re heading to Fin, just be sure you go during the spring or summer! They’re closed during the off-season.
For a more casual meal, the Lost Dog Pub is a place where all the locals go for casual dining, great prices, and huge portions of delicious fresh seafood.
No trip to the beach is complete without a stop at the local ice cream parlor. If you’re looking to cool down after a day in the sun, head over to Ice Cream Smuggler off Route 6A or Captain Frosty’s a little bit further south on the same road. Captain Frosty’s has been serving up creamy, delicious ice cream for over 40 years. They’re not just well known for their decadent cones. They also have seafood plates and classic fried foods like fish & chips, clams, shrimp, and more. Captain Frosty’s only has outdoor seating, so bring a jacket if you’re planning to after the sunset. Even during the summer months, the air can get chilly in the evening.
Check out Stage Stop Candy on Main Street if handmade chocolate is more your speed. Since 1982, this local favorite has delighted visitors with decadent and delicious handcrafted sweets. This is the ultimate haven for any chocolate lover visiting Cape Cod. From kid-friendly candy to out-of-this-world chocolate creations, you can fulfill your sweet cravings at Stage Stop Candy. Some customer favorites include chocolate-covered cranberries, exotic truffles, chocolate-covered Oreos, and homemade fudge.
From a mouthwatering sushi roll, a pile of pancakes, to a heaping plate of your favorite Italian pasta, Dennis, MA has a place to satisfy your cravings.
Here’s a list of some well-known places and lesser-known local gems worth visiting to make it easier.
Basco Grill – Basco Grill is the perfect place for lunch & dinner if you’re dining with picky eaters. The menu is huge, and they have something for everyone here.
Thai Ocha Café – If you’re in the mood for Thai, head over to Thai Ocha Café for traditional Thai dishes like Pad Thai, Curry, Sticky Rice, and so much more. Ask them to make your dish extra spicy if you like the heat!
Fairway Restaurant – Fairway has Cape Cod essentials, plus so much more. The Hole in One Diner is also open for breakfast if you’re looking for the perfect brunch spot.
The Den Cape Cod – This is another spot with a vast, terrific menu that’s sure to please everyone in your dining party. The Den has some great signature dishes like the Den’s Famous Tacos, the Chef’s Special Tuna Poke Bowl, and the Den’s New York Strip Steak.
How to Get to Mayflower Beach
Mayflower Beach lies in Dennis, MA, on Cape Cod Bay. As one of Massachusetts’ best beaches, you’ll often see plenty of sun-chasers enjoying the rays, sand, and waves all summer long.
Start on Beach Street to Horsefoot Path to Dunes Road if you’re driving. Also, beach stickers are available at Dennis Town Hall on Old Bass River Rd. Mayflower Beach has a huge boardwalk spanning from the parking area directly onto the beach.
Coming to Mayflower Beach From Out-of-State
People from all around the country come to Cape Cod for summer vacation. Consider taking a road trip if you’re coming from a close-by state like New York, Maine, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire. There are some gorgeous sites to see along the Massachusetts coast that can help make the drive all the more enjoyable.
If you’re coming from a different part of the country, the easiest way to get to Dennis, MA, is to fly into the Cape Cod Gateway Airport in Hyannis, MA, sometimes referred to as Barnstable Airport. This airport has been the primary airport on Cape Cod since the 1920s. The Cape Cod Gateway Airport is owned by the Town of Barnstable and managed by the Cape Cod Gateway Airport Commission. Barnstable Airport provides commercial and general aviation services to Boston, New York, and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. You can catch a daily flight during the summer months from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. The drive from the airport to Mayflower Beach is just under 10 miles, meaning you can be on the beach in under 20 minutes from landing.
International Travelers Coming to Mayflower Beach
If you’re coming from across the country or traveling into the US from abroad, the best way to get to Mayflower Beach is to fly into Logan International Airport in Boston, MA. From here, you have a few options. First, you can rent a car and drive to Dennis, MA, a 1h 30m drive. You could also take a bus (the cheapest option). A bus ride from Boston to Dennis is just shy of 2 hours. Finally, you could fly from Logan to Barnstable Airport. Flights take around an hour.
What to Pack
Of course, you’ll need a swimsuit if you’re planning a trip to one of America’s best beaches. But what about everything else? A day at the beach is more fun when you have the right gear, the best snacks, and plenty of drinks to stay hydrated.
Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need for the best beach day!
Beach Chairs & Umbrella – Mayflower Beach doesn’t provide beach chairs, loungers, or shade umbrellas. If you don’t want to sit on your beach towel, be sure to pack a comfy chair. Some people even bring tents to escape the hot sun in the middle of the day. Don’t forget your sunscreen! The sun is powerful during peak hours. It’s also a good idea to bring a baseball cap or a beach hat.
Cooler – It’s important to drink enough water when spending the day in the sun. You’ll notice many visitors bring a cooler filled with cold drinks and fresh fruits. No alcoholic beverages are permitted on Cape Cod beaches or in the parking areas at any time. You could get fined for bringing booze on the beach. Instead, hit up one of the close-by seaside pubs to enjoy a drink after the beach.
Food – Food is permitted on the beach. You can pack a homemade lunch or stop by a local restaurant before getting to the beachfront. Keep in mind that there is a food stall on Mayflower Beach, but the prices are a little high, although that’s to be expected from a seaside concession stand.
Other Beaches in the Area
If you’re spending your summer holidays searching for the best beaches on The Cape, you’re in luck. Aside from the beautiful Mayflower Beach, there are also other gorgeous beaches in the area you can check out while you’re in the Cape Cod area.
Cape Cod is rather small, so traveling from beach to beach won’t take up too much time or gas money! Add these to your list of beaches to visit the next time you’re in Cape Cod.
Marconi Beach is another one of Cape Cod’s most well-known beaches. The beach is in the Wellfleet’s Cape Cod National Seashore section and is backed by large sand dunes. While this is one of the most popular beaches, visitors usually don’t have a problem finding a place to sit in the sand. Marconi Beach is home to plenty of playful seals who like to make an appearance every once in a while. Marconi Beach is also one of the best beaches for surfers. The large, consistent waves are some of the best on The Cape. Surfers can go just outside of the lifeguard-patrolled swimming area to catch a wave.
Tip: Unfortunately, Marconi Beach is not wheelchair accessible. The only way to access the beach from the parking lot is by descending a steep staircase, so beachgoers with mobility issues may want to select another stretch of sand.
Race Point Beach
Race Point Beach in Provincetown is one of the best beaches for all-around fun. There are rough waters ideal for surfing, but the beach also has shallow areas perfect for swimmers of all levels. Race Point is also close by the Province Lands Bike Trail and the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, dating back to the late 1800s.
While you’re at Race Point, head 3 miles northwest of downtown Provincetown to find quaint mom & pop shops and multiple restaurants to grab a bite after the beach.
Ballston Beach in Truro is one of the best beaches around to bring your little ones. This family-friendly beach is less crowded than other Cape Cod beaches. Ballston Beach is great for lounging in the sun, and the consistent waves are ideal for water sports. The only downside is that you can only purchase a beach parking sticker if you’re staying in Truro. With that being said, you can always bike or walk to the beach if you don’t qualify for a sticker!
Fun Fact: Did you know that Ballston’s tranquil atmosphere inspired some of the American painter Edward Hopper’s most famous works. His paintings are in museums across the country, including the MoMA.
Sandy Neck Beach
Sandy Neck Beach has pebbly sand and spans across 6 miles in Barnstable. This Mid Cape beach town is known for its 4,700 acres of dunes, marshes, and forests. The cool thing about Sandy Neck Beach is that it doubles as a wildlife refuge for endangered animals like the piping plover bird. Sandy Neck is also home to charming shacks, cottages, and walking trails.
Sandy Neck has one portion of the picturesque area designated exclusively for off-road vehicles if you’re into offroading. Just be sure you have a permit. Only drivers with permits can cruise onto the shore!
Start Planning Your Trip
It’s almost summer, and that can only mean one thing, it’s time to plan this year’s beach trip. Summer 2022 is right around the corner. So why not take a trip to some of the best beaches in the Northeast?
Mayflower Beach has been voted #1 in Best Cape Cod Beaches. If you’re planning to visit over the summer, be sure to look for hotel deals or book a vacation home as far in advance as possible. Places fill up quickly in the area, and you don’t want to miss out on a terrific vacation because you don’t have a place to stay.
Where is your favorite beach? Are you more of a West Coast type of person, or do you prefer the hot air in Florida? Let us know where you think the best beaches in the US are! You can leave a comment down below to share your thoughts.