The barrier beach at Sandy Neck extends 6.5 miles along Cape Cod Bay, backed the entire way by undulating dunes and a scenic salt marsh. It's a destination for all sorts of recreational activities: brisk summer swimming, year-round hiking, and saltwater fishing. The dunes, which reach heights of 100ft, provide a habitat for red foxes, shorebirds and wildflowers. From four points along the beach, hiking trails cross inland over the dunes to a path skirting the salt marsh.
Depending on which cross-trail you take, you can make a loop of beach, dunes and marsh in a round-trip hike of 2 to 13 miles. Even the shortest hike, which takes about 90 minutes, is rewarding. Pick up a trail map at the gatehouse; the access road is off MA 6A, about halfway between Sandwich and Barnstable. Ask about high tide, which affects the marsh trail.
Parking costs $20 June through August and is free the rest of the year.