Lighthouse Beach

Cape Cod

Directly below Chatham Light is Lighthouse Beach, an endless expanse of sea and sandbars that offers some of the finest beach strolling on Cape Cod. Swimming isn't recommended – there are strong currents and no lifeguards. Plus, as signs warn, great white sharks live in these waters.

So many people come here to see the lighthouse view that parking is limited to 30 minutes; parking on nearby Bridge St to access the beach in summer requires a permit (per day/week $20/75). It's far easier to park in the downtown Main St area and walk to the beach from there (about 15 minutes).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cape Cod attractions

1. Chatham Light

0.01 MILES

For dramatic vistas of sand and sea, head to the lighthouse viewing area on Shore Rd. The landmark lighthouse dates to 1878; its light is visible 15 miles…

2. Oyster Pond Beach

0.97 MILES

Oyster Pond Beach, on a calm inlet, is small but the swimming is good and parking is free (but fills up quickly). It's a popular family spot.

3. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

1.09 MILES

Take Morris Island Rd beyond the Chatham lighthouse to reach this 7600-acre wildlife refuge, spreading from Morris Island to encompass the shifting sands…

4. Chatham Railroad Museum

1.18 MILES

Train buffs won't want to miss the 1910 caboose and assorted memorabilia at Chatham's original 1887 railroad depot. The Victorian building is an…

5. Chatham Fish Pier

1.18 MILES

In the mid- to late afternoon, head to Chatham Fish Pier, 1 mile north of Chatham Light, to watch the fishing fleet unload its daily catch.This is a prime…

6. Shark Center Chatham


Stop here for the lowdown on one of the Cape's most intriguing summer residents: the great white shark. Interactive exhibits and videos aimed at kids and…

7. Hardings Beach

2.56 MILES

For the warmer waters of Nantucket Sound, the long and sandy Hardings Beach is the prize. It's a good family option, and there are lifeguards, restrooms…

8. Chatham Marconi Maritime Center

2.78 MILES

Communication in all its guises is the focus at this museum dedicated to the history of WCC, a short-wave radio station that operated for many years in…