Guest Author - Lynn Newcomb Gaziano
South Cape Beach is over a mile of soft sands that are located between Waquoit Bay and Vineyard Sound in Mashpee Massachusetts. In the immediate area there are also acres of salt marshes and dunes, bordered by pine, oak and holly trees. Stretching from the park’s ample parking lot is a boardwalk that ends with an observation deck overlooking the beach.
The Park is part of the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is comprised of 2,700 acres of open waters, barrier beaches, marshlands, Washburn Island, and South Cape Beach State Park. This area is great for swimming, walking, cycling, fishing and shell collecting.
If you are coming down route 495, cross over the Bourne Bridge and follow route 28 to the Route 151, Old Silver Beach exit. Follow route 151 east to the Mashpee Rotary.
From the Mashpee Rotary follow Great Neck Road south toward New Seabury. Once you are on Great Neck Road there will be signs to guide you the rest of the way. You will be taking two left hand turns to enter the park.
En route, you will pass the headquarters of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council and the Cape Cod Children’s Museum on your right, New Seabury and a golf course on your left. As you approach the beach area, you will begin to see numerous walking trails in the woods. The trails on the right hand side of the road will often lead to Waquoit Bay. There are numerous kettle ponds along the paths. Hunting is allowed in some of these areas so be mindful of the season.
Between Columbus Day and Patriots Day the gates at South Cape Beach will be locked but if you keep driving straight ahead you will arrive at the Mashpee Town Beach parking lot at the end of the road. No sticker is required in the off-season to park at the Mashpee town beach lot and it is open year round. The cost to park at South Cape Beach is $7.00 per car.
The water here drops off fast which can cause undertow conditions so watch the kids closely. This topography also makes this a favorite local beach for surf cast fishing.
Both beaches have portable toilets and lifeguards are generally on duty during the summer months. Bring your own food and drink as there are no concession stands available. As you turn onto Great Neck Road there is a large shopping plaza with a full grocery store (Roche Bros), Marhsalls, Walgreen’s and numerous restaurants. If you are looking to bring home some live lobster to cook up, Roche Bros’ offerings of Maine lobster can rival some of the local fish markets here.