6 Best Chatham Beaches

When you cross the bridges connecting Cape Cod to the main land and drive down Rout 6 just leave the real world behind and start thinking of beautiful beaches, sun and salty air. Cape Cod is one of the most desirable and popular places to visit in the United States. The reason, its miles upon miles of breathtaking beaches from bridges to the tip.

Why visit the Chatham Beaches? Chatham beaches are some of the best on Cape Cod. Chatham is situated ideally at the beginning of the Nation Seashore, known for its pristine sandy beaches, marshes, ponds and lighthouses.

There is no doubt that Chatham can impress any traveler with its unique Main Street, historic Captain’s homes, amazing restaurants, theatres and summer baseball team.  But let’s be honest, everybody comes here for the beaches!

There are six beautiful saltwater beaches that welcome visitors with views of Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The most scenic and photographed by far is the Chatham Lighthouse Beach.

Chatham Lighthouse Beach

It’s hard to explain the beauty of this beach. You have to see it  for yourself.  Located just 1.2 miles from The Old Harbor Inn, this ever-changing barrier beach system should be on your bucket list. New inlets, shoals and sandbars can form almost overnight attracting swimmers, kayakers, kite sailors and others.  This beautiful expanse of sand offers nature walks out to Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge plus views of the daily migration routes of Chatham’s many seals and fishing boats. Bring binoculars to increase your view for some amazing bird and seal watching. Last but not least, the Chatham Lighthouse beach is the best place to spot a sunrise and get a good stretch during beach yoga.  

The beach sits below the watchful gaze of Chatham Light, an active Lighthouse at the U.S. Coast Guard Station.  Well known as the home of the greatest coast guard rescue by a small boat in U.S. history. On February 18, 1952 during a harsh nor’easter, 503 foot oil tanker the SS Pendleton split in two off the Chatham coast. Four men from the Chatham Coast Guard set out in a wooden 36-foot motorized lifeboat – braving the winter storm and 60- foot waves to save the Pendleton’s crew. This story also has a connection to The Old Harbor Inn. The first owner of the Inn Dr.Caroll Keen was the only doctor in Chatham at that time and he was the one helping the 32 rescued men as they arrived at the Chatham Fish Pier.  This true story was beautifully portrayed in Disney’s movie “The Finest Hours” which was filmed in Chatham in the fall of 2014. You can see the movie on the big screen at the Chatham Orpheum during the summer months.   The rescue boat still exists and can be seen in Orleans at Rock Harbor.  The Chatham Light is typically closed to the public, however during the summer months there are regularly scheduled tours.

Harding’s Beach

Harding’s beach is a warm and calm beach off the Nantucket Sound. The beach is a great spot to spend the day, capture glimpses of the sunset or walk the trail leading to the second lighthouse in town, Stage Harbor Light. Beach passes for parking are $20/day. The beach has a bathhouse with showers and food service trucks offering from ice-cream, hotdogs & burgers to amazing tacos. This is Chatham’s most family friendly beach. You will find more than enough room for long walks, beach games and water sports.

Cockle Cove Beach

 If you are trying to escape from the big crowds, Cockle Cove is a hidden gem. There is plenty of parking and a short walk to the neighboring Ridgevale beach. Do not expect big waves at this Nantucket Sound Beach, however you will enjoy warm water and calm protected swimming areas. This beach is popular among windsurfers and kayakers. 

Ridgevale Beach

Located between Harding’s Beach and Cockle Cove, with Buck’s Creek and Eel Creek on either side, this beach offers both ocean swimming and calm creeks to splash around in. The water has gentle waves and crystal clear pools to catch minnows and collect shells. A great addition to this beach are the snack bar on site, sailboat rentals and bathroom facilities.  

Oyster Pond Beach

 This salt water pond is just a short walk from the Old Harbor Inn. If you do not want to drive and just looking for a good swim in vary warm and calm waters this is the place for you. Oyster Pond offers very scenic views, restrooms and picnic tables. Great place to catch a sunset!

Pleasant Bay

This sheltered cove for swimming offers warm and shallow waters and scenic views of the tide in the meandering cove. Good for kayaking and sail boarding.   

Chatham is full of breathtaking beaches and it can be hard to choose one.  The vast white sandy beaches offer a diversity of choices, including, salt water and fresh water beaches, calm water and big waves, and a range of sizes from small secluded  beaches to huge beaches with plenty of room for walking and sunbathing. Cape Cod beaches are among the finest in the world, so book your stay at the Old Harbor Inn today and check them out for yourself.

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