Coast Guard beach in Eastham has been on this prestigious list every year since it began, and this year it moved up from 8th to 7th place.
Here's the listing:
"#7: Coast Guard Beach Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Coast Guard Beach, accessible by bicycle or via shuttle bus from the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center, was formed where a sand spit attached to the glacial cliffs. The sand is fairly coarse, so the beach slopes steeply into the water.
The picturesque old Coast Guard station still sits atop the glacial bluffs, allowing for a spectacular view down upon the Nauset Spit barrier system and bay. During the summer, beach-goers take quick, refreshing dips in the ocean as water temperatures only reach 60-70 degrees."
Three years ago USA Today rated it as #6, and TripAdvisor rates it excellent or very good in 201 of its 214 reviews.
Two years ago USA Today rated it as #6, and TripAdvisor rates it excellent or very good in 139 of its 147 reviews.
As Dr. Beach expands on this beach
"Beaches surround Cape Cod; there are no hard-rock headlands as encountered elsewhere in New England. The best beaches are found in Cape Cod National Seashore, the 30-mile length of shoreline along the Outer Cape from Chatham to Provincetown. The gateway to the National Seashore is the Salt Pond Visitor's Center in Eastham, where educational materials and videos will enlighten and inform visitors. Close by is the best beach in the area and a top 20 beach nationally: Coast Guard Beach in Eastham.
Coast Guard Beach is reached by bicycle or via shuttle bus from the Salt Pond Visitor's Center ever since the New England Blizzard of 1978 destroyed the parking lot and facilities that were previously built on the low-lying sand spit. The picturesque old Coast Guard station still sits atop the glacial bluffs, where you can gaze down upon the Nauset Spit barrier system and bay that the French explorer Champlain so beautifully sketched in 1605.
Lobsters were so numerous at that time that they could be caught by hand in these shallow tidal creeks at low tide. The delicacy that we cherish was often fed to slaves and indentured servants as a source of cheap meat in Colonial times. So prevalent was this practice that a law had to be passed to prevent the serving of lobsters more than twice a week.
At Coast Guard Beach you can see where the sand spit attaches to the eroding glacial cliffs that extend northward to Truro. As these cliffs continue to erode, artifacts are discovered; Native Americans also cherished this spot of land. The sand is fairly coarse, and thus the beach slopes steeply into the water. This makes for difficult walking, except at the waterline where the sand is water-saturated and compacted."
About Dr. Beach:
Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman is Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental (Coastal) Sciences from the University of Virginia, and completed his undergraduate degree in Geosciences at North Carolina State University.
Prior to joining FIU, Stephen was Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at the University of Maryland; Director of the National Park Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology at Boston University.
Stephen has authored or edited 16 books, including Sea Level Rise: Causes and Consequences; Barrier Island Handbook; Overwash Processes; Cape Cod: From Glaciers to Beaches; and America's Best Beaches.
The Cape Cod National Seashore Park describes it as the Great Beach, named by Henry David Thoreau in his book about walking the cape. "This sandy strand offers opportunities to study coastal beach processes, including longshore transport of sand and coastal erosion.
"Nauset Marsh is located behind the former Coast Guard Station. It is accessible by a pathway that leads to the bicycle trail bridge. Here, one can see shorebirds working the tidal flats in the warmer months and observe salt marsh grass systems close up..."
Thoreau said about this beach, "The waves broke on the bars at some distance from the shore, and curving green or yellow as if over so many unseen dams, ten or twelve feet high, like a thousand waterfalls, rolled in foam to the sand. There was nothing but that savage ocean between us and Europe."