Lower Cape Cod, MA
To make sure your Cape Cod beach days go smoothly, it pays to know the local logistics. Here's a crash course for the uninitiated:
- Don't be fooled by haze. It usually burns off by noon and the parking lots fill up fast. If you want to be on your blanket -- and not in your car waiting in line -- when the afternoon sun breaks through, arrive by 10:30 a.m.
- Not all beaches have restrooms. Choose ones with comfort stations, or those closest to your accommodations.
- You'll pay for parking. All towns charge non-residents for beach parking and they're not cheap. Weekly stickers are a better deal if you plan on staying more than a couple of days. You can get stickers at town hall (Brewster), beach gates (Chatham), and the highway department (Harwich on Queen Anne Road). Innkeepers will often obtain weekly stickers for guests.
- Pack lots of food. A week's worth of hot dogs and sodas from the concession stands can set you back a bundle. Save your money for a trip to the ice-cream shop later on.
- A word about beach toys. Lifeguards don't usually allow boogie boards during prime time, causing a lot of ballyhoo among older kids. One alternative: Arrive at the beach after 3 p.m. and stay past 5 p.m. The kids can ride the waves till their lips turn blue while you kick back and watch the sunset.
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