Read the new guidelines for staying ‘beach well’ on Cape Cod

It's time to check the tide schedule, officials say.

Nauset Beach in Orleans on Thursday.
Nauset Beach in Orleans in June. –John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Cape Cod has new guidelines for how to stay “beach well” when visiting local beaches, officials announced during a press conference on Thursday.

In May, Massachusetts released its beach guidelines for the summer season. Now that the season is well underway, the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force has released a new guide called “Staying ‘Beach Well’ on Cape Cod” in an effort to avoid overcrowding, said Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.

Some Cape Cod towns have recently restricted beach access due to overcrowding.

“A number of towns are considering or have made changes to parking restrictions at beaches,” said State Senator Julian Cyr, who represents Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard. “That has included making some beaches resident only. Cape Cod National Seashore also closed much of their lot at Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro to reduce crowding that was occurring there. These decisions continue to be made to make the beaches as safe as possible and to ensure that distancing can occur.”

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The “beach well” guide includes precautions beachgoers can take in order to “help ensure that our beaches remain open,” the task force wrote on its website.

“The biggest issue, quite honestly, was the 12-foot distancing between what I call beach-blanket groups,” said Northcross. “Everyone has got 6 feet in their head and that’s kind of how they were organizing themselves on the beaches, with 6 feet apart.”

The guide’s six recommendations are as follows:

  1. Avoid high tide when less beach is available (find your chosen beach’s high tide schedule here).
  2. Consider going three hours before or after high tide, which the task force notes is a great time to visit Cape beaches.
  3. Bayside beaches have a lot more room at low tide. Visitors will discover Cape beaches listed by Atlantic side, Bayside, or on Nantucket/Vineyard Sound here.
  4. Limit social gatherings to less than 10 people, remaining 6 feet from others and maintaining 12 feet between towel/beach blanket areas.
  5. Wear your mask while walking the beach or when going to and from the parking lot.
  6. Refrain from beach sports such as volleyball, soccer, and bocce.

The guide also includes a tide schedule link.

“It couldn’t hurt to give them access to a tide schedule and just remind them that it might not hurt to kind of pick a less peak time to go to the beach,” Northcross said.

More people are using the Cape’s public spaces, parks, and bike trails, Northcross said.

“Compared to Massachusetts, we are the highest performing county in Massachusetts for travel and tourism,” Northcross said. “Overall, the numbers are down. The numbers are down not as significantly as we had feared through July. Of course, August is a huge month and we’re anxious to see the August numbers. But I can’t remember a summer in decades where Cape Cod has performed better than Boston. Ever. That’s sort of sad news, because Boston’s tourism industry is hugely important to the state overall. But we’re very fortunate that we haven’t had the same acutely depressed business cycle that other destinations across the country are seeing.”

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For more information about the Cape this season, visitors can go to ReopeningCapeCod.org, a resource created by the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force for both residents and visitors.


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