Chatham, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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- Chatham, Cape Cod Beach Guide -

"There is something more remote and beautiful where the sea meets land than anything else of which one may think.  You are caught up in this everlasting exchange of sea and land.  For a moment you are living in that rhythm of time where a thousand years are as a day."

-Mary Heaton Vorse, Time and the Town, 1942

Lighthouse Beach Photo


The Chatham area has six major saltwater beaches. Five are located on Nantucket Sound and one is on the ocean side. Nantucket Sound is an area of the Atlantic Ocean protected by Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Monomoy. Because this part of the Atlantic is sheltered by these land masses, the water is warmer and more calm than the unprotected ocean beaches. There is one ocean beach on the unprotected side of the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, the water is cooler and more turbulent than the Nantucket Sound beaches. There are several other saltwater and freshwater beaches located throughout the town.

Cockle Cove, Hardings Beach, and Ridgevale Beach all require beach stickers for parking.  Beach access is free to those walking or on bikes.  Non residents must purchase stickers at the on-site beach booth (only residents purchase stickers at the George Ryder Road permit office), and these are valid for all beaches in town except for Schoolhouse Pond, which only provides parking to those with resident stickers. Residents can get beach permits at the permit office at 283 George Ryder Rd, accross from the aiport.


(Click a beach for information)

Cockle Cove Beach
Forest Street Beach
Goose Pond

Hardings Beach

Lighthouse Beach & South Beach

North Beach
Oyster Pond

Pleasant Bay

Pleasant Street Beach

Red River Beach

Ridgevale Beach
Schoolhouse Pond
White Pond

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Town of Chatham Beach & Parks Regulations

3.1 The operation of boats, wind surfers, water skis or similar may not be conducted within 150 feet of designated swim areas, marked by buoys, at Cockle Cove Beach, Harding Beach, Oyster Pond Beach, Ridgevale Beach, and Schoolhouse Pond Beach, except for emergency or Police, Harbor Master or Park and Recreation Department boats.  Penalty- $100.00

3.2 Playing ball or the use of Frisbees on beaches or in the water is prohibited except in the areas designated by the Park and Recreation Commission.
Penalty- $25.00

3.3 The removal of sand, bushes or other growth is prohibited except by permission of the Park and Recreation Commission and Conservation Commission.   Penalty- $50.00

3.4 The digging, altering, grading or removal of any material so as to alter or change any watercourse, tidal flow, tidal basin, tidal flat, wetland, marsh, pond or lake within the parks and beaches under the authority of the Park and Recreation Commissioners without the necessary Town, County, State and Federal permits is absolutely forbidden and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

3.5 Beach buggies, recreational vehicles, off-road vehicles and any other vehicles are forbidden to traverse beaches, dune areas or parks, except for Park and Recreation Department or emergency vehicles.  Penalty- $100.00

3.6 Destruction of dunes is prohibited. Use established paths and walkways as marked.  Penalty- $100.00

3.7 No children under 10 years of age may attend any beach unless accompanied by an adult. Any minor child on a beach or park of the Town is the responsibility of the minor child's parents and or guardian or other person/person's who may be in charge of minor children, as in the case of picnics, group gatherings, school or church outings or field trips, or any other group functions.  Penalty- $25.00

3.8 After the official closing time (10:00 p m ) persons at the beach must actually be engaged in fishing.

3.9 No person shall use rafts, rubber tubes, any flotation device, mask, snorkel or scuba gear as swimming accessories in a designated swim area, except for rescue.  Penalty-$25.00

3.10 No person shall operate any motor vehicle in any park or beach area at a rate of speed greater than 15 miles per hour. All state motor vehicle laws are applicable in park and beach areas.  Penalty-$25.00

3.11 Parking is only allowed in designated parking spaces. All marked roadways, lanes and emergency vehicle lanes shall be kept open and free of parked vehicles at all times. Any blocking vehicle may be towed at the owner's expense, together with a penalty of $50.00 as described above.

3.12 No vehicle other than wheelchairs shall traverse or stand on any vegetated area or use any handicap ramp. Penalty- $25.00

3.13 Protective measures around nesting Plover areas and other shore birds are to be preserved and not entered.  Penalty- $50.00

3.14 No glass containers allowed at beaches.  Penalty- $25.00

Certain of the above rules and regulations may be suspended from time to time by majority vote of the Chatham Park and Recreation Commission.

The above rules and regulations do not, nor are they intended to, supersede, take the place of, replace, make void or repeal any Town of Chatham By-Law, any County By-Law, any State Law, Federal Law or any fines or legal punishments that are applicable in any instance.



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