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Coast Guard Beach: Extraordinary

#9 Forbes 10 Best Beaches in USA, 2013
Who:    Active Individuals (Handicap Access)
What:   A Day at Coast Guard Beach
Where: Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, MA
When:  Anytime of the year.
Why:    A beautiful beach with multiple adventures.
How:    About 2.5 hours from Boston by car.

The beach is the great equalizer when it comes to vacations as there's something for everyone. Children can scamper from sandbar to sandbar during low tide while teens compete at body surfing, and others relax, nap, read, walk, swim, converse, and play.

If you want to visit an extraordinary beach, plan a trip to Coast Guard Beach, one of Cape Cod National Seashore's best beaches. Coast Guard Beach avails itself to beach goers with physical disabilities as there's handicap parking at the top of the dunes and a rolling wheel-chair access to and from the beach. There are sand wheelchairs on hand for those that need to be wheeled to the water. Call ahead to make sure that the equipment and access meets your needs in this regard.

For those who do not require handicap access, make sure you're ready for lifting and sand walking as Coast Guard challenges anyone who may need to access their car or facilities often. To access Coast Guard, you must park about a mile away, lug your beach equipment to the tram, ride the tram, then hike down to the beach. Another option for beach travel is biking. There are wonderful trails to and from Coast Guard Beach and other National Seashore spots and Cape Cod destinations. Though the transport seems like a hassle, the effort is well worth the beach's pristine beauty, wavy shoreline, and naturalist's delights.

Before you go, pack what you'll need including plenty of sunscreen, healthy food, lots of water, boogie boards, surfboards (if you're interested), fishing poles, pails and shovels, sweatshirts, beach towels, beach chairs, umbrellas, and SUPs (stand up paddle boards.) Leave flotation devices at home as they are not allowed. Pets with leashes are welcome at the far edges of the beach just past the life guard chairs. There's no beach shop or eatery nearby so you have to be prepared.

Once you've staked your beach front spot for the day, settle in, and enjoy the wonder Coast Guard offers. Don't hesitate to jump into the cold water, and bring a wet suit if you're worried about the sometimes extreme cold temperatures. Ride a few waves, and visit with friends and relatives. Don't miss the chance to walk or run down the beach in either direction to more secluded sections of the shore  Keep your eyes peeled for sea life including seals, beach birds, fish, and the occasional shark--a somewhat new phenomenon in these recently seal-filled waters of Cape Cod.

Rangers and others have been on the look out for sharks and have been successful warning visitors. There's been one bite at the National Seashore in the recent past, yet it's good to be cautious by swimming or surfing close to others, staying away from seals, not wearing highly contrasting colors or jewelry in the water, staying out of the water with open wounds, remaining close to shore, and always alert. Further, the outer shore of Cape Cod often has strong currents, forceful waves, and a sometimes powerful undertoe. Hence, it's best to swim near the guards who are familiar with the water's strength. Lastly, don't dig big holes on the beach as the tides change quickly and those big holes can prove dangerous.

Coast Guard is a wonderful destination in the evening and off season too.  Bonfire permits are available at the National Seashore Visitor Center which allow you to have beach fire for cook-outs, marshmallow roasts, and sing alongs under the starlit sky.  Off season the beach offers solitary picnics, walks, and exploration.

The beauty and nature of Coast Guard Beach like any natural wonder calls for your respect, care, and caution. The more you prepare for this wonderful adventure, the better you'll enjoy this spectacular scenery--a beach not to be missed!
My brother-in-law, David Gorrill, a talented photographer took this image of Coast Guard Beach during the winter of 2015 when he and my sister cross country skied along the beach. 


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