Sea, sand dunes, and marshes at Sandy Neck Beach, Barnstable


Miles of beaches await at Sandy Point

We visited Sandy Neck beach on a mild winter’s day. We were not the only visitors. A number of others strolled the beach, but with 6.5 miles of beach to walk, it was not crowded. Unlike most beaches, Sandy Neck allows, with multiple conditions, motorized vehicles and horses on certain portions of this beach. It is not every beach that requires stop signs. Permits are required to access these trails with motorized vehicles.


Not something we see on every beach we visit

What we were most interested to check out was the Dunes trail.


This portion of the Dunes trail offered solid footing and great views of the adjacent marshland

The entrance to the trail appeared to be firm enough for our tandem bicycle, and if so, we hoped on another trip to bring our bike and be able to see more of the dunes, forests and marshland.


The clear path was easy to follow, but the shifting sands of the dunes filled in any solid path we might have hoped to walk on.

The solid footing on the trail soon became soft sand, which was not too surprising, considering the huge sand dunes that abutted the path. We didn’t get far because of the sand, but were able to get some nice views of the marsh, which was criss-crossed by narrow dikes.


Ice patterns in nearby dikes make clear the ebb and flow of tides through these tidal marshlands

These had clearly been made by earlier settlers of this area.


Great views of wide open marshes at Sandy Point

Marsh hay was a valuable source of feed for animals, and the dikes allowed for better control of access for these marshes when it was time to harvest the hay. The wide open spaces offer great opportunities for bird watching. We were told that eagles had been recently sighted in the area, but were not lucky enough to spot any the day we visited.


Dunes, stunted forest land, and the sea, such a varied landscape in one area

Additional trails are available and perhaps on another visit we will be able to discover more of what this special place has to offer. And spring is nearly here. Happy trails!


Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.

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