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Exploring Eastham

Eastham is situated on the eastern edge of Cape Cod and is the southernmost town on the "Outer Cape," which also makes it the Gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore. It’s a small town - Eastham only has a total area of about 25 square miles - and unique in that, within that small area, it contains quite a few distinctive land features. So join us for a geographic tour of Eastham, and then plan a Cape Cod vacation to experience the beauty of Eastham for yourself!

Coastguard Beach, Eastham, MA
Coastguard Beach, Eastham

Our first stop takes us to the cliffs and dunes that line the beaches on the ocean side of Eastham. Coast Guard Beach is not only one of Cape Cod’s most famous and most popular beaches, it was also named one of America’s most beautiful beaches. The beach is lined with sandy cliffs that tower above, some as high as 100 feet. To match the tall cliffs, there are often tall waves as well, perfect for board- and body-surfers and those who love the thrill of playing in big waves. The views from atop the dunes (watch your step!) are breathtaking, and those from below will leave you in awe.

In contrast to the sandy cliffs along the beach, the 18 foot high Doane Rock in Eastham is the largest glacial rock on Cape Cod. It is believed to have been deposited here as the glaciers moved across Cape Cod over 25,000 years ago!

From Doane Rock, it is time to explore the extensive salt marshes in Eastham. The valuable salt marshes provide habitats to thousands of species of wildlife, and the scenery around them is breathtaking. The blue of the waters mixed with the varied and ever-changing shades of vegetation provide a feast for the eyes. Whether hiking the Fort Hill Trail (one of my personal favorite spots on Cape Cod!) or kayaking through Nauset Marsh, be sure to bring your binoculars to see up close all the splendor of the Eastham salt marshes.

Next up, it is time to head into the woods. The Cottontail Conservation is a favorite spot to hike and enjoy walking among the pine, oak, and red cedar trees. Another beautiful hike through the forest of pine and oak can be enjoyed on the trails at the Lamont Smith Conservation Area.

Great Pond, Eastham MA
Great Pond, Eastham

To the water we go! Not to the ocean, though. This time, we head to the freshwater kettle ponds of Eastham. These ponds (of which there are over 300 throughout Cape Cod) are thought to have formed around 13,000 years ago when large blocks of ice, left over when glaciers retreated, became embedded in the ground, leaving depressions that filled with fresh ground water. Great Pond, Eastham’s largest kettle pond, encompasses 109 acres and is a great spot for swimming, kayaking, boating, and fishing.

The final destination on the geographic tour of Eastham takes us over to the western side, the bayside of Eastham. The bayside beaches of Eastham are great spots for swimming and kayaking as the waters tend to be warmer and calmer than oceanside beaches. The beaches on Cape Cod Bay in Eastham, such as Campground Beach, are ideal spots at low tide for exploring the unique and beautiful tidal flats. Check the tide schedule, as these bayside beaches differ greatly from low to high tide!

Lighthouse Beach, Eastham, MA
Lighthouse Beach, Eastham

For more information about the natural wonders of Eastham and the Cape Cod National Seashore, be sure to stop at the Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham for information on all aspects of the natural history of Eastham and the entire Outer Cape region.

Ready to explore the diverse geography of Eastham? You certainly won't be forced to move at a "glacial pace" when using the power search feature to find your ideal Eastham vacation rental.

About Susan Hutchins

About Susan Hutchins: I joined the WeNeedaVacation team in 2012 and write website and blog content as well as promote through social media. Having grown up spending summers on Nantucket, I have a strong connection to Cape Cod and the Islands. I now live in New Hampshire with my husband, two children, and golden retriever, and we are frequent visitors to the Cape. I love running local road races, the Brewster in Bloom 5K being a favorite. My family enjoys biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, hiking in Nickerson State Park, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches (usually a dog friendly one!).