A number of people, boaters and non-boaters alike have asked me, how much does it…
As the weather starts to warm and thoughts of summer boating become more pervasive, I thought I would list out our families top 5 beaches to go to by boat on Buzzards Bay. Now of course under the current situation with social distancing being the word of the day, beaches are not open and if they are, it is not recommended that people go and gather in close proximity to each other as is the normal case with beach going. However, we all hope that things will change, and for beach lovers like myself and my family, thinking about our favorite beaches and the fun family time we have had helps make the time at home go by just a little easier.
The top criteria for us is that the beach must be accessible by boat. So many of Buzzards Bay beaches are town run and do not allow boaters to anchor and dinghy in. Second, because we come by boat, the approach must be reasonably navigable and have sufficient depth close-in to allow our 3-4 foot draft boat to anchor. Now of course this means that at least 8 to 12 feet of water is needed to safely accommodate Calypso’s draft. Similarly, many beaches have hazardous rocks that are often unmarked due to their close proximity to shore. While this is fine for smaller boats, it’s harder for us to navigate our way through. Lastly, the beach should have some protection from the prevailing wind to reduce rocking while at anchor, which can make for an uncomfortable lunch. I should point out that these beaches are unguarded and have no bathroom or food facilities. Swimming is at your own risk.
For any of these beaches, we often head over in the midmorning, anchor and have lunch aboard then dinghy in and enjoy the afternoon sun and sand. They are favorite places to bring friends along and share the beauty of Buzzards Bay.
That having been said, here is my list top 5 beaches. Your list may be different and I encourage comments. I am sure there is a beach we have not been to and would love to try out a new one.
Barges Beach – Cuttyhunk
This is one of Cuttyhunk Hunks two primary public beaches. This beach can be reached on foot or with a dinghy if you are staying at Cuttyhunk Marina or anchored in the outer harbor. This beach faces the channel into the inner harbor and is great for boat watching (boat TV). The water drops off quick depending on the level of the tide. There is no surf to speak of other than boat wake. This beach is fairly narrow and a bit rocky, so no white sands here. But nonetheless a great place to set out a chair read a book and watch the boats enter the harbor. Because this beach faces an active channel, you need to be aware of the boat traffic while swimming.
Sippewisset Beach – Falmouth
This is a nice beach for exploring. It is relatively rock free with an easy approach if you follow the markers. The tidal river that flows in here is fun to explore making this beach somewhat unique and the water warm. Anchoring here is a bit exposed to the prevailing wind but holding is good. The number of boaters you will find here depends on the conditions but smaller boats are often here as it is easy to get in close and anchor. this is a good beach for kids because it is shallow and there is good exploring.
Churches Beach – Cuttyhunk
Churches beach is the “other beach” on Cuttyhunk and located away from town and boat traffic. The beach is located on a narrow strip of land that leads to the southwest side of the island. It’s a good 20 minute walk from the town marina but well worth it. Here the sand is generally rock free and the beach is wider than Barges Beach #5. The beach faces southwest and has a very remote feeling to it. You will rarely find many people here given Cuttyhunk’s general remoteness. The water is clear, the waves are more pronounced but not to the level of body surfing.
Kettle Cove Beach – Naushon Island
Kettle Cove Beach is one of two beaches on Naushon Island that the public is allowed to use. The other being Tarpaulin Cove on the Vineyard Sound side. This is a private island owned by the Forbes family. The public is allowed to come ashore here but no fires, grilling or camping is allowed. Boaters should stay close to the beach area and not go exploring. This is a nice beach with soft sand and good room to spread out a chair or towel. It is popular so you will often find a dozen boaters there on a nice day in the summer. The approach is easy and there are no major hazards as long as you stay in 8-10 feet of water. Holding is generally good although there are patches of seagrass which can make getting the hook in a little tougher. This beach is not really located in a cove, more of a “depression” in the side of the island, so it has an exposure to winds out of the west. While on the beach, there are rocks you can climb on and some tide pools that are fun for youngsters to explore. Naushon Island is known for deer ticks so if you walk in the tall grass, check for these pests before you leave.
Bassett Island Beach- Falmouth
In some ways, the beach on Basetts Island is a bit of a ringer. This island beach is very popular given its close proximity to a number of harbors including Redbrook which it sits at the mouth of. The island is part of the town of Falmouth and boaters are allowed to use the beach on one end. The other end of the island has a private residence which should be avoided. The beach is located just south of the start of the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal just off of Hog Island Channel. It has an easy approach with few hazards as long as you mind the markers. This harbor is popular for dinghy sailboat racing so boaters should give a wide berth to any race activity on the way in. You can anchor on either side of the island as both have beaches. We usually anchor on the west side and then walk a short distance to the beach on the east side, which is the nicer of the two. Holding is good in either location. Anchoring on the east side is a little shallower and there are some hazardous rocks that have very small markers and on the chart as asterisks. These rocks are located just outside the channel that rings the island and would take your bottom out if you hit them. The beach facing Redbrook Harbor is very nice. The sand is white and well packed, and the water drops off very slowly, so it is good for kids. You should wear water shoes because the few rocks are sharp.