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For the Sandwich beaches listed below, nonresident parking stickers -- $90 for the length of your stay -- are available at Sandwich Town Hall Annex, 145 Main St. (tel. 508/833-8012). Note: No swimming is allowed within the Cape Cod Canal because the currents are much too swift and dangerous. The Army Corps' Cape Cod Canal Visitors Center, at the Sandwich Marina (tel. 978/318-8816; www.capecodcanal.us), is open daily 10am to 5pm in season. It displays exhibits about the canal, and rangers lead walks in the area.

  • Sandy Neck Beach, off Sandy Neck Road, in East Sandwich (www.town.barnstable.ma.us/sandyneckpark/default.aspx): This 6-mile stretch of silken barrier beach with low, rounded dunes is one of the Cape's prettiest and most unspoiled. It is somewhat isolated, with no commercial businesses or accommodations on the beach. Because it is a Cape Cod Bay beach, the water tends to be warmer than the open ocean, and the waves are never too high. That makes it popular with families. The fact that the beach stretches out for miles makes it a magnet for endangered Piping Plovers -- and their nemesis, off-road vehicles (ORV). That means that the ORV trails are closed for much of the summer while the Piping Plover chicks hatch. Parking for the beach in the upper parking lot costs $15 per day in season. Up to 4 days of camping in self-contained vehicles is permitted at $10 per night, plus an ORV permit. Tent camping costs $20 per night.
  • Town Neck Beach, off Town Neck Road, in Sandwich: A bit rocky but ruggedly pretty, this narrow beach offers a busy view of passing ships, plus restrooms and a snack bar. Parking costs $10 per day, or you could hike from town (about 1 1/2 miles) via the community-built boardwalk spanning the salt marsh.
  • Wakeby Pond, Ryder Conservation Area, John Ewer Road (off South Sandwich Rd., on the Mashpee border): The beach, on the Cape's largest freshwater pond, has lifeguards, restrooms, and parking ($10 per day).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.