Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get fit at the same time. If you’re planning a trip to Cape Cod or any of its islands this summer, keep in mind that there is plenty of space not just for swimming and sunbathing but also for hiking. In addition to great trails, Cape Cod also has amazing views in the form of seascapes, salt marshes and sand dunes. Many beaches and their associated trails have entrance fees for daily visitors as well as summer passes. Be sure to call or visit the website of each of the locations listed below to learn more about fees and parking.
Cape Cod National Seashore
99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667
Managed by the National Park Service, the Cape Cod National Seashore contains unspoiled views of the water as well as salt marshes. Sponsored hiking trails are located all along the Cape. Some must-see spots include the Nauset Marsh Trail and the Great Island Trail. Visit the website for more information about park visits, including ranger guided tours and other activities.
Sandy Neck Beach Park
425 Sandy Neck Road
West Barnstable, MA 02668
Located on the Lower Cape, Sandy Neck Beach Park offers nearly 13 miles of hiking trails. Trails begin on the upper beach, making their way through dunes and eventually leading to the longer salt marsh trail. A natural cranberry bog is viewable on site just before the trails for the off-road vehicles begin. A parking sticker is required to park onsite and can be purchased at the gate. Click here for a trail map.
Harwich Conservation Trust
947 Route 28
The Harwich Conservation Trust works to preserve lands within and around the town of Harwich. Included in its trust is the Harwich River, a great location for hiking as it has numerous trails to enjoy. If you wish to hike with a person who requires a wheelchair-accessible trail, try visiting the A. Janet DeFulvio Wildlife Sanctuary. While the trail itself is rather short, a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk is available with benches dotted along the way. Great views of the salt marsh can be enjoyed here by all.
W. Madaket Road
Nantucket, MA 02554
Part of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Sanford Farm was once privately owned and is now open daily to visitors. Today, as protected land, visitors are welcome to tour the grounds and partake in the great hiking and views. The main trail itself is nearly six miles, perfect for those looking to burn off a recently eaten clam bake. Take a walk about the Loop, a 1.7-mile long circuit that will take you past a pond and small pine needle forest. Dogs are welcome as well as bicycles.
Manuel F. Correllus State Park
Martha’s Vineyard, MA 02552
With 14 miles of hiking trails (also great for those wishing to bring bikes), Manuel F. Correllus State Park is a great resource to enjoy the outdoors on Martha’s Vineyard. Be sure to visit the Heath Hen Sculpture, which commemorates extinct bird species. The Heath Hen was once a popular and thriving species of native bird but has since gone extinct. You can also view the efforts to restore the park’s natural terrain as you tour through various sections. With 14 miles of trails, be sure to check out the trail map to determine your best route through the park. Click here for a trail map.
Cristy is a city dwelling enthusiast, an arts, culture, and technology lover, and an all around curious person. As an examiner, she covers all things Boston. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.