I have done multiple posts on the beaches of The National Seashore recently, and decided to return to the southern shore for a comparison. South Cape Beach State Park is in Mashpee on the southern coast, a barrier beach with Vineyard Sound on one side and Waquoit Bay on the other.
While there is a lack of substantial dune cliffs or surf as is found on the Outer Cape, what there is here is WARM water! Last summer the temperatures in the estuaries reached up into the 80s – in the water. The chilly waters of Cape Cod Bay and the Outer Cape beaches are not found here.
This is about the extent of dune height at this location; quite a difference from the 30 and 40 foot heights I wrote about recently.
It is almost May, (when these were taken last year), and the green is beginning to appear with all the new growth. The spring skies can be quite dramatic.
There are walking trails throughout the South Cape Beach State Park which go through the wooded areas and the marshes; signs mark the routes of the trails.
It is a great time now for bird sightings (mine are always random luck). I’ll have to ask my bird friends to identify this one – sandpiper maybe?
Nesting areas are marked clearly for the piping plovers and terns so that they are not disturbed.
South Cape Beach State Park is open to all visitors in-season (more below) with parking at $7 per day. Off season, the beach can be accessed at the Mashpee Town Beach Parking lot right on the beach (in-season, a sticker is required).
From Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Website:
South Cape Beach State Park, Sage Lot and Flat Ponds
Habitat: The barrier beach and fragile dune systems provide the Bay some protection against the dynamic shore, which changes with the season as well as in response to coastal storms and hurricanes.The beach serves as a nesting ground for the protected species such as piping plover and least tern. Sage Lot and Flat Ponds are salt ponds to the east of the Bay that are part of South Cape Beach State Park. Barrier beaches separate them from Vineyard Sound.
History: South Cape Beach has features similar to a prehistoric site in the National Seashore in Eastham on the Outer Cape.
Recreation: The eastern part of the barrier beach system is South Cape Beach State Park, a swimming beach which is also a noted surf casting site during the annual bluefish and striped bass migrations. A parking fee of $7.00 is charged per vehicle from mid-May to mid-October. A lifetime senior citizen pass for Massachusetts state residents, which entitles you to free parking at the state beach (and all other state parks), is available at the Reserve Headquarters. Call the Reserve at (508) 457-0495 for more information.