Gorgeous beaches stretch as far as the eye can see in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, creating the perfect conditions for year-round bonfires. Before you pack up the firewood, however, it’s important to check regulations. Since much of the shoreline is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, bonfires on the beach are heavily restricted and closely monitored to protect the stunning coastline. In fact, nearly every spot requires a permit. As you book vacation rentals on Cape Cod, check out properties near these beautiful beaches that allow bonfires.
1. Sandy Neck Beach Park, Barnstable
Tucked between the towns of Barnstable and Sandwich on the northern side of the Cape, 6-mile-long Sandy Neck Beach Park is a summer hotspot. Families flock to the wide strip of sand to sunbathe and swim in Cape Cod Bay, and off-road vehicles speed up and down the ORV section. Pet owners love the beach; dogs on leashes are welcome on the main beach during the summer and on the ORV beach year round. This popular area is also one of the only nearby options for bonfires, but you must get a permit. The park’s gatehouse offers a limited number of daily campfire permits for the main beach starting at 5:00 PM in the summer season; arrive early to get in line, particularly on weekends or holidays. If you’re driving ORVs from local vacation rentals, you can purchase an ORV permit and a campfire permit for use on the ORV beach. Permits are available from April 1 to October 31; from November through March, fires are not allowed anywhere on the beach.
2. Newcomb Hollow Beach, Wellfleet
Large sand dunes and stunning vistas await at Newcomb Hollow Beach, a large strip of sand located near Wellfleet on the far eastern edge of the Cape. With its slightly wild feeling, this beautiful beach attracts people in search of a quiet, private piece of sand. If you’re hoping to have a bonfire, it’s also one of the best options on Cape Cod. From the third Saturday in June through Labor Day, you can have a beach fire as long as you purchase a permit from the Town of Wellfleet Beach Sticker Office. Permits are awarded in order of arrival, so it’s a good idea to arrive by the 8:30 AM opening time. You can build your fire starting at 6:30 PM. If you’re visiting in the off-season, you can enjoy a beach fire without a permit. Dogs are allowed on Newcomb Hollow Beach year round, but may not be in areas with lifeguards during the summer from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
3. Head of the Meadow Beach, Truro
Enjoy a quiet setting with panoramic views on dog-friendly Head of the Meadow Beach, which is situated near Truro at the northeastern tip of Cape Cod. Larger waves make for fun swimming and body-boarding. One of the least-crowded beaches in the area, Head of the Meadow is a great spot for bonfires year-round. Permits are required; you can make your request starting three days in advance at the Truro Fire Department and up to 3:00 PM on the day you want to have the fire. At that point, fire officials check weather conditions and decide whether or not it’s safe to issue permits. Keep in mind that each person in your party can request only one permit per week, so you can increase your chances by using a different person’s name each time.
4. Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown
At the northern tip of Cape Cod, Herring Cove Beach is one of the most popular local beaches. The calm, warm waters are perfect for swimming, and the sand buzzes with activity each summer day. Feel free to bring your leashed dog, but be aware that pets are not allowed on sections with lifeguards during the summer. Spectacular sunsets make Herring Cove a particularly beautiful spot for bonfires. Permits are required; they’re free, and reservations are available from the Province Lands Visitor Center starting three days in advance. You can call, but since the park prioritizes in-person reservations, it’s a better idea to visit the office in the morning to make a request. Bonfire permits are available year round.
5. Corn Hill Beach, Truro
The exceptionally calm waters of Corn Hill Beach draw families and boaters during the summer season, creating a fun, lively atmosphere. Located on the interior of the Cape, north of Pamet Harbor, this dog-friendly spot is popular for boat-watching, exploring, and wading in the inlets. The sheltered location creates the perfect spot for bonfires any time of the year. Each day, weather permitting, the Truro Fire Department issues five fire permits. You can request a permit as early as three days in advance, in person or by phone.
6. Whitecrest Beach, Wellfleet
Catch a wave at Wellfleet’s Whitecrest Beach, a popular hangout for local surfers and volleyball players. Large waves and wilder waters deter many from open-water swimming, but it’s not uncommon to see families playing at the water’s edge. Whitecrest is a beautiful spot for bonfires, as long as you don’t mind carrying supplies down the steep dune. If you’re visiting from the end of June through Labor Day, you must get a permit from the Beach Sticker Office near the pier. The rest of the year, you can build a bonfire on the beach without a permit. Fires are allowed between 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM, and flames must be less than 3 feet high. Dogs on leashes are welcome at Whitecrest, as long as they stay out of lifeguarded sections during the day in the summer.
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