Things to do
Eastham is the portal to the Cape Cod National Seashore, which marks its 50th anniversary this year. Stop at the Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center (www.nps.gov/caco, 508-255-3421) for maps and information about the many programs offered. Be sure to hike the Seashore’s Red Maple Cedar Swamp and the Fort Hill Trail, and enjoy a fragrant trek with stunning views of Nauset Marsh. Get a free permit and build a campfire at any of the Seashore’s six swimming beaches, including Coast Guard in Eastham.
For indoor musical entertainment, head to the First Encounter Coffeehouse (www.firstencounter.org), a smoke- and alcohol-free venue run by volunteers that has been showcasing acoustic music since 1974.
Coast Guard Beach is often mentioned on lists of the nation’s best beaches, and anyone who has been there knows why: pounding surf, an immaculate long shoreline, cool fresh sea air, and a view that will take your breath away. Walk nearby Nauset Spit, a barrier beach system where shorebirds and seals hang out, and where nature writer Henry Beston spent a year in the Outermost House, writing a book of the same name. (The sea swallowed the small, two-room cottage during the Blizzard of ’78.) During high season, access to the beach is provided via shuttle from the Little Creek parking area. Be sure to watch children closely; this Outer Cape beach is known for its heavy surf and undertow, making it a mecca for local surfers.