In the heart of summer, can you still find some solitude?
Summer on Cape Cod. Sounds seductive, doesn’t it? One issue people often fail to consider when planing a trip to the Cape in the heart of summer is that it can be extremely crowded. Even during the middle of the week the parking lots of popular Cape beaches fill up by noon.
Last week, we embarked upon a little recon mission in search of a secret beach. One that was off the beaten path and void of huge crowds. While we weren’t expecting to find ourselves with an entire beach to ourselves, that certainly would have been nice.
Some advance web searching uncovered information about Crowe’s Beach in South Dennis. With an objective in mind, we set out to see if we could find what we were looking for. Read on to find out if we succeeded or not.
How to get there
First off, if you don’t have an AWD vehicle, you may not want to head out to Crowe’s.
To get to Crowe’s Beach head to Main Street in East Dennis (Route 6A) and turn onto South Street, which will point you in the direction of Cape Cod Bay. Follow South Street past the cemetery and onto Crowe’s Conservation Land. Eventually, South Street becomes a one lane dirt road full of potholes. Take your time. There are turnouts and places to park all along the dirt road, but keep following the road until you see signs indicating that an off road permit is required to go on.
By the way, if you’re interested in an off-road permit and you’re not a resident of Dennis, they aren’t cheap, but they are available.
East Side or West Side?
When you go to Crowe’s, you have two choices. As you drive the dirt road, a sign shows you the way to each. Our advance research told us the west side is a bit marshy which didn’t sound very appealing for what we had in mind, while the east side is the place to go if you’re goal is a more traditional sandy beach. There’s also a creek that spills out into the sea on the east side where you’ll find a fair amount of jeeps and SUVs set up for the day. During high tide, kayaking on the creek is an option.
We opted for the east side.
If you have a GPS or similar navigation device, it can be difficult to set a destination that will get you to the end of South Street and to Crowe’s Beach. You’ll need to set some actual coordinates.
Latitude: N 41 45.602
Longitude: W 70 07.984
What we found
Having picked the west side, we ended up in a small parking area at the end of South Street. There were three other cars parked there with room for about 6 others. Signs clearly marked the direction we could continue on if we had an off road permit. From our parking space, we had to walk a couple hundred yards through some dunes until we were on the beach. With only one other couple sitting on the beach, we succeed in escaping the summer crowds of the Cape.
There were two problems we encountered. First, it was high tide and there wasn’t a lot of beach for the kids to roam on. Second, there was a fair amount of painful sea grass growing at water’s edge. Neither of these were major deal breakers, but with the two boys in major need of running around and burning off some energy, it was decided that this wasn’t the day to enjoy Crowe’s.
As we walked back to the car, a jeep packed with what appeared to be some local teenagers drove past and drove on out to the creek. The creek looked about a half mile from the parking lot down a fairly sandy “road”. I have to admit, the thought of having an off road permit to be able to spend those high tide hours by the creek was very appealing.
This is probably one of those articles that people on the Cape will end up hating us for. What we found definitely seemed like a bit of a local secret that you may not want to share for fear of ruining the experience.
While we achieved finding an uncrowded beach, the mission can’t be considered a total success because we didn’t stay. Lesson learned – check the the tide charts before you head out to Crowe’s. If it’s high tide you may want to reconsider, unless you have an off road permit.