Cahoon Hollow Beach is considered one of the best Cape Cod beaches as it has a secluded view of the Atlantic Ocean next to massive 75 foot sand dunes. On top of the sand dunes you can find iconic restaurant Beachcombers which offers tired beachgoers an opportunity to grab a drink, try some famous Wellfleet oysters or enjoy live music. Visitors can enjoy surfing, beachcombing or join in on one of the volleyball games.
Cahoon Hollow Beach Hours and Location
Cahoon Hollow Beach is located at 1120 Cahoon Hollow Road Wellfleet, Massachusetts, along the Outer Cape facing the Atlantic Ocean.
The beach, as well as all other Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches, is open 6am to midnight but Beachcombers parking officially opens at 9am.
Cape Cod National Seashore
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy designated over 40 miles of sandy beaches, marshes, cranberry bogs, forests and lakes along the Atlantic for the Cape Cod National Seashore. Many cultural monuments including lighthouses and historical landmarks are included in the preserved acres. Wellfleet Massachusetts, and its Cahoon Hollow Beach, along with areas in Provincetown, Truro, Eastham, Orleans and Chatham were included in the designation. Today the Cape Cod National Seashore offers visitors biking trails, untouched beaches, and beautiful scenery.
Cahoon Hollow Beach Parking and Cost Overview
There are two lots for parking at Cahoon Hollow Beach, one at Beachcombers restaurant and an overflow lot one mile away with a free shuttle. Both lots cost $30 to park but you want to try to get into the Beachcombers lot as they will give you a voucher for $30 off food and merchandise (no alcohol tho) at the restaurant. The overflow lot still costs $30 but does not provide a voucher.
Beyond these two lots, parking is limited. Police monitor the area (as the parking situation is often quite chaotic in the summer months), and will give you a ticket for parking along the road. The two nearest beaches to Cahoon require local parking permits that visitors cannot get.
Neither the Beachcombers or overflow parking lot is paved and they’re filled with soft sand that may be difficult for some vehicles to navigate.
Parking at Beachcombers Restaurant
If you do plan to arrive early and want to grab one of the convenient Beachcombers Restaurant parking spots, the restaurant is only a 10 minute drive from Wellfleet center and rests atop of the dunes. The parking situation, which is the same parking lot as the beach, is a bit tricky and always packed.
There are two lots for Cahoon Hollow Beach, one at Beachcombers Restaurant, and the other overflow lot a mile away with a free shuttle. Both lots cost $30 to park, but the lot at Beachcombers will reimburse you $30 off food or merchandise if you eat at the restaurant. (Remember to bring cash for parking). The other lot will not provide a voucher and the free shuttles may be inconsistent.
I would not drive all the way over only expecting to eat dinner here as parking is not guaranteed. Beachcombers would only be worth it if you are spending a day at the beach, and plan to stop by afterwards. Arrive early (before 10am) to get parking at Beachcombers.
Beachcombers Restaurant and Bar
One of the only commercial properties within the Cape Cod National Seashore the Beachcomber is an iconic landmark, offering panoramic views of the Atlantic as it sits atop the dunes of Cahoon Hollow Beach.
Beachcombers is considered a classic Cape Cod experience where you can find rowdy post-beach crowds and cocktails, famous Wellfleet oysters as well as a variety of seafood. Many describe the restaurant as if they’ve stepped into a 1950s beach seafood “shack”. Definitely expect crowds (often several hours wait time) and a classic Cape Cod drinking atmosphere. The bar seats are well-known for a gorgeous view of the water.
Beachcombers is only open on-season from Memorial to Labor Day, and has varying days that it’s open. Don’t expect that the restaurant will be open every day and be sure to check its calendar for an updated schedule.
Accessing the Beach from Beachcombers
Ideally, you’ve found an early morning parking spot at Beachcombers which positions you overlooking Cahoon Hollow Beach. The beach is accessible by a trail through the sand dunes that is notably steep and treacherous. Over 75 feet tall this sand dune path would be quite the challenge for those with mobility issues. This beach is certainly not wheelchair accessible and I wouldn’t recommend anyone with mobility issues to attempt to scale the dunes as ascending back up the sand dunes is particularly challenging.
Things to Do at Cahoon Hollow Beach
Enjoy the serene views and brave the chilly New England waters for a swim. There are many seals and birds that make wildlife viewing entertaining. The beach usually is quite active with volleyball games ongoing as well as surfers and boogie boarders in the water.
Cahoon Hollow Beach is well-renowned for having beautiful clear water and soft sand. (Well not soft compared to Florida but compared to the normal rocky New England beaches.) The shore is a bit rocky but a few feet into the water the floor turns to a soft sand.
The water temperature is 60s during late summer months which still will be quite cold for many. It can be nice to take a chilly dip and then warm up under the sun.
Are there sharks at Cahoon Hollow Beach?
There is an abundant seal population at Cahoon. While it’s entertaining to watch the seals playing very close to shore, seals often attract sharks. The lifeguards periodically shut down the beach if a shark is sighted- and yes I mean great white sharks. Many recommend not getting into the water if seals are active in the water. There is a shark patrol boat that continuously monitors the area. Make note of the “shark smart” signs around the beach and listen to your lifeguards instructions if they shut down swimming.
Cahoon Hollow Beach is still a fun atmosphere after the sun sets. You are allowed to have bonfires if you get a permit from the Wellfleet Beach Department and many beachgoers will stay on the beach to roast marshmallows. This area of Cape Cod is rated as one of the best spots for stargazing in Massachusetts due to the lack of light pollution on the Outer Cape.
Amenities at Cahoon Hollow Beach
There are no real amenities at Cahoon Hollow Beach. There aren’t any showers or real bathrooms except for a row of porta potties in the Beachcombers parking lot and customer-only bathrooms at the restaurant. If you don’t plan to eat at the restaurant (wait times are known to be over an hour at peak times), definitely bring your own food and water.
Can I bring food and alcohol on the beach?
Yes, alcohol is allowed on Cape Cod National Seashore Beaches as well as picnic food. There is food/drink available for purchase at Beachcombers, a famous restaurant and bar at the top of the dunes. Alcohol has recently become a nuisance at the beach so please drink responsibly. Expect a police presence to ensure that people are not over-drinking.
Is Cahoon family friendly?
Maybe- depends on your family. The steep dunes would be hard for young children and senior citizens to climb up and down. The beach also can attract a party crowd, being so close to Beachcombers and allowing alcohol. However, the beach is gorgeous and many kids would enjoy playing in the pristine surf.
Dogs at Cahoon Hollow Beach
In the on-season summer months May 15th through October 15th dogs are allowed on Cahoon Hollow Beach if leashed and only in areas where lifeguards are not present. Off-season dogs are allowed anywhere on the beach. Remember to bring doggy waste bags and promptly pick up after your pets.
If you want to avoid the crowds but still experience the beach, I’d suggest going to the beach in the spring or fall. Parking at Beachcombers will be free (but note- the restaurant is only open Memorial through Labor Day) and you’ll be able to bring your dog without having to avoid lifeguarded areas.
Is Cahoon Hollow Beach worth it?
Yes, Cahoon Hollow Beach is absolutely worth it. The dunes above the ocean hide the road, and buildings so the beach feels remote and peaceful.
The beach parking at Beachcombers is hard to get and relatively expensive. I’d also caution that the dunes are hard to navigate for people with mobility issues. Overall, Cahoon Hollow Beach is rated one of the best beaches on the Cape Cod.