The Cape really knows how to dazzle with its gorgeous sunset shows, and having seen countless Cape Cod sunsets in all my years of traveling to this area, I’ve picked out my absolute favorite places to see them. This post shares all of these amazing sunset locations with you, as well as tips for visiting, and how you can hunt down your very own sunset location on the Cape. Let’s get started!
Where Can I See Sunsets On Cape Cod?
When you’re looking at a map of Cape Cod, you’ll generally want to look for sunset locations on the western side, along Cape Cod Bay. The very tip of the Cape is also a great area to look for sunsets, and a few of the locations on this list will be in that general area.
Best Sunsets On Cape Cod
1. Race Point Beach – Provincetown
One of my absolute favorite places on Cape Cod for a gorgeous sunset is Race Point Beach in Provincetown. This beach can be found at the tip of the Cape, and is a beautiful, long stretch of soft sand with perfect views of the sunset. And since Provincetown is also one of the best beach towns in New England, it’s a win-win all around!
You’ll often find seals swimming in the water here, too! Every time I’ve come for sunset, I’ve had a seal sighting.
Pro Tip: Arrive 1-1.5 hours before sunset to enjoy the views from the Old Lifesaving Station, too. To find it, follow the path behind the bathroom and shower area from the parking lot, and it’ll be on your right. Then, continue on the path down to the beach for sunset.
Parking: Race Point Beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, which requires a $25 daily entrance fee from late June – Labor Day. However, they stop charging around 4:30pm, so if you’re only planning to visit for sunset, you won’t have to pay the daily fee! The parking lot at Race Point is very big, and rarely fills up for sunset (even in the summer).
2. Herring Cove Beach – Provincetown
Very close to Race Point Beach is Herring Cove Beach, which is another amazing location for sunset. Similar to Race Point, the sun will go down right over the water for a perfect view, and with long stretches of soft, sandy shoreline, this is an ideal location to end your evening.
Parking: Herring Cove Beach is also part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and therefore, you’ll follow the same rules as above for Race Point Beach. The parking area here is also huge and rarely fills up for sunset in the summer.
3. Breakwater Beach – Brewster
Breakwater Beach is a fun and unique location for a Cape Cod sunset because it’s part of the famous Brewster Flats, which are the largest flats or tidal pools in North America! At low tide, you can walk over a mile onto the ocean floor.
Often times in summer, low tide coordinates with sunset for an extra special experience. But even if you go for a regular sunset at high tide, you’ll get a stunning view of the sun going down over the water.
Parking: The town of Brewster requires beach parking permits from mid-June through Labor Day weekend, but if you’re just going to view sunset, they don’t require beach parking permits after 4pm (even in the summer). The parking lot for Breakwater Beach is on a smaller side, and I’ve seen it fill up on clear summer nights, so it’s best to arrive about 1-1.5 hours before sunset.
4. Skaket Beach – Orleans
Skaket is a very popular beach for sunset, and for good reason! This is another beach that’s also part of the Brewster Flats, so timing your sunset with low tide is a very special experience.
Parking: Town of Orleans beaches require a fee or a parking permit to visit the beaches mid-June through Labor Day, but stop collecting fees at 4:30pm in the summer. The parking area is big enough that you should easily be able to find a spot when visiting for sunset. If you decide to spend the whole day at Skaket, you’ll want to bring cash for your parking fee, as cards are not accepted.
5. First Encounter Beach – Eastham
First Encounter Beach is another fantastic place on the Outer Cape to watch a beautiful sunset, and is a lesser-known beach that not as many visitors know about. This beach is also part of the Brewster Flats tidal pools, and it’s worth seeing if you can time your visit just right with low tide and sunset!
Parking: First Encounter Beach is one of the 4 Eastham beaches that offers a daily pass for parking, as opposed to a town beach sticker. You’ll need a pass to visit the beach during the day from mid-June through Labor Day weekend, and the town stops charging for parking after 4pm.
6. The Knob – Wood’s Hole
The Knob is a very cool little spot that’s perfect for a sunset in the Upper Cape area! Not as many visitors know about it, and it tends to be more of a local’s secret, but this is definitely a lovely place to linger on a clear summer night.
The Knob is a small piece of land that juts out to where the local harbor meets Buzzard’s Bay, and its location offers a perfect view of sunset in the summer. In the winter, the sun will set a bit further to the left, but still puts on a beautiful show!
To get to The Knob, you’ll walk about a half mile along a wooded trail, and there’s also a small beach you can enjoy. Once you arrive to the trailhead, you’ll want to take the path on your right for the quickest way to The Knob (there’s an informational board at the start of the trail, which is when you’ll veer right instead of left).
Parking: Parking for The Knob is limited and can be challenging in the busy summer season. You’ll want to put 48 Quisset Harbor Rd into your GPS, and once you enter the harbor, you’ll want to take any available public parking spot you see (be sure to not park in a private parking spot). If you park shortly after entering the harbor, you’ll have to walk a bit to get to the trailhead, but it’s better than risking not getting a parking spot!
Pro Tip: In the summer, I suggest you arrive at least 2 hours before sunset to ensure you get a parking spot. If you circle for a bit and can’t get a spot, head to nearby Nobska Lighthouse (the next location on this list!), and see if you can enjoy sunset from there.
7. Nobska Lighthouse – Falmouth
Just a short 10-minute drive from The Knob is Nobksa Lighthouse, which also offers an exciting view of the sunset. This is another tricky area to visit in the peak summer season because parking is very limited to only about 6-7 cars, but it’s worth the effort!
My suggestion to enjoy sunset at the lighthouse is to cross the street from the parking area, and walk down to the rocks for a better view of the water. In the summer, the sun will set right in front you, and you’ll have an amazing seat to the show!
8. Sunken Meadow Beach – Eastham
Sunken Meadow Beach is one that’s not as well-known with visitors, and while it’s small, it offers a beautiful view of the sunset. This is another beach that’s part of the Brewster Flats, so it has some awesome tidal pools for exploration.
Parking: This beach has a very small parking lot, with only about 10 spaces. It can fill up during sunset time in the summers, so it’s best to arrive 1.5 hours before sunset to get a spot. The daily parking fee at this beach is $12, but they typically stop collecting fees around 4:30pm.
9. Crosby Landing Beach – Brewster
Crosby Landing Beach is not only wonderful for sunset, but is a great beach for swimming during the day, especially for families with young children. The sand is soft, and the water is warm and shallow, and at night, it puts on a stunning show for sunset.
Parking: The lot at this beach is large, and often doesn’t fill up completely in the summer. For a sunset visit, you shouldn’t have an issue with parking. The same rules will apply for Town of Brewster beaches, so be sure to scroll back up to Breakwater Beach for more information.
10. Rock Harbor Beach, Marsh & Harbor – Orleans
This is one of the top sunset spots on Cape Cod that locals regularly visit, so you know you’re in for an amazing show on a clear night! Rock Harbor is a beach, salt marsh and harbor all in one, so depending on what kind of terrain you’re looking to enjoy during sunset, you’ll have your pick. This is also one of the most photographed sunsets on the Cape.
For these reasons, and because of its more central location than sunsets in the Upper Cape areas, it tends to be the most crowded place for sunset. But don’t worry – there’s plenty of room to spread out. Arrive early to find your perfect spot for watching the sun go down.
Parking: This beach offers plenty of parking, so you should easily be able to get a spot when arriving for sunset. During the day, the same rules apply for the Town of Orleans beach parking, so be sure to scroll back up to Skaket Beach for more information. But spoiler alert – it’s free parking after 4:30pm!
11. West Dennis Beach
An awesome option for a stunning sunset in the mid-Cape region is West Dennis Beach. And this is especially easy to enjoy because you won’t even have to get out of your car to see the sunset if you don’t want to! The parking spots in the lot face the ocean, and you’ll have a panorama view right from your car.
Of course, it’s best enjoyed from the shoreline, and it’s a very short walk from the parking lot to the sand.
Parking: The lot at this beach is very large and finding a spot in never an issue for sunset. The daily fee for parking at this beach is $30, but fees are not collected after 4pm, even in the summer.
12. Gray’s Beach – Yarmouth
One of my personal favorite places for a lovely sunset on Cape Cod is Bass Hole Boardwalk at Gray’s Beach. This boardwalk stretches out over picturesque salt marshes, and at the very end of the boardwalk, you’re rewarded with a sunset that goes down straight in front of you.
Pro Tip: Because of the salt marshes, this area can be buggy in the summer. You’ll want to come prepared with bug spray if you think they may bother you.
Parking: Parking at Gray’s Beach is free after 4pm, and there are plenty of spots during sunset!
13. Mayflower Beach – Dennis
Lastly for Cape Cod beaches, Mayflower Beach is another wonderful sunset location in the mid-Cape region, and since this is an awesome family-friendly beach with shallow, warm water, it’s a great idea to spend the day here until sunset. This is also a beach where the tide goes out really far, making it very fun to explore the tidal pools!
Parking: Mayflower has a very big lot that can fill up during the day in the summer season, but is never full during sunset. The daily parking fee to visit in the day is $20, but they stop collecting parking fees at 5pm.
Best Sunsets On Nantucket
14. Madaket Beach
My personal favorite place on Nantucket for sunset is Madaket Beach, and while it’s also a more popular location for sunset, it will never feel crowded. The surf at this beach is pretty big, so it’s amazing to listen to the sound of the waves crashing while watching the sun disappear from the sky.
The parking area at Madaket is on the smaller side, and it’s possible it could fill up on a clear night in the summer season, I suggest arriving 1.5 hours before sunset to ensure a parking spot if you need to drive.
15. Cisco Beach
Cisco is another incredible spot for a sunset on the island, and it’s not as well known by visitors as Madaket for sunset, and therefore, can be a little less crowded. This beach is also popular with surfers because of the bigger waves, and has a long, pristine stretch of sand for an amazing sunset shoreline walk.
16. Galley Beach
One of the most fun ways to enjoy sunset on Nantucket is to book a table at Galley Beach Restaurant. While on the pricey side, it’s worth it for a special occasion (or for no reason at all!).
This waterfront restaurant offers tables in a traditional dining room, as well as tables right on the beach in the sand, depending on which you prefer. And the sun will set right over the water so everyone gets an incredible view of the sunset while enjoying a wonderful meal and cocktails.
Parking At Nantucket Beaches
Most Nantucket beaches are free and open to the public, and don’t require special parking stickers or fees to park!
Best Sunsets On Martha’s Vineyard
17. Katama/South Beach
South Beach on Martha’s Vineyard, also sometimes called Katama, is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. And it just so happens to be an amazing spot for a sunset, too!
Since this beach has over 3 miles of pristine, soft sand, it also makes for the most wonderful beach to spend the entire day, from morning to sunset.
Pro Tip: Parking is free at this beach, and can fill up fast during the day in the summer, but if you arrive for sunset, you should be able to find a spot.
18. Aquinnah Cliffs
Located on the far western side of the island, you’ll find one of the most stunning places on Martha’s Vineyard – the Aquinnah Cliffs. Not only is this one of the best places to see during your entire visit, sunset makes it an extra special place to take in the incredible views.
During sunset, the cliffs will be dripping in a warm, amber glow that doesn’t even seem real. And if you have the time, I highly suggest a sunset walk on the beach to see the cliffs from the shoreline.
19. Menemsha Public Beach
Last on this list is the beautiful sunset at Menemsha Public Beach, which is only about a 10-minute drive from Aquinnah. Since Menemsha faces directly west, it offers a perfect, panorama view of the sunset!
Pro Tip: Menemsha has some of the best seafood shacks on the island, so I highly suggest grabbing takeout from one of them as a picnic dinner, and bringing it to the beach to enjoy during your sunset show. Menemsha Galley, Larsen’s Fish Market and Menemsha Fish Market are all wonderful options.
Are Dogs Allowed On Cape Cod Beaches For Sunset?
There are some beaches that will allow dogs in the summer season on Cape Cod (June-Labor Day) outside of lifeguarded areas, but you’ll want to be careful to read up on shore bird nesting season, as many of the dog-friendly beaches will prohibit dogs during this time (typically any time from April through Labor Day).
I know this doesn’t really clarify things too much, but it’s something you really just have to check before your arrival, and it can change throughout the season. Click here for more information on pets at the National Seashore Beaches.
To check any pet restrictions due to shore bird nesting, you’ll want to go to the beach’s website on the Cape Cod National Seashore website.
All other beaches on Cape Cod have their own pet rules, so you’ll want to check with the town’s beach rules on pets before visiting.
Best Time Of Year For Cape Cod Sunsets
The summer season will provide the best views for a perfect Cape Cod sunset, as the sun will be positioned just right to go down right over the water in many of the locations along Cape Cod Bay.
If you happen to visit in the winter season, sunsets are just as special, and put on a stunning show with pink and purple hues, which feels magical. However, one thing to note is that the sun will change position a bit during the winter, and becomes harder to see the closer to gets to the horizon along Cape Cod Bay.
In the winter, I suggest heading more toward Orleans and the Outer Cape (towns north of Orleans) for the best views of sunset in the colder months.
Other posts you may find helpful:
- Best Towns To Stay In On Cape Cod
- Best Time To Visit Cape Cod & The Islands
- What To Pack For Cape Cod
- Things To Do On Cape Cod For First Timers
- Best Lobster Rolls On Cape Cod
- Best Ice Cream On Cape Cod
- Best Waterfront Restaurants On Cape Cod
- Things To Know When Visiting Cahoon Hollow Beach
- Best Things To Do On Martha’s Vineyard
- Cape Cod vs. Nantucket: Which Is Best For You?
- Best Places To See Seals On Cape Cod
And here are some guides on Cape Cod towns you may also enjoy:
- Best Things To Do In Wellfleet, MA
- Best Things To Do In Harwich, MA
- Best Things To Do In Dennis, MA
- Best Things To Do In Falmouth, MA
- Best Things To Do In Brewster, MA
- Best Things To Do In Provincetown, MA
- Best Things To Do In Chatham, MA
- Best Things To Do In Sandwich, MA
That’s A Wrap On The Best Sunsets On Cape Cod & The Islands
You’re now an expert on where to find the most beautiful Cape Cod sunsets! During your next trip, I highly suggest picking out a few places from this list to experience different sunsets in various regions to enjoy the best the area has to offer.
A perfect sunset evening in Provincetown is always a good one to check off your Cape Cod bucket list, and it’s hard to beat a special sunset at low tide along the Brewster Flats. Regardless of which you get lucky to see, all of these experiences create amazing memories you’ll cherish for years to come.