Cape Cod National Seashore

One reason I wanted to write about National Parks this month is because I live near one and that means that I am fortunate to have a lot of great fishing close to home. The Cape Cod National Seashore is a 68-square mile park founded by Massachusetts native President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The 40 miles of beach runs from Chatham to Provincetown which is where the Pilgrims landed in 1620. That stretch of sand offers some of the best striped bass and bluefish fishing on the Eastern Seaboard. That said, the Gulf Stream pushes close to Chatham so there are seasonal opportunities for bonito and False albacore.

Most visitors are surprised by the lack of buildings on or near the beach. Out here you’ll only find sand, occupied by fishermen, sunbathers, swimmers, and surfers. Primetime for beachgoers is July and August, while prime fishing is in May, June, September, and October. It’s a match made in heaven. During the summer, night fishing for striped bass is what we’re all about, and aside from a few couples on a romantic walk you’ll have the prime fishing grounds all to yourself.


Nauset Beach, where Tony Stetzko hooked the 1981 world record striped bass (73 pounds). Coast Guard Beach. Lecount’s Hollow. Head of the Meadow. High Head. Race Point. All hallowed names familiar to a surf fisherman.


There are many different lodging opportunities near the National Seashore. They range from hotels, motels, B&B’s, campgrounds and home rentals. There isn’t a lot of distance between the bay side and the ocean side so drive times are minimal. That said, there is no camping on the beach. In a few spots like at Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro and at Race Point in Provincetown you can drive a 4x4 on the beach. Just follow the rules and you’ll be good to go.


If you plan an adventure, most importantly remember a Massachusetts saltwater license is required.


Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at