EASTHAM – There are several great woods-to-beach hikes on the Cape, but the Doane Rock to Coast Guard Beach trek is one of the best quick Cape Cod hikes one can take that start in the woods and end up at some spectacular beach.
And not just any spectacular beach. Coast Guard Beach is ranked one of the top ten beaches in the United States by Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman, a coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University, who has been ranking the nation’s beaches for 30 years.
Now one assumes Dr. Beach isn’t ranking this beach in March. And while Coast Guard Beach is not even my favorite beach on Cape Cod, and March is certainly not my favorite month on the Cape, my recent March visit to Coast Guard Beach was interesting, beautiful and awesome – as in awe-inspiring.
Trekking from Doane Rock, a 45-foot long by 18-foot high glacial boulder at a parking area along the road to Coast Guard Beach is a different way to visit the famous beach. A little secret of this parking area is that one can then hike through the woods to the beach. So I did, going for a short while onto a bike path and then a bridge and finally into the parking lot that is graced by the old Coast Guard Station that gives this beach its name.
And then I was at the beach itself. Even in March, it is breathtaking. I get lightheaded and forget all other beaches and then I think that, yeah, that Dr. Beach guy just might be onto something.
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A walk I take a lot – But the real payoff is continuing to walk the beach south to Nauset Inlet especially at low tide in September at dawn