Cape Cod National Seashore | HEAD OF THE MEADOW BEACH

Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore


See the Beaches at Cape Cod web page for an interactive location map.


Head of the Meadow Beach is the least visited National Park Service-managed beach at Cape Cod National Seashore due to its remoteness, but it is hands down the best beach in the park. The other beaches have so many rocks and pebbles on them that you might as well be walking on gravel, and that’s no fun when it comes to bare feet. I know things can change each year, but on my recent 2021 visit I didn’t see any rocks at all at Head of the Meadow Beach, which brought back happy memories of walking on the soft sand of the Florida beaches that I am accustomed to.

Rock free sand at Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

Rock free sand at Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

There is a fee to use Head of the Meadow Beach during the summer season: daily from late June through Labor day, and on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through the end of September. Prices vary depending on how you arrive. At the time of this writing, fees range from $25/day for vehicle parking to $15 for those arriving on foot or bike (16 and older). You can get an annual Cape Cod National Seashore pass for $60, or an annual National Park Pass for $80. Both are valid for access to National Park Service-managed beaches at Cape Cod. The National Park Pass will also get you into any other National Park that charges an entrance fee. Keep in mind that neither of these passes is good for entry into town-managed beaches, even those within the National Seashore boundary. For the latest prices, visit the National Park Service’s official Fees and Passes web page.

Crowd at Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

Crowd at Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

There are two parking areas at Head of the Meadow Beach, but only one is for the National Park Service beach. The other is a town of Truro-managed beach, so you need a town of Truro parking pass to use it. The National Park Service lot (stay left when Head of the Meadow Road forks) holds roughly 250 vehicles, and the town lot is nearly as big. I visited around 1:30 PM on a Saturday in early August, and while there were a lot of people on the beach, the parking lot wasn’t even half full. I can’t imagine it will ever fill up, even on a holiday weekend. A Ranger told me that the Marconi Beach parking lot never fills up, and Head of the Meadow Beach is far more remote.

Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

You can also ride your bike to the beach via the Head of the Meadow Trail. It is a 2-mile ride between the beach and the western terminus parking lot at the end of High Head Road. A bike rack is available in the parking lot.

Biking to Cape Cod National Seashore's Head of the Meadow Beach on the Head of the Meadow Trail

Biking to Cape Cod National Seashore’s Head of the Meadow Beach on the Head of the Meadow Trail

Lifeguards are on duty from late June through Labor Day weekend on a designated stretch of beach, and certain restrictions apply in this area. For example, no pets, flotation devices, glass containers, or surfing is allowed.

Lifeguard station at Head of the Meadow Beach in Cape Cod National Seashore

Lifeguard station at Head of the Meadow Beach in Cape Cod National Seashore

You don’t have to climb down staircases from high cliffs to reach Head of the Meadow Beach, so those with beach-type wheelchairs can get to the water. However, it is a long way from the parking lot to the beach, the path is slightly uphill, and there are no beach wheelchairs available for guests as there are at Coast Guard and Herring Cove beaches.

Stair-free access to Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

Stair-free access to Head of the Meadow Beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

The beach has restrooms (chemical toilets, not modern plumbing) and a separate changing room, plus outdoor rinse-off showers. The changing room is just a large, open room with benches, so you must get naked with everyone else to change into your swimsuit. Be sure to bring everything with you for a day at the beach—food, drinks, chairs, umbrellas, etc.—because there are no vendors.

Restroom and changing room at Head of the Meadow Beach

Restroom and changing room at Head of the Meadow Beach

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Last updated on February 26, 2024
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