The sunset at Harding's Beach in Chatham. Photo by John Fitts.
With vibrant hues from all over the visual light spectrum illuminating the early evening skies as the last of the light to be refracted by the clouds is dispersed before the fall of darkness, it is no wonder that sunset elicits such strong responses in people.
Worldwide, people marvel over the last rays scattering their light across the sky, illuminating cities in dazzling reds, turning shorelines into a fabulous interplay of orange and shadow, or causing forests to catch the colors of fire.
Cape Cod is well-known for having fantastic sunsets as the last of the light passes over the bridges and moves westward across the country. However, some spots on the Cape are more captivating than others. For those who desire to watch the last flickering of light move across the sky (and perhaps catch a few choices photos), here is a list of the ten best places to view the sunset on Cape Cod.
- Bourne Bridge, Bourne: Teri Stanley of the member services department at the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce, recommends this view for “those who are truly brave at heart”. Stanley says that people can park their cars at the police barracks and then walk onto the Bridge, something she said that she herself has done. Stanley said that people can get “phenomenal pictures” from the Bridge and that the view is just amazing.
Stanley said that sunset over the canal itself is amazing, even if folks don’t want to brave the Bridge and that there are various locations to go and watch, including the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
- Paine’s Creek, Brewster: Dawn Sternlieb, membership service coordinator at Brewster Chamber of Commerce, recommends this spot because “it is probably the most popular spot to watch the sunset in Brewster because the beach is easily accessible.” Sternlieb added that another big draw is the big rock jetty that people can walk out on to view the sunset. A lot of people like it too, said Sternlieb, because they can see the sunset from their car and don’t have to walk too far to get to the beach.
- Skaket Beach, Orleans: Noelle Pina, executive director of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce, says that Skaket is the best place in Orleans to watch the sunset because “when the tide is low and the water is warm, it is great to walk out for a really long time.” Pina added that it is nice to meander on the flats during the sunset. Another big draw is that Skaket is easy to get to.
- Gray’s Beach, Yarmouth: Lynn Remick, the visitor information specialist at the Hyannis Chamber of Commerce, said that the sunset here is beautiful and the spot is popular among visitors. Gray’s Beach has a boardwalk that goes out to a deck, so people can stroll down to watch the sunset and relax at the end on the deck. Another plus is that Gray’s Beach is easily accessible.
- Mattakeese Wharf, Barnstable: Remick said “everyone goes here to watch the sunset” when they are in Barnstable. There’s a beach at the end of the wharf and people can watch the boats turn into silhouettes against the fiery sky. There is also a restaurant here by the same name, so people can grab a bite while they watch the sunset.
- Chapin Beach, Dennis: Spyro Mitrokostas, executive director of the Dennis Chamber of Commerce, said that “because the sun sets on the north side of town, you should be on that side to get the full effect.” Chapin Beach, according to Mitrokostas, has the best view. The best vantage point on Chapin Beach is the ORV side and “it is best at low tide.” Mitrokostas said that another great place in Dennis to watch the sunset is Scargo Tower because it has a great view and people can see a lot of Dennis from there.
- Harding’s Beach, Chatham: Lisa Franz, the executive director of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce, recommends this spot because “it has two really large parking lots and you can park your car right at beach level…it has a great view and you can sit on the sand…it is very open.”
- Cook’s Brook Beach, Eastham: Jim Russo, executive director of the Eastham Chamber of Commerce says “during the winter, you can sit in your car at the end of the parking lot which practically touches the water and even in the winter, it’s a beautiful spot with unobstructed views.” Russo added that in the summer, it is a great beach to sit on and watch the sunset as well.
- Old Silver Beach, Falmouth: Jay Zavala, President and CEO of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, said “there’s nothing sweeter than having a nice little cocktail and watching the sunset sitting on Old Silver Beach…I mention the cocktail because one of our premier hotels [the Seacrest Beach Hotel] is on Old Silver Beach.”
Zavala also recommends Surf Drive, which he says is also quite popular because it is a short distance from Main Street, Falmouth and it is also a short distance to the lighthouse. Zavala said that visitors can look across to Martha’s Vineyard on a clear day and the whole scene is great for families.
Both sites have full amenities, including restrooms, changing rooms, food, icecream, and lifeguards. They are also both handicapped accessible.
Zavala said that the sunsets in Falmouth are great and that Falmouth is “small enough to fit in your eye, but big enough to fill your heart.”
- Race Point, Provincetown: Char Priolo, a concierge with the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce, recommends Race Point in Provincetown for watching the sunset over the ocean. Race Point is at the end of the Cape, so technically people watching the sunset here are watching the sunset at the end of the world. For a great view over the bay, Priolo recommends viewing at Herring Cove Beach.
Priolo added that another great place to watch the sunset in Provincetown is over the harbor because “the pink color from the sunset turns all the white things, like the boats and buildings, a lovely amber color.”