• Atlantic Ocean beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

    Cape Cod

    National Seashore Massachusetts

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  • Access at seashore locations

    The stairs at Nauset Light Beach in Eastham are closed due to storm damage. Herring Cove North Lot in Provincetown sustained damage resulting in closure of multiple parking spaces. The Nauset Marsh Trail bridge was destroyed in a 2012 storm. More »

Nature & Science

Cape Cod

Aerial photo of Cape Cod National Seashore

NPS Photo

Cape Cod is a large peninsula extending 60 miles into the Atlantic ocean from the coast of Massachusetts. Located on the outer portion of the Cape, Cape Cod National Seashore's 44,600 acres encompass a rich mosaic of marine, estuarine, fresh water, and terrestrial ecosystems. These systems and their associated habitats reflect the Cape's glacial origin, dynamic natural processes, and at least 9,000 years of human activity. Geomorphic shoreline change, ground water fluctuations, tidal dynamics including rising sea level, and atmospheric deposition are among the many physical processes that continue to shape the Seashore's ecosystems. Marine and estuarine systems include beaches, sand spits, tidal flats, salt marshes, and soft-bottom benthos. Freshwater ecosystems include kettle ponds, vernal pools, sphagnum bogs, and swamps. Terrestrial systems include pitch pine and scrub oak forests, heathlands, dunes, and sandplain grasslands. Many of these habitats are globally uncommon and the species that occupy them are correspondingly rare.

 

To learn more about natural resource research and monitoring taking place at Cape Cod National Seashore please visit the following links:

Atlantic Research & Learning Center

Cape Cod Ecosystem Monitoring

Did You Know?

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, Provincetown, MA

The Old Harbor Life-Saving Station in Provincetown, MA is one of the few surviving, unaltered life-saving stations left in the country. The station was built in 1898 and is open in the summer months with a display of rescue equipment, and NPS staff re-enact the historic Breeches Buoy rescue drill.