Welcome to Cape Cod National Seashore!
This information is intended to help receptives and guides plan for an enjoyable and safe visit to the national seashore with their guests.
The national seashore has two visitor centers that welcome groups traveling by coach. Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham is open year-round. Province Lands Visitor Center in Provincetown is open from May 1 through October 31. Both centers have rangers and volunteers on duty to answer questions and provide trip planning assistance; restrooms; gift and book stores; movies; and exhibits. Salt Pond also has an extensive museum, plus expansive views of the Salt Pond, Nauset Marsh, and the Atlantic beyond. The outdoor observation decks at Province Lands provide sweeping views of dunes and ocean. Spotting scopes are available, and whales can often be seen in the distance. Both centers are wheelchair accessible.
Passenger Unloading and Loading
Coaches must unload, park, and reload in designated parking areas at the visitor centers and beaches. Coaches may not drop guests off at the foot at the stairs at Salt Pond and Province Lands Visitor Centers. This blocks traffic and creates an unsafe situation for other vehicles and for pedestrians crossing at those locations.
Multiple-stall restrooms are available in the Salt Pond and Province Lands parking areas.
Cape Cod National Seashore is a Climate Friendly Park. This recognition, which is in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), demonstrates our commitment to significantly reduce solid waste, emissions, and energy consumption over the next several years. Idling vehicles, including buses, are an issue at the seashore, whose annual visitation exceeds 4 million. Under Massachusetts law, vehicles may not idle. Please remind drivers to turn off engines.
Guides are reminded to sign in at Salt Pond.
Free Park Trip Planner
Inform passengers before they enter the visitor centers that copies of the informative, full-color park newspaper are available to all passengers free of charge. The newspapers contain timely and relevant articles and information about the national seashore.
Park Gift and Book Stores
The national seashore's non-profit education partner, Eastern National, manages America's National Parks stores in each visitor center. The stores offer a variety of seashore-related items for sale, including books and field guides, art prints, apparel, postcards, nature and history exploration items for children, and local products, such as food, pottery, jellies, and candles. A percentage of bookstore revenue is donated to the national seashore for interpretation and education programs and improvements.
Short park films show throughout the day at each visitor center. The line-up includes the award-winning orientation film, Standing Bold, and topical films that focus on forces that created and shape the Cape, whaling and lifesaving, Thoreau's visits, and Guglielmo Marconi's transatlantic wireless achievement. Check on arrival for the film schedule. All films are captioned and audio-described, and assistive listening devices are available.
For safety reasons, vehicles, including buses, may not park or idle in traffic lanes, including Cable Road at the Three Sisters Lights. Please use pull-offs.
Bluffs on the Outer Cape are unstable and can collapse at any time. Urge passengers to stay back from bluffs.
Encourage passengers to recycle cans and bottles, and to use water bottle filling stations located throughout the park, instead of purchasing bottled water. The park stores sell reusable water bottles.
Beach Entrance Fees
Entrance fees for the six national seashore beaches are collected on spring weekends beginning Memorial Day weekend, and on fall weekends through the end of September. Fees are collected daily from the third week of June through Labor Day. Buses anticipating visits on days when fees are being collected, or during the height of the season in July or August, should notify the seashore well in advance to discuss the fee and to determine if it is feasible for the bus to enter the beach parking area given summer congestion. In 2022, construction of a new bathhouse is underway at Nauset Light Beach. During construction, parking is significantly reduced and buses will not be able to enter or navigate the lot.
Visits to Highland Light
The Highlands area of Truro was the site of Cape Cod's first lighthouse, Highland (Cape Cod) Light, constructed in 1797. The current tower was built in 1857. The seashore's non-profit education partner, Eastern National, provides tower tours and operates the Keeper's Shop, with a broad selection of lighthouse- and Outer Cape-related items for sale. Bus tours are welcome. Visit https://www.highlandlighthouse.org/ to inquire about hours of operation and fees.
Last updated: April 8, 2022