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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cape Cod Bike Trails: Outer Cape

Off the main roads, safe and beautiful bike trails in Outer Cape Cod.

A lot of visitors to Cape Cod, including guest at our bed and breakfast, are interested in varying degrees of cycling. From the hard core to the easy riders, the Cape has biking trails for all. In previous blogs, I described some of our favorite bike-ways on the Upper-Cape and Mid-Cape, and now I’ll finish off the rest of our island. From Sandwich on the Upper Cape to Provincetown at the very tip of the Outer-Cape it is sixty-five miles, which I do not recommend anyone try to bike. I know a lot hardy souls do it, but that is not our typical guest. But, I do recommend all our guests see Provincetown. If you also want to bike, you have some great options on the Outer-Cape and along the way.

On the way to P-town, on scenic Route 6A in Brewster you pass Nickerson State Park, a very popular summer campgrounds on 1900 rustic acres. Jan and I love to stay in state parks when we travel in our motor home during the winter months. This Massachusetts state park has 400 tent campsites set in great natural scenery with abundant wildlife. It offers campers hiking, biking, fresh water ponds for swimming, fishing, and access to the beaches on the Cape Cod Bay. The 8 miles of dedicated bike paths are open to non-campers and are connected to the longer Cape Cod Rail Trail. Two specific parking lots with direct access to the paths are conveniently located off 6A. Bike rentals are also available in the Park. It is a very doable ride that takes you up close to nature in this unique preserved coastal woodland. Parts of the ride can be a little hilly, but it is well worth the effort.

A little further down the road, or is it down Cape or up Cape, is what many think is a must see even if you are not biking, the Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS). The CCNS is over 43,000 acres of ponds, woods, dunes, and beaches run by the National Park Services. It has over 40 miles of Atlantic facing beaches, considered to be the best on Cape Cod and by far some of the best surfing in the Northeast.

I could go on and on, but for this blog the important thing is the bike paths. The Nauset Marsh Trail starts at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham and runs 1.6 miles through this breathtaking landscape to Coast Guard Beach. It a short ride that you may never forget. If you have your own bikes it is easy to park and do the ride, if you need to rent bikes you may want to continue up to P-town. There is an entrance fee to all National Parks and we recommend that if you are over 62 you investigate an America the Beautiful Senior Pass. A few years back Jan and I discovered the pass while staying in Ocala National Forest in Florida. It saved us 50% a night on RV camping fees. It paid for itself in the first few nights. See, there are some advantages to getting older.

The last bike path is the Province Lands Trail at the tip of the Cape which is still in the Cape Cod National Seashore. This hilly 5+ mile loop starts at the Province Lands Visitor Center and winds through the dunes system and the unique Beech Forest. Side spurs take you to Herring Cove Beach, Bennett Pond, and Race Point Beach. Even if our guests are not bikers, I suggest they stop at the visitor center and take in the observation deck on top of the building. Jan and I never miss stopping when we make it that far from home, the views are unbelievable. Literally, you can see for miles and miles, some of the most beautiful views in the world.

Photo of sun setting on Race Point Beach in Provincetown, MA
Sunset at Race Point Beach
If you have your own bikes, you just unload and ride. If you need bikes, plenty of options are available a mile or so away on Commercial Street in P-town. A good resource for more info about these trails and bike rental, etc., is the Cape Cod Bike Guide web site. As you plan your biking adventure, stay with us at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast and we’ll tell you about all the other things you need to see in Provincetown

Happy Trails

Charlie Preus, the Innkeeper's Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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