A Pilot Spotted A Mysterious Shipwreck Poking Out Of The Sand Off North Beach Island In Chatham. Image thanks to ablogabouthistory.com
North Beach is a barrier beach; with gorgeous views; swimming for the intrepid and practically deserted. North Beach is actually the southern most tip of Nauset Beach. If you want big surf, North Beach (and its sister South Beach) are for you, along with big undertows. The island has become popular with boaters, beachgoers and piping plovers. Once there, simply claim a patch of sand for yourself. There's plenty of room and few visitors.
North Beach Salt Water Swim at Your Own Risk Breathtaking Views and Great Surf No Facilities
The island contains 11 beach camps, which were known as the second village when the beach was a continuous sand spit. These camps are privately owned and passed down in families. However, the owners are not allowed to make improvements and it is expected that the sea will eventually reclaim them.
North Beach has its own incredible story as the beach has been known as a 'barrier beach'. In 1987 a huge winter storm caused a break in the beach directly opposite Chatham Light which eventually widened and erosion eventually caused the loss of nine North Beach cottages.
A second break occurred in 2007 a little further north. As that new inlet has widened, it has either destroyed or forced the demolish of seven North Beach camps. The initial break has now widened to nearly two miles. It is a fascinating scene of the ocean versus the land; and the landscape is ever changing.
Recently, the Chatham Harbormaster has announced a moratorium on any swimming on east-facing beaches, including popular South Beach, North Beach and Lighthouse Beach between sunset and sunrise and swimming remains banned when seals -- a favorite food of the fearsome great whites -- are within 300 feet.
The Harbormaster's advisory goes on to say "[B]each goers, mariners and swimmers should continue to pay close attention to their surroundings, and when swimming at North Beach should not venture too far from shore."
Even with the shark alert it is worth the trip. You can always go to the ocean to picnic, beach walk, wade in the shallows and bird watch and then return to the Pleasant Bay side where the shuttle picks up and drops off to swim.
You may drive onto the beach in Orleans as long as you purchase the required sticker and equipment and have a four-wheel drive vehicle. The views are gorgeous, the off-road driving is fun, and you can come and go as you please.
To begin, 4WDs with a sticker must check in at a small guardhouse in the Nauset Beach parking lot. From there, you drive along a sand access road through the dunes bordering the beach. There are intermittent outlets between the dunes leading to the beach itself. Camping overnight is permitted but you must have certain gear and a contained bathroom facility.
Without an oversand permit and a four wheel drive vehicle, you can only access the beach from Chatham by boat. If you don't have your own boat, you can take an on demand water taxi which leaves from the fish pier.
Since there are no facilities, plan accordingly and bring a cooler with lunch and beverages. You will have to walk overland from the drop of point to the beach approximately ¼ mile on a designated path.