South Beach, Chatham MA

South Beach, Chatham MA
South Beach in Summer
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South Beach is the ultimate, uncrowded beach even in the middle of summer. This amazingly expansive stretch of sandy beach is a place where you can enjoy a warm summer's day watching the seals pass by during their daily migration or taking a long walk on the beach with seagulls and piping plover for company.

The beach 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. If you want big surf, South Beach (and its sister North Beach) are for you, along with strong undertows.


South Beach
Salt Water
Swim at Your Own Risk
Breathtaking Views and Great Surf
No Facilities

South Beach, Chatham MA
South Beach Aerial View
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South Beach is a barrier beach just like North Beach and South Monomoy and its topography continually changes due to the effects of the tides and weather. The beach was originally a portion of Nauset Beach but broke off during the storm in 1987 that created the Chatham Break.

Later it reconnected to the mainland at Chatham Light. Projections for South Beach during the next decade have changed in recent years. It now looks as if the beach could continue to be driven westward by storms and eventually link up with the Monomoy islands, connecting them once again to the mainland.

South Beach, Chatham MA
Sunrise at South Beach
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On the Atlantic side a little further north of South Beach is a large colony of gray seals. Because of the large colony of seals the area has begun to attract great white sharksRecently, 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 South 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.

South Beach, Chatham MA
Great White Shark
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There are also no bathrooms, lifeguards or food service, so it's not a family oriented beach in the traditional sense. Still, every family should spend at least one day of their trip at a barrier beach. The views and surf are like none other on the Cape.

South Beach, Chatham MA
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You can walk to South Beach from Lighthouse Beach - although it is a healthy walk.The best way to get to South Beach is by taking one of the ferries that regularly travel there. Outermost Harbor runs an on demand ferry to South Beach and North Monomoy Island. The Monomoy Island Ferry provides service to South Beach in conjunction with its seal tours as well as day trips to the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

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