I spent my childhood summers on Cape Cod, but because my grandparents had a beach house in the Upper Cape town of Mashpee, I didn’t get to know many other beaches until the last few years when the house was sold and my husband and I were forced into weekly rentals.
It still stings, but the obvious blessing is I finally got off my beach chair and saw some other parts of this beautiful region of Massachusetts, including stumbling upon the best beach on Cape Cod when I was 34 years old, with my husband and three kids in tow. The first time we visited Old Silver Beach in West Falmouth, I couldn’t believe what I’d been missing!
Old Silver Beach in Falmouth is one of those beaches that most Massachusetts natives know about, even if they never visit. I was in that category when we were renting a classic Cape-style house in East Falmouth, next to my native Mashpee.
Falmouth is a very popular Upper Cape beach town that is usually mobbed in the summer, especially on weekends and in neighborhoods like Woods Hole and Falmouth Heights. There are huge stretches of coastal roads with beautiful beaches , but West Falmouth, home to Old Silver Beach (AKA, the best one) is different. It has a bit of a coastal Maine vibe, with cliffside estates overlooking the ocean beaches below, and Old Silver is really the focal point on that side of town.
Located next to the Sea Crest Beach Hotel, the public side of Old Silver Beach always looks a bit ethereal to me. There’s a glow over the water, and I think it feels a bit like California with its brown rock ledges that descend into the water from the coastal road. Yes, Maine, California, — I am all over the map but that just supports my assertion that Old Silver Beach has it all.
Aside from aesthetics, Old Silver Beach is ideal for people of all ages. The water is shallow for a very long time so that you could walk a hundred yards into the water and it might just be up to your thighs. There are sandbars that take little ones by surprise. If you want to swim, though, you can find deep enough water as you wade toward the jetty, closer to the private beach in front of the neighboring resort. Adults will appreciate the matchless sunsets over Buzzard’s Bay. Parents (and all people who like being alive) will appreciate the fact that Great White Sharks don’t seem to congregate around Upper Cape waters in Falmouth as they do around the lower Cape beaches, especially in recent years when the Cape has become a Great White Shark worldwide hub. There are places on the Cape I don’t let my kids swim, but Old Silver definitely isn’t one of them.
In season, you will have to pay to park but it’s well worth it. Here, though, I’ll suggest a later-in-the-day trip, if you don’t mind skipping the sunniest hours of the afternoon. After 5 p.m., parking is free. You don’t have to worry much about the sun (great for parents like me who get tired of applying sunblock) and the crowds are smaller. We’ve done sunset trips to Old Silver and ordered pizza while there, spent a good three hours and watched the sun go down. It really is a great way to enjoy the beach. Sadly, bathroom and shower facilities are closed by the late afternoon, but there are many local eateries so while you’re ordering dinner, be sure to use a restroom!