Buzzard's Bay's Little Harbor Beach to Cape Cod Canal
This is a trip whose difficulty is very dependent on conditions which are very changable. The reward is that your destination offers not only secluded sandy beaches but a view of the boats entering and leaving the Cape Cod Canal.
You start at Little Harbor Beach. Even mid-summer, this mainland beach is just like Cape Cod beaches except it is never very crowded. Plus you avoid the impossible weekend traffic backups before the two bridges to Cape Cod.
You can relax on this beach before and after your trip. There are "PortaPottys" and the ice cream truck comes through regularly. At high tide water is chest high with one foot waves, except early morning when there is usually light wind and 6" swells. Winds and waves pick up during the day.
At low tide there are many sections where sandbars are above the water and the depth of 6" to a foot goes out about a half mile. At low tide it is an excellent beach for young children, even toddlers. This is a town beach where there's a sign that says residents only, but you can pay to use it. Due to town budget cuts there are no lifeguards, only someone at the entrance collecting money.
Until the town made the beach "resident's only", this was one of the favorite windsurfing beaches on the east coast. Now there are few windsurfers, but they are still fun to watch. Most recently someone has taken up kite surfing. If the windsurers are there, only expert kayakers should venture out not because the windsurfers will be rude (they won't), but because it means there's a significant wind.
If you arrive at the beach and the conditions on Buzzard's Bay are not to your liking, at 3 hours on each side of high tide you can kayak in protected waters on a tidal area on the other side of the parking lot. Although this is a resident locale, this feels like you are "almost" in a remote area. There are many species of birds. At the end of the lot there is path down to a mucky bottomed put-in place. Watch for poison ivy as it may have grown back from the time somebody (I won't say who) put RoundUp on it.
Now to the main kayak trip. You put in at the very far side of the parking lot from the entrance. Your destination is visible, it is Stoney Point Dike on the left, a narrow mile long dike that marks the southern entrance to the Cape Cod Canal. (You can also paddle right, but that's another article.)
The distance one way is two miles if you head out to near the end of the dike. The distance varies according to your exact route. You can paddle along the shore and see a few extraordinary mansions, or as the crow flies which takes you out to Buzzard's Bay about a mile. If the seas are rough, and on a windy day there can be 2 ft. whitecaps, you might want to hug the shore.
There are a few rocks within 50 yards of shore, but these are easily visible at low tide, and at high tide they are submerged so you just have to watch for them.
Along the near side of Stoney Point Dike nice sandy beaches alternate with rocky sections. The sandy beaches are perfect places for a picnic and a swim. If you see a red and a yellow Perception Sonoma, look for Betty and I and tell us you read this article.
Climbing the rocks and crossing to the Canal side is a must. Just watch for the Poison Ivy. The Canal side is mostly beach. It is not for swimming as the current is too fast and I think it's illegal. So is taking your kayak around the tip of the point into the head of the canal, not that I haven't done this and ended up racing to a decent place to pull up to avoid the wake of a huge tanker.
We've never worried about leaving our kayaks and paddles on the beach when we crossed over the dike even though they were out of sight. If they ever were stolen we could always walk to the mainland.
The distance across the dike is around 100 feet. Try to protect the plant life by finding an existing path.
Once there, of course you can have your picnic. But the real treat is watching the variety of boats... bring binoculars if you want to spy on the super rich who have those multi-million dollar yachts. If you're lucky you might see a trans-Atlantic three masted "tall ship." Stay awhile and your likely to see fishing trawlers, every size of power boat and sail boats, tugboats pulling barges, tanker and container ships, and less often a real cruise ship.
We always keep hoping that the Canal Patrol would get faster boats so they could apprehend some of the inconsiderate and, now that the same drunks driving laws for cars apply to Massachusetts boaters, arrest these %#@^*'$. At least they stay out of the area where you'll be kayaking.
Be mindful that no matter when you start your trip, the paddle back will probably be in more difficult waters as the wind and waves pick up during the day. If you went as the crow flies on the way there, you might want to huge the shore on your way back.
This isn't an exotic kayak trip by any means, but it is one we never tire of.
Don't stay at the Atlantic Motel. Best bets if you aren't on Cape Cod are either the B&B's in Onset and Wareham or the two motels in Middleboro (25 minutes away).
There's a small fee for Little Harbor Beach, I don't know how much since we always sneak in - only kidding - we have a beach permit.
Head to Cape Cod on Rt. 495 which becomes 25. Get off at the first Buzzard's Bay / Onset exit. Go to 2nd traffic light. Atlantic Motel is on your left. Turn right. Go to next stop sign to a dangerous, typically Massachusetts, ridiculous intersection. Be care, you want to go straight (there's a small sign that sys "golf course")but watch cars on your left because they don't have a stop sign.
Stay on this curvy road for a few miles (past a cemetary on your left). Then watch for an orange sign that says "Little Harbor Beach, Residents Only," and a road that comes in on the right. Turn there, you'll be driving through a golf course, making a right turn by the Bed and Breakfast (which as of this writing your can buy for $675,000). Then just drive about 1/2 mile and you are at the beach.
- Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: Open Water/Ocean