Head of the Meadow Beach in North Truro is the least crowded of all the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches.
Perfect sandbars and unspoiled dunes with some of the softest, finest white sand on cape cod. The vibe at head of the meadow beach is very laid back.
There are entrance paths tot beach on both ends of the parking lot, which seldom seems close to filling up. The beach offers orv trail access (which is usually closed).
Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning a trip to head of the meadow beach:
head of the meadow beach parking fee info
The u.s. national park service has made access to the head of the meadow beach and the cape cod national seashore beaches affordable to all visitors.
Visit the National Seashore site’s fees and passes page for the current pricing.
Daily parking passed for head of the meadow beach are available, and you can also purchase a season-long pass for your vehicle. There are also fees for bikers, walkers, and motorcycles. Or you can get an America the Beautiful Pass that covers all National Parks in the U.S.
There are also free weekends at the beginning and end of each season.
ORV vehicle passes are also sold at Race Point Beach that cover all of the Cape Cod National Seashore ORV trails. But Head of the Meadow’s trails are nearly always closed, so don’t bother getting one just for that.
If you’re looking for somewhere to use your Oversand Driving Permit for the National Seashore you’re better off trying to go to Race Point of High Head which are open for at least part of the summer usually.
Learn more about ORV Beach Trails.
The money from sticker fees at head of the meadow beach is directed back to the national seashore beaches.
It provides the bathrooms, changing rooms, outdoor showers, lifeguards and park rangers that keep the park safe, clean and enjoyable for the thousands of visitors who enjoy these unspoiled cape cod beaches each year.
beware of poison ivy on beach paths
Beach access at head of the meadow is provided by trails through the beach grass located at both ends of the parking lots.
the paths aren’t very steep but are lined with layers of poison ivy. and ticks. keep your dog on a tight leash and your children close by. take care to walk in the center of the trails.
off-road vehicle (orv) trails at head of the meadow beach
the oversand orv trail at head of the meadow beach is located at the far end of the parking lot. orv stickers are available through the cape cod national seashore for 4×4 vehicles.
be aware that you need to bring required safety equipment and watch a video about driving on sand dunes prior to getting your national seashore orv sticker, so plan ahead. you’ll need to bring your own air compressor to head of the meadow too – there isn’t a public air filling station here like there is at race point beach’s orv trails. or you can drive on soft tires to the gas station at the end of the road.
The ORV trails at head of the meadow beach haven’t been open much in the past few years, so call ahead before planning a vacation around this. Nearby Race Point Beach has orv trails that are typically open all season, it’s a much safer option.
be wary of walking on the orv trails at head of the meadow beach
Some visitors choose to walk out at the ORV trail at the far end of the parking lot adjacent to the walking trail. Beware – the sides of the ORV trail and even the area between the tire tracks are completely covered with poison ivy.
If an off-road vehicle comes upon you while you’re walking on the road, there’s nowhere for you to go but into this poison ivy field. Better bust out the Calamine lotion.
After Hurricane Irena sprayed salt over the trails at head of the meadow beach in 2011 this poison ivy turned red, illuminating the full extent of this aggressively spreading nuisance plant.
since the trails haven’t been open the past few years, this hasn’t been much of an issue recently.
seals — and great white sharks
If you walk along the shoreline at head of the meadow beach beyond the ORV beach area (to the left of the public beach if you’re looking at the ocean) for about half a mile and you will come to an area renowned for the number of seals that come here to enjoy their cape beach summer.
Swim near here at great risk, the likelihood of great white sharks increases where seals are most prevalent. So while seal island might be cute in theory, may not be the best thing going to reduce great white appearances. see tips to avoid getting bitten by sharks
folks who complain about contamination from dog poop on beaches never seem to mention the tons upon tons of seal feces that gets deposited each and every day just feet off of the cape’s beaches. Swim with your mouth closed.
Fishing at Head of the Meadow Beach
don’t even get us started about the difficulty in catching a fish while surfcasting from shore when thousands of seals are patrolling the shoreline and eating every striped bass they see.
Sadly, the days of catching a striper or even a bluefish from shore are pretty much over at head of the meadow.
Dogs at Head of the Meadow
head of the meadow beach dog rules
The cape cod national seashore beaches all share the same dog rules as head of the meadow beach:
- Dogs are allowed beyond the lifeguard protected sections of the beach
- Dogs are prohibited from areas closed to nesting shorebirds
- Dogs are required to remain leashed. Tickets are given to violators, so be aware.
Nearly every year Head of the Meadow beach access is severely restricted and then eventually closed to pets in the summer. Bummer.
To check current beach restrictions for dogs, visit the National Seashore’s dogs info page.
When Head of the Meadow does get shut down due to piping plovers your best bet is to check out the nearby National Seashore beaches to see if they’re still allowing dogs: Marconi Beach, Race Point Beach, and Head of the Meadow Beach.
Head of the Meadow Beach: nearby attractions in Truro
camping near head of the meadow beach and coast guard road beach in north truro
There are several dog-friendly campgrounds in north truro that provide walking access to both head of the meadow beach and coast guard road beach. these campgrounds are an inexpensive place to stay within earshot of the crashing waves of the atlantic ocean.
highland lighthouse (aka cape cod light) in north truro
Another mile south and you reach the highland lighthouse, also known as cape cod light. this historic cape cod lighthouse has a great observation deck on the edge of tall cape cod sand dunes overlooking the atlantic ocean far below. The deck marks the location of highland lighthouse before it was moved to safety from the eroding dunes.
the highland lighthouse observation deck is the perfect place to get a picture with the lighthouse in the background. be aware that dogs aren’t allowed on the deck or the lighthouse tour.
highland links golf course at highland lighthouse in north truro
golfers of all skill levels will enjoy the highland links golf course in north truro that sits in the shadow of highland lighthouse. highland links is a challenging scottish-style links course on the windy sand dune cliffs of the cape cod shoreline. the sides of the fairways are lined with natural shoreline growth and make it very difficult to find your ball, so make sure to keep the ball low if its windy and bring extra golf balls if you’re a lousy golfer.
coast guard radar tower in north truro
nearby highland light sits the hulking shell of the old coast guard radar tower. The coast guard radar tower is part of the national seashore as well, and provides a glimpse of the cold war history of the united states and the role that cape cod played in it.
would you like to share pictures of your dog playing at head of the meadow beach in truro, MA, or other pet-friendly cape cod national seashore beaches? please email us.