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Town of Eastham

Known as the gateway to the National Seashore, which includes about one third of the town and over 27,000 acres of the Outer Cape, Eastham is a wonderful place to reside and vacation. Home to Nauset Light, the most photographed lighthouse on Cape Cod, Eastham has an abundance of beaches, about 14, including Coast Guard beach, to enjoy a beautiful summer day on..


Villages: Eastham, North Eastham, South Eastham

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Eastham history and Information

Settled in 1644 by Pilgrims dissatisfied by conditions in the Colony of Plymouth, Nauset was incorporated in 1651and the name changed to Eastham. Eastham is one of the first pages in American history. First Encounter Beach is the site of the first meeting between the Pilgrims and the American Indians. In 1620, Miles Standish led a small band of Pilgrims, from the Mayflower, on a hunting expedition. The Indians, recalling kidnappings by early English slave traders, sent a warning of arrows, which was answered by musket fire before each party fled. Once home to whaling, fishing, salt works, and asparagus farming, Eastham is now best known for its beaches and conservation areas. As Gateway to the National Seashore Park protecting over 27,000 acres of the Outer Cape, and one third of the town of Eastham, both residents and visitors can revere in a land little changed since Thoreau wrote his masterpiece, ‘Cape Cod’, over one hundred years ago.

Points of Interest

1 Coast Guard Beach Station – This building sits overlooking the cliffs and shoreline extending from the base of Coast Guard Beach. Originally built in 1905, it was pushed back to the parking lot in 1936 due to excessive dune erosion. The beach is a magnet for summer visitors. Located at the end of Doane Road off Route 6.

2 Nauset Light – The most photographed lighthouse on Cape Cod, this edifice stands 114 feet above the Atlantic. Surrounded by natural dunes and cliffs covered with wildflowers and shrubbery, its beach is popular for sunbathing and swimming in the summer. Located at the end of Cable Rd. off Route 6.

3 Fort Hill – An amazing hike and must-see for visitors to the area. The path and boardwalk stretch 1 ½ miles past historical town remnants – old homesteads, stone gateways and orchards. Finally, the trail winds into the most scenic section through salt marshes full of various wildlife. Located on Fort Hill Road off Route 6.

4 First Encounter Beach – An exploring party of Pilgrims clashed with Nauset Indians at this site in the 1620s. A plaque was erected to commemorate the conflict. Located on Samoset Road.

5 Eastham Windmill – Located in the center of town just off Route 6, this 319-year-old structure still operates and is the oldest windmill on Cape Cod. Constructed in 1680 at Plymouth, it was moved here in 1793.

6 Doane Homestead – A plaque remains at this site where a homestead was constructed by some of the first English settlers in Eastham. In the 1600s, the town was known by its Indian name: Nauset. The plot is located off Doane Road near the Salt Pond Visitor Center.

7 Penniman House – A unique example of 19th Century Victorian architecture. Huge whale rib bones mark the entrance to this home built by Whaler Captain Edward Penniman in 1876. Located on the route to Fort Hill.

8 Schoolhouse Museum – Built in 1869 as the town’s school, this building is now operated by the Eastham Historical Society. It holds many of Eastham’s most valuable historical documents and relics. Located on Nauset Road off Route 6.

9 Salt Pond Visitor Center – Gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore, this complex marks the starting point for many Seashore multi-use trails. It features exhibits including the original Fresnel lens from Nauset Light and scrimshaw artifacts.

Beaches- Beach stickers are available at the Natural Resources building Ph# (508) 240-5972. For National Seashore Beach stickers call (508) 349-3785.
  • Campground Beach
  • Coast Guard Beach- Not much parking, but a shuttle is available. A great ocean beach
  • Cooks Brook Beach
  • First Encounter Beach
  • Nauset Light Beach- This spectacular beach is part of The National Sea Shore. The surf here can be very strong at times and swimming is sometimes prohibited. Also visit Nauset Lighthouse.
  • Sunken Meadow Beach
  • Thumpertown Beach
  • Great Pond Beach
  • Cole Road Beach
  • Hatch Beach
  • Herring Pond Beach
  • Kingsbury Beach
  • Silver Spring Beach
  • Wiley Park Beach- On Great Pond, with a playground nearby for children.