One of the most enjoyable beach experiences you can have as a 4x4 owner on Cape Cod is to venture to the outer beach at Nauset. The Outer Beach (also known as South Beach or the Barrier Beach) stretches south for 5 miles from Nauset Beach in Orleans all the way to Chatham. To get there, off-road vehicles with a permit check in at a shack at the end of the parking lot at Nauset Beach in Orleans. From there vehicles drive along a windy, scenic sand road than runs down the middle of the sand dunes that stretch behind the beach. Rustic beach shacks, beach grass, sweeping sand dunes, and marshland all add to the stunning landscape- making the drive to the beach half the fun. Turn left at any of the infrequently spaced turnoffs, ascend over the top of the dune, and drive along Nauset Beach until you choose to park. The beach stretches for miles, making it possible to park among other vehicles or find your own secluded spot. Overnight stays are allowed to vehicles with campers and fishing rods.

Permits can be obtained at Nauset Beach from early May through early October; off-season they are available at the Orleans Police Station. To obtain a sticker the vehicle must have a shovel, tow rope, tire jack, jack support/board, tire gauge, appropriately sized tires, and a spare tire. In recent years the beach has been subject to frequent closure in the summer due to nesting Piping Plovers, an endangered species.  

How to get there: Follow Main St. through East Orleans to Beach Road to Nauset Beach; drive to end of beach parking lot and down dirt road to check-in shack