The best way to experience this national treasure is to stop by one of the two visitor’s centers first. Salt Pond Visitor Center is located on Route 6 in Eastham and Province Lands Visitors Center is located on race Point Road in Provincetown. Both have staff to assist you with trail planning, and stores featuring books, puzzles, games and regularly scheduled films. Salt Pond also has a small museum and Province Lands a spectacular observation deck with 360-degree views.
Be sure to pick up a recent copy of the National Seashore News. In it you’ll find a guide to the seashore’s historic buildings (lighthouses, bog house, and the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station), plus a college catalog’s worth of fantastic and free (or reasonably priced) programs lead by biologists, naturalists and rangers. Examples include photography workshops, historical reenactments of shipwreck rescues, games and folklore by the campfire, an author talk on why an area off the Cape is known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” and much more.
Kids (ages 5 to 12) love participating in the Junior Ranger Program. Pick up a program booklet from either visitor’s center. Each booklet has activities, checklists, and assignments, one of which needs to be attendance at one of the many kid-friendly programs. Kids show their completed booklets to a ranger and receive an embroidered Junior Range Badge.
As for the beaches, walk or bike (from Salt Pond Visitor Center) to Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. The beach is regularly named one of the country’s best beaches — one stroll along its soft sand and you’ll see why.