For more than two centuries, the stunning natural beauty of Cape Cod has inspired the imaginations of both naturalists and artists. From the writings of Henry David Thoreau, which were inspired by sunset walks along the beach at Highland Light, to the sun-kissed paintings of Edward Hopper, many have tried to capture the peninsula’s changing light in their works.
Today, the Cape’s breathtaking sunsets continue to inspire both professional and amateur photographers. If you’re looking for that perfect sunset shot (the one that Thoreau and Hopper would have recognized), these five locations are a great place to start your search.
You can experience a beautiful sunset at Chapin Memorial beach in Dennis, Massachusetts
Chapin Memorial Beach is located on Cape Cod Bay in Dennis. During the day, the sun shines almost constantly on this exposed north-facing beach, but – in the evenings – it’s one of the best places to watch the sun go down on the Cape. Many beachgoers visit Chapin Memorial Beach at low tide to take in views of the bay as they walk along the beach’s wide tidal flats.
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, in Chatham, is a secluded location that’s perfect for the dedicated nature and sunset photographer. The refuge encompasses more than 7,000 acres of forest, kettle ponds, sand dunes, freshwater marshes, salt marshes, and shoreline – including a long expanse of beaches along the western shore of the Monomoy Peninsula. Many sunset photos from Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge are dotted with silhouettes of birds. More than 250 species of birds, including rare species like American Avocet and Hudsonian Godwit, live in the refuge.
Race Point Beach is located in Provincetown, on the northern tip of the Cape Cod peninsula. Race Point is named for the strong crosscurrent or “race” that brings water from the Atlantic Ocean into Cape Cod Bay. The beach, which is a fantastic place to take photos of the sunset, is popular with surfers, windsurfers, and people flying kites. Many sunset photos from this beach include silhouettes of these beachgoers.
Rock Harbor is located on Cape Cod Bay in Orleans. While the population of Orleans has never been more than a few thousand people, Rock Harbor actually saw significant action in three different wars. In the War of 1812, for example, the town successfully defended its salt works during the Battle of Rock Harbor. Today, this harbor – which looks west over the bay – has some of the most stunning sunsets on the Cape.
A late sunset at Skaket Beach located in the town of Orleans, Massachusetts
Skaket Beach is located on Cape Cod Bay in Orleans. This popular family beach has both soft sand and warm waters, which make it a perfect place to both sunbathe and swim. At low tide, children love to explore this beach’s many reflective tidal pools. At sundown, the beach’s picture-perfect sunsets send shocks of color across its smooth tidal flats.