Fred Rogers once said, “Real revelation comes from silence. I’m very concerned that our society is much more interested in information than wonder....in noise rather than silence. How do we encourage reflection?”
With miles of coastline, woodlands, trails and conservation land, Cape Cod offers many peaceful respites to reflect in solitude and silence—even in the summer. Here is a sampling of some of our favorites.
Provincetown Dunes, Provincetown
In a time where we are constantly bombarded with information and alerts through our phones, it’s refreshing to see what living off the grid can look like. The remote and rugged dune shacks of Provincetown and Truro have provided an oasis without running water or electricity for such well-known playwrights and painters as Tennessee Williams and Jackson Pollock. Art’s Dune Tours offers one of the best ways to view these historic landmarks along the serene, windswept dunes of the National Seashore. The tours are informative and fun, and these spectacular and secluded landscapes are just a quick detour from bustling Route 6.
Bound Brook Island Beach, Wellfleet
Just past the historic Atwood-Higgins House in Wellfleet, an isolated, one-lane dirt road leads visitors to one of the best-secluded spots on the Cape. Bound Brook Island Beach is so far off the beaten path that one might wonder if they’ve wandered onto private property. Space is limited on both the road going in and out, and the small parking area bordering the beach. Once you cross the dunes and encounter the gentle waves of Cape Cod Bay, finding your own spot in the soft sand is easy, and the sunset is worth the trip down the rugged road.
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet
Viewing wildlife requires silence, stillness, and appreciation of natural surroundings. Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary makes it simple to enjoy all of these things with over 5 miles of trails through woods of scrub pines, salt marshes and barrier beaches overlooking Wellfleet Bay. The sanctuary can be crowded, but this protected landscape shields visitors from the noise of nearby beach traffic and other distractions. Visiting later in the afternoon may allow you to view some beautiful shorebirds, enjoy the lush landscapes, and reflect in silence by yourself.
Crowes Pasture Conservation Area, East Dennis
This is another hidden gem near Sesuit Harbor. This area comprises roughly 250 acres of dunes, marshlands, woods, shoreline, and freshwater ponds for visitors to enjoy. There are 12 different parking areas for off and on-road vehicles to access the numerous natural wonders of Crowes Pasture. One of the best places to enjoy some silence, however, is a trail off the first parking lot overlooking Quivet Creek and surrounding marshlands.
Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, Barnstable
Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary is another Mass Audubon property that may not seem like the best place to experience silence and solitude given the large parking lot that holds dozens of cars. But once you enter the wooded trails filled with Eastern Red Cedars, White Pines, and Scarlet Oaks that shield hikers from outside noise, you realize how peaceful an oasis this property can be. Just taking a short stroll to the Marsh Boardwalk offers a spectacular, serene view of the Harbor and Long Pasture Beach.
Lowell Holly, Mashpee/Sandwich
Lowell Holly is another nature reservation tucked away from the congestion of Route 28 in Mashpee and Sandwich. It’s managed by the Trustees of the Reservations which preserves over 116 spaces of natural beauty across the state. The property is known for its native holly trees that grow specifically along the New England coast. The peaceful wooded trails lead to various freshwater ponds and beaches and plenty of opportunities to experience silence for yourself.
Henson’s Cove (formerly White’s Lane), Orleans
Henson’s Cove is a picturesque waterfront landscape located on a bend in an area called The River between Meeting House Pond and Pleasant Bay in Orleans. There’s a trail about a mile long that follows a peaceful section of The River, where you can see the backdrop of trees, marshlands, and the clouds above reflect off the still surface of the water. It’s a thriving habitat for wildlife and there has been an extensive effort to preserve an ecological haven for diamondback terrapins.
The Knob, Falmouth
This slice of heaven on Quissett Harbor in Woods Hole is one of the Cape's hidden gems. Parking can be a challenge in accessing the Knob, which showcases some of the best views of Buzzards Bay and the harbor, so getting there first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon is your best bet. The trail packs in a lot of diverse landscapes for a short trail. The rocky beaches, crystal clear waters, wooded walkways, and stone staircases lead to an overlook of one of the best sunsets on the Cape. These vistas can bring a sense of tranquility to any visitor looking to take a break from the crowds filling Falmouth’s Main Street in the summer.