Great Runs, the ultimate guide to the best places to run in the world’s major cities and destinations, has recently completed the first-ever guide to running on Cape Cod! Our 25+ routes are a great collection of beach runs, bike trails, off-road paths, oceanfront roads, and architectural gems.

What are some of the favorites? Here’s our list of the Top 10 Runs on Cape Cod. For detailed descriptions and maps of the routes, see the Great Runs site.

Best Beach Run: Bayside Beaches
The best beach running on the Cape tends to be on the Bay side. A favorite is in the Brewster area, between Breakwater Beach in the north and Boat Meadow Landing in the south. In good conditions, this is beach running heaven—wide, with firm, packed sand. Be sure to check the tide tables. The National Seashore beaches are gorgeous but are more challenging for running.

Best Waterside Runs: Cape Cod Canal and Falmouth Waterside Run
-   Canal: A wonderful, paved trail running for 7 flat miles along the Cape Cod Canal between the Bourne and Sagamore bridges. Great water and bridge views the whole way. Can run on the north or south sides. Markers every 1/2 mile.
-   Falmouth: Fantastic waterside running, with views to Vineyard Sound. There are two ~3 mile one-way sections: along Surf Drive, sharing part of the Shining Sea Bike Path; and along Grand Ave. & Menauhant Ave. from Falmouth Heights Beach to East Falmouth. A 2-mile 'inland' section separates these two areas.

Best Running Town Tour: Chatham
Chatham is one of the prettiest towns on the Cape. This is a grand 7.5-mile tour, which includes a run along Shore Dr., a section along Oyster Pond, and a jaunt out to Morris Island and the Monomoy Wildlife Refuge. Good options to vary length.

Best Variety in One Run: Provincetown Tour
Provincetown is a seaside town at the northern tip of Cape Cod with a bustling commercial street. It’s possible to put together a run in P-Town with a great mix: Commercial St., to view people, shops, and restaurants, including some of the side streets featuring cute inns and homes; on the beach, depending on tides; or a longer run, incorporating parts of the Province Lands Dunes.

Most Unique Run on Cape Cod: Province Lands Dunes 
A 5.5 mile paved bike trail undulates through pine forests, sandy dunes, and low-lying cranberry bogs. It's a unique experience to run on a trail through sandy dunes. It is hilly and challenging, and exposed on a hot day! Good views of the water near the Visitor Center, which is open seasonally and has facilities. Watch out for bikes!

Best Shady Roller Coaster Run: Nickerson State Park, Brewster
There are 8 miles of hilly bike trails through a pine forest. Good option on a hot day. It’s quite hilly in spots. Cool off by taking a swim in one of the kettle (glacial) ponds. 

Best Mid-Cape Spots: Waterside runs in Hyannis and Dennis Port
-   Hyannis 5-Miler: Run around the Hyannis Inner Harbor and down to Kalmus beach.
-   Dennis Port Run: A classic Cape Cod run: Sandy beach roads with weathered beach cottages and seafood restaurants, some areas with fancier homes, shaded cottage-y side streets, and some beach-side running.

Best Scenic-But-Challenging Run: Great Island, Wellfleet 
The area is a popular walking/hiking trail, combining pine forest, mud flats, marshes, and a beautiful beach. Run one-way along the Great Island Trail, and then loop back along the beach, which is great for running at low tide.

About the writer: Mark Lowenstein is Chief Running Officer of Great Runs, the ultimate guide to the best places to run in the world’s major cities and destinations. He can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter: @greatruns