Primo Chatham beaches include Lighthouse Beach and South Beach, below the lighthouse on Shore Road and on the Atlantic Ocean. Parking is limited to 30 minutes, but you can bicycle or walk to the lane off Morris Island Road just beyond the lighthouse; a sign points the way to South Beach.
It’s a bit of a walk, but try parking on Bridge Street; from the lighthouse, keep going on Bridge Street until there are no more signs saying “No parking on either side of street.” (You’ll notice lots of other cars parked here too.)
If you’re day-tripping to Chatham, pay to park at the Eldredge Taxi parking lot, 365 Main Street, and take its taxi to the beach. The most desolate part of the beach requires quite a long walk, but the early sections are very nice, too. Many ferries take passengers to the farthest, most remote reaches. One of the best aspects of this beach is that you’ve got surf on the east side and calm bay waters on the west.
North Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean, is actually the southern end of Nauset Beach, and accessible only by boat. It’s well worth the effort to get here.
For ferry service, contact Rip Ryder/Monomoy Island Ferry (508-237-0420) or Beachcomber (508-945-5265).