I love Cape Cod oysters. I was already daydreaming about them on my flight back to my home state of Massachusetts. No lemon. No cocktail sauce. Just the perfect taste of the shellfish and the salty water of the North Atlantic. All of my favorite memories are from this arm shaped peninsula in the southeast corner of Massachusetts. My family has biked, hiked, and eaten fried whole belly clams in just about every town on the Cape and Islands. It is where I learned to surf, worked as a lifeguard, and started a lifelong love for the ocean.
The first place I visited on the Cape was my favorite restaurant in Wellfleet, Mac’s Shack. They have the best seafood, amazing sushi (get the Hand Grenade), and of course- the raw bar. The atmosphere is great too, a quaint restaurant with an outdoor bar right on the scenic Wellfleet harbor. After falling into a seafood coma, I thought about what places I was going to explore with my paddle board.
Cape Cod is a stand up paddlers dream. It has everything you can think of-marshes, bogs, ponds, lakes, bays, inlets, and sounds. With over four hundred and fifty lakes and ponds in a small region, the options are endless. If you are into fishing too, you’re in luck. Just throw the attachment onto your board, and you have access to some of the best salt and fresh water fishing waters in the Northeast.
I started my SUP journey on Pleasant Bay in Orleans. After driving down a dirt road and launching my board, I took in the beautiful scenery and weather on this perfect New England spring day. The best part was paddling through miles of twisting marshes filled with different birds and shellfish. It was easy to see why numerous authors including Thoreau have written about the beauty and serenity of Cape Cod.
Once I hit the end of the marsh, I got off my board and walked it over the sand dunes of Orleans’ Outer Beach to get the ocean. My rusty Jeep Cherokee and I had many adventures and memories out here. During the summer the Outer was the place to be, and anyone who had a four wheel drive vehicle would pack it up with surf boards, hamburgers and beers, and spend the day grilling with friends while listening to the Red Sox game on the radio.
I threw my board in the freezing North Atlantic and paddled a mile down to Nauset Beach with the company of a harbor seal. As I sat on the beach and enjoyed a homemade lunch with my parents, I watched two guys surf fun knee high waves on their SUPs. That’s the great thing about stand up paddle boarding, no matter how small the surf conditions, there is always a way to enjoy the sport. With Cape Cod’s endless bodies of water, the peaceful environment, and great seafood, it’s a perfect stand up paddle destination.