If I could erect a tent on the sand and be a permanent beach dweller, I would. I am meant to be seaside, with the sand spilling between my toes and the surf echoing in my ears. Because of this affinity with the ocean, I’m always on the lookout for new and different beaches to explore.
My family had the opportunity on a weekday to visit Kalmus Beach in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Located approximately an hour and a half from Boston (depending on traffic, of course), Hyannis is one of seven villages in the town of Barnstable. There are numerous beaches to choose from in the immediate area, with Cape Cod Bay to the north and Nantucket Sound to the south.
Kalmus Beach, located on the Nantucket Sound side and at the end of Ocean Street, is one of the most famous beaches found in Hyannis, and known worldwide as a premier windsurfing and kite flying destination. It’s uniquely divided into two halves, the aforementioned breezier, active side, and the side that we chose to spend our time, the one for swimmers and in my opinion, families.
We paid $15 for all day parking on the weekday, but the price does increase to $20 on weekends and holidays. The parking lot is huge, so you’ll have no problem finding a parking spot.
There’s a bathhouse, which provides showers, restrooms, and the Snack Shack. The Snack Shack is privately run by a local restaurant, so the food selection and quality was better than what you’d typically expect to find at a beach food stand. I had one of the specials, a roasted vegetable and feta wrap, while my family enjoyed delicious burgers, hot dogs, and potato salad. Prices are reasonable, and the food came out fresh and fast. It worked out nicely because we had packed mostly snack food and hadn’t prepared substantial food to eat at lunchtime.
The very first thing that I noticed upon walking on the beach were all the seashells. As someone who usually visits the Maine seacoast during the summer months, I was dumbfounded to see just how many shells littered the sand and shoreline. They literally are everywhere, and if walking barefooted, you really need to be careful or you’re likely to cut your feet. Younger children may want to wear their flip flops or water shoes for foot protection.
My daughter and I enjoyed walking each end of the beach. We gathered a motley collection of seashells and abandoned crab shells. Interestingly enough, we didn’t find a single piece of sea glass on the beach, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d suggest going elsewhere.
The day that we visited, the beach had a fair amount of visitors, but was definitely not overcrowded. Perhaps it was because it was a Wednesday, rather than a weekend day, when crowds tend to swell. The beach was dominated by families, especially with young children. The water on the day of our visit was especially calm, making it easy for children to wade out in the water and for parents to feel comfortable with their activity.
My two teenagers weren’t overly impressed with the placidity of the beach. My 15 year old daughter liked collecting the shells the most, while my 13 year old son spent a small amount of time with his goggles exploring beneath the water. His boogie board lay unused next to the beach chairs.
Truthfully, the water was so calm and relatively warm, that I felt like I was sitting lakeside. There was no typical crashing of waves and the lulling sounds of the ocean. This was probably one of the things that I liked least about that side of the beach. You may want to meander across the way to the other side where the windsurfers are in action. It definitely feels more like you’re at the ocean.
Further down the beach is the Hyannis Yacht Club. A bevy of activity surrounds the club. Children were learning how to swim and sail small sailboats. We enjoyed watching the kids as they righted their boats and harnessed the wind. Also a popular family spot, boasting a significant membership, the club offers casual light fare and sandwiches for lunch, as well as fine dining options for dinner. I tried contacting the club unsuccessfully by telephone to determine whether as a nonmember, I would be able to eat there.
I’d recommend the calmer side of the beach that we visited to:
- Families, especially of smaller children.
- Shell collectors.
- Those who enjoy a more serene, lake-like environment.
- Picnickers, readers, and those who’d like to enjoy a leisurely day near the water.