Cape Cod is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and many allow you to stray off the beaten path (literally) by driving your car out on the sand to remote stretches of beach. We love the opportunity to unplug and head out to these secluded areas where the coastline is untouched and unoccupied by crowds of tourists.
We get a lot of questions from our followers looking for tips on what to bring when oversand beach driving on Cape Cod, so we pulled together our favorite things to pack for a day driving out on the sand.If you notice any errors/omissions, please feel free to email us and we can continue to update this resource (firstname.lastname@example.org works best).
PLAN AHEAD OF TIME
Each has a unique permit, rules, and fees. Make sure to visit the ORV websites (linked above) before heading out and check the map for closures.
If getting your permit that day, double check that the permitting office is open and make sure you have a current inspection sticker and registration, as these things can really derail your trip. Most of the other essentials listed below can be found at your local hardware store. We also included some amazon links where we could.
Car trouble is never fun, especially when you’re miles out on a narrow remote trail by the ocean. Preparation is key for a safe day driving out on the Cape Cod beach, so make sure you pack these essentials before you head out:
Four-wheel drive. Make sure your car can safely navigate the terrain and is capable of driving in areas of deep sand. SUVs and trucks need to have four-wheel drive and should sit high enough so if the tires sink, the car won’t get stuck.
Full size spare. Many new cars (even SUVs) are not equipped with full size spares.
Tire pressure gauge. Before heading out onto the sand, you’ll need to let some air out of the car’s tires to help navigate the soft terrain. Pack a tire pressure gauge to make sure you let out the right amount of air. (amazon link)
Shovel. Sand is always shifting and it’s easy for a driver to unknowingly drive into soft, deep sand. Pack a shovel to dig out your tires if you hit a soft spot. A folding style will save you space in your car. (amazon link)
Tow Rope. Heavy-duty tow rope is a saving grace if you (or a fellow driver) gets stuck in the sand. (amazon link)
Jack board. Changing a flat tire on sand is not a pleasant experience. Save yourself some misery and be sure to pack a jackboard in case you need to change a flat. The jack board requirement differs between permit locations, but generally, a large piece of 3/4 inch plywood will do the trick!
Map. When you are off the grid, a map of the beach and trails will help you get where you’re going and can bring you to some new areas you’ve never explored.
Trash Bags. Make sure to pack some trash bags and keep the beach clean. We travel with a Trasharoo in the car and love it. Easy to wash out and hard to forget! (amazon link)
Tire Deflators. These get you out on the beach faster. JT Brooks are my favorite.(amazon link)
Portable Air Compressor. This can save you a lot of time if there is a long line at the air station. I don't recommend the one we have (not enough power), but will update when we find a good solution.
FOR THE DOGLots of water.
IF YOU GET STUCK
Do not panic and get yourself more stuck. The first thing you should do is let more air out of the tires. This will increase your traction and help you get out of most situations.
WHEN YOU ARE DONEProtect your rig by washing the undercarriage. Sand/salt can really cause damage over time.