Cape Cod, MA

Barnstable: Sandy Neck

Sandy Neck is a six mile long barrier beach, comprised of vast dune systems, vernal pools, maritime forests, and a public beach. The park has a significant trail system available to the public. There are trails for horses, off-road vehicles, and walking/hiking. There are beach shelters and a ‘great marsh’. This can be a good area for running, but it can also be challenging. Some trails/sections are firm packed sand, while others are softer sand, and it can vary by area and season. Might be best to consult with the attendant at the gate house, or call 508-362-8300 to find out about trail conditions.

Sandy Neck Beach. Author photo.

There are two ways to run at Great Neck, which can be combined. You can run along the beach, or inland along the Marsh Trail (MT), which has several trails (#1-4) that connect the MT and the beach. The beach running is season/tide dependent. When it’s not low enough tide, the beach can be rocky. The Marsh Trail has some sections of packed sand, while other sections are softer sand — it can vary by day.

Rather than draw a route map, we’ve included a map of the trail system. It’s 3/4 mile to Trail 1, 1.5 miles to Trail 2, and 4.5 miles to Trail 4. It’s fun to do a loop combining the Marsh Trail and the beach, using one of the Connector Trails.

Trail Map  Tide table


  • Many miles of trails
  • Generally flat
  • Gate house parking lot
  • Rt. 149 to Rt. 6A, then 3 miles to Sandy Neck Rd. and gate house. Some parking at gate house