Frequently asked questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Off Road Vehicles (ORV):
How do I get an ORV permit?
ORV permits are available to purchase via the Sandy Neck website.
1. Click on the Sandy Neck Off Road Vehicle Permits link on the front page.
2. For Horse permits, go to the
Horse section found on the left hand side of the front
page of the
How much does an ORV permit cost? 2023
ORV permits costs: Barnstable Residents $95, Non-Residents $220.
What (equipment) do I need to drive on
There are seven items of equipment required in order to purchase an ORV Permit.
1. An approved spare tire; check with the gatehouse to see if your tire will
qualify if it is non-conforming. NO
run flat tires are acceptable at this time.
2. Tow device: minimum of 15 feet. Rope ¾” in diameter, OR strap, 6,800 lb
capacity, 1 ½” wide, OR chain, 5/16” link, OR cable, 3/8” diameter, OR suitable
vehicle mounted winch.
3. Jack: Standard type jack or hydraulic bottle jack.
4. Support board: for purpose of setting the jack on should you have a flat
tire. 18”x 18” ¾” plywood or ¼” thick steel.
5. Shovel: heavy duty, equal to military folding type or better.
6. Tire gauge: low pressure type, must register 10 psi or lower. Air downs and
vehicle tire pressure
sensors are not considered and acceptable tire gauge.
7. A bucket suitable for extinguishing campfires.
8. Sandy Neck Beach Park Regulations and tide chart (both provided).
9. Self-contained vehicles must carry a measuring device that determines a 30
distance and an
operational carbon monoxide detector.
I have all my equipment, now what?
Every year, prior to issuance of an ORV permit, Gatehouse staff will inspect
your seven items of required equipment. This equipment is for your safety! We
will also ask to see your valid vehicle registration and driver’s license.
Barnstable residents will be required to show proof of residency. The only
acceptable proof of residency are one of the following:
1. Vehicle registration with Barnstable street address (PO Box is not
2. Deed or HUD statement with your name on it showing ownership of property in
3. Tax bill showing Barnstable address.
4. A lease of Barnstable property for the term of no less than one year.
Can I just take a drive on the beach to
check it out?
No, an ORV permit is required to drive on the beach
Do you sell a one-day pass to drive on
No, we only have yearly ORV permits.
We also sell an off-season permit for the fall and winter months that is priced
at a reduced rate.
These “seasonal permits” are not
available until day after Labor Day at a reduced price of $50 for Barnstable
Resident, $100 for Non-Resident. Day after Columbus Day $20 for Barnstable
Resident and $40 for Non-Resident. * All permits expire
on January 15th.
Does my ORV permit allow me to park in
the parking lot?
No, you will need a Barnstable or Sandwich beach parking permit (sticker) during
the season (Memorial Day through Labor Day). If you do not have either, you may
purchase a daily parking pass at the Gatehouse.
Do I have to be a Barnstable
resident to get an ORV permit?
No, we sell non-resident permits that are available for those who do not own
property and/or live year-round in the town of Barnstable.
I have a permit, but I am getting a new
vehicle, can I wait to put my permit on until I get my new truck?
No, in order to be valid, and prior to going out on the beach, the ORV permit
has to be permanently affixed to the inside lower left corner of the windshield.
For a fee, the Gatehouse will sell you a new permit should you need a
replacement. Please bring in the old permit, even if it is in pieces.
Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Campers:
I just bought a new camper. How do I get
In addition to the seven (7) items of required equipment, self-contained
vehicles must carry the following:
1. 30’ measuring device. Examples are: piece of rope 30’long, measuring tape
2. Your vehicle must have permanently fixed separate gray and black tanks.
3. An operational carbon monoxide detector.
4. Any 2 wheel drive camper that is new to you, is required to have a 2 wheel drive test, even if it has been
previously been on the beach. 2 wheel drive tests can be scheduled by calling
the Gatehouse for an appointment. Tests are given Monday through Thursday,
excluding holidays. Two wheel drive tests
are $25 (A onetime fee for as long as you own the camper).
Note: The 30’ measuring device can be a
piece of rope or string or a measuring tape or anything measuring 30’. This
measuring device is used to make sure campers leave a 30’ right of way for
entering and exiting the beach.
How long can I stay on the beach?
All self-contained vehicles, with appropriate permits, are allowed to stay on
the beach for up to 96 hours. In season, there will be a charge per night for
this opportunity: Barnstable Residents $10 per night, non-residents $20 per
night. Campers must come off the beach for
24 hours before coming back to stay
overnight on the beach.
I have friends staying with me at my
Camper; can they sleep on the beach in a tent?
Everyone who spends the night
on the front beach must sleep in the camper, no exceptions. Only camper and
chase vehicles are allowed on the beach after curfew.
What is a chase vehicle and how much does
the permit cost?
All chase vehicles are required to purchase an ORV permit at the regular price.
In addition, chase vehicles must have their own six items of required equipment.
Once permitted, the chase vehicle may be assigned to a camper. The chase vehicle
will receive a circle permit at no extra charge that shows that the chase
belongs with that camper. Only one chase vehicle is allowed per
camper and that vehicle is allowed to stay overnight on the beach with the
camper. A separate charge of $6 per night fee is required in order for the chase
vehicle stay out on the beach overnight. In addition, no one is allowed to sleep
in the chase vehicle.
Off Road Vehicle & Parking Lot Fishing
I want to fish with the tides but it is
past curfew, how does that work?
Fishermen who want to take advantage of the great fishing at Sandy Neck may
“fish with the tides” providing that each person has proper fishing equipment:
Fishing rod, bait and tackle and must be actively fishing. Fishermen will be
asked to show these items to the Gatehouse Attendant and or the Natural Resource
Officer on duty.
Off Road Vehicle Access Hours:
I have a permit so I can go on and off
the beach anytime right?
In season, May 1st through
October 31st, Off Road Vehicle hours are:
10pm. You must be past the gatehouse
by 9pm to stay out until curfew. All
vehicles must exit the park by 10pm.
Off season, November 1st
through April 30th, Off Road Vehicle hours are:
4pm. All vehicles must exit the park by
Note: If beach conditions are unsafe, the staff will close the beach to Off Road
Vehicles and the beach access road will be blocked off. You may wish to consult
the website or call the Gatehouse prior to coming to the beach if you are unsure
of the conditions. The Off Road
Vehicle beach access may be closed due to a variety of reasons, including, but
not limited to, high tides, storm conditions, shorebird nesting protection, or
other stranded wildlife on beach.
I read that Sandy Neck is a dog friendly
beach. Can I bring my dog to Sandy Neck Beach?
We LOVE dogs, and if you follow the
Town of Barnstable and Sandy Neck dog regulations, you and your pet will have a
wonderful experience at Sandy Neck.
- All dogs must be
- Dogs are NOT allowed on Bodfish Beach, from May 15th
through September 15th.
Bodfish Beach is the section of public bathing beach located in front of the
Sandy Neck parking lots that is designated by “Lifeguard On Duty” signs. * There are exceptions, please call the
Gatehouse at 508-362-8300.
- Dogs are allowed on the Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Beach on a
- Dogs are allowed on the Great Marsh Hiking Trail on a leash
year-round. The entrance to the Great Marsh Hiking Trail is located at the
Gatehouse. Parking for people with dogs
is available but not guaranteed at the Gatehouse
when space is available.
- Dogs can be walked down the Great Marsh Hiking Trail from the
Gatehouse and can access the Off Road Vehicle Beach via Trail 1 (approx. 1 mile
- Dogs can be walked down the Access Trail from the Gatehouse to
get to the Off Road Vehicle Beach (approx. ½ mile hike).
Please note: When accessing the Off
Road Vehicle Beach, either by way of the Great Marsh Hiking Trail or the Off
Road Vehicle Access road; you and your pet will be walking through deep sand and
or pavement and in the summer months it may be too hot for you or your pet. Both
you and your pet will need plenty of water! Hot sand or pavement will scorch the
pads of a dog’s paws and in some cases they may suffer from heat exhaustion! Please see the Gatehouse Supervisor
for recommendations regarding temperatures and conditions.
I just want to see the beach, why
can’t I just drive up and take a look and turn around?
Bodfish, (the Sandy Neck Public Beach) has limited parking and unfortunately it
would not be possible to let folks just do a “drive-by” during business hours.
There is a charge each day for beach parking from Memorial Day weekend through
Labor Day from 8am to 5pm. There is no charge after 5pm.
NOTE: Sometimes during peak days in the
summer the parking lot gets full early.
We may have to ask you to turn around and leave the park once the lot is
full. This is a safety issue and we need to keep Sandy Neck Road clear in case
of an emergency. Whether you are a visitor to the beach or a resident of
Barnstable or Sandwich and have a beach parking permit, we will ask you to turn
around at the Gatehouse and leave the park. We suggest you either visit another
beach, or try coming back later on. We allow only five vehicles to queue up for
upcoming available spots. Sandy Neck
Policies state that five (5) vehicles must exit the Bodfish parking lot prior to
allowing five (5) up. We apologize for any inconvenience.
There are parking spaces at the
Gatehouse. Why can’t I just park there and walk up?
The parking at the Gatehouse is reserved for people hiking the Great Marsh Trail
and employees. No one is allowed to park at the Gatehouse and walk up to the
Bodfish Beach parking lot.
If I do not want to stay at Sandy Neck,
can I get my money back?
While we wish to accommodate refund requests, it clearly states on the daily
parking pass that there are no refunds. That being said, if Sandy Neck is not
quite to your liking, we will be happy to give you directions to another
Barnstable Beach. The daily beach parking pass you purchase is good for all the
public beaches in Barnstable for that date. Please see the list of beaches on
the reverse side of the parking pass.
Public Beach access:
How late can I stay at the beach?
- In season, (May 1st
through October 31st ) the hours are
8am to 10pm. You must be through the Gatehouse by
9pm to stay on the beach until
curfew. All vehicles must exit the park by
- Off season, (November 1st
through May 30th) the parking lot closes at
The Sandy Neck Lighthouse:
How do I get to the Sandy Neck Lighthouse
The Sandy Neck Lighthouse is privately owned and is located at the tip of Sandy
Neck, approximately a 6.5 mile one way hike
through deep sand. There are no public lighthouse tours and no paved roads to
drive to see it up close. To view the lighthouse it is suggested that you go to
Barnstable Harbor, Millway Beach. Please remember that Millway is a Barnstable
Resident only beach so you may have to go early in the morning or late in the
afternoon to get a view of the lighthouse.
Tent camping information:
We are asked all the time about our tent camping. It is a primitive campground
with 5 sites and it is more than 3.3 mile hike through deep sand out to the
sites. Tent campers must carry all their camping equipment out on foot. No one
can access the campground by vehicle on the front beach. We also have a lean-to
for camping, 2.2 miles on Great Marsh Trail. Please contact Gatehouse for
How can I have a campfire on the beach?
- People who have ORV permits have permission to have a campfire
on the ORV beach after 7pm or sunset, whichever comes first,
May 1st to October 31st,
- People without ORV permits can purchase a daily campfire
permit from the Gatehouse. The daily
campfire permit will provide you with the rules and regulations as well as the
allowed location for your campfire. The permits go on sale at 5pm daily and the
number of campfires may be limited.
- No campfires are allowed anywhere on the beach in the off
season, November 1st
through April 30th.
I see the closed sign on the Gatehouse;
does that mean I can’t go out on the beach?
The Gatehouse is closed in the winter and reopens in April. The staff is in and
out of the Gatehouse during these months, doing projects and getting ready for
the upcoming season. As long as you are entering the park at the appropriate Off
Road Vehicle hours, and you have a current Off Road Vehicle permit, you may go
out on the beach.
Note: If beach conditions are unsafe, the
staff will close the beach to Off Road Vehicles and the beach access road will
be blocked off. You may wish to consult the website or call the Gatehouse prior
to coming to the beach if you are unsure of the conditions.
I want to purchase official Sandy Neck
Merchandise, but the Gatehouse is closed what do I do?
You can still purchase official Sandy Neck merchandise by calling the Gatehouse
508-362-8300 to set up an appointment. If you are driving to the beach and see
someone in the Gatehouse, feel free to stop and knock on the door. We will be
more than happy to accommodate you!
If you do not see the answer to your
question here, please call the