Kalmus Park Beach

Kalmus Park Beach

Important Bird Area 670 Ocean Street Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601

Official Website
Kalmus Park Beach IBA webpage

About this Location

Kalmus Park is a coastal barrier beach peninsula and public bathing beach owned by the town of Barnstable. On topographic maps, it is referred to as Dunbar Point, and the park separates Lewis Bay from Nantucket Sound. Formerly, it was a natural barrier beach dominated by beach grass but was later armored with a very long jetty at its tip that runs from the back of the beach out past the front into Nantucket Sound. Since 1985 the site has been used as an area to deposit dredged sand from a nearby channel on two occasions. The first deposit occurred in 1985 along 200 yards of beach on the slope facing Nantucket Sound, which expanded the beach outward onto the tidal flat and renourished approximately 2 acres of beach. During the winter of 1997-98, a much larger dredging and beach renourishment project buried 75% of the peninsula, including all vegetation, in dredged sand and shell to an added height of 15 feet or more.

In 1986, a dredged deposit of sand and shell not subsequently planted with beach grass attracted a high of 402 pairs of Least Terns and 2 pairs of Piping Plovers. Over the next 10 years, as vegetation became reestablished, the site declined in importance for tern nesting. However, in 1998 a much larger dredging project was completed and covered over 10 acres of beach with unplanted, dredged sand. By the summer of 1999, the site attracted the largest Least Tern colony on record in Massachusetts with approximately 1,420 pairs of Least Terns (42% of the state population) while Piping Plovers increased to 5 to 7 pairs in recent years. However, by 2002, the colony diminished to only a few hundred pairs of terns that later abandoned the site, probably resulting from predation. Every spring significant flocks of Roseate Terns use Kalmus Park Beach as a staging area prior to settling into their breeding sites.

Kalmus Beach at the end of Ocean Street in Hyannis is considered by some to offer the best windsurfing on the Cape in the spring, summer, and fall. The steady breezes, warm waters, and consistent waves off Nantucket Sound draw windsurfers from all over. A beach house at the end of the lot provides restrooms, showers, and a tasty snack bar. This is a large beach with plenty of parking space to accommodate visitors.

  • Very long beach.
  • Divided between swimming and windsurfing.
  • Large parking lot.
  • Shell-filled sand.
  • No lifeguard after Labor Day.

Content from Official Website and Kalmus Park Beach IBA webpage