First Encounter Beach Plaque – Eastham, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura

First Encounter Beach Plaque

First Encounter Beach

This beautiful Cape Cod beach offers dazzling views and an interesting historical footnote. 


Sitting on Cape Cod Bay in the lovely town of Eastham is the equally picturesque First Encounter Beach. The locale offers great panoramic views of the dazzling coastline and nearby flats. But history buffs will find more than a fun day in the sun at this beautiful beach.

First Encounter Beach’s unusual name comes from the fact that the beach was the site of the first encounter between the English Pilgrims and Native Americans, specifically members of the Nauset Tribe.

On December 8, 1620, the Mayflower was anchored off current-day Provincetown. A small band ventured south and encountered the Nausets while camping at the beach. The Nausets reportedly fired arrows and threw rocks at the Pilgrims, but no one was harmed. 

The Pilgrims did not settle in Eastham, moving on to Plymouth and establishing the now-iconic Plymouth Plantation. Eastham would not be settled for another 24 years. 

Nonetheless, while Eastham doesn’t boast the Pilgrim fame that Plymouth does, it will always have this claim to fame. A moment in history forever commemorated in the form of a plaque that sits in the main parking lot at the beach.

Know Before You Go

If you don't have a beach pass, there's a $25 entrance fee, but if you ask nicely the guards will let you in for free for a few minutes to see the plaque.

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