Family Week: Beach-Goer Guide

Family Week Beach Campfire

For over twenty years LGBTQ-headed families have gathered in Provincetown for Family Week. We build connections, community, and a better world. One of the special things about Family Week is the beauty of Provincetown – the beaches, water, wildlife, and how everyone comes together to protect the environment around us. This year we wanted to share what you can do to respect and care for the environment while at Family Week. Together we can all be good ambassadors to the stunning nature in Provincetown – but we need your help!

Provincetown and much of Cape Cod is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. The National Seashore includes over 40,000 acres of land and almost 40 miles of seashore. The National Park Service protects and administers all of this land. Some of our favorite Family Week events even take place with the help of park rangers.

What can you do to protect the environment?

Respect wildlife habitats – The National Seashore has signs indicating the various protected habitats on the beach, dunes, and parks. Take note of what areas are protected and encourage others to keep their distance as well. Get more information on animals.

Protect the beach and ocean – If you brought it to the beach, take it back with you to ensure you leave no trash behind. Get more information about the beaches.

Admire what grows around Provincetown, but don’t pick it up or take it home – According to the National Seashore, “The Cape Cod National Seashore harbors a diverse array of terrestrial, wetland, aquatic, and marine plants that are uniquely adapted to life in the coastal environment…However, many plant communities within the Seashore are being negatively impacted as a result of human pressures on the environment.” Get more information about plants.

How can I take action?

The dunes around the sandy beach are all protected habitats for birds and other animals. Help protect their homes by walking only on the sand and reminding others not to climb on the dunes.

You can see plenty of gray seals along the National Seashore. They are protected species. Be sure to stay at least 50 yards or a half a football field away from them and keep off any sandbars when the seals are on them.

There are many creatures on the beach including sea snails, starfish, and horseshoe crabs. Please admire them from a distance, but don’t pick them up. If you think an animal needs help getting back into the water, call the Center for Coastal Studies for assistance.

Before you leave, double and triple check that you have collected all your trash and items. As you walk back to the parking lot, keep an eye on the sand and help collect anything left behind.

Family Equality Council staff will be on the beach with large trash bags. Together we can leave the beach cleaner than when we arrived!

You can continue being an environmental ambassador by volunteering for beach cleanups! You don’t even have to limit yourself to beaches, any local clean up can help to keep plastic and trash out of the ocean. To learn more about how beach cleanups can help keep oceans healthy read more here. For an interactive activity, you can visualize how garbage patches develop here.

This information is brought to you by the Cape Cod National Seashore and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Stay tuned for a more inclusive guide on how to be a great Family Week ambassador at our Beach Campfire Night and other events, to be sent during Family Week!