Bourne is in Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The Cape Cod Canal runs through it. Bourne includes seven villages: Bournedale, Buzzards Bay, Cataumet, Monument Beach, Pocasset, Sagamore and Sagamore Beach. Bourne, settled in 1637, was incorporated in 1884 (before that it was part of Sandwich). The Bourne village of Buzzards Bay is home to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Sagamore Bridge over Cape Cod Canal

Get in

Bourne is about 1 hour from Boston and 1.25 hours from Providence, RI by highway.

Get around

Bicycling is possible, a car is preferred.



About The Cape Cod Canal

  • 2006 Hours: 10AM-5PM.
  • May 11-Jun. 24 Open Th-Su;
  • Jun. 25-Aug. 31 Open daily;
  • Sep. 1-Oct. 15 Open Wed-Su.

The Cape Cod Canal and its bridges are the most striking features of Bourne and hosts a variety of recreational activities. The primary purpose of the Canal is to provide a safe navigation channel for vessels. Because of the treacherous seas along the outer beaches of Cape Cod, the idea of the canal was considered as early as the 1620s. Finally it was constructed between 1909 and 1914. The Canal saves about 135 miles of open sea travel on average. Since 1928 the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has operated the waterway toll free to adequately powered vessels. The Corps of engineers maintains the three bridges that span the canal and also manages the Canal for public recreational use.

Some of the recreational uses and facilities are:

Convenient Canal access points have been developed and equipped with parking lots, picnic areas and rest rooms.

Two service roads which parallel both sides of the Canal are available for bicycling, rollerblading, jogging and walking. Each service Road is about 7 mi (11 km) long. Locals use these year round.

The Canal provides a close-up view of ocean going ships and tugs underway as they go between Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay. All manner of ships go through including cruise ships, cargo ships, tankers and jumbo car carriers. During the school year, locals and enthusiasts can get the treat of seeing the ship at the Mass Maratime Academy leaving dock and heading out to sea

Salt water fishing is permitted from the Canal banks in all areas except the Canal Administration and Massachusetts Maritime Academy area. Fishing is also available from the Scusset Beach fishing pier. Fishing and lobstering is subject to state regulations and licensing. Taking of herring is subject to Town of Bourne regulations and quotas.

Exhibits and information about the Canal are available at the Herring Run Visitor Center in Bournedale on Scenic Highway and also at the Administration Building. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers offer a variety of guided walks, bike hikes and other educational programs along the Cape Cod Canal throughout the Summer and Fall.

If adequately powered, recreational vehicles are permitted to use the canal. Sailing is prohibited; sailboats must use auxiliary power. Vessels must stay to the right and give way to larger vessels. There is a 10 MPH speed limit and a no wake policy enforced by the Corps of Engineers, located in Buzzards Bay.

  • Gray Gables Beach is a small beach nestled in the Gray Gables Village that has a roped in swimming area for kids, space for buoyed boats, a raft to swim to, and life guard services until six o'clock p.m. This local secret has limited parking and is just a couple miles away from the local market.
  • The Dike is a local favorite that extends on both sides of the Mashnee Island Causeway in Gray Gables Village. This long stretch of flat sandy beach offers swimming, space for boating, tubing, knee boarding and jet-skiing, however, there are no available lifeguard services. It is only a quick walk away from a beach side lunch at the Mashnee Island Bar and Grill.
  • Monument Beach, located in Monument Beach Village near the post office and Cumberland Farms, and directly across the bay from 'The Dike' this smaller beach has swimming areas and a small dock for boaters. There is also a playground and tennis courts available adjacent to the beach. Take a walk across the street to grab some ice cream at the Whistle Stop or go to Cumberland farms.
  • The Bournedale Hills Trail extends 1.4 mi (2.25 km) along the north side of the Canal from Bourne Scenic park to the Herring Run. The trail includes a .8 mi (1.25 km) self guided loop which interprets the Canal's historic and natural features.
  • In Scusset Beach State Reservation the .7 mi (1.1 km) trail to Sagamore Hill provides access to an area that was once a Native American Indian meeting ground and later the site of a World War II coastal fortification with an excellent view of Cape Cod Bay.

The East Boat Basin on the south side of the Canal in Sandwich has slips for recreational and commercial vessels. On a fee basis, boaters may use the marina's slips or boat ramp. On the west end of the Canal the Buttermilk Bay channel provides boaters access to the Taylor point Marina operated by the Town of Bourne.

  • Kingman Yacht Center, 1 Shipyard Lane, +1 508-563-7136. Perfect if you own a yacht and are looking to register for a slip, or if you want to just float on up for a lunch at the Chartroom. If you don't have a boat and are just looking for somewhere to walk around, enjoy the water, have a bite to eat, look at the boats, or buy a gift, Kingman has all the perfect accommodations.

The Corps of Engineers leases land to the Bourne Recreation Authority for Bourne Scenic Park campground and to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for Scusset Beach State Reservation where recreational vehicles may use camp sites.

The traffic bridges that span the canal were built simultaneously in the early 1930s to replace the cantilevered spans before them. The Sagamore Bridge and Bourne Bridge are four lanes wide, have a span of 616 ft (187.75 m) and leave a vertical clearance of 135 ft (41 m) above high water. Over 35,000,000 car trips cross the bridges each year.

The unusual "vertical lift" railroad bridge, also built in the early 1930s, has a 544 ft (166 m) horizontal span with 271 ft (83 m) high towers. The bridge is normally kept in the raised position 135 ft (41 m) above mean high water. Train trips used to be very important, but now the railroad bridge is used mainly for trash removal trains.




Hotels and motels


Go next

Day trips to other areas of Cape Cod or to Plymouth or Boston are good choices.

Routes through Bourne

Taunton Wareham  N  S  END
New Bedford Wareham  W  E  Sandwich Provincetown
Boston Plymouth  N  S  END
Boston Wareham  W  E  Falmouth Eastham
Boston Wareham  N  S  Hyannis END

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