Moshup Beach

A kaleidoscope of colored clay

Think of the beaches of Aquinnah like a necklace encircling the western tip of the Island, with the biggest opalescent gem in the middle. That would be Moshup Beach, or Aquinnah Town Beach, which almost everyone on the Island calls by its old name, Gay Head, or simply, “the cliffs.” The term “Gay” refers to the swirling kaleidoscope of colored clay that towers over the beach, making it the most dramatic stretch of shoreline on the East Coast (if we do say so). The cliffs are a National Landmark and are owned and protected by the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah.

Clay baths are forbidden (erosion), bathing suits are optional (tradition), and don’t expect to get all the way around the head at high tide without swimming. A prime beach for bathing and sunning; in season parking is $15/day, and restrooms are available.