Cape Cod Bay lies at the northeast corner of Orleans. It is roughly 600 square miles of open water surrounded by Cape Cod and a line drawn between Plymouth and Provincetown.
The two major public areas in Orleans on Cape Cod Bay are Skaket Beach and Rock Harbor.
Located on the small bayside shores of Orleans, Skaket Beach is a large, popular beach. The soft sand stretches far towards to the ocean during low tide, revealing lots of tidal pools for children to explore. The calm, warm water makes it a great place for kids to swim.
Facing west and with a large tidal flat, Skaket is a perfect place to capture beautiful sunset pictures. The fine sand beach offers warm water swimming and is great for long strolls on the flats at low tide. The beach has tidal pools filled with small seashore critters at low tide. In the summer there are lifeguards on duty and a food shack offers burgers, fries, ice cream and such. There are shower facilities, parking for 175 cars, and a bike rack.
Rock Harbor is a man-made harbor on Cape Cod Bay located on the border between Orleans and Eastham. It hosts a small commercial and charter fishing fleet and is home to Young's Fish Market, Cap't Cass' Seafood Restaurant, and the Coast Guard Vessel CG36500, famous for its role in the the rescue of the Pendleton.
Rock Harbor was the site of a skirmish during the War of 1812 between British soldiers and local militia December 19, 1814.