Popular Cape Cod beach town announces restrictions for Fourth of July amid spike in unruly behavior

DENNIS, Mass. — A popular beach town on Cape Cod that has seen a “dramatic increase” in unsafe and dangerous conduct in recent years is rolling out new restrictions for the Fourth of July to protect the safety of the public.

Officers in the seaside resort town of Dennis have had to respond to a spike in calls for reports of fighting, assaults, vandalism, binge drinking, drug use, loud music, and other concerning behavior as holiday revelers continue to flock to the area each year, according to Dennis Police Chief John Brady.

“Dennis is home to some of the best beaches on Cape Cod, including Mayflower Beach. Our goal with these measures is to make sure that beachgoers can enjoy Dennis beaches this July 4th holiday safely without worrying about out-of-control crowds, violence, and other dangerous behavior,” Brady said during a Wednesday news conference.

There has been a 100 percent increase in beach-related calls for emergency services at Mayflower Beach, Chapin Memorial Beach, and Bayview Beach since 2019, and according to Brady, Dennis officers responded to more than 1,200 calls for service over the past three July 4th holidays.

Brady said there were 459 calls last year alone, including reports of large groups fighting and drinking on the beach, as well as several calls of people urinating and stepping in the protected beach dunes.

Some beach-related incidents police responded to in recent years include:

  • Police disrupted a live boxing match that was set to take place on the beach and confiscated boxing gloves in 2023.
  • A male victim was violently assaulted in a beach bathhouse and sustained serious head and facial injuries in 2023.
  • A woman was struck by a vehicle in the parking lot during a physical altercation in 2023.
  • A Dennis police officer was surrounded by a group of disorderly individuals and was assaulted in 2023.
  • Officers reported more than 200 to 300 people circled around several others performing “Oklahoma” football tackle drills in 2022.
  • A large fire was set in the dunes of a town beach in 2022.
  • A firearm was displayed and one victim was pistol-whipped during a large brawl in 2021.

Dennis police also shared a compilation video highlighting the fights and violent incidents at town beaches with a “warning graphic content” note.

“The crowds have been descending upon our beaches for the past couple of years and it has caused significant public safety hazards and concerns,” Brady explained. “My first priority is ensuring that Dennis first responders can properly patrol the beach, quickly respond to emergencies, and help make this an enjoyable July 4th for responsible beachgoers.”

To address this public safety concern, Brady said the Dennis Police Department will be implementing parking bans and restrictions, as well as a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs come the Fourth of July:


  • All drivers traveling to either Mayflower Beach or Chapin Memorial Beach from Main Street (Route 6A) will be stopped at a checkpoint at the intersection of New Boston Road and Beach Street. Those who have a proper parking sticker will be allowed to continue on (along with neighborhood residents and their visitors). Those who do not will be asked to turn around and will not be permitted to enter the beach parking lot.
  • There will be additional checkpoints, including at the parking lot entrances, and officers will be posted on side streets to direct traffic.
  • Bayview Beach is for residents only and officers will be checking for parking stickers there as well.
  • Rideshare drivers without a proper parking sticker will be stopped at the intersection of Beach Street and New Boston Road, where passengers may be unloaded. For those considering walking from that intersection, it is approximately 1.2 miles to Mayflower Beach and 2.2 miles to Chapin Memorial Beach.


  • Alcohol is not permitted at any Dennis beaches, including on July 4th. Anyone found to be drinking alcohol on a Dennis beach will be issued a written citation, receive a fine of $50, and have their alcohol confiscated. Those who do not comply after receiving a citation may be subject to arrest.
  • In addition to alcohol, drug use, vandalism, overly loud music, and other unruly or rowdy behavior will not be tolerated.
  • Dennis police will be out in full numbers on the beaches and will be bringing in additional resources to assist with keeping the beach safe.


  • There is no street parking in the neighborhoods near the beaches. Additionally, a parking ban will be in full effect on July 4th in the neighborhoods and businesses adjacent to the beaches. Vehicles found in violation will be subject to being ticketed and/or towed.
  • Residents in the area should be well aware of the general parking restrictions in place and we understand that residents may have guests over to their homes for Fourth of July festivities. While parking enforcement officers will be out in the neighborhoods, they will do their best to attempt to make contact with residents about any vehicles parked in front of their homes before ticketing and/or towing vehicles.

Town officials will evaluate the effectiveness of these measures and discuss if they will continue in subsequent years or if other plans need to be made.

Residents or business owners who have questions about the temporary measures can contact the Dennis Police Department at 508-394-1315.

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