Waquoit Bay, Cape Cod (Boat Camping)

Inset Photos/Jonathan Craig. Background/Waquoit Bay Reserve Foundation

If you’re the kind of boater who doesn’t mind roughing it, consider a camping trip on beautiful Washburn Island, on the south side of Cape Cod. Washburn is part of the 2,500-acre Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and its 10 rustic sites are accessible by private boat only. Boaters arriving from Vineyard Sound can reach Washburn through either Waquoit Bay Inlet or Eel Pond. Anchor just off the beach and dinghy ashore.

Chart: Washburn Island

A public launch area with ample parking is located on the Childs River at White’s Landing, next to Bosun’s East Falmouth Marina, as well as at the Mashpee Town Landing ramp on the eastern side of the bay, on the Great River. Paddlers can also access the bay via the South Cape Beach State Park kayak launch, on Waquoit’s southeast shore.

Washburn Island

Open to camping from mid-May to mid-October, Washburn Island offers hiking, swimming and fishing. There is no fresh water or showers on the island. Composting toilets are available in 2 locations.

The daily fee is $25 per night, and there is a 14-night limit. Campfires are not allowed at sites (only grills), but there is a central common area for open fires. Pets are allowed.

For more information or to reserve a campsite go to Reserve America: Waquoit Bay.

Alex Craig warms up for a little windsurfing on Waquoit Bay as brother Ian looks on. Photo by Jonathan Craig.
Washburn Island’s 10 rustic campsites are spread out along the wooded shore. Photo by Jonathan Craig.
Hiking trails wind through the island. Photo by Jonathan Craig.
Photo/Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

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