Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cape Cod Campgrounds, Lower Cape and Outer Cape Cod Camping

 Camping on Cape Cod, Campgrounds, RV and Tent Camping List of Campgrounds, Cape Cod

Nauset Beach, Orleans, lower Cape Cod 
Lower Cape and Outer Cape Cod Camping

Lower and Outer Cape Cod are the areas of dunes and scrub pine described by Thoreau in his book "Cape Cod".  Walking and biking trails through the forest and dunes offer recreation in nature.  Lower Cape and Outer Cape include the towns of of Brewster and south to Orleans and then Provincetown. The towns of Lower Cape include Brewster, Chatham, Harwich, and OrleansOuter Cape includes Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown.  Lower and Outer Cape offer dunes and nature trails, fishing, beaches and bike trails.

Drummer Boy Park in Brewster 
near the campgrounds at Nickerson
 State Park
Lower Cape Cod Campgrounds

Nickerson State Park,   508-896-3491
Brewster, Cape Cod, MA
418 sites, no hookups, dump station only,  Open April through October
Many of Cape Cod's historic sites are nearby.  Bike trails, two beaches nearby. Woodsy Tent Sites and RV sites.  Near Orleans art galleries, Windmill, 25 mile Rail trail.  Dunes trails not far; Skaket Beach, Rock Harbor Beach, and First Encounter Beach are within a bike ride on the Rail Trail. These are warm water beaches with little wave action.

Bike shops can be found near the Cape Cod Rail Trail,
this on near the Salt pond Visitors Center, Eastham.

Private Parks
Old  Chatham Road
RV Resort
310 Old Chatham Road, South Dennis, MA
. (508) 385-3616

Atlantic Oaks      3700 State Highway Route 6
Eastham, MA  02642
508 255-1437         email,

Shady Knoll Campground
1709 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631
508-896-3002       email,

Sweetwater Forest, Family Camping Resort,  Route 124 Brewster, MA 02631
(508) 896-3773

Captain Peneman House, 
a whaling captain's house 
open for tours  in Eastham
Outer Cape Cod Campgrounds              Bike Trails
Private Parks
Horton's Camping
Resort, now part of Adventure Bound
South Highland Road
, North Truro, MA
. (508) 487-1220

North Truro Camping Area  (Also Called Adventure Bound) 330 sites tent and RV
46 Highland Road, North Truro, MA. 02652              (508) 487-1847

North Of Highland Camping Area (Tent Only)
52 Head Of The
Meadow StreetNorth TruroMA
. (508) 487-1191

Coastal Acres Camping  Court 
West Vine Street
Ext., Provincetown, MA. (508) 487-1700
Biking Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, Lower 
Cape Cod.  Free parking at the Salt Pond Visitors

Dunes' Edge Camp Ground
Off Route 6, Provincetown, MA. (508) 487-9815

Paine's Campground
180 Old Kings Highway, Wellfleet, MA
. (508) 349-3007

RV beach camping on the beach
Click link above for permits and info about
Cape Cod Race Point Beach camping

Upper Cape Cod Camping

Next Page, Best Camping, Cape Cod\

Friday, January 4, 2013

Camping on Cape Cod, Campgrounds, RV and Tent Camping Review, Cape Cod

Camping on Cape Cod, Campgrounds List, RV and Tent Camping Review, Cape Cod

Biking on the Cape Cod Canal offers 
paved trails that run for 7 miles 
on each side of the sea-level 

Cape Cod Canal
Updated 2013

Mid Winter is a good time to look at the list of Cape Cod campgrounds for a summer vacation.  We offer this list of campgrounds we like for Cape Cod Camping with reviews of a few of the sites.
The earlier you search and book the better when planning for a summer vacation on Cape Cod.  The campsites can fill in July and August.  Best to shop and book a site early.  Of course there are always cancellations so last minute booking of a day or two is sometimes possible.
Kayaking in Eastham and Orleans near the Salt Pond 
Visitors Center.  The Nickerson State Park Campgrounds in
 nearby Brewster gives good access by bike or auto
to this area. 

  • Recreation

State and private campgrounds on Cape Cod offer an abundance of recreation opportunities such as bike riding, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and beaching along with gallery hopping, history museums, antiquing, and nature walks. 
Nickerson State Park and Miles Standish State Reservation also offer equestrian trails.

The boardwalk in Sandwich.
The Village of Sandwich is noted for its museums
including the Sandwich Glass Museum.
 Shawme-Crowell State Forest is a favorite
campgrounds  in this area

  • Favorite Campgrounds
The State sites limit the duration of a stay to two weeks (each park) but the State sites are the best option if you want a woodsy site with a fireplace and some elbow room
Shawme Crowell State Forest (link to details) in Sandwich is a favorite on the Upper Cape because of its large treed sites and its proximity to the Cape Cod Canal Bike and Walking Trail (link). The Cape Cod Canal offers fourteen miles of flat, paved trail beside the eight-mile, sea level waterway. 
Free Parking For Cape Cod Trails (Link to Parking Info)

Shawme Crowell State Forest gives a short drive or bike ride to the Heritage Museum and Gardens, its rhododendron collection , art museum, and its antique auto museum.  You can also bike to Sandwich Center for the Sandwich Glass Museum and the nearby Hoxie House, the oldest house on Cape Cod.  Bike to the Cape Cod Canal for 14 miles of flat, paved, off-road bike and walking trails.   Wheel chair access, skateboard, rollerblade.
These bike trails are family friendly, off-road, safe trails that are without hills.  Find free parking along the way.  See free parking link above.
  • Scusset Beach State Park 
Scusset is another favorite near Upper Cape and it also fills in the summer months.  Scusset is open year round to self-contained campers and can make a great early Spring weekend getaway for biking along the Cape Cod CanalScusset Beach also offers fishing on the Cape Cod canal.  Visitors can obtain a salt water fishing license online and fish for striper and bluefish..
 The Cape Cod Canal  is a salt water canal that runs through at sea-level and is summer feeding grounds to some big fish.  Stiper fishing is a favorite of local fishermen and women here and you will see many along the shore at the eastern end of the canal on the incoming tide.

Cape Cod sand dunes

  •  Nickerson State Park 
Another of our favorites of the State parks on Cape Cod is Nickerson State Park  (link to details) in Brewster, about mid way along the peninsular that is Cape Cod.
 Nickerson offers the Cape Cod Rail Trail which runs through the park on its way from Dennis to Wellfleet.  Nickerson also offers fresh water ponds, walking trails, and equestrian trails.
From Nickerson State Park, it is a short drive or bike ride to Orleans Village center where you find an antique windmill, art galleries, and shopping.  The road where you find the park entrance is The Old Kings Highway, famous for its antique shops. Sea Captains of the China Trade had their homes in Brewster and they returned from voyages with many exotic items that find their way into the shops along route 6 A.
Upper Cape Cod includes villages with lots of history and encompasses several full-service parks and includes four bike trails.
See below a list for Parks on Mid and Upper Cape Cod with websites and email contact info for Camping on Cape Cod with RV and Tent sites at State Parks and Private Parks (includes tent sites)
Looking west along the Cape Cod 
Canal Bike Trail from the top of the
 Bourne Bridge

State Parks

  • Nickerson State Park,   508-896-3491  
Brewster, Cape Cod, MA
418 sites, no hookups, dump station only,  Open April through October
This is our favorite Cape Cod Campgrounds because many of Cape Cod's historic sites are nearby.  Bike trails, two beaches nearby. Woodsy Tent Sites and RV sites.  Near Orleans, Windmill, 25 mile Rail trail, Dunes trails not far; Skaket Beach, Orleans Rock Harbor Beach, and First Encounter Beach within a bike ride.  (Warm water beaches, no waves)  Rock Harbor sport fishing charters, seafood restaurants, art galleries, antique shops.

  •  Scusset Beach State Reservation  Cape Cod Canal   508-888-0859
Scusset Beach Road, Sandwich, MA
98 sites with elect and water hookups, dump station available, April through October
Winter camping for self-contained units, salt water beach (cold water) and bike trails
Near the Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail, 14 miles of flat paved bike trail, wheel chair, baby carriage, walking, roller blade, salt water fishing (Fishing license required, order online) Striped Bass, Bluefish, Flounder, Cod.

The grist mill in the center of Sandwich is a short bike ride
from Shawme  Crowell campgrounds

Plymouth, MA
475 sites, no hookups, dump station only,   April-October
Fresh water beach, bike trails, fishing, (license required) equestrian trails, proximity to the historic town of Plymouth, the home of the Pilgrims
Kayaking near the Salt Pond Visitors 
Center, Eastham, looking towards Coast Guard Beach.  

At Cape Cod Canal, 742 Acre Park, 285 Campsites, no hookups, dump station only
Rt 130, Sandwich, MA, Beach and bike trails nearby; woodsy sites, Tent and RV.
History museums of Sandwich, Sandwich Glass Museum, Heritage Museum and Gardens, Cape Cod Canal bike trails, Hoxie House, oldest house on Cape Cod.
This park rates as a favorite because of its large, wooded sites and its proximity to many museums and bike trails

Cape Cod Private Parks:

  • Bourne Scenic Park, Route. 6 Buzzards Bay, 1-508-759-7873,
Beside the Cape Cod Canal, bike walking, wheel chair, carriage accessible trail.  This park offers great access to the Cape Cod Canal for fishing or bike riding.  

  • Cape Cod Campresort &Camp; Cabins, East Falmouth, 1-508-548-1458  full hookups

Link to Hiking and biking trails parking in the Sandwich area of Upper Cape Cod

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Cape Cod Canal railroad bridge offers a large 
free parking lot
Cape Cod Canal, Scusset Beach

     The sun comes up on the east side of the Cape Cod Canal at about four in the morning in early July. This can make interesting photos of the fishermen who wade into the shallow edges of the canal to cast bait and lures into the incoming tide at sunrise for stripers and bluefish.

If you leave Shawme-Crowell campground well before sunrise and drive across the Sagamore Bridge and turn right at the bottom of the bridge for Scusset Beach Reservation, you can photograph the sunrise from Scusset Beach or from the Cape Cod Canal bike trail.

Fishermen at dawn on the Cape Cod Canal fish for 
striper and blue
     Scusset is a large State-run campground and beach area on the north side of the canal at the eastern end. Parking for fishermen and day visitors in a large gravel lot at the end on the canal has been free in the past before 8:00 am.  Along with great fishing, this place offers good biking on the canal's north side and good hiking to several trails including the trail to Sagamore Hill where the Native Americans had a meeting grounds and where you have a great view of Cape Cod Bay.

View from the Bourne Bridge

     Rising early will give great morning light; you can't beat the morning sun as it rises out of the Atlantic Ocean to the east of the Cape Cod Canal.

      From the parking lot at Scusset Beach or from the small lot beneath the Sagamore Bridge, you can hike or bike along the canal. Each side of the Cape Cod Canal offers paved trails that go the length of the canal, seven miles approximately on each side. Two highway bridges cross the canal and each offers a narrow walkway on one side that connects the trails. It is possible to bike for over 14 miles off-road on these trails.

     When crossing the canal on the bridges you should walk your bike over the bridges for safety. The lane is narrow and the traffic very close.  From the tops of the bridge decks you have great views of the canal.

     On the trail along the north side of the canal there is a small museum in Bournedale, about half way between Scusset Beach and the railroad bridge at the western end of the canal.  There is a large free parking lot at this Canal museum.  Nearby, the Herring River (Manomet River) Fishway runs down from Great Herring Pond in Plymouth and over a fish ladder and into the canal. Herring make the journey from ocean to the fresh water ponds between April and June. If you are biking the length of the canal from Scusset or from the railroad bridge at the west end, this can be a good rest stop where you will find drinking water and bathrooms.

Cape Cod Canal railroad bridge west end
of the canal
     Further west along the canal you will pass under the Bourne Bridge and then reach the elevating center span, Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge.  There is a large parking lot at this bridge and nearby, find the train station for sightseeing train tickets and the small town of Buzzards Bay for restaurants.

     A return bike ride from here to Scusset Beach would be a seven mile ride for a total of 14 miles of bike ride on the north side of the canal.

Cape Cod Map

Friday, May 25, 2012

Camping and Biking Cape Cod Canal

See Cape Cod Campground List and Best Campgrounds below.

    New England fog can often roll in off the cold ocean in Spring but it usually burns off by mid morning.  A Cape Cod biking vacation can be pleasurable anytime after March.  The Spring months will be less crowded  .  The paved bike trails through the Cape Cod dunes and the Cape Cod Rail Trails are great places for safe and convenient biking and they offer interesting places to make photographs.
Bike trail east end of the Cape Cod Canal
The Cape offers paved trails alongside the Cape Cod Canal, and also a rail  trail along Buzzards Bay from Woods Hole to Falmouth.  The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a paved trail through the pine forests of Brewster and onto the beaches of Eastham.  In the Lower Cape there are several dunes trails through Wellfleet and Provincetown.  During a week-long camping vacation you can visit them all.

  RV camping without reservations is possible in Spring and September and October.  In the Summer, impromptu camping on Cape Cod can be a tricky prospect because the sites are usually booked well in advance.  You can take your chances with the last minute cancellation and the standby list.
     Cape Cod is interesting in all seasons.
Except during the Spring rains and the one or two Winter Northeast storms, there may be no better way to see Cape Cod than on a bicycle.
     Two books could be amiable companions on a Cape Cod vacation, Henry David Thoreau's,  "Cape Cod," and Henry Beston's, "The Outermost House."
     Thoreau started one of his trips to Cape Cod with a stop in Cohasset, MA where the Irish victims of a shipwreck in 1849 were being buried in a mass grave.  The ship was the Saint John from Galway.  It was loaded with Irish immigrants who were escaping the famine.  Thoreau watched as shattered remnants of the ship and its passengers where washed ashore.  The unidentified and unclaimed that died on the rocks offshore were brought to the hill and buried in a mass grave where Thoreau passed and wrote in his journal:
     "...and behind rocks twenty feet high, lay a part of one side of the vessel, still hanging together.  It was, perhaps, forty feet long, by fourteen wide.  I was even more surprised at the power of the waves, exhibited on this shattered fragment, than I had been at the sight of the smaller fragments before. The largest timbers and iron braces were broken superfluously, and I saw that no material could withstand the power of the waves;  that iron must go to pieces in such a case, and an iron vessel would be cracked up like an egg-shell on the rocks.  
     Some of these timbers, however, were so rotten that I could almost thrust my umbrella through them. They told us that some were saved on this piece, and also showed where the sea had heaved it into this cove, which was now dry. When I saw where it had come in, and in what condition, I wondered that any had been saved on it."
      Thoreau was on his way south by train when he stopped in Cohasset to investigate the shipwreck.  He would continue his trip by horse-drawn coach and arrive in the town of Sandwich later to continue south on the Old Kings Highway.   Sandwich offers good camping with wooded sites at Shawme-Crowell State Forest  just off the old Route 6, not far from where Thoreau traveled on his way to Provincetown.

Shawmee-Crowell State Forest camping

     With a short drive or bike ride from the park you can visit the Sandwich Glass Museum, The Hoxie House, the oldest house on Cape Cod, the Thornton Burgiss House, Brer Rabbit Author, and you can bike the paved trail beside the Cape Cod Canal.

      Fourteen miles of flat paved trail serves as a service road for government vehicles beside the Cape Cod Canal and the road is open to visitors for biking and walking.  With walkways over both of the bridges that span the waterway, you can bike west to Buzzards Bay or east to Scusset Beach.
     There is a free parking lot near the power plant and from there bike west on the canal trail.  Once under the Sagamore Bridge you will have the Bourne Bridge four miles ahead.  Just after the Bourne Bridge you will see the sign for the Aptucxet Trading Post.   You can wheel your bike through the entrance for a visit to the museum.
Aptucxet Trading Post, a replica museum of the 1627 trading post
     The Aptucxet building is a replica of the first trading post built at the site in 1627 by the Plymouth Pilgrims on a trail the Indians used to portage their canoes over what was then the Manomet River.
The Cape Cod Canal was built starting in 1909 along part of the old waterway and the river is no longer visible except where it enters the canal from the stream that comes south from Great Herring Pond in Plymouth.
Grey Gables, the private railroad station of Grover Cleveland
when he lived on Cape Cod
     Archaeological excavations at the trading post site were done in the 1850s and again in the 1920s, which led, according to museum literature, to the construction in 1930 of a replica building on the original foundation.  Nearby, you can visit the old restored railroad station called Grey Gables, used in the 1890s by US President Grover Cleveland.   After a short walk on the driveway you find a replica Dutch windmill built by artist Joseph Jefferson, a friend of Cleveland's.

  Back on the bike trail, you soon come to what looks like an erector set version of the Tower of London, the railroad bridge at the west end of the canal.
     The bridge was the longest elevating center span bridge in the world at the time of its construction in 1933.

     The murmur of gears and the rustle of cables will signal the lowering of the center section, as huge counterweights of the bridge lift.  What appeares to be a mute hunk of gothic metal artwork will come to life as the 544-foot center section of the bridge slowly lowers from its height of 135 feet above the water.  The span clanks into place at nearly sea level to allow the passage of trains.
    It drops a couple of times a day for the passage of railway cars and freight.       The freight consists of trash that is hauled off the Cape to a recycling mill inland.

Railroad bridge Cape Cod Canal
     The lowering of that bridge center section by cables and counterweights is no small task in the middle of a waterway that serves seagoing ships.  The Army Corps of Engineers handles the details of the Cape Cod Canal.
The Cape Cod Canal Museum tells the story of how the Corps carefully manage the passage of vessels.  All boats using this sea-level canal must have motor power.
     You realize why when you see the railroad bridge down across the waterway and a current of about six knots running as the tide changes.  That tide changes twice daily so there is nearly always a brisk current running in the Cape Cod Canal.

 It is seven miles back to the start of the canal and to the campsite.
From the campgrounds you can bike to the Sandwich Glass Museum, the Heritage Plantation antique auto collection, and the East End of the Canal to the Cape Cod Canal Museum.

Next:  East End,  Cape Cod Canal

Friday, February 25, 2011

Best Camping On Cape Cod

The best camping on Cape Cod for those that want family camping with a fireplace for cooking and a spacious wooded site will be the State Parks and State Forest.  In the north, Miles Standish Reservation in Plymouth, while not truly on Cape Cod, is near enough to Cape Cod to offer all the  beaches and bike trails.  Miles Standish also offers camping on fresh water ponds such as Curlew Pond and bike trails, hiking trails, fresh water fishing, and boating.  
The State limits the duration of a stay in the state parks to two weeks.  (two weeks in each park)  
Another favorite for tenting and wooded sites is Shawme Crowell State Forest in Sandwich near the Cape Cod Canal.  Shawme Crowell offers large sites in a pine forest with proximity to the Cape Cod Canal bike and walking trail.   
Salt water fishing is offered on the Cape Cod Canal and families can enjoy safe, off-road biking on fourteen miles of flat, paved trails that run the length of the Cape Cod Canal

Scusset Beach
 RV Camping
Scusset Beach State Park is a favorite of RV campers.  Scusset offers camping for large RVs on the north side of the Cape Cod Canal and also offers fishing on the Cape Cod Canal without the need to obtain a license.

Another favorite on Cape Cod is Nickerson State Park in Brewster, about mid way between the Cape Cod Canal and the tip of Cape Cod at Provincetown.  Nickerson offers the Cape Cod Rail Trail which runs through the park on its way from Dennis to Wellfleet.  Nickerson also offers fresh water ponds, walking trails, equestrian trails, and many nearby salt water beaches.