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Camping on Cape Cod

Updated on April 11, 2015

Camping on Cape Cod

by George Bogosian

I have a camping secret I want to share with you about Cape Cod in Massachusets. Living in New Hampshire has put me in close proximity of the Cape and I’ve spent many a day hiking, biking, fishing, birding, beach walking and camping on the cape. I left out shopping for various manly reasons. It’s a diverse area for being a land mass sticking out in the ocean. It’s not just a large sand dune surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Ok, let's call it camping holidays.... but not camping hotels....just a little camping gear and camping equipment and you're in business!

I used to tent camp there before my vintage Airstream trailer showed up in my life ten years ago. What a delight it is not sleeping on the ground and that has become more apparent as I’ve gathered my own years; I am now a vintage person.

Glamping at Nickerson State Park

Oh yes, the secret! Nickerson State Park, in Brewster, MA in the elbow of the cape, has to be one of the best campgrounds in New England and my best Cape Cod secret.

It’s 1900 wooded acres in the middle of the cape with eight fresh water kettle (glacier formed) ponds large enough for fishing, boating and swimming. The ponds still have the pristine feeling because the camping is not all along the shoreline but back up the hill. It leaves the lakes looking secluded and makes you feel you’ve stumbled across them. They have 400 campsites. There are no sand dunes or salt marches in sight; you feel like you’re in the middle of the woods. You’ve got to leave the campground to experience both the Cape and the ocean. Nickerson is right beside the Cape’s bike trail, which has 25 miles of paved bike path: the park itself has 8 miles of bike path. I suggest reservations, although they also have the usual first come first serve drive up method, but that’s always a risky gamble; especially if your heart is set on staying there. I believe they leave 10 sites open to this method, but if you're not in line by 8 or 9 am you'll probably be out of luck. There are also a number of private campgrounds on the cape and most of them are fine, but the state took the best land for their park and your use.

Nickerson uses the Reserve America Company to take their reservations. You can do it on line, or call 877-422-6762. I have found Reserve America to be useful and their on line site shows available campsites and basic campground info. Many campgrounds throughout the country are using them for reservations. It’s a free membership and they don’t hound you with emails. I usually like talking to the horse's mouth but I’ve learned to use them. Yes, there is a fee for their service. It’s one charge per stay regardless of the number of nights. In the off seasons I don’t need their service because the campgrounds are not full; so I save the fee charge. I call the campground direct, 508-896-3491.

Some shade is always welcomed

Woods, sun and shade..lovely.
Woods, sun and shade..lovely.

All the sites are shaded or semi shaded, clean and roomy.

They even have 5 Yurts for rent if you are tent-less and trailer-less. They are canvas covered and are set on wood platforms and come furnished and ready for you. Some of the campground bathrooms need updating but some are new; and the shower house has twelve showers for both men and women and is a newer building. The camp store is well stocked and has the usual characters sitting around a small table where food is occasionally prepared. Their recycling attempts are bins for separating your glass and cans located next to the camp store.

Nickerson is divided into 6 different campgrounds with area 2 and 6 being my favorites. Area 6 is more secluded and 3 miles from the entrance. Area 2 has swimming available with a short walk through the woods on small dirt paths. All the camp sites are around the ponds without intruding on them and you can get to the ponds. So there is private swimming and public small beach swimming available from all sites.

I haven’t even mentioned the major reason to come to the Cape and that is the ocean and all that has to offer. I have more Cape secrets and I’ll share them in other writings. So remember, you can make your reservations six months in advance at Nickerson State Park; and most folks do just that. So get on it! I’ll look for you.

Camping with my flamingo.

My flamingo eats very little.
My flamingo eats very little.


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    • bigocean profile image

      George Bogosian 7 years ago from New England


      Hello, Did you find that state parks are a notch up on private campgrounds? My judgement is based on beauty and not facilities.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks for a nice hub about Cape Cod. We've camped in every state and particularly enjoy the ocean, but have never been on the Cape. There are always new places to go, aren't there?

    • bigocean profile image

      George Bogosian 7 years ago from New England

      Cape Codder,

      Yea, you're right...I think the "big secret" is planning ahead enough to camp at Nickerson!! I've never stayed at Sweetwater, thanks for that tip.

    • profile image

      Cape Codder 7 years ago

      I'm not sure I would call Nickerson State Park a secret or else you wouldn't need to call so far in advance to get a campsite, but it certainly is a great place to spend time. Not aonly are the ponds great to swim in, but also the fishing is some of the best on Cape Cod, especially Big Cliff. Another decent site is Sweetwater off of Route 124 in Brewster. The bike path is close and you have both Hinckley and Long Pond close as well.