Budget-Smart Cape Cod Camping MA
Visiting Cape Cod National Seashore for a few days of R&R and you need Cape Cod camping?
Here’s the challenge for happy-go-lucky National Park Senior Pass wielders.
If you have a National Park Senior Pass, one of the realities is that there are certain regions of the country where it won’t get you very much.
That’s New England for you.
New England is a land of sparse National Park facilities, rare federal campgrounds, and expensive overnight options, even if you’re roughing it.
No fun. What’s a poor tightwad senior park visitor supposed to do? Nothing like ruining a lovely trip with a leaky wallet.
Even worse when the Park is in an expensive area and you’d like to linger for a bit. Costs can mount up quickly without that senior-friendly discount.
That describes Cape Cod MA and Cape Cod National Seashore exactly. A national treasure, so much to see and do, so easy to bust a budget.
No matter. Dusty Car Muddy Boots is on it.
Mission…Find a dollar-friendly put-in even if it’s not a federal facility. Find Cape Cod Camping.
That’s Nickerson State Park MA, on the Cape, and close to Cape Cod National Seashore.
Budget? How much are we talking?
Camping at Nickerson’s not cheap (in the senior scheme of things), but, hey, we’re not talking gob-smacking California State Park campground prices, either. A tent spot at Nickerson (as of 2016) is $22 per night. Not bad.
A reservation? That might be a little more difficult to cough up. Before you go, make sure there’s availability.
What’s so great about Nickerson?
#1 The basics are pretty much as good as they come. Sites tend to roominess, they’re woodsy and protected, and well picked-up. Extra credit? They’re level, meaning less chance for a fall. (See Brilliant! 3 Practical Ways To Light Your Campsite for tips on minimizing tripping at night.) Nickerson, being a State facility, provides showers, too.
Does the photo above meet your specs?
#2 Then there’s all the extra stuff. We’ll let MassGov describe it for you:
Nickerson’s 1900 acres offers more than 400 campsites , including yurt camping, an amphitheater, eight miles of roads, hiking trails, an eight mile bike path that connects to the 22 mile Cape Cod Rail Trail , and ponds stocked year-round with trout. Cape Cod Bay is within walking or bicycling distance. You can swim and canoe at Flax Pond; birdwatch or catch-and-release fish at Higgins Pond, or participate in the many seasonal interpretive and recreational programs offered by park staff.
#3 Did you see that? Your campsite gets you easy access to exercise!
Besides the 8 ponds, fishing, swimming, and boating right there in the campground, did you see the part about the Rail Trail? Yeppers, you can ride your bike right from your spot to……another town on the Cape! No messing with traffic. For sightseeing or stretching the legs. The Rail Trail is purpose-developed so you can lollygag or zoom, with plenty of trailside cafés, restrooms, bikers, and Cape Cod nooks and crannies to investigate.
Nickerson complements all the other things you might find appealing on Cape Cod, including exploring the National Seashore and taking advantage of its ranger offerings, puttering around the little Cape towns, whale watching…
So, Cape Cod Camping?
Go to Nickerson State Park, Dusty Car Muddy Boots’s recommendation for base camp on the Cape with an outlay that offers an excellent return on your dollar. And then some.
Photo credits for Cape Cod camping. Featured image and top…Race Point: CC BY 2.0 by Art N. via Flickr. Campsite at Nickerson, P6120482: CC BY 2.0 by Jeremy Goldstein via Flickr. Bicycle Trail, Cape Cod Adventures: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Oliver McCloud via Flickr. Humpback Whale: CC BY-ND 2.0 by Dave Fletcher via Flickr. Commercial Street, Provincetown 2009-08-22 0078: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Harvey Barrison via Flickr.