149 Waquoit Highway
Rte. 28, Falmouth
The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
(WBNERR) is located on the south shore of Cape Cod, in the towns
of Falmouth and Mashpee. It encompasses some 2,700 acres of open
waters, barrier beaches, marshlands and uplands. Washburn Island,
South Cape Beach State Park, Reserve Headquarters
and the Quashnet River Corridor are components of the Reserve which
include trails through or near marshes, beaches, rivers and woodlands.
The Waquoit Bay Reserve is representative of typical shallow bay
environments, from Chesapeake Bay to Cape Cod.
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Located at the old Sargent Estate in East Falmouth, the visitor
center is housed in the mansion of the estate, which sits atop a
30 foot bluff at the head of Waquoit Bay. First built in the 1880's,
the estate had a long history of summer use by a number of owners
until a hurricane in 1938 damaged the mansion. The Visitor Center,
which is open year round features exhibits about watersheds, coastal
ecology and the research that is conducted at the Waquoit Bay NERR.
The visitor center is open Monday through Friday 10-4 and on Saturdays
in July and August. The Reserve's administrative offices are also
housed at the Sargent Estate.
The education program includes teacher workshops on coastal topics,
adult education classes, coastal decisionmaker workshops, summer
interpretive programs and public events such as Evenings on the
Bluff and the Watershed Block Party. Publications include a groundwater
curriculum (Watersheds at Bay), newsletters and brochures on coastal
issues. Reserve staff also consult with school districts to integrate
water quality monitoring, watershed field trips and other investigations
into the curriculum.
Camping on Washburn Island – Services and Amenities:
9 campsites plus 1 group site. Unimproved composting toilets, no access to potable water, no showers. Charcoal or fuel cooking stoves only at designated campsites. Campers must bring one gallon of fresh water per person per day.
This primitive island campground is accessible by private boat only. There is no ferry service to Washburn Island. Contact park staff or visit www.waquoitbayreserve.org for launch site and parking information.
Camping Season: early May to mid-October, reservations required prior to arrival. No walk-ins.
Waquoit Bay National Research Estuarine is located on the southern
part of Cape Cod, in southeastern Massachusetts.
Follow Route 3 South to the Sagamore Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal.
Route 3 crosses over the bridge and becomes Route 6. Take Exit 2
(Route 130). Turn right off the ramp and follow 130 South 7 Miles
to Great Neck Road, just after Dunkin Donuts (which is on the left
side of 130). Turn right onto Great Neck Road and follow it 2 miles
to the Mashpee Rotary. Halfway around the rotary, take Route 28
toward Falmouth/Woods Hole. The reserve is located 3.5 miles from
the rotary on the left.
From Providence and Points West:
Follow Route 495 or 195 to Route 25. Route 25 crosses over the Bourne
Bridge and becomes Route 28. Follow Route 28 South to Route 151
(first exit after the Cataumet/Otis ANGB Rotary). Turn right off
the ramp and follow 151 east under the bridge toward New Seabury
and the Mashpee Rotary. At the rotary, take Route 28 toward Falmouth/Woods
Hole. The reserve is located 3.5 miles from the rotary on the left.
Proceed south on Route 28 (toward Mashpee). The Reserve is located
a just under 2 miles from the Davisville lights in East Falmouth
(1 mile from Mahoney's Garden Center and 0.5 miles from White's
Landing/Edward's Boat Yard/Childs River) on the right after the
From the East:
Follow Route 6 to exit 5 (Route 149). Follow 149 South towards Marstens
Mills to Route 28. Take a right on 28 North (towards Falmouth).
Follow Route 28 around the Mashpee Rotary and continue on 28 towards
Falmouth/Woods Hole. The reserve is located 3.5 miles from the rotary
on the left.
Directions for Camping at Washburn Island
(White's Landing Parking Lot)
From the East/Mashpee Rotary:
Follow Route 28 north towards Falmouth/Woods Hole. The landing's
parking area is located 4 miles from the rotary on the left, next
to Edward's Boatyard and just after crossing the Childs River.
Proceed south on Route 28. The White's Landing parking lot is located
a just under 1.5 miles from the Davisville lights in East Falmouth
(0.5 mile from Mahoney's Garden Center) on the right next to Edward's
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