149 Waquoit Highway
Rte. 28, Falmouth
508 457-0495

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.

Trail Map

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Park Directions

Waquoit Bay National Research Estuarine is located on the southern part of Cape Cod, in southeastern Massachusetts.

From Boston: 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.

From Falmouth: 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 Waquoit Cemetery.

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.

From Falmouth: 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 Boatyard.


Other State Parks

Boston Harbor Islands State Park also offers island camping.

Recreational Opportunities


Educational & Interpretive Opportunities


Visitor Center

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.


Educational/Public Programs

The education program includes teacher workshops on coastal topics, adult education classes, coastal decision maker 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.