Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Waqoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a living laboratory and regional resource at one of the Northeast’s most studied estuaries.  Slated for development, residents wanted to protect the Waquoit Bay and urged the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to buy most of the reserve lands. The reserve was created as a way to understand the coastal ecosystems and the influence humans have on them in an attempt to find the best solutions in ecosystem preservation. Visitors to the reserve can camp, hunt, fish, and tour the lands with its many trails. The reserve also hosts many events and educational programs.  

When you arrive at the reserve, there is a large open field with maps of the area and oceanic fun facts posted on a large bulletin board. The main facility is located right at the end of the large field that is open to the public where you can enter or just continue to walk around the land. There are multiple marked trails that are available here, some shorter than others. One of the shorter trails that leads you from the main house past some wetlands and onto a small beach perfect for fishing. It is important to note, however, that these reserve trails are a popular area for ticks that carry Lyme Disease, and the areas off trail are also rife with poison ivy. The main building has information about avoiding both of these hazards. Also, permits are also required for fishing, hunting and shellfishing. When visiting the reserve, be sure to look out for concerts and events that may be happening at the time. 

Located right in Falmouth, MA, the reservation is also close to various Cape Cod shops and restaurants, so it is easy to make a visit part of your day. The Waquoit Bay Research Reserve is vital for the protection and education of local coastal estuaries, and with a multitude of options for summer adventures, it should definitely be included in your next Cape Cod Adventure.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Great views. Trails. Summer events.




Flushing toilets
Boat ramp(s)
Bird watching
Family friendly


Nearby Lodging + Camping

Martha's Vinyard + Nantucket, Massachusetts


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