Camping at New England's Horseneck Beach State Reservation, MA
Encompassing 600 acres of barrier beach and salt marsh –and a short two hour hop from Boston– Horseneck Beach State Reservation in Massachusetts offers a breezy two-mile shoreline for a relaxing coastal camping trip. The southwest exposure to Buzzard Bay makes for a rocky waterfront typical of the northeast, while the less common natural sand beach will make southerners feel right at home.
Our two night stay at Horseneck Beach State Reservation was part of a 32-night tent camping trip through New England. We camped at Horseneck Beach for a few reasons that may fit well with your plan for a New England getaway:
- A beach stay that was convenient between our Boston and Connecticut stops;
- An easy day-trip to Newport, Rhode Island (~45min drive); and
- Location close to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (~30min)
Horseneck Beach State Reservation Campground
The campground was a great place to pitch our tent; we were just steps away from the shore –albeit a cobblestone beach. We drove to the day-use area for our sand-beach time.
A look at the campsite map may have you selecting a beachfront location, but they are hard to come by unless you planned your stay well in advance. We picked an outer edge campsite as an alternative which provided a level of privacy and allowed us to pitch our tent near the shelter of scrub bushes. Be forewarned that the campsites offer no shade.
Horseneck Beach State Reservation has a centrally located bathhouse –flush toilets & hot showers– plus large dishwashing stations. In the evening, the kids enjoyed using the play area next door to the bathhouse.
Things to Know at Horseneck Beach State Reservation Campground
- The outer edge campsites offer more privacy
- Firewood must be purchased from park staff
- No camp store (except firewood) –make sure you buy your ice and other supplies before arrival.
- No lifeguards at campground beach area
- 14-day cumulative stay maximum except 7-day stay maximum for beach front sites #54-83
- No hookups - quiet hours 10pm - 7am
- Amenities: Hot showers, flush toilets, utility sinks, playgrounds, volleyball & basketball courts
- Leashed pets allowed at campground
Horseneck Beach State Reservation Day Use Area
Relax on the wide, sandy beach or frolic in the refreshing surf. Horseneck Beach's location on the southwestern shore ensures dependable breezes as a respite to the summer heat and for windsurfing adventures.
If you are camping at Horseneck Beach State Reservation, then your camping permit allows you to park in the day-use area without additional parking fees –which for us, as out-of-state visitors, was a significant savings.
After our two intense tourist days in the Boston area, the kids were ready to kick off their shoes and play in the ocean!
Things to Know at Horseneck Beach State Reservation Day Use Area
- Hours: sunrise to sunset
- Parking Fees: Memorial Weekend -October 31; MA resident $13; Non-resident: $20 (camping permit allows for free parking in day use area)
- No pets (exception of service animals): April 1 - Sept 15
- Seasonal lifeguards, showers, restrooms
- No alcohol
Handy Hill Creamery
Head north on MA-88 and less than 10 minutes from Horseneck Beach State Reservation campground, you'll arrive at the family-owned Handy Hill Creamery for a chance to indulge that ice cream sweet-tooth. If you need a protein hit first, choose from items such as burgers, chowder, clam cakes, and chicken fingers.
Even with so many flavors to choose from, the five of us all ended up with a scoop each of extreme chocolate and black raspberry –awesome combo! Who needs dinner???
- Address: 55 Hix Bridge Rd, Westport, Massachusetts
- Seasonal hours so check their facebook page ahead of your visit.