View of Pine Tree on Beach in Nickerson State Park Massachusetts

Where Is Nickerson State Park

Nickerson State Park is located near the town of Brewster, Massachusetts just off of the Old King’s Highway, Southeast of Crosby Mansion. The park encompasses a meager 1,967 square acres of Cape Cod originally owned by Samuel Nickerson during the mid 1800’s. A short two hour drive from Providence, Rhode Island or a scenic hour long drive from Plymouth, Massachusetts to the East will land you at the park entrance at 3488 Main Street.

How Big Is Nickerson State Park

An astonishing 400 campsites lie within the 1,967 square acres, or 7.96 square kilometers, of Cape Cod Island that make up the park. The park sits at only 85 feet above sea level and allows for the park's numerous ponds and swamps to be fed primarily by groundwater. Roughly 35 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails of various degrees of difficulty wind their way through the park's lowland landscape. Eight miles of the 25-mile-long Cape Cod Rail Trail also spans through the park connecting Yarmouth to Wellfleet.

Nickerson State Park Weather

The weather at Nickerson US State Park is simply what would be expected of an island on the east coast. Beautiful beach weather in the low to mid-seventies can be found from June to September. Summer nights at the park are a cool high fifties to low sixties with a chilly ocean breeze coming off of the water. From the months of October to January the temperature slowly creeps down to just above freezing during the day and well below that during the evening and through the night.

Unfortunately, the ocean winds pick up through the colder months culminating with the highest recorded wind speeds in March just as the weather begins to trend upwards into spring. Due to the proximity to the ocean, the summer months can be quite humid at an average of 80% and an average of 21 inches of precipitation is recorded on a yearly basis. Cape Cod island also boasts its very own weather prognosticator. Doug the Quahog is a giant clam that predicts the number of beach days that there will be for the entire island on the first day of summer known to islanders as Quahog Day.

View of Sunny Day in Woods in Nickerson State Park Massachusetts

When Did Nickerson State Park Become A Park

A native of the island, Samuel Nickerson, built his estate upon the land that is now the park in the mid 1800’s. After making his fortune as a liquor distiller in Chicago, Nickerson also helped found the First National Bank of Chicago before returning to Cape Cod to build his home. The estate owner went on to build Fieldstone Hall for his son, Roland Nickerson, a mile west of what would later become the park. Roland went on to build his family at Fieldstone Hall until it unfortunately burned down in 1906. Roland was said to have died of heartbreak after losing his home and possessions. His widow, Addie Nickerson, donated a portion of her inherited estate to Massachusetts in 1934 as the first state park in the commonwealth. It was named after her late husband and son who also passed during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Things To Do At Nickerson State Park

With so many activities packed into the comparatively smaller size of this state park and the immediate proximity to other activities along the entire island of Cape Cod, Nickerson State Park has something for every member of the family.

Hiking and Biking

Nickerson boasts an impressive 35 miles of cumulative trails that are available to hikers, bikers and horseback riders. These trails range in difficulty from novice to advanced. For another unique biking experience, List of Parks suggests trying to biking the Cape Cod Rail Trail. This old railroad route turned bike trail takes a biker on a ride from Yarmouth to Wellfleet as well as a stretch of scenic trail through Nickerson.


With over 400 campsites there’s always a spot available at Nickerson State Park. Tents, RV’s and even yurt sites are available for around $100 per night for a family of out-of-state residents. All sites have access to running water, electricity and are provided with picnic tables and fire pits.


Eight freshwater “kettle” ponds inside the park are stocked with trout year-round while the island of Cape Cod also offers numerous opportunities for coastal saltwater fishing, as well, just a short drive from the park. There is also a single catch-and-release pond in the park for sport fisherman only.


The park offers boating, kayaking, and canoeing sites at the Big Cliff Pond. Motorized boats are restricted to a ten-horsepower engine maximum. Nickerson also offers boat rental for qualified campers.


Swimming is allowed at both the Flax and Cliff Ponds.

Crosby Mansion

Though not enclosed within the park proper, Crosby Mansion is located in the town of Brewster. This famous historical site takes visitors back in time to a period of grandeur in American history. With many features mimicking those at Versailles and Buckingham Palace, respectively, the mansion also features a large collection of valuable art and statuary.

Sunset View of Nickerson State Park Massachusetts

What To Bring To Nickerson State Park

To fully take advantage of everything that Nickerson State Park has to offer, our State Parks Visitors Guide created a short list of essential items to bring during a stay.


With most of the island connected by bike trails, it is not only a great item to bring to the park but also one to facilitate travel around the entirety of Cape Cod.

Fishing Pole

Both for sport and sustenance during your stay at the park, a fishing pole is an invaluable item to bring along with you to take advantage of the well-stocked trout ponds.

Swim Toys

Not a necessity but always a fun addition to swim time! Especially when bringing the whole family.


Nickerson features some great bird watching sites adjacent to the ponds in the park. Binoculars are also great to view the spectacular ocean landscape beyond the shores.

The Family

Though you can enjoy this park individually, Nickerson caters more towards families. With family friendly activities abound as well as educational and historical experiences available, the family is the best thing to bring with you!

Waterlilies Floating on Pond in Nickerson State Park Massachusetts

Where to Stay At Nickerson State Park

With over 400 campsites available, staying at the park is the absolute best option for lodging. Tent camping, RV spots, and available yurt sites all make for a variety of camping options that allow you to take full advantage of everything Nickerson has to offer at a better rate than staying in a nearby hotel. However, if a hotel is more of your preference, there are a few great options within close proximity to the park in nearby Brewster.

The Mansion at Ocean Edge

These four-star luxury accommodations are only a 15-minute walk to Nickerson and provide a full bar and restaurant, beautifully manicured grounds, and a private section of beach. Supervised childcare is also available here for when the adults want to experience a night out in Brewster.

Brewster By the Sea Inn

This quaint nine room inn offers close proximity to much of historic Brewster but is a short drive from Nickerson State Park.

Captain Freeman Inn

Also located in Brewster but only a 15-minute walk to the park, this exceptionally rated little eleven room inn offers luxury Cape Cod style lodgings in a convenient location.

Where to Eat at Nickerson State Park

With no dining available within the park it is highly advised to bring ample food supplies while camping at Nickerson. If you are willing to make the short trip into Brewster, there are many restaurants available which feature the local seafood cuisine of Cape Cod. Listed here are some of the top-rated restaurants in the area.

The Brewster Fish House

This fine dining restaurant in downtown Brewster features some of the areas freshest seafood exceptionally presented in a style true to it’s Cape Cod roots.

Apt Cape Cod

This restaurant fuses Cape Cod’s exceptional seafood with modern American and Mediterranean flavors.

Young’s Fish Market

Young’s features fresh lobster dishes at a price that won't break the bank. Their specialty, the lobster roll, is touted as the best in the world and fresh lobsters cooked on site at the time of purchase is also a fan favorite.

Airports Near Nickerson State Park

Though there is only one major airport nearby at Boston Logan Airport there are many small municipal airports closer to the park located on the island of Cape Cod. These include Cape Cod Airfield and Provincetown Municipal Airport. Both offer 25-minute connecting flights from Boston Logan Airport.

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