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Old 05-16-2021, 07:43 AM   #1
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Does Massachusetts want out of state visitors?

Wow........ I just went to make my yearly reservation at Nickerson State Park on Cape Cod. To my complete surprise, rates are now $75 a night for out of state visitors! That is correct - $70 plus a $5 nightly surcharge, which is said to go directly to the campground for improvements. State residents are not being charged the surcharge. So I guess Massachusetts is looking to fund park improvements solely through non-residents.

$75 for a state campground without any hookups. The rate for a resident is $22 with no additional surcharges. Shawme-Crowell, located further away from the beaches at the start of the Cape is a bit less at $54 a night, residents are $17. No $5 surcharge. My last trip pre-pandemic (2019) I paid $27 a night at Shawme-Crowell and $40 at Nickerson.

I have gone camping on the Cape in the fall for the past 20 years, and it's something I look forward to every year. My retreat time. I expect to pay more as a non-resident, but $75?? For rough camping??

I am torn - do I boycott something I love because of the outrageousness of this nightly fee? Or do I suck it up and pay for something I enjoy?

It's not the money so much, but my desire to make my voice heard that would be motivating my decision not to go. Not so sure my not going will make a difference to anyone but me.

Any recommendations for a private campground on the Cape? I'm towing a 22' TT and don't need hook-ups.

I love the beach and the laid-back beach atmosphere. I've never been to the Jersey Shore but could get there in about the same amount of time as it takes me to get to the Cape. Maybe it's time to try something new. Any Jersey Shore recommendations?
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Old 05-16-2021, 07:53 AM   #2
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Sucks to be hammered like that. Can you still go and enjoy after the change in rates? I can't talk to NJ locations, left that area 40 years ago.

If this stay is something you really enjoy, can get your mind around the seemingly unfair rates, and financially can support it. Go. if not, start looking for a suitable replacement. Might need to change up first year and then research a new beach location next year.

With the crowds these days, popular beach SP's and private CG's are pretty booked already for this summer.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-16-2021, 09:37 AM   #3
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Massachusetts wants all the money it can get. Nickerson is always full; so they can charge what they want. It's sort of like Disney's Fort Wilderness.... get what the market will bare. Next winter at the Fort some sites will be over $300. Mass is just getting its share.
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Old 05-16-2021, 12:34 PM   #4
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Massachusetts wants all the money it can get. Nickerson is always full; so they can charge what they want. It's sort of like Disney's Fort Wilderness.... get what the market will bare. Next winter at the Fort some sites will be over $300. Mass is just getting its share.
Ah, @Cousin Ed! I see you are from the Cape. Beautiful place! I avoid the Cape in the summer months, but mid-week September and October are wonderful, Nickerson becomes acceptable, and spending a week or two on the Cape is something I look forward to every year fall.

I just did a search of private campgrounds on the Cape as an alternative to Nickerson. Wondering if you have any familiarity with Atlantic Oaks, Shady Knolls, or Sweetwater? Each of those is less expensive than Nickerson - and have hookups.

I tend to prefer boondocking over campgrounds, and state campgrounds over private, but I'll stay almost anywhere to be near the beach!
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Old 05-16-2021, 12:45 PM   #5
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I'm in agreement, they will not know you were protesting. Now with the campground demand, they most likly will be full.

But over all the price of public camp grounds have been rapidly increasing. What with the charter most public parks have of affordable recreation?
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Old 05-16-2021, 01:03 PM   #6
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I feel your pain. Wanted to stay at a state campground but couldnít press the Book Now key for $70 a night on the cape, off-season. We also love the Cape off season and have been going for a few years. We have stayed at Shady Knoll, not far from Nickerson in Brewster. Itís full hook up and a decent campground.

We prefer Atlantic Oakes because it is so close to a few National Seashore beaches. We do get in free because of our season pass, but I think they may be free anyways because it is after Labor Day.

RI is doing the same thing, increasing the price of state campgrounds for out of staters. Have you checked Fishermens Memorial State CG in RI? Might be a little cheaper than $70 a night for full hook up. Fishermens is surrounded by many beaches, salt ponds, seafood restaurants, ferry to Block Island.
If you have questions about Fishermens, I can help you. We go every year and Iím familiar with some the sites. Reservations usually book out 12 months.
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Old 05-16-2021, 01:15 PM   #7
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I noticed something similar at Wompatuck state park in Hingham MA. It's a nice enough campground. I stayed there in a MH in 2017 and I believe it was also about $27 per night for a site with electric (only 20 amp at the time but I believe they have been upgraded to 30 and 50 amp now), no water or sewer hook up on site.
Currently it is $54 per night for out of state people and a $6 charge for electric hook up. I don't know if that's per night or per stay.
I was there over the 4th of July and the park was practically deserted which I found strange.
Years ago (actually many years ago) my family went tent camping at Nickerson state park, a number of times, when we were residents of MA. It was a very nice park.
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Old 05-16-2021, 01:57 PM   #8
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I left the North East in 1976. Except for visiting family members there is no reason for me to go there. All the governments of the region think about is revenue and how to gouge as much of it as they can out of the folks that live there or visit.
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Old 05-16-2021, 02:02 PM   #9
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I left the North East in 1976. Except for visiting family members there is no reason for me to go there. All the governments of the region think about is revenue and how to gouge as much of it as they can out of the folks that live there or visit.
I left Connecticut in 1974 - don't miss that part of the USA at all. I do still have family there so go to visit when I can - camp in their driveways -
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Old 05-16-2021, 02:14 PM   #10
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I feel your pain. Wanted to stay at a state campground but couldnít press the Book Now key for $70 a night on the cape, off-season. We also love the Cape off season and have been going for a few years. We have stayed at Shady Knoll, not far from Nickerson in Brewster. Itís full hook up and a decent campground.

We prefer Atlantic Oakes because it is so close to a few National Seashore beaches. We do get in free because of our season pass, but I think they may be free anyways because it is after Labor Day.

RI is doing the same thing, increasing the price of state campgrounds for out of staters. Have you checked Fishermens Memorial State CG in RI? Might be a little cheaper than $70 a night for full hook up. Fishermens is surrounded by many beaches, salt ponds, seafood restaurants, ferry to Block Island.
If you have questions about Fishermens, I can help you. We go every year and Iím familiar with some the sites. Reservations usually book out 12 months.
Hi @Gladie!
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I love the Eastham area so nice to get a thumbs up for Atlantic Oaks. I also like the area around Brewster, so also nice to know Shady Knoll is decent. Both less expensive than Nickerson - and with hookups.

I agree with you - it was not so much the money as the sticker shock. I obviously didn't press "PAY" either, which is why I'm looking for alternatives as I recover to the unexpected increase in fees.

I've never camped in RI, but just checked out Fishermen's Memorial. $45 for non-residents. It reminds me of camping at Hammonasett down the coast in CT. Ever been there? Unfortunately, Hammonassett doesn't allow pets.

How about Burlingame nearby? Ever camped there?

I'm looking to plan a trip mid-week, sometime mid-September into October. Thankfully, there's still lots of availability at all of those places, including the Cape.
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Old 05-16-2021, 02:30 PM   #11
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The upshot is that out-of-state visitor don't vote. Since politicians all like to brag that they didn't increase taxes they increase user fees. Same animal different name. The thing you have to remember is that rents in Boston are probably around $2,000 a month, so to people paying that in rent $75 a night for a campground doesn't seem outrageous. For those of us that remember $5-6 dollars a night for camping it does seem outrageous. I guess you can fight city hall, but you rarely win. I'd vote with my $$, but I'm cantankerous like that.
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Old 05-16-2021, 02:32 PM   #12
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We always send our RV friends to Atlantic Oaks and they are always pleased. It's about 2 miles from our house. I believe Shady Knolls is owned by the Atlantic Oaks people Some of our friends like it because you can have a fire. Sweetwater is really nice but all our friends have big rigs and wouldn't fit well there.
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Old 05-16-2021, 03:15 PM   #13
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We are at Atlantic Oaks right now. Always come here early and late in the season.
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Old 05-16-2021, 03:23 PM   #14
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$75? Peanuts. You ought to try non-rez antelope hunting out west.

Can't really blame them. Funds are scarce, non-residents don't pay in-state taxes, nor do they vote.
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