Washburn Island and Waquiot Bay in MA

I will be hitting the cape next week and am looking for new spots to paddle. Washburn Island and Waquiot bay have been recomended. I have read sevteral guides (they are a few years old) that mention paddling this area.

Has anyone paddled this area? If so any input would be greatly apprecited. I am also looking at pleasent bay. Thanks for your time.

Waquoit Bay – very nice place to paddle
And Washburn Island is good primitive camping. But if you haven’t booked a campsite yet, there’s just a smattering of slots left…


Still, it’s a good place for a protected paddle, with options to go into Vineyard Sound for some open water. Be sure to hit Sage Lot Pond, in the southeast corner – a very beautiful, quiet, unspoiled pond with a resident flock of swans. Most other ponds are developed, but not this one.

If you do go into the Sound, watch out for the combination of current in the main entrance which can run up to 1.6 kts, and heavy powerboat traffic in that channel. There are also moored boats in the channel and fishing from the bank with lines in the water to complicate things. An alternative is the exit from Eel pond, which also has boat traffic, but less current.

There are chapters on Waquoit in the two Cape paddle guidebooks that I know of (Bull and Weintraub).

Pleasant Bay is a lot larger, and with wind can develop significant chop, so if you’re looking for quiet water, it’s not always. In fact, the Bulls don’t cover Pleasant Bay because their book was written from a canoeist’s viewpoint, and Weintraub covers only Little Pleasant, which is the most protected part.

Also, be careful of Pleasant Bay at low tide – lots of sandbars and you will probably wind up walking and pulling a lot. The bay has its own tide station, which is significantly offset from the ocean tides.

In addition to the Barley Neck Road launch point for Little Pleasant listed in Weintraub, there’s also a launch with parking at the extreme southwestern point of (Big) Pleasant, here… http://tinyurl.com/3y7bme. (Zoom that Google satellite image out, and you can see ~some~ of the sandbars in the Bay – but there are more, and they change from year to year.)

Have fun – the Cape is a great place to paddle.


Great Place to paddle
The bay is fairly wide and shallow and can be a little choppy if it is windy. Lot’s of nooks and crannies to explore. Camping on Washburn Is. is recommended if you can get a spot.


I asked about this a few weeks ago.
My wife and I will be paddling there either Monday or Tuesday of next week.

If you see a yellow and a red QCC, give us a shout.



rte 28
there is a public ramp/parking on rte 28 on the childs river. i’ve always used that as the put in to access the bay, the vineyard, etc.

as you are heading down cape, it’s on the L hand side. hard to miss.

It’s a great place to paddle and camp. The sites have composting toilets and no campfires are allowed. The island has plenty of poison ivy, so watch where you walk. You should see a lot of fiddler crabs, horseshoe crabs, etc…

The bay is protected with lots of inlets to explore, here’s a semi decent map. The rangers should be able to provide you with a better one.


As David stated the channel entering the bay can be fun if conditions are right, I’ve seen a 3-4 standing wave there and I’ve seen dead calm. If you stay inside the bay the wost thing you get is some wind and a bit of chop.

At the put in please be considerate of the other boaters. The put in is at the end of a dirt road with just enough room to turn a truck & trailer around. Just drop your kayak and gear and bring your car back to the parking lot. There’s space next to the ramp to pack up and launch small boats.

Washburn Island and Waquiot Bay in MA
Great place I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

As stated earlier sage lot pond is a very nice to paddle into, bring your camera. As you head out of sage lot, across the bay back to washburn there is a nice little pond on the end of washburn as well. You can carry the kayaks a short distance across Washburn and put into Eel Pond. You can also stretch you legs along the ocean side beach, you’re usually the only one along this stretch. If you do head out beyond eel pond or the bay there are several places to head in as you go south toward falmouth. Or from Eel pond the enterance to washuburn is a short ocean ride.

If you have time to explore the entire area a trip down into Jehu pond is nice. If you go down the little river into Hamblin pond you can circle Seconsett Island and there is a little culvert you can pass under that takes you back out into the bay.

If you head down the moonakis river be sure to take a break at the mouth on the beach to your right that is posted private. An old snob dressed in white pants and white hat will come down and ask you to move along as it is his property. (Oh no, now I’m venting)

Your going to love it! Enjoy.

Thanks a ton
Thank you very much everybody, I greatly apprectiate the input. I just wanted to make sure that I was getting accurate info from the guidebooks.

This website is such a great resource for questions such as this. I know last year I got some great info on Nauset Marsh. Thanks again.

One last question I hear mention of Hiking trails around the bay are they worth chekcing out?

Washburn Island and Waquiot Bay in MA
You can walk the trails on the island but the bugs can be pain in the… Put in on the bayside opposite south cape beach (across from wasburn)and there’s a trail on the strip between the beach and bay. It’s a nice walk out and onto the jetty(did I spell that right)