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Horseneck Beach State Reservation is believed to be an Anglicization of an Algonquin word, “hassanegk,” which roughly translates to a house of stone. However, it’s unknown what exactly this house of stone is referencing. Several beaches along the Horseneck Peninsula in Massachusetts are covered with stones instead of sand, which is one possibility that anthropologists have considered. Between the early 1800 and 1900s, much of the peninsula was privately owned. However, after multiple hurricanes and Atlantic storms slammed into the coast, destroying homes, many homeowners and property owners gave up on rebuilding and sold the properties to Massachusetts. The state officially converted the land to a state reservation in 1956.
The closest town is Fall River, about 16 miles to the north. In addition to an abundance of shopping and dining options, Fall River is the closest town with a hospital equipped to handle medical emergencies. Fall River gained some notoriety in the late 1800s when Lizzie Borden murdered her father and stepmother for unknown reasons. Today, Fall River is a quiet but thriving community that’s best known for its marina that houses historic naval ship USS Massachusetts.
Although Horseneck Beach State Reservation is a peninsula, it’s also categorized as a barrier island because it protects the Buzzards Bay, Westport Harbor, and Horseneck Channel from bad storms barreling inland. There are about four miles of ocean-facing beaches, some of which are sandy while others are lined with small stones and pebbles. Covering around 800 acres, Horseneck Beach State Reservation also has marshes and a protected estuary that harbors endangered wildlife.
Swimming and fishing are enjoyed by many visitors. The Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the New England region, can be rough, often surprising, even the most experienced swimmers. There are a couple of beaches with lifeguards on duty between May and September. Horseneck Beach State Reservation has a small boat ramp that is suitable for nonmotorized boats like small sailboats, kayaks, and rowboats. Larger sea-going vehicles and motorized boats should use the ramp just off Buzzards Bay or on the mainland’s shores.
Birdwatchers and bird photographers, bring your camera and checklist. Several species of sea birds make their nests in the dunes and salt marshes of Horseneck Beach State Reservation, including the endangered piping plover. Snowy owls have been sighted hunting in the marshes from time to time, which is always a treat. The park is considered to be one of the finest birdwatching spots in Massachusetts.
Skip enduring listening to noisy neighbors at motels when you rent an RV. In the comforts of a camper rental, listen to waves crashing ashore and the cry of gulls and other seabirds overhead. Horseneck Beach State Reservation RV campground has over 100 sites for campers to choose from. Though there are no hookups, being able to RV camp so close to the beach may be worth the tradeoff. Some sites have waterfront views of Buzzards Bay. All sites are accompanied by fire rings or grills and picnic tables. Restrooms with showers are a short walk from most sites. Although dogs are permitted at the campground, be mindful that they are not allowed on the beach and also cannot be left at the campground alone. This campground is open only between May and October.
Should space run out, which does happen on occasion, there are a handful of other options within 30 miles. RV camp near Portsmouth, RI, at Melville Ponds Campground. The campground offers a wide array of amenities like full hookups, shade trees, hot showers and restrooms, and WiFi.
Gateway to Cape Cod RV campground may be a good option to consider, too. The campground is set in deep woods, and most RV sites have tall pine trees for shade. All sites have full or partial hookups, and guests can make use of the facility’s amenities like a swimming pool, WiFi, and a play area. There are several family-friendly planned activities, too.
An advantage of grabbing a rental motorhome is it makes traveling around this remote part of Massachusetts more convenient and fun. Explore the charming historic towns and find your favorite bookstore, coffee shop, a gift store with the perfect RV camping souvenir to take home, and historical museums. In New Bedford, MA is New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, where visitors can explore the museum exhibiting various whaling and sailing artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. Continue the journey into the past at Ned’s Point Lighthouse in Mattapoisett. Built-in 1838, the lighthouse is one of the oldest on the coast and is open for tours.
Are you a car enthusiast? The Newport Car Museum, found in Portsmouth, RI, has nearly a hundred unique, rare racing cars and sports cars on display. A shortlist includes Chrysler Mopars, muscle cars from the 60s, and an exquisite collection of Ford/Shelby cars like the 1965 Shelby 427 SC Cobra.
At the end of a long day of frolicking on the beach and learning about the local towns’ history, kick up your heels outside a travel trailer rental and listen to the waves.