Perkins Island Camping

Available Saturdays only, May 15–October 15, 2022

More Information 

Perkins Island is the wildlife sanctuary's only camping area that provides a wilderness-type setting for canoeists.

Camping is available to Mass Audubon members only, on a fee/permit basis. Permit(s) must be obtained in advance of a planned canoe/camping trip.

We welcome individual family member(s) and youth groups, though youth groups must have at least one adult Mass Audubon member present.

Wooded trail on Perkins Island © Gina King
Wooded trail on Perkins Island © Gina King

In order to maintain a peaceful atmosphere and reduce the human impact upon Perkins Island:

  • Only three camping sites are available.
  • Each site is limited to a maximum of 8 campers. 
  • If a group exceeds 8, a second site/permit is required.

Please Note: There are no shelters or restroom facilities on the island.

Check-In & Check-Out Times

If you are renting a canoe to access the island, you may check in any time after 2:00 pm but before the office closes at 4:30 pm.

You must check-out by 11:00 am on the last morning of your stay.

Camping Permits

Camping permits are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis and must be paid for at the time they are secured.


$60 per campsite / $150 for all 3 sites.

Please Note

  • Permits are not issued to anyone under 18 years of age.
  • Permit fee refunds require 7 days advance notice of cancellation.
  • Permits are not transferable.

Campground Rules

Violation of rules can result in revoking of camping privileges.

  • Pets are not permitted.
  • No cutting of dead or living trees.
  • Due to fire hazard in the pine forest, fires outside of provided pits are forbidden.
  • Alcohol is not permissible.
  • Headset radios only.
  • No firearms or fireworks.
  • Camp only within your assigned site.
  • Be considerate of other campers by keeping the noise level down.
  • Your Camping Permit must be with you on site and be presented to a sanctuary patroller upon request.

Getting to the Island

Perkins Island

If you plan to use your own canoe(s), please note that canoe(s) can be put in at Rt. 97 (one mile upstream of Perkins Island) or further upstream at River Road behind the Essex County Co-op. Vehicles are not allowed on the sanctuary trails. It is approximately a 10 minute walk (1/2 mile) to carry your canoe(s)/gear from the parking lot to the canoe landing on the sanctuary.

Campers wishing to leave vehicles, canoe trailers, etc. at the sanctuary parking lot overnight may do so. However, you will be asked to sign a form relieving Mass Audubon and its staff from any responsibility or liability for damage, loss, or theft to vehicles and trailers. 

All vehicles parked overnight on sanctuary property are at the owner’s risk.

Canoe Rentals

We also offer canoe rentals to Mass Audubon members.


$45.00/canoe for each overnight camping rental
PFDs (life jackets) and paddles included

Please Note

  • There is a limit of 3 people per canoe and 2 canoes per Mass Audubon member.
  • Use of a canoe beyond the checkout time will be charged at $15 more per hour.