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Full Version: Cape Cod or Martha's Vinyard?
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Interested in stealth van camping for a couple days, off season in mid October. Has anyone done it or have experiences, places to share?  My van is a total stealth, white, Chevy cargo(no windows) van if that makes a difference. Thanks!
I don't know about the Cape, but it would obviously depend on each town. I do know that Nantucket island and the towns on the Vineyard have strict rules against overnight street parking - and they do enforce them and give out tickets. It's a major source of revenue for them. There are parking lots near the ferry landings, but they're not free, to my knowledge. If you go to the websites for both islands, you can read about it. If you stay far from the town centers, you might get away with it, but it's risky. If you know anyone who lives on-island, maybe you could ask to park in their driveway.

The islands discourage vehicles coming over, so you can't really be stealthy there, because so few tourists bring their cars. Most people leave cars at the ferry terminal on the cape and take the ferry or fly in and bike or taxi around. A white van would stick out for sure. You might have a better chance at stealth on Cape Cod, depending on the town.
Oh, and there are still some tourists in October, but with so much less people, houses and some businesses closing down for the fall/winter, a white cargo van parked somewhere overnight would be very obvious and noticeable at that time of year! These are places where, after most tourists and seasonal homeowners leave, everybody knows everybody else!

So, while perhaps not impossible, quite the challenge for stealth parking!
Thanks for the tips. I noticed that the only campground on Martha's Vinyard closes a couple of days before my trip. I'll most likely stay on Cape Cod. Looks like plenty of campsites will still be open. I know I could camp stealthy, but maybe not a great idea with my nervous wife!
The state park (Nickerson) closes Oct 8.

I just checked because I was going to recommend it.

Years ago I spent the whole summer on the cape, bouncing between art/craft shows and the SP. It is fully booked for the summer from the time the first reservations become available but they have 'overflow' spots. Back then they were $6.00 a night, way cheaper than the campsites and closer to the showers than the regular sites were... Big Grin . If your timing was right you got an outside spot that had picnic table and a fire ring.

Unless things have changed in the past few years, you're not going to find places to boondock on the cape. They're pretty tight about all the parking and think that all their visitors need to be affluent!
Just come to Maine..............
I lived in that area for decades.

The cape and islands are where the rich go to be separated from their money. They don't like sharing with the rif-raf. Even the beaches are private (to the high water line)

Even along Narragansett Bay there is no free camping, and the towns will not tolerate boondocks.

I followed the travels of a couple of RVs on utube, and they found the whole NE. very hard to camp free.
Martha's Vineyard would be a challenge, but I bet it could be done. It's a decent sized island comprised of several different towns with a mix of commercial and residential type areas, some busy neighborhoods and very rural stretches. Even some light industrial. However, if one cops finds you I bet every other cop on the island gets a heads up to keep a look out. Nantucket, probably next to impossible, it's such a small tight knit island, the only way I think it would work is if you could find a house under construction and blend in like you're a contractor. My friend actually works as a carpenter on Nantucket and rents a room most the time, but does end up homeless for a bit in between rentals on occasion. He'll sleep in his van on the construction site until he finds another.

I grew up on the Cape and have always thought it was highly over rated. I think the Maine coast is more beautiful, less crowded, and has much nicer and more hospitable down to earth people. But if you've never been I think the Cape is worth seeing, October is probably one of the best months to do it.