Getting Around Cape Cod
The best way to get around Cape Cod is by car, particularly if you're hoping to explore a variety of areas across the Cape. Route 28 and Route 6A run far and wide across the Cape – making navigating to top attractions and towns a cinch. The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority bus system also offers a handful of lines that service the island, transporting passengers to popular areas like Sandwich and Barnstable. Experiencing Cape Cod by bike is also popular, thanks to the 22-mile long Cape Cod Rail Trail; however, a bike might be less desirable for extensive exploration.
If you're planning on taking a car with you, you can easily cross over the Cape Cod Canal from Boston off of Route 3 or from Providence from Interstate 195. Alternatively, if you're planning to fly to the Cape, the area's main carrier, Cape Air, offers shuttles from Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS) to Barnstable Municipal Airport (HYA) in Hyannis. There's a small hub located in Provincetown as well. And if you're commuting to the Cape from Boston in the summertime, you can also climb aboard the CapeFLYER, a train that takes riders from Boston to Hyannis from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; one-way tickets cost $22 per person, round-trip tickets cost $40. Finally, if you're headed to Provincetown, you can also hop on the 90-minute fast ferry from Boston for $60 to $63 (one way) to $89 to $95 (roundtrip) from mid-May through mid-October on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Visit the Bay State Cruise Company website for schedules.
Bringing or renting a car is a smart idea, especially if you want to explore a variety of towns and sights across the Cape at your own pace. The main drag, Route 6A, stretches all the way from Sandwich along the Upper Cape to Provincetown. Many top attractions and towns are easily accessible off of 6A. If you're planning to stay along the Upper Cape to visit towns like Falmouth or make your way to the Woods Hole ferry to catch a ride to Martha's Vineyard, you can easily take MA 28 from the Bourne Bridge all the way to Falmouth and Mashpee. But a word to the wise: If you are planning to hit the beach, keep in mind parking can be expensive and hard to come by.
A handful of car rental companies are scattered across the Cape, with locations in Sandwich, Hyannis and Orleans, among other popular areas.
With nearly 560 miles of coastline, and 114 miles comprising bike paths, the Cape is an excellent place to explore on two wheels. You can opt to ride solo or join a tour along scenic trails across the Lower and Outer Cape. If you're an avid cyclist, you can't miss exploring the 22-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail, which winds through Dennis, Orleans, Wellfleet and the Cape Cod National Seashore. In the summer season, you can also bring your own bike aboard the CapeFLYER – at no additional fee. Visit Cape Cod's Chamber of Commerce website to download maps of popular bike trails across the Cape.
You'll find a variety of bike rental spots across the Cape, with locations in Falmouth, Dennis and Wellfleet, among others.
Cape Cod's Regional Transit Authority offers bus and shuttle service year-round across the Cape. There are six public bus routes spanning from Woods Hole in Falmouth on the Lower Cape to Provincetown, the northernmost town on the Outer Cape. One-way rides cost $2; day passes can be purchased for $6. You'll also find a seasonal shuttle that operates across the Outer Cape, along Provincetown, Herring Cove Beach and North Truro. From mid-June through mid-September, the shuttle is available from 7 a.m.to 12:30 a.m. seven days a week.
If you're yearning to explore beyond the Cape to the nearby islands of Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard, there are a variety of a passenger ferries to choose from. The Steamship Authority offers a 45-minute ferry from Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard, as well as a high-speed one-hour ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket. A one-way passenger ticket to Martha's Vineyard costs $8.50; one-way passenger tickets to Nantucket cost $36.50. The Island Queen also offers 35-minute ferry rides to the Vineyard; a one-way adult passenger ticket costs $14. If you're planning on bringing a vehicle with you, bear in mind that you'll need to make your reservations well in advance, and rates range from $43.50 to $87 each way. For more information and current schedules, consult the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce's ferry page.
Explore More of Cape Cod
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.