Boston to Cape Cod: Pros and Cons of Going by Ferry, Train, Bus, Tour, Plane, or Car

Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge Bourne Massachusetts

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Wondering how to get to Cape Cod from Boston? There are several options, and each has its pros and cons.

The trip from Boston to Cape Cod can be done by land, air, or sea; we’ll go through each option and the logistics involved so you know what to expect.

To make the most of your time down the Cape, check out our guides to the best things to do on Cape Cod or specifically in Provincetown, Falmouth, or Chatham for inspiration.

You might also like our suggested day trips from Boston so you can get out and explore even more.

How far is Cape Cod from Boston?

The distance from Boston to Cape Cod is a mere 55 miles.

But that’s just to the Sagamore Bridge at the very start of the Cape; the distance from Boston to Provincetown is 116 miles, so the range is quite wide.

Getting to the start of the Cape is just over an hour’s drive from Boston…when there’s no traffic.

More often, you’ll face delays as you approach and cross the bridge, especially if you drive down on a Friday and return to Boston on a Sunday.

Driving all the way to the tip of Cape Cod at Provincetown will take about 3 hours in typical traffic (but plan for 4 just in case it’s really bad).

That said, don’t worry, there are other ways to get yourself there that don’t involve bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Check out our guide to the Cape Cod towns to see which town might be best for you to stay in.

View of Commercial Street with flags waving overhead in Provincetown Massachusetts

Pros and Cons of Driving from Boston to Cape Cod

The most popular way of getting to Cape Cod from Boston is to drive…which is why traffic is so bad.

If you’re going for a full week of vacation and you’re not staying right in Provincetown or on a Main Street in any of the other major towns, then you’ll probably want a car to get around more easily.

If you’re staying at a resort and don’t really plan to leave, then you could definitely get by without a vehicle for a whole week.

Otherwise, there is limited public transportation on Cape Cod; the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) does loops and can get you from A to B, but it won’t be quick.

If you’re easygoing and flexible with your schedule, then you’ll love being able to hop on and off as needed.

There are also taxis, as well as rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, but don’t expect the same rapid service and availability as you’re used to in Boston.

If you’re trying to jam-pack your beach vacation with tons of different places, then you’ll want your own car.

If you’re just going for the weekend, then don’t waste your time or stress yourself out driving in traffic.

Instead, look at the options below for public transportation from Boston to the Cape; trust us, the Friday bridge traffic and Sunday return traffic are just not worth it for only 2 nights away!

So, choose from the options below and go get your toes in the sand.

Once that Cape sand gets in your shoes, it never leaves your heart.

Entry walkway at Crosby Landing Beach in Brewster Massachusetts on Cape Cod

All the Ways to Get to Cape Cod from Boston

If you’re wondering if you can get to the Cape without a car, don’t fret.

There are several options for you car-free folks out there.

And, for some, avoiding the roads and bridges altogether is definitively the best way to get to the Cape.

We’ll start with all the ways to get there without a car, and then give you some insights into the drive in case that’s the best option based on your vacation needs and plans (because little kids on a week-long vacation absolutely need a car for all their stuff!).

Mayflower Trolley for sightseeing tours on Commercial Street in Provincetown Massachusetts

Cape Cod Ferries from Boston

If you’re planning to stay in Provincetown, then the Boston ferry to Cape Cod is your best bet.

Here’s everything you need to know about the ferry trip.

If you’re staying in Ptown then you simply do not need a car; you can walk everywhere and there are pedicabs for the times you need to get somewhere quicker.

You could also rent a bicycle (many vacation rentals come with them) and get to the beaches just outside of town.

With a cash bar on board the ferry, you can get into vacation mode the second you leave the pier in Boston.

There is also a galley so you can purchase snacks and sandwiches to tide you over until you can splurge on all the delicious eats (hello, lobster rolls!).

Enjoy the views from the water back toward the Boston skyline as well as along the Cape shoreline as you approach.

Arriving right into the heart of P-town makes it quick and easy to head straight to a restaurant for dinner or check into your accommodations before going out for the night.

The ferry is pet-friendly, too, so bring your furbaby and check out these pet-friendly places to stay in P-town to make it a whole family adventure.

Dachshund puppy in a shark costume at Cape Cod Massachusetts

It’s easier to book tickets during the week, with weekends and holidays being extra busy; be sure to book well in advance if you’re planning to go at a peak time.

Not all public transportation options from Boston to Cape Cod run all week, so the ferry is a super convenient option for anyone traveling off-peak times.

How long is the ferry ride from Boston to Cape Cod?

At just 90 minutes, this is one of the quickest possible trips to Cape Cod from Boston.

How much is the ferry from Boston to Cape Cod?

Prices vary based on peak times, with day-return tickets being the cheapest option if you travel on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays.

How to Get Cape Cod Ferry Tickets

Book the high-speed Boston to Cape Cod ferry and get your toes in the sand as quickly as possible!

Is there a car ferry from Boston to Cape Cod?

No, there is only a foot-passenger ferry option.

Get all the details for the Provincetown ferries so you know what to expect for this journey.

And check out our guide to parking in Boston for tips on where to stash your car (if you do have one).

Colorful buoys on the wall at Pepes Wharf restaurant in Provincetown Massachusetts

Train from Boston to Cape Cod

Take the CapeFlyer to avoid all the traffic, sit back, and relax!

Going from South Station to Cape Cod, the train route takes just under 2.5 hours to reach Hyannis.

There is a café car so you can enjoy some snacks and drinks en route (wine, beer, and bubbles are all available).

Kids 11 and under ride free with an adult, while there are discounts available for seniors and folks with accessibility needs.

As a bonus, the train is the cheapest way to get there.

Book the CapeFlyer and start your vacation mode from the second you set off from South Station.

You can purchase tickets using the same MBTA mTicket app that you’ve been using for Commuter Rail and T tickets in Boston.

If you’re planning to spend your summer weekends down the Cape, check out the season pass option to enjoy the train more often and reduce your stress from the second you depart for the beach.

If you’re worried about not having your car on the Cape, you can also bring your bike on the CapeFlyer for free.

Hop on board and then cycle to your accommodations along the scenic 25.5-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail.

When is the train from Boston to Hyannis?

The train to Cape Cod only runs seasonally from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, so you’ll be out of luck if you want a shoulder season getaway.

The train also only runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, which is generally fine since most folks either go for a weekend or book a weekend-to-weekend rental.

Where does the train to Cape Cod from Boston stop?

The train stops in Braintree, Brockton, Middleborough/Lakeville, Wareham Village, Buzzards Bay, and Bourne before reaching its terminus at Hyannis.

If you’re going to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, you can easily connect to the ferry docks from the train station in Hyannis; there’s a free ferry shuttle to the correct dock directly from the Hyannis station.

Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge Bourne Massachusetts

The Cape Cod Bus from Boston

Another way to avoid driving yourself is to take a Peter Pan bus.

The bus serves as a shuttle from Boston Logan Airport to Cape Cod for extra convenience; there is also a departure from South Station if you’re not starting your journey at the airport.

The bus can still, of course, get stuck in traffic, but you don’t have to be the one worrying about it!

Close your eyes for an early siesta or read a book, watch a show, answer text messages…do anything except focus on the taillights in front of you.

The bus is another one of the cheapest ways to travel (alongside the train).

Chatham Lighthouse Chatham Massachusetts

Tours to Cape Cod from Boston

Beyond the bus, let someone else do the driving and enjoy listening to lots of local insight throughout the journey.

If you’re only taking a day trip, then booking a tour is the best option to maximize your time and experience.

With all that time you’ll be spending getting to the Cape, it’s ideal if you can spend that journey time learning more about the places and people whose stories made this magical coastal destination what we see today.

These day tours to Cape Cod from Boston are long, but they’re the perfect opportunity for visitors who don’t want to rent a car and who want to explore beyond the city itself.

Maximize your time without spending all that money and stress on a rental car — it’s a win-win!

Check availability and book your spot on Viator or GetYourGuide.

View of Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth Massachusetts

Flights from Boston to Cape Cod

Boston Logan (BOS) is the largest airport closest to Cape Cod with direct flights from cities all around the world.

From there, you could opt to fly to Cape Cod instead of dealing with land and sea transportation.

There are airports in Hyannis and Provincetown, so you could fly from Boston to the Cape if you’d prefer the shortest journey — albeit at a premium price.

Once you land, you can hit the beach and bask in all those good Cape vibes.

The best thing to do on vacation here is to slow down and relax, so arriving without a car isn’t really an issue.

There’s no need to worry about rushing around everywhere just to sit in traffic on Route 6.

Cape Air has been offering a flight from Boston to Provincetown since 1989, and they’re still the go-to airline for the Cape and Islands.

Fly to the Cape and give yourself even more time to truly unwind.

Sunset and boats at Chatham Fish Pier in Chatham Massachusetts

The Drive from Boston to Cape Cod

Of course, you can skip all of the public transportation options and choose to drive to the Cape from Boston yourself if you really do need a car.

This is, in fact, the most popular option for those who have a vehicle, mostly because public transportation on the Cape isn’t fantastic.

However, if you’re going down on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, just know that you will most likely be sitting in bad traffic trying to cross the bridge.

It’s no secret that the Cape drive can be a traffic nightmare, so if you can avoid these peak times and book a stay with more flexibility, then you can avoid the worst of it and coast across the bridge in no time.

It can be worth the effort to leave late on Friday to avoid all the traffic while still waking up on the Cape for a full day of fun on Saturday.

If you’re driving, then at least you’ll have your car with you for your vacation and you can take advantage of all the fun things to do on Cape Cod.

While you’re here, do a self-guided audio tour to learn more about these places and people while you’re venturing around; get it on Viator or GetYourGuide.

Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum sign at the Bradford Street entrance in Provincetown Massachusetts

Final Words

We hope this helped you figure out the best way to get from Boston to Cape Cod that works for you, knowing all the options and the pros and cons of each.

Whether you live here or you’re visiting, getting down the Cape in good weather is a favorite local pastime that you won’t want to miss!

Share your travel recommendations in the comments below.

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