Day Trip from Boston to Cape Cod and Beyond
As one of the most iconic summertime getaways in the United States, Cape Cod is an essential destination when you're vacationing in New England. Enjoy this beautiful Atlantic Ocean peninsula's sand, coastal breezes, and fresh seafood. Whether you are looking for a quick day trip from Boston or looking to spend the weekend in Provincetown, use this road trip guide to plan your drive from Boston to Cape Cod.
Drive time from Boston to Provincetown: approximately three hours
Distance from Boston to Provincetown: approximately 125 miles
Best car for this road trip: Standard SUV
Before you head toward the cape, gear up for seaside adventures with a tour of Boston's waterfront. One Boston Harbor attraction you won't want to miss is the USS Constitution. Also known as Old Ironsides, this legendary 18th-century ship received its name from George Washington and fought in several high-stakes battles during the War of 1812. Today, you can tour the USS Constitution Museum and explore this three-mast ship, which has been docked in Boston Harbor for decades.
You’ll also want to stop by the nearby Sorelle Bakery & Café for a cup of coffee and fuel up with a scone or a breakfast sandwich. If you're in the mood for something quicker, swing by Honey Dew Donuts.
After a solid start in Boston, hit the road and head south. You'll want to take Interstate 93 South toward Plymouth, which is about an hour away.
No visit to this historic town is complete without seeing Plymouth Rock, so make your way to Pilgrim Memorial State Park. This coastal park houses the site where the original Pilgrims are thought to have landed in 1620. You can also see the Mayflower II, a museum and replica of the ship that the Pilgrims used for their journey across the Atlantic.
To take in even more of the area's history and charm, stroll through the Plymouth Village Historic District, where you'll find art centers, cafés, and centuries-old architecture.
After a brief stop in Plymouth, start heading toward Sandwich, the oldest town on Cape Cod. It's just a half hour away on Massachusetts 3 South and right over the Sagamore Bridge.
When you arrive in Sandwich, you'll truly be on Cape Cod. Get a closer look at the bay by venturing out onto the town's boardwalk that extends out over the water. Soak up some sunshine on Boardwalk Beach, a local favorite, before heading back into town.
History buffs will want to take their time as they wander through town exploring sites like the Hoxie House and Dexter's Grist Mill. To see more of Sandwich's natural beauty, explore the walking trails behind the Green Briar Nature Center before having a quick meal at the Uncommon Café or the Dunbar House Restaurant & Tea Room.
Next, head onward toward Barnstable. A 20 minute drive down U.S. Highway 6 East is all it takes to get you there.
You'll start to notice the unique features of the Cape Cod landscape. The Barnstable Great Marsh is the ideal place to get a closer look. Located on Sandy Neck, this 3,800-acre area features stunning views of the marsh and beach, along with fascinating woodland and pond habitats. Follow the 1.5-mile trail through the marsh and keep your eyes open for the owls and other wildlife that call this place home.
After stretching your legs in Barnstable, make your way to Orleans. This beautiful seaside town is just 30 minutes away on U.S. 6 East.
Before pulling into town, swing through Nickerson State Park, located on the southern edge of Orleans. This 1,900-acre park is home to several shade-covered trails, numerous ponds, plenty of beaches, and countless wildlife species. Lace up your shoes for a hike, and don't forget your swimsuit.
In town, treat yourself to an ice cream cone on the waterfront. Orleans might be small, but it's home to dozens of ice cream shops ranging from the inventive Emack & Bolio's to the classic Sundae School Ice Cream Parlor.
Once you've taken in the sights in Orleans, continue north along the cape. U.S. 6 East will take you to Truro.
Best known as the home of Cape Cod National Seashore, Truro is the perfect place to hit the beach. This expansive stretch of sand spans 40 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, but you'll find much more than sand and waves here. Explore the history and natural beauty of the area by hiking a trail, taking a bike ride along the sea, or paddling the water in a kayak. Lighthouse enthusiasts won't want to miss Highland Light, a historic spot located in the heart of Truro.
Continue following U.S. 6 East until you reach Provincetown, located at the very end of Cape Cod. This coastal town is steeped in nautical history and it's also home to fantastic dining, shopping, and cultural events.
Soak up the sunshine at Race Point Beach, take a stroll along the Cape Cod Provincelands Trail, or learn local history at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. To finish out the day in style, head to Commercial Street, where you can dine on fresh seafood, enjoy a local beverage, and watch the sunset from the pier.
With its mix of beautiful scenery and a vibrant cultural scene, Provincetown will easily tempt you to stay for a weekend, a week, or even longer. No matter how long you plan to vacation on Cape Cod, you're sure to feel rested and rejuvenated after your trip to this coastal gem.
Boston to Cape Cod FAQs
What is Cape Cod famous for?
Cape Cod is known for its east coast beaches, fresh seafood, and attractions like Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. This town also has some of the largest cranberry bogs. Many people are familiar with the Kennedy Compound, which was home to John F. Kennedy and his family.
What is there to do in Cape Cod with kids?
There are lots of family-friendly places and activities in Cape Cod, such as:
- - Pirate's Cove, a mini golf course and arcade.
- - Dr. Gravity's Kite Shop, where the staff will help you pick the perfect one for a fun day on the beach.
What food is Boston best known for?
Being on the coast, Boston has some of the best seafood around. You can choose from a plethora of restaurants serving up local favorites like lobster rolls, clam chowder, and scallops. When it comes to desserts, the city is known for cannolis, cider doughnuts, and Boston cream pie, of course.