Cape Cod, Massachusettes

Cape Cod is one of the most popular vacation areas in America, especially for residents of New England and New York City. Its beautiful beaches, charming towns and villages and almost endless choices for great antique shopping and seafood dining bring thousands to the region every year. The region is loaded with fun destinations and having a rental car in Cape Cod is the de facto way to get about. Look out for national travel deals.

Getting there

The nearest major airport to the Cape is Boston's Logan International Airport. All major American carriers serve this airport. Many international carries also fly there. Logan is in East Boston at the end of the Sumner, Callahan, and Ted Williams tunnels, 3 miles across the harbor from downtown. From Logan, it is about a two-hour drive to Cape Cod by car rental, depending on how far along it you intend to go. Hyannis, the Cape's transportation hub, is about a two-hour drive. Hyannis also has direct flights to Logan and New York's La Guardia.

Other routes by rental car to Cape Cod include from New York, where visitors will approach the Cape Cod Canal via Route 25 and the Bourne Bridge, while those coming from Boston can either come the same way or head directly south from Boston on I-93 and Route 3, leading to the Sagamore Bridge.

From further afield than New York or Boston, I-90, also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike (originating in Boston), runs east west and links up with the New York State Thruway. I-90 goes west to Chicago, and eventually joins with I-94 to go all the way to Seattle. I-95 (Massachusetts Route 128) connects the state to highways in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York to the south, and New Hampshire and Maine to the north. National travel deals to Cape Cod can be sourced online.

Key attractions

There are many great villages and towns on the Cape. Some of the best are Provincetown, Chatham, Wellfleet, Yarmouth Port, and Woods Hole. Yarmouth Port is more or less the way it was when it was founded in 1889, which makes it a great place to step back in time and enjoy a relaxing evening, and Woods Hole has a great aquarium as well as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. This region also draws artists and art lovers; Wellfleet has a great theater, the Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theater.

Out and about

The region is easy to navigate by Cape Cod car rental. It has some great beaches and is within several hours drive of the great urban area of Boston. The Cape Cod National Seashore, which occupies most of the area furthest along the Cape, is a great place for pristine beaches, bird watching and seaside camping. This large protected area offers an excellent chance to get a little further away from the crowds that sometimes dominate the Capes resort beaches. Without doubt, one of the nicest beaches on the Cape is Race Point. It is also a great place for watching the whales as they surge toward Stellwagen Bank.

Also very pleasant and not quite as crowded as Martha's Vineyard is Nantucket Island. Ecologically fascinating, this sparsely vegetated island is populated mostly by wild cranberries, heather and wild roses. The village of Nantucket is known for its many old houses and off-color limericks. The island has a whaling museum and an 18th-century windmill. The first U.S. lightship station (est. 1856) is located near Nantucket.

Leisure options

Provincetown, located at the far point of the Cape's curl, is a very laidback cultural center teaming with artists, bohemians and a thriving gay scene and there are some great national travel deals from Cape Cod. This town also has great opportunities for shopping, dining and enjoyable people watching. Chatham has beaches that are just as good as those of Provincetown, summertime Friday-night band concerts and an opportunity to take a boat ride to lovely uninhabited Monomoy Island.

Another extremely well regarded holiday location is one of the islands south of the Cape, Martha's Vineyard. Much of this island is set-aside as a state forest, so there are excellent opportunities for camping, hiking or just staying in a cabin in the woods. With great beaches, fishing, and a full service tourist industry, this island makes for a very nice holiday location indeed.


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