A Day Trip to Cape Cod from Boston

A day trip to Cape Cod from Boston is not only possible, but worth it.

“Summer in the Cape” is practically a cliché at this point and for good reason: Cape Cod is beautiful, especially in the summer. It’s full of quaint towns with darling architecture, beautiful beaches and outstanding food.

There’s enough to do to spend a week or more there, which I was lucky enough to do two years in a row. So is it worth going to Cape Cod for just a day? Is it even possible?

The short answer: Yes, it’s possible to take a day trip to Cape Cod from Boston. On my last trip to Boston, we did just that and took the ferry from Boston to Provincetown for the day. And, yes, it was totally worth it!

Here are some tips and tricks for doing the same.

A Day Trip to Cape Cod from Boston

The Old Provincetown Public Library, built in 1874 in Cape Cod.
The Old Provincetown Public Library, built in 1874.

How to get to Cape Cod from Boston

Normally, the easiest way to get to Cape Cod from Boston is by flying one of the small commuter jets or driving from Boston. The drive is about 3 hours, depending on where on the Cape you’re headed. (There are buses if you don’t want to rent a car.) Not bad, but that’s too long for a day trip.

Instead, take a ferry from Boston to Provincetown, the Cape’s main tourist spot. The ferry is an hour and a half and several leave the city early in the morning from different harbors at different times. Viator.com’s Cape Cod Fast Ferry is around $60 roundtrip.

Tip :: Make sure you schedule your return ferry so you don’t get stuck on the Cape. Many leave in the early evening, depending on the season. Just don’t miss the last boat! (We cut it a little close and had to run down the dock to catch ours!)

A darling house in Provincetown, Cape Cod.
A darling house in Provincetown.
A peaceful bay in Provincetown.
A peaceful bay in Provincetown.

What to do in Provincetown for the day

Once in Provincetown, you have enough time to take in the sights, explore the town and even do an activity or two. If you’re still craving water and boats, whale- and dolphin-watching cruises and fishing excursions leave the same dock where the ferry lands, which is right in the heart of the town.

If you prefer to stay landlocked, the tiny town is packed with art galleries and quirky shops selling affordable and extravagant pieces, and there’s even an art museum. Or rent bikes to traverse through P-Town and perhaps end at one of the three lighthouses. (The one you pass on the ferry is Wood End Lighthouse, built in 1872.)

Related :: A Day Trip to Nantucket

Lobster artichoke fondue at The Red Inn.
Lobster artichoke fondue at The Red Inn.

Where to eat in Provincetown

Provincetown, like the rest of Cape Cod, is packed with great restaurants. And if you’re only in Provincetown for a day, you have to make every meal count. One of the most famous restaurants is The Lobster Pot, known for its award-winning clam chowder. The seaside restaurant is always crowded, but the seafood is worth the wait. Or, grab a bowl to go — they are sold right inside the door.

The Red Inn is another Provincetown classic that’s been delighting visitors for over 100 years! Besides being an adorable B&B, the restaurant has both incredible views of Provincetown Harbor and amazing seafood. The lobster artichoke fondue alone is worth a stop but everything else is equally as memorable. Reservations are recommended.

Related :: Where to Eat in Cape Cod

A pint of locally-brewed Cape Cod Beer in Provincetown.
A pint of locally-brewed Cape Cod Beer in Provincetown.

Where to drink in Provincetown

Provincetown may be a quaint seaside town but it definitely knows how to party! The main street is lined with bars and they are packed day and night and everything in between. On our day trip to Provincetown we went on an impromptu bar crawl/sightseeing walk and it was a great way to see the town. (Plus who doesn’t like day drinking?!)

It’s not hard to find places to drink along Commercial Street, the main street in Provincetown, so wander at your leisure and you’ll find cocktail bars, wine bars, beer gardens and combinations of everything. Our favorites were the Nor’East Beer Garden for craft beer (and scrumptious fries to soak up any excess alcohol), and Aqua Bar for the patio overlooking the bay.

Rosé wine and a view of Provincetown Harbor in Cape Cod.
Rosé and seaside views signal summer.

A day trip to Provincetown from Boston is well worth it. The seaside town is such a contrast from urban Boston and, chances are, you’ll leave Provincetown aching to return for a full trip! Or maybe you’ll change your return ferry, find a hotel or nice B&B and spend the rest of your trip on the Cape! In that case, don’t forget to take a day trip to Nantucket, too.

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How to take a day trip to Cape Cod from Boston
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How to take a day trip to Provincetown from Boston.
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