Planning a 2, 3 or 4 days in Cape Cod itinerary is one of the best ways to experience the gem of coastal Massachusetts. A picturesque peninsula nestled just south of Boston and east of Providence, Cape Cod is one of the East Coast’s most sought-after destinations.
A quintessential New England icon, with charming seaside villages, beautiful beaches, and rich maritime history, Cape Cod offers an ideal getaway for most types of travelers.
Whether you’re keen to indulge in local seafood, swim in the Atlantic, wander around local galleries, or enjoy the abundant nature that the peninsula has to offer, Cape Cod provides an ideal backdrop for a memorable journey.
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How Many Days on Cape Cod?
Deciding on how many days to spend in Cape Cod is a crucial step in planning your trip. For a shorter weekend getaway, a well-planned 2 days in Cape Cod can offer a wonderful experience by focusing on a specific town or area.
However, 3 days in Cape Cod or even 4 days are often ideal if you’re seeking a balanced experience, providing the opportunity to visit multiple towns, including the nearby islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. This time frame allows you to immerse yourself in the unique charm, historic landmarks, and history of the region.
For those who prefer a leisurely pace, extending your trip to over a week allows you to fully savor each stop and explore the diverse offerings of the area.
Getting To & Around Cape Cod
Thanks to its convenient location near the urban hubs of Boston and Providence, getting to the peninsula of Cape Cod is a pretty easy journey.
Unless you’re visiting from local areas or traveling by car, you’ll most likely be arriving at Cape Cod by air. The closest major airport, Boston Logan International Airport, is approximately a 90-minute drive from the Cape. Alternatively, Providence’s T.F. Green Airport is about a two-hour drive away.
Another option, although seasonal, is to take a ferry from Boston, Providence, or Plymouth to the Cape. Due to these journeys being seasonal and quite busy tourist routes, prices can be high for some routes, but are completely worth it if you’re hoping to have easy transportation as well as stunning views over Cape Cod. You can book tickets here from Boston.
Without a doubt, the best way to get around Cape Cod is by car. With a car, you’ll be allowed the flexibility to go to/from the various towns and islands as you please, and with Cape Cod being an area that’s meant to be savored slowly, this will only enhance your trip to one of America’s first settlements. You can browse Rentalcars.com to compare prices if you need to rent a car.
If you don’t have a car during your visit, Cape Cod also offers an extensive public transportation system, including buses and ferries, making it fairly easy to navigate without your own transportation.
The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) provides local bus services, connecting the peninsula’s major towns and attractions.
Additionally, if you’re keen to visit the Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, ferry services are available year-round, bringing you from the stretching peninsula to the charming islands.
Moreover, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a scenic bike path that spans the length of the peninsula.
The classic New England scenery is unrivaled, and the route is quite easy to navigate, whether you’re an experienced cycler or rookie. Even if you’re not keen to ride from town to town on Cape Cod, getting around by bicycle is a great and local way to navigate around each town or island that you stay in.
2, 3 or 4-Day Cape Cod Itinerary
Easily one of the most beloved vacation destinations on the East Coast of the United States, Cape Cod is the ideal blend of charm, history, nature, and culture.
Day 1 – Sandwich
As Sandwich is one of the first towns on the peninsula in the upper cape, as well as the oldest town, it’s a wonderful starting point for your trip.
Town Neck Beach & Sandwich Boardwalk
An ideal way to begin a day in Sandwich is with a visit to the enchanting Town Neck Beach. Here you’ll have the opportunity to catch fresh, Atlantic views and breeze, as you stroll along the sandy shores of Town Neck Beach.
The beach itself is usually quite calm, with few crowds and long stretches of sand to relax, so there’s no worry about having to squeeze for space and tranquility.
After spending time at Town Neck Beach, make sure to head to the nearby Sandwich Boardwalk, a historic landmark that extends over the marshes and offers breathtaking views of the ocean and stunning natural beauty of the Cape.
If you’re an early riser, this is easily one of the best spots in the area to capture a breathtaking sunrise, painting the sky with hues of gold and pink.
Scusset Beach State Reservation
Having enjoyed the morning at Town Neck Beach, venture to the Scusset Beach State Reservation if you’re further drawn to the area’s uninterrupted natural beauty. Alternatively, for a dive into history, visit the Hoxie House.
Scusset Beach State Reservation is easily one of the most popular and visited parks/reservations in the Sandwich area, and with good reason.
With panoramic views of Cape Cod Bay and the Sagamore Bridge, this serene state reservation offers 1.5 miles of sandy shores, pristine waters, and picturesque trails. While entry to the park is free, parking fees are incurred between May 14 through October 30.
One of the best ways to dig deeper into Cape Cod’s colonial history is to visit Hoxie House, one of the oldest homes in Cape Cod.
Dating back to 1675, it stands as one of the oldest homes on Cape Cod, preserving the 17th-century architecture, saltbox-style dwelling, constructed by Reverend John Smith’s son-in-law. The house showcases noteworthy furnishings and artifacts, giving a glimpse into everyday colonial life, and a visit makes a great start to a trip to the historic Cape Cod region.
Tickets typically include a short guided tour, depending on when you visit.
After a morning and afternoon of natural and historical exploration, make your way through Sandwich Village for a pleasant shopping experience, where you’ll find a wide array of local gifts and shops.
From handmade jewelry to Cape Cod-inspired art, the village shops provide an opportunity to take home a piece of Cape Cod with you.
End your day with a delicious meal at one of Sandwich’s charming and well-renowned restaurants, savoring fresh seafood or regional specialties. The Belfry Inn and Bistro is a great choice, with a varied selection of dishes set in homes from the 1800s.
Day 2 – Provincetown
Next, you’ll head to likely one of the most well-known towns on Cape Cod, on the far end of the outer cape, Provincetown. Best known for being home to the site of the Mayflower’s landing in 1620, Provincetown is now a town rich in both history and modern culture.
Depending on where you’re coming or going from, consider a stop in the town of Yarmouth or at the iconic Chatham Pier Fish Market while en route to Provincetown.
Provincetown Museum & Pilgrim Monument
A wonderful way to begin your day in Provincetown, is with a visit to the Provincetown Museum & Pilgrim Monument, to better acquaint yourself with the area and its history.
Located atop High Pole Hill, the museum provides panoramic views of the town and harbor, while the Pilgrim Monument, the tallest all-granite structure in the United States, offers the chance to experience sweeping views across Cape Cod and the Atlantic Coast.
Here, you’ll be able to explore the exhibits showcasing Provincetown’s colonial and maritime history, as well as the influential role it played in early American theater.
Although only seasonal, like many museums on Cape Cod, it’s undoubtedly worth a visit.
Lunch at the Lobster Pot
After spending time learning about Provincetown and its history, indulge in a quintessential Cape Cod dining experience at the Lobster Pot.
Nestled on the main street of Provincetown – Commercial Street -, this iconic seafood restaurant has been serving up delectable dishes – including lobster rolls, fresh oysters, fried clams and more – since 1979. With an endearing waterfront location, there are few better spots in Provincetown to enjoy some delicious, New England fare.
Race Point Lighthouse
After a satisfying lunch, head to Race Point Beach to explore the iconic Race Point Lighthouse.
Perched on the rugged edge of Provincetown and on the National Register of Historic Places, Race Point Lighthouse stands as a proud guardian overlooking the Cape Cod coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
Dating back to 1816, the lighthouse has guided ships through the treacherous Atlantic waters, giving it a pivotal role in maritime history. Over the years, this iconic Provincetown landmark has become a symbol of Cape Cod’s seafaring heritage, offering a glimpse into the rich maritime legacy while providing stunning views of the surrounding Atlantic Ocean.
Tours and entry to the lighthouse are free, with donations suggested to help manage the upkeep of the lighthouse, and more information can be found here.
Cape Cod National Seashore
Just about 30 minutes outside of Provincetown, is the peninsula’s pride and joy, as well as the only national park in the area, the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Discovering the Cape Cod National Seashore offers a wide array of outdoor experiences and spans the upper and lower cape, from untarnished beaches and salt marshes, to sand dunes, and historic lighthouses lining the Atlantic coast.
Spanning an expansive 40 miles of shoreline, the seashore holds a strong appeal for both nature lovers and history buffs, whether you prefer wandering the park’s trails, dazing at the beach, or learning about the area’s maritime history.
One of the best ways to end your day in Provincetown is with a whale and dolphin watching adventure.
Provincetown is renowned for its whale and dolphin watching opportunities, and venturing into the wild Atlantic offers an up-close experience with these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
Accompanied by knowledgeable guides, you’ll gain insights into their behavior and habitat. This excursion not only offers a thrilling encounter but also will give you a deeper understanding of marine life and conservation in the area.
Day 3 – Martha’s Vineyard
While the first two days of your trip to Cape Cod will be spent on the mainland peninsula, the second two are best spent further on the area’s islands, first on Martha’s Vineyard
There are multiple ferries from the mainland leaving from both Hyannis and Woods Hole, but keep in mind that if you’re travelling by car, ferries with car transport are less common than pedestrian ferries, so make sure to reserve in advance.
Oak Bluffs Campground
Begin your day trip to Martha’s Vineyard by exploring a unique part of the island’s history at the Oak Bluffs Campground. Oak Bluffs Campground holds a rich history dating back to the 19th century.
Originally established as a religious retreat, it then evolved into a charming community of over 300 iconic, Victorian cottages adorned with intricate gingerbread trim.
While visiting, you can explore this historic area while admiring its unique architecture and learning about its significance in the island’s heritage. Guided tours are available, offering a look into the camp’s past, as well as how it’s used in the present.
After exploring the distinctive Oak Bluffs Campground, head to Edgartown, a quaint, historic whaling town that will transport you to a bygone era with its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and classic New England charm.
While in Edgartown, head to the picturesque harbor, visit the Edgartown Lighthouse, and learn more about the island’s seafaring history at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
Your next stop will be at Aquinnah Cliffs, one of the island’s most popular spots for visitors and locals alike.
Here you can marvel at one of the most stunning natural formations on Martha’s Vineyard, where vibrant clay cliffs overlook the Atlantic Ocean. While in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic Gay Head Lighthouse for breathtaking panoramic views.
The town of Aquinnah is also quite lovely and is home to the Wampanoag Tribe, offering a stunning natural escape and a chance to appreciate the island’s natural beauty, not far off from the mainland.
Vineyard Haven Harbor
For dinner, I suggest going to Vineyard Haven Harbor, a picturesque harbor on Martha’s Vineyard, with bustling marinas, charming waterfront shops, and panoramic views of the harbor.
There is nothing more akin to a quintessential Martha’s Vineyard experience than eating fresh seafood with a brisk Atlantic breeze while watching elegant sailboats and yachts drift by.
Day 4 – Nantucket
From the Hyannis ferry terminal on the mainland, Nantucket is about an hour away by ferry. While Martha’s Vineyard is the much larger island, Nantucket is an exciting destination in its own right, with further history, nature, and serenity.
One of the best ways to understand Nantucket’s captivating maritime past is at the Whaling Museum, an institution that preserves and showcases the island’s rich seafaring heritage.
Within a historic candle factory, the museum offers a comprehensive journey through time, with exhibits detailing the island’s pivotal role in the whaling industry.
In the museum, you’ll witness artifacts ranging from scrimshaw and harpoons to intricately crafted ship models, each telling a story of Nantucket’s deep connection to the Atlantic Ocean, marine life, and coast.
Guided tours are available, giving an even deeper understanding of the importance of the whaling industry to the local area and the Industrial Revolution.
Sconset Bluff Walk
For a dose of Nantucket’s stunning scenic beauty, head along Nantucket’s enchanting coastline with the Sconset Bluff Walk, a picturesque trail that winds its way through the quaint village of Siasconset.
As you meander along the cliffside path, you’ll have the treat of breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic Ocean stretching out to the horizon and the charming rose-covered cottages that line the bluffs, with their vibrant hues contrasting against the rugged coastal landscape.
While Nantucket is deep in natural and historic appeal, it’s also a popular spot for craft beer aficionados, with a few craft breweries on the island.
Nestled amidst Nantucket’s stunning landscapes, Cisco Brewery offers a laid-back ambiance with deliciously crafted local beers. Founded by a group of friends with a shared passion for brewing, the brewery has become a beloved gathering spot for locals and visitors alike.
Outside the brewery, the sprawling beer garden buzzes with energy, with live music performances, food trucks serving up delectable bites, and friendly locals, happy to be enjoying the Nantucket sun with friends and family.
Whether you’re a beer aficionado or simply seeking a laid-back afternoon, Cisco Brewery offers a quintessential Nantucket experience that’s not to be missed.
Sunset Harbor Cruise
As the sun begins to descend over the shimmering waters of Nantucket Harbor, one of the best ways to round out your 4 days in Cape Cod, is on a sunset harbor cruise for an unforgettable evening.
These cruises offer a relaxing and scenic way to unwind after a day of exploration and a wonderful trip. With various operators offering cruises departing from the harbor, you’ll have options to choose from based on your preferences and schedule.
Typically lasting around 1–2 hours, these cruises provide ample time to enjoy the breathtaking views of the sunset casting its warm glow over the harbor and surrounding coastline. Be sure to book your cruise in advance, especially during peak tourist season, to secure your spot as these book up quite quickly.
Where to Stay in Cape Cod
Pilgrim House – Located right on Commercial Street in Provincetown, this quaint B&B is a great base in Cape Cod. There are several queen rooms, king rooms and suites available along with an on-site restaurant and bar.
Frederick William House – Situated in the town of Falmouth, this plush inn is great for visitors after an upscale stay. There are lots of rooms to choose from (along with a two-bedroom house) and the property offers free bikes, free parking and breakfast daily.
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With Cape Cod’s captivating blend of natural beauty, rich history, and coastal charm, from scenic lighthouses to pristine beaches, it is a destination that promises unforgettable experiences for every kind of traveler.
Are you planning to visit Cape Cod? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!