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Cape Cod & Islands Tour

Here's a plan for touring Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard islands, and Newport RI, in 4 or 5 days.

Cape Cod & Islands 4- or 5-Day Tour Map

Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard—the seagoing gems of Massachusetts, with natural beauty, history, culture, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Day 1- Plymouth & Cape Cod

Travel to Cape Cod by car, bus, train or plane. The 71-mile (114-km) drive by car or bus from Boston south to Hyannis (map), Cape Cod's central transportation point, can be made in about two hours or less, depending on traffic (particularly on the narrow Cape Cod Canal bridges). If you have your own vehicle, stop in Plymouth MA on the South Shore to visit Plymouth Rock, Mayflower II, Plimoth Patuxet Museums and other attractions.

Mayflower II, Plymouth MA
Mayflower II, a floating replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to these shores.

Some bus trips by P&B buses depart right from Boston's Logan Airport. On summer Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the CapeFLYER train takes travelers from Boston's South Station to Hyannis in about 2-1/2 hours.

Find your way to your chosen Cape Cod base town, and your lodgings, and begin to explore. Hyannis has plenty of hotels, but you may decide to stay in another town, especially if you have your own vehicle.

Day 2 - Nantucket

Take the morning fast ferry (Hy-Line Cruises or the Steamship Authority) or a flight (Cape Air) from Hyannis to Nantucket, "30 miles at sea!" Enjoy walking, biking, tours, dining and shopping on the island, then return to Hyannis in late afternoon.

Nantucket harbor view
Nantucket harbor.

Two islands in one day? Hy-Line Cruises Inter-Island Ferry service sails between Nantucket and Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard several times daily. You could sail from Hyannis to Nantucket, spend several hours or most of the day, then take the Inter-Island ferry to Martha's Vineyard and settle in for the night (advance hotel reservations are essential!) Next day, tour "the Vineyard," then take the ferry from Martha's Vineyard back to Hyannis, or the one to Woods Hole or Falmouth on Cape Cod.

Day 3- Martha's Vineyard

Victorian houses in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard MA
Victorian houses in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard MA

Sail to the island you haven't yet visited, and back to the mainland for the night.

Day 4 - Cape Cod

Explore Cape Cod: drive or bus out to Provincetown at the northern tip of the cape. Go for a bike ride or a swim at Cape Cod National Seashore. Wander through several other charming towns, with a seafood lunch by the ocean or Cape Cod Bay.

Surfer on Nauset Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore MA
Surfer on Nauset Beach of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Day 5 - Newport RI

Another day? Relax on Cape Cod, or make the 80-mile (129-km, two-hour) drive west to Newport RI (map) to visit its sumptuous Gilded-Age mansions, stroll along the Cliff Walk, cruise along Ocean Drive, look into the history of this early American seaport, and dine right by the water. Stay the night, or make the two-hour drive back to Boston (map), or to Providence, or onward.

The Elms, Newport RI
Enjoying the lawn at The Elms, a sumptuous Newport mansion.

Let Someone Else Arrange It?

You can plan this trip and make reservations online. If you'd rather have someone else do it, I can recommend Active Travels, an agency based in New England. More...

Novels by Tom Brosnahan