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First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

Santa Clara
Level Contributor
69 posts
2 reviews
First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

My boyfriend from Ireland will be meeting me (from California) for a first time trip for both of us to Cape Cod on September 6 for 6 days and I'm having a difficult time deciding on which town to stay in. We hadn't planned on renting a car and was going to rely on public transportation. We are meeting in NY to visit with relatives first and were planning on taking the train into Cape Cod from Penn Station in NY. We want to stay somewhere quaint in Cape Cod but not dead, has the Cape Cod feel (not too modernized and congested with lots of people so away from the major crowds), within walking distance to a beach would be ideal (we both want to enjoy nice long walks on a lovely white sandy walkable beach daily if possible), accessible for a day trip each to Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard, nice quaint shopping (no chain stores, just local merchants and doesn't have to be tons of shopping either), nice bike trail(s) as we may want to go for a nice bike ride at least one day, fair amount of dining establishments (again, no chains). We had decided to NOT rent a car on the Cape because it sounded like the traffic wasn't worth it and we simply just wanted to relax on our vacation without having to drive anywhere, leave the driving up to others! If anyone thinks that NOT driving in the Cape is NOT a great idea, please chime in. I'm also not sure how convenient and easy the Public Transportation in getting around the Cape as it sounds like you have to catch different buses or lines depending on where u want to go on the Cape. Hope this helps you help us!

Kent, Connecticut
Destination Expert
for Provincetown, Wellfleet, Truro, North Truro
Level Contributor
6,864 posts
249 reviews
1. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

First of all there is no train that goes from NYC to Cape Cod. You can take a bus, fly or drive. Most people in this forum do not recommend visiting without a car, it is difficult and time-consuming. Public transportation in the USA outside of the major cities is almost non-existent. There is some local bus service on Cape Cod, but it may or may not fit your needs.

Finding a place that is walk to everything and being able to make ferry connections to the islands would be very difficult. You might be better off going to Provincetown. You can take a train to Boston and a ferry to Provincetown. Once there you can do shop, dine, visit the beach by walking, biking or taxi.

http://provincetowntourismoffice.org/

http://www.capecodrta.org/

Boston...
Level Contributor
8,149 posts
2. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

You should rent a car. Traffic will not be bad after Labor Day and you will have more options for exploring.

The Outer Cape is where you find endless ocean beaches for walking. It's less convenient to getting to the ferry for the islands.

Maybe you should split your time between the Falmouth area for the ferries and Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown for long beach walks.

September is a great time to be on the Cape.

Kent, Connecticut
Destination Expert
for Provincetown, Wellfleet, Truro, North Truro
Level Contributor
6,864 posts
249 reviews
3. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

Is there some special reason that you do not want to rent a car? You will definitely find it much easier to do all of the things that you want to do if you have a car. If it a fear of traffic don't worry, it is much less after Labor Day. And making ferry connections to the islands will be much easier with a car.

Boston...
Level Contributor
6,713 posts
283 reviews
4. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

There's a few misconceptions in your post OP, a couple which have been cleared up already. The cape is not a long white sand kind of place. This is not the carribean. You definitely need a car, or stay in Provincetown as Howland suggests. But, if you do that, you're pretty much stuck in P-town and wouldn't have easy access to go to the vineyard or nantucket. I think you need to do a little more research on the cape. I'd suggest staying in Chatham, or maybe Falmouth.

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
Level Contributor
15,879 posts
34 reviews
5. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

You'll be able to do everything you want to as long as you rent a car. Lowest rates on car rentals go to those who both book early and keep checking for last minute bargains as well. As you know, your car reservation is not locked in with payment.

Things on the Cape will be more quiet after Labor Day and that includes traffic.

Since you are new to the Cape you would be well served to get your hands on the very best Cape Cod guidebook. Read it now and then bring it with you too. An Explorer's Guide: Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard & Nantucket by Kim Grant. Barnes and Noble carries it if you want to peruse it.

Lastly, ALL 15 towns on the Cape have a lot to offer. If you locate in the Mid-Cape area (check a map) then you will have easy access to the Upper and Mid Cape traveling west and the Lower and Outer Cape whenever you want to travel east as well as easy access to ferries to the islands.

The Cape is unique in the US. You'll both surely enjoy being there.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
86 posts
16 reviews
6. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

Honestly, I think you are better off renting car in NYC & driving to CC. Would be about 4 hours. Chatham would be a great place to stay. Shops & lots of great restaurants. If you stay in town, you can always walk to beautiful Lighthouse Beach. There are several great Inns/B&Bs in Chatham. However, with a car, you can venture to the upper cape & see all the wonderful things up there. You can catch the ferry to Nantucket in Harwich(next town over from Chatham).

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
Level Contributor
15,879 posts
34 reviews
7. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

Looking more closely at your post -- "enjoy nice long walks on a lovely white sandy walkable beach daily if possible), accessible for a day trip each to Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard" I see that I should suggest Dennis. The sand is so soft and white on Mayflower Beach and, yes, you can take very long walks and even enjoy walking straight out onto the sand bars (tidal flats) at low tide. Then too Dennis is one town over from one ferry to Nantucket and, in the other direction, close to the Hyannis ferries to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Do you have the budget to stay right ON this beach? If so see if www.oceanvista.net is available. If not ask them what they recommend when they are full.

Edited: 12:21 pm, July 22, 2016
Santa Clara
Level Contributor
69 posts
2 reviews
8. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

WOW! THANK YOU to everyone who's responded thus far, I'm SO appreciative. OK, I've changed my mind on the car. I have NO problems driving. My boyfriend who is from Ireland is just so used to public transportation and does not want me stressing on the driving and he just wants me to relax and not really have to do much on our vacation other than that! Is the driving from NYC to CC pretty easy/smooth driving? We will be staying in Upper East Manhattan and would prefer NOT driving in NYC....any recommendations where we can grab a car easily located via Public Transportation so we don't have to do too much if not any driving in NY city? We will also go to Boston after the CC - what's the best way to get there? How busy is Chatham as far as crowds / traffic? Thanks again!

Chicago, IL
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
Level Contributor
15,879 posts
34 reviews
9. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

To get to Boston you'll just drive Rt 6 off the Cape which feeds into Rt 3. Signs all the way to Boston after that.

Great decision to get a car rental. You will be much more relaxed not having to examine bus schedules and be places at a particular time to catch your ride. Do you take public transportation in CA?

Not sure if you are returning to NYC for his flight back or if you'll drop the car at Logan. If the latter then be sure to compare drop fees charged by the various companies.

Go to the NYC board for input on that part of your trip including getting the car.

Chatham's Main St. is very busy in summer but will not be so after Labor Day and will be quite quiet by evening.

Edited: 2:10 pm, July 22, 2016
New Jersey
Level Contributor
86 posts
16 reviews
10. Re: First time visit to Cape Cod for a couple

If you want to avoid driving in the NYC area, one option is to take the Metro North train(from Grand Central Station) to Greenwich, CT. I'm sure there are car rentals in that area & you will be right by I95N. You could also take NJ transit train from Penn Station(NY) over to Newark Airport & pick up a car there. You would be right by the NJ turnpike(which goes to I95N). As far as Chatham, since you'll be there right after Labor Day, it will be fairly quiet, but not completely dead. Room rates might be a little cheaper, but still pretty pricy. It's very quaint & peaceful town.

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