That's not going to avoid any of the traffic. Unfortunately, if you're coming anywhere from 2:30 or so on, you're going to hit a lot of traffic. The best route, although not traffic free, is 93 South to 24 South to 495 East (which becomes 25 East) to 28 South after the bridge.
We are leaving the airport about 12:30pm...so around noon.
remember the movie "war games". the only way to win (tic tac toe) was by NOT PLAYING. The analogy applies to Friday afternoon traffic to the cape on Labor day weekend. So, if you insist on playing (and I am not trying to dissuade you), make sure you have a full tank of gas, pray for no accidents, and hope you find a soft spot in the traffic. One thing I am positive about, eventually everyone makes it to where they are going. It's just how you deal with it. Only other option is to hang around Boston until around 8 pm and then just cruise down the road.
In the Boston area, a lot of people will be taking that Friday off, or leaving the office at noon and taking a half day. So you are virtually guaranteed to hit traffic that Friday afternoon. I agree with the suggestion of taking 24 South to 495 South, but you will almost certainly hit traffic on 93 (the dreaded Southeast Expressway) on your way to Route 24. If you are lucky, Route 24 will be heavy but moving. However, you will almost certainly hit heavy traffic again on Routes 25 and/or 495 as you approach the Bourne Bridge. There are only two bridges across the Cape Cod Canal to Cape Cod, and each of them gets very backed up on holiday Fridays. Sometimes there is more than an hour wait to get across. So, if you want to leave right from the airport, be prepared for a 4 or 5 hour trip to Falmouth, bring some good tunes with you for the CD player, and think of ways to keep yourself entertained while you sit in traffic. Or, as someone else suggested, park your car in a garage in Boston, spend the afternoon doing some light sightseeing, have a nice dinner in Boston, then have a quick drive to Falmouth. If you leave around 8:30, you should get there around 10:00.
I think around noon you should be okay traffic-wise, barring any unforeseen accidents.
My flight is scheduled to arrive at Logan at 11:40am so I am hoping to get the car and be out ASAP. I have only a carryon so it should be simple. But I will prepare for the worst. I will have to study maps to see if there are any backroads that I can take as well. I appreciate all the advice.
You know what our Cape neighbors from Boston tell us....in the summer Thursday is the new Friday. It seems that they all arrive Thursday night. Hmmm.
About back roads, the sad thing is, they probably won't help you going to the Cape. The biggest bottleneck is the Bourne Bridge (and the Sagamore Bridge is no better, usually). No matter how you approach it, others will be attempting the same approach, and you will just have to wait in line. The other likely tie-up, the Southeast Expressway (I-93 South) is likely to be slow, like 10 mph average, but it is still faster than the city streets that parallel it, which are congested and have lines of cars waiting behind long lights. Along other stretches of the route, the highway will almost certainly be faster than back roads. The other thing is that the locals know the back roads, so if the highway slows to the point where back roads seem like a good option, enough people will fill the back roads so that they are no longer any faster.
We might consider losing the money we spent on the flight ($300) and driving. We were flying to save time and get a jump on the traffic. If we left NJ at 5am and got to Cape Cod at 11am, would we miss most of the traffic? We would be coming from near Providence.
The only thing is that then we would hit major traffic coming back through NY on Monday.
If you got to the Bourne Bridge by 11:00 a.m., I would be surprised if you hit serious traffic. I would think that would be early enough. I think you could even push it to 12:00 noon for arrival at the Bourne Bridge. I don't think that the wave of traffic from the Boston area is likely to hit the bridge until 1:30 or so. Incidentally, there is another (smaller) wave of traffic from the New York area along the coast toward Cape Cod on Fridays, but that doesn't reach the Bourne Bridge until 5:00 p.m. or so.
For your return trip on Monday, if you are driving to New Jersey, I'd recommend an early start (not insanely early, just before about 9:30). Then, I would suggest the following route: I-195 to Providence. Then Route 10 to Route 6 west from Providence, and Route 101 into Connecticut, then Route 44 to I-384 to I-84 across Connecticut and into New York State, then I-684 south toward the Hudson River Crossing of your choice. (For example, you could head west on I-287 over the Tappan Zee Bridge, then south on the Garden State Parkway.) I suggest this route because I travel often to the New York-New Jersey area for business and to see family, and I have noticed that I-95 between Providence and New Haven is heavily congested during the summer eastbound on Friday afternoons and westbound most of the day Sunday (or Monday on long weekends). I think that this is partly traffic between the New York area and Cape Cod/Martha's Vineyard, not so much weekend traffic as beginning- or end-of-vacation traffic. It is also partly traffic between Hartford or Fairfield County Connecticut and vacation homes on the Cape or along the southeastern Connecticut shore. The inland route that I described will allow you to bypass all of that summer coastal traffic.Edited: 20 August 2010, 13:33