We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

North Bay, Canada
Level Contributor
4 posts
14 reviews
Save Topic
Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

We are Canadians who have never been to Cape Cod (or anywhere in New England) and are thinking of visiting in mid-July with our 2 boys - 10 & 12.

I was all set to book a vacation rental, when I saw some posts in various places about the terrible traffic at the bridges. Is there any way around this? We were thinking of staying in either Brewster or Falmouth for a week. We wanted to spend some time exploring Cape Cod, including driving to Provincetown, and also had hoped to drive one day to Plymouth.

We open to other vacation ideas as well, but basically wanted to spend some time somewhere in New England on the ocean. We are not interested in getting caught in a huge traffic jam. Any suggestions?

Boston...
Level Contributor
7,114 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

The traffic is heaviest going to the Cape late-to-mid-afternoon on a Saturday and leaving the Cape Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. The time when traffic is heaviest leaving often depends on whether it's a beach day or a cloudy/rainy day. In the case of the latter, traffic will be heavier earlier in the day.

Most weekly rentals run Saturday to Saturday so if you can go over early (stay overnight nearer to the Cape on Friday) or go later in the day if your rental agent/owner will accommodate you--you'll be better off.

But even if you're in some slow traffic, it's not horrible and you're on your way to a lovely vacation, so I wouldn't stress over it. Now that the Sagamore Bridge has a flyover from Rt. 3 and you don't have to use the rotary, traffic flows much better than in the "old" days.

If you avoid going or leaving on the weekend, you'll have no problems except on Fridays--late-afternoon/evening.

Canada
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
Level Contributor
9,737 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

We are Canadians too and have been going to the Cape just about every year for nearly 40 years. Don't worry about the traffic, it's a lot better as ting says since the new access to the Sagamore Bridge. So you may hit some delays, it certainly shouldn't stop you from going. Once at the town that you choose you can usually find ways to keep out of traffic.

I must admit that we go in September now when it is much quieter but some of our friends, who have also been going from Canada to the Cape for many moons, still go in the summer and seem to cope quite nicely.

If you want some suggestions about a place to stay or any other information please ask, we will only be too willing to help you.

I see that you are from North Bay. If it's any consolation the traffic is probably not as bad as the 400 on a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon as Torontonians head to or come back from cottage country.

Edited: 03 April 2012, 19:05
Yarmouth, MA
Level Contributor
455 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

Hi NorthernMom -

You should be perfectly fine if you're over the bridge and onto Cape Cod no later than 1 p.m. on Friday, or by 8:00 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday.

To accomplish that, you might have to leave home very early in the a.m., or perhaps you could stay somewhere nearby Friday night and then come over the bridge early on Saturday morning.

Leaving the Cape, you should be over the bridge and onto the "mainland" by 8:30 a.m. on Saturday - or plan to wait until traffic clears on Saturday afternoon/evening.

Getting off the Cape on a summer Sunday ... that's a tough one. Some folks leave early, some leave late. Much depends on the weather. If it's a sunny day, people tend to stay longer. If it's rainy, the bridges can clog up by mid- to late morning. It's a total "crap shoot".

If you have the flexibility in your schedule to stay on the Cape until Monday, that's your best bet.

All in all, though, ting and Senior65 have given you the absolute best advice. Don't let worries about traffic keep you from coming to the Cape!

If you time your travels wisely, you'll find that the traffic around here isn't nearly as much of an issue as many "nay-sayers" make it out to be.

Come to Cape Cod and enjoy!!

Edited: 03 April 2012, 20:22
Baltimore, Maryland
Destination Expert
for North Conway
Level Contributor
12,074 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

NM3,

Your question really brings out all my bad instincts. The obvious answer is for all of us to stay home (that includes me cause I add to the traffic as well). CC is an island and only way to get there is over the bridges. Plan your day to miss the bad traffic as suggested and you will be fine. Sometimes I will get off rt 3 in Plymouth and have a leisurely lunch on the water and then mosey down 3A which is a lovely ride for about 15 minutes where it ends at the Sagamore bridge. I usually miss a lot of traffic this way and manage to start getting into my CC mood before I get there.

Boston, MA
Destination Expert
for Boston
Level Contributor
22,774 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

The advice you've gotten is good. There is NO WAY to drive onto the Cape without crossing one of the bridges. You could fly into Hyannis or P-town and rent a car .... but that's about it.

Bottom line is lots of people go back year after year and we all live to tell about it. Everybody has "a story" ... but reality is that people remember the worst and forget the best. I've made it from Boston to P-town or P-town to Boston in 2 hours 20 minutes and I've also done the same trip in 5+ hours (when an accident shut down both side of Rte 6 where it's only one lane in each direction -- but that's an extreme and if you stay in Brewster or Falmouth, that part of Rte 6 is not part of your 'commute'.). Reality is most of the time, I hit SOME traffic and it 's around 3 to 3.5 hrs for me to make that trip.

If you want to see the Cape then go for it!!!

Edited: 03 April 2012, 21:05
Boston, MA
Destination Expert
for Boston
Level Contributor
22,774 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

Oh ... and for one of my worst commuter ever ... I hit major traffic just outside of BOSTON .... and then there were issues on Rte 3, long before I got to the bridges ... and my husband who left home 30 minutes ahead of me and took the exact same route missed all these issues and arrive a 2 HOURS and 5 minutes before me. LOL!!! That's a lot of words to say "things happen" and even the best plans don't always work to your advantage.

conn
Level Contributor
1,453 posts
141 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

Just to add my two cents, don't be afraid to come to the cape. If you are travelling onto cape on Saturday, try to get to bridges before 10:00 am, same for leaving on Saturday.

Mackinac Island...
Level Contributor
16 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

I agree with all of the above advice about travelling on and off Cape. Just be aware that once you are on the Cape, there can be considerable traffic getting to PTown or driving along Rt. 28 or Rt. 3A that go through the seaside villages no matter the weather: sunny days everyone is driving to the beach; cloudy or rainy days everyone is going into town to shop. Leaving earlier rather than later is always good advice and factor in a little extra travel time.

CT
Level Contributor
205 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

I'm wondering the same (coming from CT).We were thinking of leaving CT around 11am and getting to the beginning of the cape 2 or 3pm.is that prime traffic time?I would prefer not to leave CT at 4am just to avoid it...

Yarmouth, MA
Level Contributor
455 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Cape Cod July traffic - any solutions?

Hi jmestyle -

You haven't said when you're planning to travel. If it's in the summer, the day of the week really makes a difference.

Arriving at the bridge by 2 or 3 p.m. on a summer Tuesday, you should be okay. But if it's 2 or 3 p.m. on a summer Friday, you're risking perhaps a mile or more backup.

If it were me, I'd leave home as early as I needed to (even if that's 4 a.m.) in order to avoid arriving at the bridge at the wrong time.

But that's just me ...

Edited: 05 April 2012, 02:48