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Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

Munich, Germany
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Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

On a vacational road trip from Toronto to Quebec via New England we'll be on Cape Cod (accomodation in Hyannis) from July 3 to July 5 this year. We'll be arriving from Albany, NY, and are relatively flexible about when to arrive in Hyannis.

Now, I have read some horror stories about 4th of July traffic on Cape Cod (and weekend traffic in general, respectively). How should we handle our travel? Should we go as early as possible? Or rather somewhen during the day? And will it also be bad when we leave on July 5th (our next destination is Boston)? In the end, it's only a Saturday, and I assume quite some people will stay for the weekend...

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1. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

July 5th should be no problem because of the holiday, but Saturday is "turn around" day on the Cape. All of the weekly rentals run from Saturday to Saturday. So either leave very early in the morning or late at night. July 3rd, leave VERY early in the morning.

Edited: 26 May 2014, 22:25
Munich, Germany
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2. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

Thank you, I think this helps a lot. Google Maps tells me we'll need around 3 1/2 hrs from Albany to Hyannis. Considering that July 3rd is a non-holiday Thursday, when exactly would you suggest to leave Albany? Actually, we wanted to visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum on our way - would that be a wise decision?

And last but not least: Will we be able to take a day trip to Provincetown and/or the National Seashore on July 4th? Or was it the worst decision ever to book this year's vacation around the July 4th weekend? ;)

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3. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

July 3rd is really not a non-holiday, as everyone will leave then to get a jump on their drive. It likely will be one of the busiest driving days of the year. Unfortunately, no matter how early you leave Albany, you'll end up in the thick of that. Is it possible to leave the day or night before? And I would skip any unnecessary driving on the 3rd. The good news is that once you're on the Cape, it should be better. Sure Provincetown will be busy but that makes it interesting on its own level. Just get there early so you can get parking.

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4. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

Well, that's really sad to hear. :( Unfortunately, a trip like this (and at this time of year) requires some planning ahead and figuring out when to be where in advance - in the end there's a plane waiting for you to travel back home at a certain deadline... That said, I don't think we can re-plan this weekend without re-planning pretty much the whole trip. :( The only possibility would be to come one day early (but then we would have to drive all the way from Niagara Falls to Hyannis in one day) or one day late (but where should we spend the extra night between Albany and Hyannis then? and wouldn't it be a petty to lose time on Cape Cod?). Seems like a dilemma here...

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5. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

On busy weekends or holidays traffic is often backed up on Route 6 through North Eastham and up to near Marconi Beach in Wellfleet. If you are planning to go to a National Seashore beach I would get there early in the day as once the parking lots fill the rangers cut off the traffic until some people leave. The beach will not be that crowded since the plan the parking to keep the beach from getting over used.

I have been in Provincetown many times on the 4th of July and it is busy but the people are not a problem to seeing things. The only problem would be if you were in town for the fireworks and then try to drive down Route 6 soon afterwards. It will take you forever.

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6. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

Eastham usually schedules its 4th of July parade down Main Street on the 4th of July, closing that road for several hours. Unfortunately, our Main Street is also Rt. 6, the main road to Provincetown.

I would check the Eastham Chamber of Commerce site as we get closer to the date to see what the schedule is this year. There is nothing posted at this time that I could find.

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7. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

According to easthamchamber.com/visitors/…4th-july-parade there's a parade scheduled for 10 a.m., but in Orleans. I suppose that is not what you referred to?

The Provincetown fireworks are scheduled for 9 p.m., so I suppose we should leave the town before that or only around midnight, when the fireworks are long over, right?

Thanks everybody, your advice is very much appreciated. It seems as if 4th of July on Cape Cod resembles the tourist situation during Oktoberfest in Munich. ;)

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8. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

The fireworks in Provincetown are very popular. If you are like me and do not really care for pyrotechnics (result of war service) then leave before the show ends or midnight would probably be a safe time to leave afterwards. There are many bars and other attractions to occupy your time until it is safe to leave.

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9. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

You are on vacation right so my suggestion would be for you to sleep late and make stops along the way to the Cape including whatever you want to do in New Bedford. You might even stop before that and visit the Battleship Mass at Fall River and take the ship tour....more fun than you might think. Perhaps you'll enjoy some waterfront dining in New Bedford before you come over the bridge which should be very manageable at that later time. Just be sure that you have over a 1/2 tank of gas in case in delays.

Then, yes, Ptown parking is ridiculous. To visit there you will just need to go as early as you can.....remember you slept late the day before (lol). Also, there are two places where you can enjoy the dramatic National Seashore beaches without all the hassle of parking. These are at the town beaches in East Orleans and Wellfleet. East Orleans posts on a road sign (on Rt 6) as you approach as to whether the lot is full. I've only seen this once but try to get there by 10am or go around 2:30 when folks start to leave. I think this is the biggest lot on the Outer Cape if not the entire Cape after being waved to additional parking last year that I had no idea existed. The other spot is at www.thebeachcomber.com to go to Cahoon Hollow beach. Ignore the dinky town beach straight ahead and turn right into the Beachcomber's lot. Again, try to be there by 10 or 11. At both beaches there is a $15 fee but at the Beachcomber you will get a voucher for the amount you pay to be used in the restaurant when you get hungry or thirsty. This is another large lot .BTW,the steep dunes at Cahoon Hollow are magnificent but go to Nauset Beach in East Orleans instead if you don't think you can climb back up that tall dune in hot sand with all your beach gear. It is 'stairclimber' for sure.

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10. Re: Cape Cod on July 4th weekend - traffic?

Ah, Conqueror70, I think you found it! It looks like Eastham has decided not to tie up traffic this year and will be partnering with Orleans to hold one parade instead of two! Good news for folks trying to get somewhere on Rt 6.

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