The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Cape Cod on a Budget: Discounts, Savings & Affordable Activities – Lonely Planet Travel News | Gmx Pharm

Cape Cod might not be the first destination that springs to mind when thinking of budget travel, but there are plenty of ways to stretch your money while enjoying the best of the Cape.

Here are some of our favorite money-saving tips.

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Learn how to use public transport in the Cape

Renting, parking and fueling a car in the Cape is a huge expense and can also be a huge pain. Also, there are likely to be many beaches and attractions within walking distance from your accommodation.

The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA), based in Hyannis, has bus routes that span the entire Cape, with service to Woods Hole, Chatham, Orleans, Buzzards Bay Train Station, Sandwich, and Provincetown. As a bonus, all rides are free on Fridays.

Are you flying into Boston Logan Airport and heading to the Cape? Catch the Capebus or Peter Pan bus routes to Sagamore or Hyannis, then hop on a CCRTA bus to complete your trip. The Plymouth & Brockton bus routes also have services between Hyannis and Logan Airport and TF Green Airport (Providence, RI). The CapeFlyer commuter train runs between Boston’s South Station and Hyannis on Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends.

Even in winter, the cape holds a certain magic for visitors © Kenneth Wiedemann / Getty Images

Visit the Cape in the off-season

Peak season in the Cape is traditionally Memorial Day through Labor Day with increasing crowds and prices and decreasing availability. But autumn in the Cape is beautiful, and even the winter months and early spring have their charm, with moody weather, fall colors and early blooms.

The off-season might not be the best time for lounging on the beach, but it’s perfect for long, peaceful walks and finding cheaper accommodation.

Search for the cheapest room rates

Summer room rates in the Cape can flirt with four-digit numbers at some hotels, but if you shop around you might find basic rooms at a great price. The Braemar Condo in Truro, the Chatham Motel, the Sandwich Lodge & Resort, the Cove Motel in Orleans and the Cape Sands Inn in Yarmouth are just a few Cape hotels that offer rooms for less than $200 a night during the summer.

Also, it might not have the reach of a big city, but there are a few Cape Cod hostels to choose from. Rooms at HI Hyannis Hostel and HI Truro Hostel start at $79 and dorms from $35. The Outermost Hostel (rates on request) is located in Provincetown, just a 5-minute walk from the city center.

A closeup of a red lobster being held by a fisherman at sea
Buy fresh seafood and grill it at designated picnic spots on some beaches © Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock

Stock up on groceries like a local

The Cape is known for its seafood served in beautiful settings, but going out for dinner every night of your stay can quickly add up. Consider stocking up on breakfast, lunch, and snacks at local grocery stores and delis. Shop for fresh seafood at a variety of shops including Mac’s Chatham Fish and Lobster Company Fish Market or Andrea’s West Yarmouth Fish and Lobster.

Barbecues are permitted in designated picnic areas at Doane Rock, Pilgrim Heights, Marconi Station Site and Great Island on the Cape Cod National Seashore. Charcoal and gas grills are also permitted on the outdoor beaches outside of protected and signposted beach areas without a permit (permit is required for all fires with wood).

Charcoal grills are allowed at many other city beaches and parks; Check local regulations. Shopping for fresh Cape seafood is an experience in itself, and preparing it and enjoying it on a beach will give you million-dollar views for free.

Buy passes to Cape Cod National Seashore

Beach admission fees are $25 per day per vehicle June through Labor Day and Memorial Day through September weekends and holidays.

If you plan to visit the six beaches in Cape Cod National Seashore over several days, consider purchasing an America the Beautiful $80 Annual Pass or the $60 Cape Cod National Seashore Annual Pass. Military, senior, fourth grader, and other complimentary tickets are also available for qualified applicants.

Select days at Cape Cod National Seashore are free throughout the year, including August 4th to celebrate the anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act.

A couple rides a bike on a sunny day in Provincetown, Mass.
The best way to explore Cape Cod is by bike © Mahaux Charles / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Rent a bike to explore this bike-friendly destination

Renting a car is expensive, especially when you probably won’t be using it much in the Cape, and parking is notoriously difficult, even in the summer. However, bike rental is easy and you can easily ride to the beach or into town.

Obey traffic laws and take normal safety precautions, such as B. wearing a helmet. There are even designated bike trails, like the 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail that connects cities, national parks, and state parks.

Bike shops throughout the Cape offer multi-day rentals. Pack a lightweight backpack for towels, snacks and other essentials for the day, and enjoy the simplicity of cycling wherever you want.

Go camping at the cape

The Cape is full of tiny resorts and quaint inns, but outdoor lovers can fully immerse themselves in the Cape Cod landscape and save big at the same time. RV and tent camping is available at Wellfleet Hollow State Campground and Nickerson State Park, where yurts are also available for rent.

Dune’s Edge Campground in Provincetown, just north of the Highland Camping Area in Truro, Maurice’s Campground in Wellfleet, Sandy Neck Camp Sites in Barnstable and Bourne Scenic Park on the Cape Cod Canal are just a few other cheap places to stay on the Cape with stunning views.

Find the best affordable things to do with the kids

From people watching to spotting wildlife, you can keep kids entertained in the Cape on a budget. Head to Chatham Fishing Pier where fishermen unload their catches all day until 4pm and send the fish in buckets down chutes to the processing center. Seals hoping for prey are also usually around the pier. It’s a free and fascinating look at the Cape’s fishing industry, and fresh seafood can be bought next door at the Chatham Fish Market.

Visit Chatham Candy Manor, where filling a paper bag with penny candy is a budget-friendly tradition for many. During the summer, catch free band concerts on Friday nights at Kate Gould Park on Main St.

In Hyannis, families enjoy bowling, laser tag, escape rooms and video games at Ten Pin Eatery. Check the “Special Offers” section of the site to see what money-saving deals are on offer.

Cape Cod Inflatable Park in West Yarmouth is a massive water park, arcade and bouncy castle playground that offers discounted rates after 4pm. Skull Island in Harwich offers miniature golf, go-karts and an arcade with discounts, and the Cape Cod Children’s Museum in Mashpee is an interactive and affordable way to spend an afternoon with the little ones.

A Guide to Daily Expenses on Cape Cod

Hostel room: $35 (bed in dormitory)
Simple room for two: $200-$400
Self-Catering Apartment (including Airbnb): from $300
Public transit ticket from Boston to Hyannis (71 miles): $25 one way
Coffee: $3.50-4.50
Sandwich: $8-9
Dinner for two: $40-200
Beer/pint at the bar: $6-7

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