A 90-minute Boston-Cape Cod ferry ride cuts miles, and perhaps hours of travel time, off a bus or car trip between Boston and Provincetown.
View of the Boston Skyline and Ferry Pier
The Boston-Cape Cod ferries sail a direct route between Boston and Provincetown.
For some unknown reason, quite a few folks seem to think there's also a ferry from Boston to Hyannis. Not true!
Have a look at this map, and you'll see why there's no Boston-Hyannis ferry route:
The blue line shows the easy, direct route between Boston and Provincetown. The yellow marker indicates Hyannis Harbor.
As you can see, a boat would have to go all the way around the entire "arm" of Cape Cod to get to Hyannis.
Given the distance, time, and navigation hazards involved, no company has taken on that challenge.
Winter on the Atlantic Ocean can bring some incredibly nasty wind and waves.
That's why the ferries between Boston and Cape Cod only operate from May to October.
2016 Operating Season: May 16 to October 10
Two companies operate on the Boston-Cape Cod route:
The Boats: Both cruise companies offer big, comfy catamaran-style boats with "fast ferry" service.
Length of Trip: Total cruise time is about 90 minutes, pier to pier.
Schedules: Both companies offer 2-3 departures and returns daily. Additional sailings are usually offered on holiday weekends.
Fares: $88 round trip for adults, $76 for seniors. Children's fares vary by company. Reviews and reservations
More Info: Boston Harbor Cruises - (877) 733-9425, website; Bay State Cruise Company - (877) 783-3779, website
As much fun as it is to cruise to Cape Cod, it's not the right choice for everyone.
Is a Boston-Cape Cod ferry your best transportation option? Here are a few things to consider:
1. Distance from the Pier to Your Destination
If you'll be staying any distance from Provincetown, you need to consider how far you're willing to travel to reach your ultimate destination.
Which towns are near enough to make the Boston-Provincetown ferry a convenient choice?
If you're staying anywhere else, you'll have a long way to travel after you dock in Provincetown.
2. "Passengers Only" - No Cars Allowed
Neither cruise line transports vehicles. Bicycles are allowed on board (for a small extra charge).
So if you want a car to use while you're here, you'll need to rent one in Provincetown.
The good news is - Provincetown is a super-easy town to get around without a car. When you step off the boat and onto the pier at McMillan Wharf, you'll be right in the heart of the action.
And if you want to go beyond downtown, just hop on the shuttle. It'll take you to the beach or nearly anywhere you'd like to go around town, for just a few dollars.
3. Delays Happen
Are your travel plans extremely time sensitive?
If you absolutely, positively have to get here (or back to Boston) by a specific time, then you might want to consider a different mode of transportation.
Delays and cancellations do happen with the ferries. Usually it's because of high winds and rough seas. Understandably, nobody wants to sail under dangerous conditions.