Things to do / Travel Guide
Tourists to coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island are fortunate for the region's excellent transportation systems. However, traveling by car can certainly save time traveling from city to city or area to area. Before getting into specifics, it would be good to cover some basics regarding the highway system.
Interstates around Boston, Massachusetts
First of all, I-95 goes through Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, hitting (or nearly hitting) the casinos in southeast Connecticut, Providence, and Boston. To get to Newport, Rhode Island, take I-95 to Route 4 south of Providence, to Route 138. To get to Cape Cod, take I-195, I-495, or, from Boston, Route 3.
Here are some times and distances for destinations within the region:
- Boston to Rockport - 60 minutes, 40 miles
- Boston to Providence - 60 minutes, 50 miles
- Boston to Hyannis - One hour and 20 minutes, 70 miles
- Providence to Newport - 45 minutes, 35 miles
- Providence to Mystic, Connecticut (for the casinos) - 55 minutes, 50 miles
Getting Around Boston, Massachusetts
The easiest way to get around Boston and Cambridge is to use the “T,” one of the oldest subway systems in the United States. Boston is best navigated by subway, but you will need a car if you want to take some excursions outside the city. You can catch a ferry at Boston Harbor for Cape Cod. To Provincetown, on the Cape's tip, costs about $50, and takes an hour and a half.
Getting Around on Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Once you're on the Cape, a car would be the easiest way to get around in theory, but the island's notorious traffic jams during the peak summer months can be big time-wasters. To find out about the Cape's excellent public transportation options, pick up a copy of the free “Smart Guide,” which has information about the island's bus, ferry, trolley and flight services, as well as bicycling and walking information. The Smart Guide can be procured at the Cape Cod Welcome Center in Hyannis, on the Cape's southern coast. However, to save you the suspense, there are eight different lines traversing the Cape, including a trolley. The company that runs them is called, appropriately, The Breeze. You can get to any place of interest via these lines, and they're not expensive, at one dollar a ride.
Getting Around on the Islands
To get to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket, take the Hy-Line ferries from Hyannis, on the southern shore of the Cape. The ferries depart every three hours from early morning to between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m., depending on the line and the time of year. Prices for a one-way ticket are $15 to the Vineyard, $25 to Nantucket. Unfortunately, the Hy-Line ferries do not do vehicle transportation, however there are lots to park your car.
Don't even think about renting a car on Martha's Vineyard during the peak summer season. Shuttles, buses (so at least you don't have to worry about parking), and bikes are the best ways to get around. Mopeds are also available, but they're not popular with the locals.
There are also numerous taxi companies on the islands, and they will transport your bicycle from town to town if you let them know in advance.
During off-season, it's safe to take a car out on the road again on all of the islands - much fewer traffic jams.
Getting Around in Rhode Island
The one-fell-swoop transportation system in this state is called RIPTA - the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. It offers buses to and from the major towns and cities and ferries for the islands. It doesn't cost much - a one-way ferry from Providence to Newport is less than $10. Times are also quite reasonable: The ferry from Providence to Newport runs every three hours, and the last one of the day leaves after 10:00 at night.
Boston, Cape Cod, Newport, Connecticut, Coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island