Know Before You Go - Cape Cod Traveler's Tips

Below are some useful tips for travelers visiting Cape Cod and Massachusetts:

Driving in Massachusetts

There is only one toll road in Massachusetts--the Massachusetts Turnpike, which follows the length of the state from east to west.  Included in the Mass. Turnpike Authority are the tolls at the Sumner and Ted Williams Tunnels. You have to go through the Sumner Tunnel from Logan Airport. Toll is $3.50.

The speed limit on the Mid Cape Highway is 55 from Bourne to Dennis and dips to 50 on the two lane portion from Dennis to Orleans.


The speed limit between Bourne and Orleans on Route 6A varies along the road. Photo by Jane Booth.

Speeds on Route 6 from Eastham to Provincetown and all along Route 28 and Route 6A all vary.

You will notice that, unlike most states, there are no billboards on state highways, in order to preserve the natural beauty of the area. This may give the false impression to newcomers that they are "in the middle of nowhere" when in fact there are gas stations, restaurants and other services off most exits in the state. Look for smaller state signs which indicate gas, food and lodging before each exit.

Drive times to the Cape Cod Canal

  • from Boston: 1-1.5 hours
  • from New York: 4 - 5 hours
  • from Montreal: 7 hours

Drive times to Cape Cod towns from the Canal under normal traffic conditions

  • to Falmouth: 20-30 minutes
  • to Hyannis: 30 minutes
  • to Orleans: 1 hour
  • to Provincetown 1 hour, 30 minutes

Massachusetts Policies on Alcohol and Fireworks

The sale and use of fireworks is prohibited in Massachusetts.

Alcoholic beverage stores close at 11 pm and are open 7 days per week.  

Most grocery stores are not permitted to sell alcohol. Most bars close at 1  a.m. In Boston and the vicinity they may stay open until 2 a.m. 

Taxes

There is a 6.25% sales tax on all goods sold in Massachusetts except groceries and clothing.

Lodging (11.7%) and meals (6.25%) taxes apply for all lodgings and dining establishments.

Tipping

Standard gratuity for service in a restaurant is 15-20%. Some establishments automatically add the gratuity to the check for parties of 6 or more.