Road Trip: Exploring Cape Cod

With ocean views on both sides, vast dunes, miles upon miles of pristine coastline, and historic lighthouses every few miles, exploring Cape Cod by car makes for one of the most scenic driving tours in America. Route 6A, which follows the same vital trading route once used by both the native Wampanoag tribe and the earliest colonial settlers, still connects the towns of Cape Cod today. It stretches from the upper Cape to Provincetown, making it the perfect focus for your road trip, and it leads right through the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Start Nearby – A Driving Loop Right Outside Provincetown

Although Route 6A (known as the Old King’s Highway) merges with Highway 6 throughout the mid-Cape, the two roads diverge on the outer Cape leading into Provincetown. Route 6A becomes Bradford St – the street where our Provincetown hotel is located – in downtown Provincetown, so start your road trip by just taking Bradford St a mile to the end of town. Soak in the sights of P-Town until you get to Province Lands Rd, where you’ll make a left and a quick detour to visit Pilgrim’s First Landing. Circle the roundabout, taking in the history (Pilgrims set foot on this very spot on November 11, 1620) and incredible views (you can see the breakwater, the full harbor, Wood End Light, and Long Point Light from here) before heading back onto Route 6A.

Route 6A turns into Province Lands Rd, which will take you through the world-famous dunes, marshes, and furthest reaches of Cape Cod National Seashore. Take a quick stop at the Province Lands Visitor Center, which is only open seasonally from late spring to early fall, but its decks with panoramic views are available year-round (as are its restrooms, if need be). From April through October, you’ll likely see whales swimming to and from Cape Cod Bay, where they migrate as the waters warm up and winter ends. Take Race Point Road down to the shore, enjoy the unobstructed Atlantic Ocean views, and Race Point Road brings you right back to town, making for an easy and picturesque driving loop.

Connecting to Truro, Wellfleet, and Cruising the Outer Cape

To branch out further from Provincetown, jump back on Route 6A, heading in the other direction. As you head south, you’ll pass through quaint towns like Truro and Wellfleet, full of Cape Cod character and small-town charm. Stop for a snack and a souvenir at the Salty Market, a locally-owned deli in downtown Truro, and grab a bottle of wine from Truro Vineyards to enjoy when you return to your Provincetown lodging at the friendliest year-round hotel in Provincetown after exploring all day.

Continue to Wellfleet, which sits on a harbor of its own, the town surrounded by water on all sides. Take a detour from Route 6 and drive through downtown Wellfleet, a classic Cape Cod seaside village. Merge onto Chequessett Neck Rd, which offers stunning vistas of Wellfleet harbor and leads to one of the better sunset-viewing spots on Cape Cod (on either Great Island Trail, extending south, or at Duck Harbor Beach, just to the north).

A beautiful overview of Provincetown showing the town and the beach

Natural Beauty, Lovely Mid and Lower Cape Towns, and a Guided Tour Option For Your Road Trip

The next 10-mile stretch on Route 6 between Wellfleet and Eastham passes by various wildlife preservation areas (the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-stop for birders), with Cape Cod’s unique beauty on full display. Branch off and visit Nauset Light, the most iconic lighthouse on the Cape, and equally majestic when covered in snow and mired in fog during the winter months. See our post about the Cape’s many lighthouses for more in-depth info about their locations, available tours, and how you can best incorporate them into your driving tour.

Depending on your appetite for driving further, towns like Orleans and Brewster are just a few miles away. Skaket Beach, just outside of Orleans, has easily accessible tide pools and is a fun place to explore up-close the bay ecosystem for all ages.

Book one of our rooms and plan your adventurous and scenic Cape Cod driving tour!