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Cape Cod Offers Safe Haven for Budget Travelers : Hostelers get discounts on whale-watching trips, ferry travel and more.

August 01, 1993|LUCY IZON

The Cape Cod area of Massachusetts has lots to offer youthful budget travelers. Not only does it have an attractive setting and a variety of outdoor activities, it is also possible to find lodging for as little as $10 per night.

Those who don't mind sharing dormitory rooms can find this inexpensive accommodation at hostels in Hyannis, Eastham and Truro, and on the offshore islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Hostels are open for guest check-in between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily. Reservations are recommended.

A bonus offered Hostelling International members by the region's hostels are discounts on whale-watching expeditions.

If you are traveling to the area via Boston, the staff at the Boston International AYH-Hostel, 12 Hemenway St., (617) 536-9455, can help you with transportation to the Cape Cod area. The hostel also sells discounted ferry tickets.

The hostel in Hyannis is located at 465 Falmouth Road, (508) 775- 2970. Open until Nov. 30, it is a good base for visiting the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and the Woods Hole Marine Biological Lab, and is a stepping-off point for ferry travel to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. Hostelers can get a $2 discount off the standard $10.75 fare.

Martha's Vineyard's Manter Memorial Hostel (open until Nov. 15; P.O. Box 158, West Tisbury, Mass. 02575, (508) 693-2665) this summer introduced a Friday morning environmental program series and a Tuesday evening interpretive series. Upcoming Tuesday topics include: sharks of New England (this week); the history and legends of the islands's native Wampanoag Indians (Aug. 10); sea shanties (Aug. 17); lobsters (Aug. 24); wild herbs as first-aid remedies (Aug. 31), and local conservation and recycling (Sept. 7).

More than 800 homes from Nantucket's whaling heyday (1740- 1840) survive on that popular island. The Robert B. Johnson Memorial Hostel (open until Oct. 12; 31 Western Ave., Nantucket, Mass. 02554, (508) 228-0433) is housed in the island's first life-saving station. It's three miles from town and only steps from the popular Surfside Beach, where a half-day sea-kayaking program for hostel guests costs $20.

The Eastham Hostel (open until Sept. 15; 75 Goody Hallet Drive, Eastham, Mass. 02642, (508) 255-2785), at mid-Cape, is by the Cape Cod Rail Trail, an 8-foot-wide scenic bicycle path that follows the route of the old Penn Central Railroad.

The Little America Hostel at Truro (open until Sept. 6; P.O. Box 402, Truro, Mass. 02666, 508-349- 3889), perched high on sand dunes, was originally a Coast Guard station. It is within the Cape Cod National Seashore, a 27,000-acre ecological reserve known for fine hiking and biking trails.

Inquire about discount coupons at the hostels.

A good source of information for the region is "Hidden Boston and Cape Cod: The Adventurer's Guide," published by Ulysses Press ($14.95).

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