Cape Cod has been virtually synonymous with “vacation” for a long time. Many Cape houses and mansions were built specifically to serve as a family’s vacation home or summer retreat. Today, there are more than 3000 options for a place to stay on the Cape, welcoming visitors for a short-term stay, a vacation getaway, or a home away from home for the whole season.
Whether you’re visiting for a few days or a few months, Cape Cod has something to suit your needs. There are standard Cape Cod hotels and motels if you prefer the comfort of something familiar. Beyond the well-known chains, look for the old-school lodges and inns or a cozy bed and breakfast for a more local experience that still offers conveniences like daily housekeeping. On the other hand, popular full-service resort properties go all out with private beaches, oceanfront bars, luxurious pools and spas, and fine dining in a formal setting if that’s what you’re craving. But that’s only the beginning. Hundreds of cottages and homes are available on a number of vacation rental sites. You can find a two-room shack on the beach, a summer hostel for a communal experience, a cozy Cape Cod cottage overlooking the harbor, or a spacious estate with room for friends and family to join you on your Cape Cod adventure. Or, for an absolutely memorable stay, check out one of the mid-century modern homes on the outer Cape with their unique architecture and tendency to blur the lines between indoors and out.
If you need a little help narrowing down the choices, let the local attractions inform your decision. If the beach is your primary destination, start there – imagine being lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean waves and waking up to the salty-sweet taste of the ocean mist. If you’re into the arts and shopping, start your search near your favorite Cape town’s Main Street. Pick a spot that lets you walk to the coffee shop in the morning before setting out on your day’s adventure then offers a convenient pit stop to drop off the mementos you’ve bought and freshen up for a night on the town. Or perhaps you’d fancy something in between – look for a property near the Cape Cod Canal or the Cape Cod Rail Trail if you’re passionate about cycling, a cozy cottage by a vineyard for a peaceful escape, or an old sea captain’s home to serve as you adventure headquarters as you set out to explore the Cape’s historic landmarks and museums.
The unique towns of Cape Cod may also help you find your perfect spot. On the west end of the Cape, Bourne, Falmouth, Sandwich and Mashpee put you near Buzzards Bay, in the midst of the oldest of the Cape communities and surrounded by coastline with fantastic views and large conservation areas. Moving east, the villages of Barnstable are classic Cape Cod communities that embrace the arts with studios, galleries, and antique shops galore. Further east, the towns of Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, Harwich, and Chatham, are havens of outdoor activity with numerous salt- and freshwater beaches, golf courses, nature trails, and the Monomoy Wildlife Refuge to the south. And on the eastern arm of the Cape, Orleans, Eastham, Truro, and Wellfleet offer quaint, rural settings that are the epitome of Cape Cod life while Provincetown is the hub of the Cape arts scene and home of the Provincetown Art Association, the Provincetown International Film Festival, several bars and nightclubs, and an abundance of galleries and studios.
To really get the most out of your Cape experience, shop around and find a place that meets your personal tastes, style, and budget. Some require an extended stay; others are available for a sleepover – be flexible with your dates while you shop around and plan on coming back because you’re bound to discover that there are simply too many options to for just one visit.