Beach bums and artists flock to the Cape Cod peninsula every year to enjoy the ocean, exceptional hiking trails and biking trails (including the 14-mile Cape Cod Canal Bikeway), and colorful seaside towns.
Cape Cod is true beach country, and the more you visit, the more you’ll find to love about it.
It’s not all quiet towns and gentle landscapes, either. Chatham has a dining and night life scene that rivals just about any large city in Massachusetts, and Provincetown is a hub for artist types and a welcoming LGBT+ community. Pride Month here is non-stop fun.
Cape Cod also covers a whole lot of territory. So if you’re wondering where to stay in Cape Cod, this Cape Cod guide is here to help.
Best Places to Stay in Cape Cod
Outer Cape, Upper Cape, Lower Cape, Mid Cape: these are just some of the names you’re likely to hear when researching where to stay in Cape Cod. Each community in these areas have a very distinct personality.
For this Cape Cod guide, I partnered with Hotels.com to share where to stay in Cape Cod. Here you’ll find a breakdown of each area, followed by some of the best accommodations for your budget in the region.
Head north on the outer cape to Provincetown, which has a history that dates as far back as AD 1004, when (reputedly) a viking named Thorvald landed here for a brief time. For many decades, Provincetown was a busy seaport with lots of whaling and fishing activity—nowadays, whale watching instead of hunting is all the rage.
This is one of the most charming towns in Cape Cod. It became an artist hub in the 1890s, and at the turn of the century there were five art schools here. Writers and theatre companies soon followed suit. There’s still an incredibly active arts community here, as well as a prominent LGBTQ+ community.
Provincetown is right at the tip of the Cape Cod National Seashore. If you’re here for beaches, check out nearby Coast Guard Beach, Race Point Beach, Herring Cove Beach, and Nauset Beach.
Bike or walk through the Beech Forest, visit some galleries, hang out around Pleasant Bay, and pay a visit to the Towering Pilgrim Monument. There’s lots to do!
A lot of people breeze through Falmouth in the Upper Cape to catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket from Woods Hole. Woods Hole itself is a fun place to watch marine traffic coming and going, but Falmouth actually has a lot to offer, including pristine beaches. Old Silver Beach and Falmouth Beach are two of the sandiest beaches for soaking up the sun.
For a dose of Cape Cod history, head to the Nobska Lighthouse between Buzzards Bay, Nantucket Sound, and Vineyard Sound. It has been around since 1876 and is on the list of National Register of Historic Places, and it offers an incredible view over the Atlantic Ocean.
Bike or walk the Shining Sea Bikeway, hike out to The Knob, and don’t forget to try some fish and chips before you leave town.
Martha’s Vineyard is an island to the south of Cape Cod, and is a quintessential New England experience. It’s a summer playground for the rich and famous, and it’s not uncommon to run into celebrities while you’re visiting (even Barack Obama vacationed here with his family every year when he was in office). Some of them own beach houses here.
Then there’s all the small towns that make up Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard Haven is the main port, with people coming and going via ferry or private yachts. Edgartown is full of shopping boutiques, antique shops, and dining options. And Oak Bluffs is a more casual spot to hang out on the waterfront.
Visit the Long Point Wildlife Refuge, Lobsterville Beach, and State Beach (the latter is where part of Jaws was filmed). If you have some extra time, take the ferry across Nantucket Sound and explore Nantucket. Great Point Lighthouse, Dionis Beach, and the whaling museum are well worth the day trip.
South Yarmouth and West Yarmouth make up the town of Yarmouth, located mid cape. While this area may not get as much attention as other Cape Cod towns, this quiet, family friendly area makes an ideal spot to slow down and enjoy the ride.
Rent a bike and explore the 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail to South Wellfleet, or spend a day swimming in the calm waters of Smugglers Beach. If you want seafood, you won’t have to look too hard: clam shacks, fish and chip spots, and seafood restaurants are plentiful.
The sprawling white sands of West Dennis Beach and Mayflower Beach are a quick trip from here as well. Grab a towel, and enjoy the sun.
Much like its southern counterpart, this part of Yarmouth is one of the most underrated Cape Cod towns around (and it’s equally as family friendly). A must-see while you’re visiting: the Whydah Pirate Museum, home to a large collection of pirate artifacts from a single shipwreck.
When you stay in this Cape Cod location, you’re also close to Cape Cod’s largest town, Barnstable. From here you can visit the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, Kalmus Beach, and the Cahoon Museum of American Art.
Best Cape Cod Hotels
Now that you’re familiar with some of the Cape Cod towns, it’s time to choose where to stay in Cape Cod. Vacation rentals, hotels, and inns are in abundance here.
There’s something to fit every budget—some places have indoor and outdoor pools; others have the bare basics. You’ll be able to find something that suits you just fine.
Here are some great options.
Surfside Hotel and Suites is right on Cape Cod Bay in Provincetown. This oceanfront property has contemporary guestrooms, hot tub suites, and even full apartments with kitchens and balconies.
If you’re a surfer or someone who just wants to lounge around on the private beach, you’ll love this spot for its seclusion. There’s also a heated outdoor pool right next to the Lighthouse Bar. While here, take advantage of some of the best restaurants and dining options in P-town.
The Revere Guest House in Provincetown Cape Cod is a restored 19th century sea captain home. If you’ve ever wanted to steam lobsters, go whale watching, or just enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean, this is the place for you.
The common room is also a games room, but it’s casual enough to just read a good book or listen to music in comfort if that’s what you’re looking for. On cold days the fire is always lit and a warm cup of tea or coffee is never too far away.
Lambert’s Cove Inn is the ultimate getaway retreat in Martha’s Vineyard, and is one of Cape Cod’s most interesting places to stay. It’s set on an eight-acre farm in West Tisbury, complete with green gardens, a peaceful outdoor swimming pool next to the main house, and even a romantic restaurant.
There are only 15 rooms here, so both families and couples can enjoy this place with all the privacy in the world. Rooms have queen or king beds, pull-out sofas, and sometimes even screen porches. If you get bored, all you have to do is wander down to the alpaca farm. An alpaca farm might be one of the best hotel features on this list!
You’ll get year-round service at the Edgar Hotel in Martha’s Vineyard. From here, it’s easy to access the best of Martha’s Vineyard attractions, including the Edgartown harbour and all of the best bike paths.
The rooms are super light and airy thanks to their cathedral ceilings and oversized windows. Everything here has a nautical theme, with wood bed frames and custom cabinetry. Your stay also comes with a free European continental breakfast.
Bayside Resort Hotel is a locally owned New England property in Yarmouth with 128 guest rooms. Each room has all the typical amenities you’d expect from a classic Cape Cod accommodation, including large-screen TVs, refrigerators and coffee makers.
As far as budget hotels go, you’re not lacking for comforts here. Bayside Resort Hotel also has family rooms catering to group bookings, and its location is perfect for booking excursions near the beach or on one of the golf courses.
The Cape Sands Inn in West Yarmouth is located near the Hyannis Ferry Terminal, smack dab in the middle of Cape Cod. With the Seagull Beach and Cape Cod Mall nearby, these clean and comfortable accommodations make a good launching-off place for exploring the mid cape area.
This is also a good place to stay if you plan on day-tripping to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. But with all the sandy beaches and delicious restaurants within easy reach, you’ll probably be content to stay put.
West Yarmouth’s Tidewater Inn has been a family-run business for nearly 50 years now. Thanks to its location near beaches, fishing holes, golf courses, and shopping areas, Tidewater Inn has earned its title of being a Cape Cod vacationland.
Within walking distance you’ll reach the village of Hyannis, with over 60 shops, boutiques, and galleries lining the Main Street. The rooms at this Cape Cod hotel aren’t overly modern, but the beds are supremely comfortable and you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
The Riviera Beach Resort in Cape Cod is a favorite among many travelers for its nostalgic charm as well as its wide swath of beach, endless activities, and happy-go-lucky staff members. Their concierge is happy to assist you if you’re looking for overnight packages with access to biking, hiking, and shopping.
If you want to simply hang out at the resort, we can’t blame you for that either. There’s a beautiful sandy beach, two restaurants, a bar/lounge, an indoor pool and outdoor pool, and free breakfast.
Having undergone a recent multi-million dollar renovation, the Ocean Mist Beach Hotel & Suite is one of the best hotels on this list for having 400 feet of pristine beach, an outdoor pool, a hot tub with a fire pit, an indoor pool, and endless views of the Atlantic.
All the rooms here designed with convenience in mind, and many of the luxury suites and rooms come with full kitchens and private patios. Stick around for the sunset—Cape Cod location has some of the best.
The Chatham Bars Inn is a well-known luxury accommodation in Cape Cod—it’s within walking distance to South Yarmouth, downtown Chatham (in the Lower Cape), and the Chatham Lighthouse. In fact, it’s one of the most historic inns in Cape Cod, having been built originally as a hunting lodge.
If you stay here, you’ll be close to tree-lined Main Street with fashion boutiques, art galleries, and a bunch of ice cream shops and candy shops. Stroll the boardwalks until you reach the perfect private beach located on a quarter-mile of white sand.
Inn on the Square is right in the heart of downtown Falmouth, next to shopping and dining options. It’s a great spot for those looking for coastal charm and cozy decor.
The rooms all have comfortable furnishings, with all the amenities you need like a coffee maker, microwave, and free WiFi. It’s attached to a cafe with outdoor seating, and there’s a large indoor pool for you to complete your morning laps.
The AutoCamp Cape Cod offers luxury Airstream accommodations in a fun, social setting. There’s a lot to choose from here, whether it’s an RV parked in the isolated woods, a luxury tent, or even a basecamp mini-suite.
As tempting as it may be to not leave, don’t forget to go out and explore Cape Cod from here. Enjoy the beaches, take a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, or enjoy lots of sea food along the way.
If you’re planning a trip to Cape Cod soon, these are some of the best towns and accommodations in the area. It’s quintessential New England living out here, and you’ll definitely leave feeling like you’ve barely scratched the surface of all the things to see and do.
Whether you’re seeking a large hotel or just somewhere with all the best beaches, Cape Cod always comes through.
And don’t forget to book your accommodations now before they sell out!
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk. Travel restrictions may apply.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are our recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest information on policies, closures and status of local businesses. There may be travel restrictions.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.