I love Cape Cod summer days, and not just because this is where I grew up.
After traveling the world, I realized how amazing those relatively cool, temperate summer days, with the freshest New England seafood around, truly are. When planning a visit to the Cape it is tough to decide on where to stay as each part of the Cape is unique and provides a completely different experience and budget for those visiting.
Hopefully this guide will help you make the most out of your visit to the home of my youth!
Provincetown and Wellfleet
Provincetown and Wellfleet are the priciest yet most beautiful (in this girl's opinion) and quaint areas to stay on the cape. Located at “the tip” of the Cape, it is also the farthest to reach, and requires either driving the whole length of the Massachusetts peninsula.
The easiest option is taking a 95 minute fast ferry direct from Boston!
Driving can be a challenge, especially during the busy summer months. Traffic gets extremely heavy as the multiple lane roads that lead into the Cape dwindle down to one lane for most of the 60 mile drive.
Cape Cod is the unofficial home of unique Inns and “Bed and Breakfast” hotels! You won’t find any major hotels in these areas, so privately owned Inns, Airbnb, or traditional B&Bs will be your best bet.
Be advised, inventory is extremely short so you will need to book about 6 months in advance. I have found great deals just by googling bed and breakfasts in the area.
Known for its extremely inclusive culture, Provincetown has a fun, partying vibe, where you can walk around to all the shops, have amazing dinner with a view and catch a late night drag show!
Newcomb Hollow Beach
Wellfleet is a much quieter place. An undisturbed return to peaceful New England beaches and some of the most epic sand dunes of the entire region. Beautiful beaches everywhere, our favorite is Beachcomber, on the Cahoon Hollow Beach is a great option for a peaceful retreat to relax.
Dennis Port, Harwich and Chatham
This is part of the “lower” more accessible part of the Cape, if you decide to stay in this region, traffic will be less stressful as there are multiple options to get off the highway and you won’t end up stuck in a long, one lane line of Cape Cod traffic.
Chatham is furthest of the 3 down the Cape, and more quiet, classy, and quaint. The restaurant choices are amazing but more expensive.
Harwich is very close to Chatham and in between Chatham and Dennis Port. It has a beautiful little main street with bars and a ton of amazing restaurants.
The beaches aren’t as nice as Chatham but you can drive within 10-20 minutes and find amazing options.
Dennis Port is one of my favorite choices as there are more affordable prices and you still get that quaint Cape Cod feel with some fun options for bars and live music.
This is also the home to one of my favorite Cape Cod beaches, Mayflower Beach. It also has a ton of family activities and my favorite Cape Cod ice cream store, Sunday School.
Hyannis is the largest town and the heart of the Cape, with most of the region's local population residing here. This will be the most affordable part of Cape Cod due to its size and national hotel chains as an option to drive down prices, but it's also more urbanized, so that quaint Cape Cod feel is lost for the most part. It can feel like a town on the mainland.
Hyannis has a ton of bars and restaurants, due to growth in the past few years. If you are looking for options, size has its advantage, here you’ll find the most choices.
You can also look for places to stay in nearby Hyannisport to feel a bit more Cape Cod vibe.
If you are planning on visiting Nantucket, this is where you take the ferry. Visiting this historic New England Island town makes an amazing day trip.
Falmouth and Mashpee
Falmouth and Mashpee are located in the upper Cape region. Directly south after crossing the Bourne Bridge to enter the Cape, These are much better choices for those avoiding the traffic that goes east up the peninsula. Another advantage, prices here are more affordable.
There’s not much nightlife in Mashpee, but it has great shopping at Mashpee Commons. Filled with stores and restaurants for visitors, and Dre’s favorite Cape movie theater. There are also plenty of beaches, but there are better ones in nearby Falmouth.
Dre has spent countless summers in Falmouth, which is his favorite part of the Cape. Home of the famous Old Silver Beach (also Dre’s favorite), the shallow sandbar helps heat this beach's water, and provides a huge area for beach goers to wade.
Old Silver Beach
If you are looking for a classic New England Main street, You’ll find few the equal of Falmouth.
Filled with shops and restaurants, during the summer tourist season, the streets are normally filled with pedestrians. At dusk you’ll see a line out the door of Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium, and happy patrons filing out with towering “small” ice cream cones, an end of day tradition for many. It's also my favorite chocolate store in the Cape!
For shopping, check out the cutest bookstore, Eight Cousins Books.
For the best sunsets, stop by Nobska Lighthouse right before dusk!
When things get popping, there are a few popular bars with live music like the Boat House.
One of my favorite things about Falmouth is the access to visit the island of Martha’s Vineyard, you can check out Woods Hole on the way and catch a ferry for a day trip.
Speaking of Martha’s Vineyard, there is a second ferry option. Smaller, and less like an ocean liner, we prefer the Island Queen, located in central Falmouth.
Buzzards Bay and Bourne
Buzzards Bay just north of the Bourne Bridge (gateway to the Cape Cod Peninsula) and Bourne, directly on the other side, are the cheapest part of the Cape to stay in.
The best part of this area is the fact that you can take the exit right before Bourne Bridge and skip the traffic jammed across the narrow 4 lane bridge.
The highlight of this area is the beautiful Cape Cod Canal, where you can bike ride or walk and enjoy the view.
This area does not have the best beaches or entertainment compared to the other parts of the Cape but places like Captain Al's Tiki Bar and The Lobster Trap bring an authentic local Cape Cod vibe to Bourne. This is a great place to stay when boating or looking to stick to a cheaper budget.
We hope you found our Cape Cod travel tips useful, and as we are extremely familiar with the region, feel free to drop us a note with any questions if you’re visiting!
Our Dope Life Continues.
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Woods Hole ferry to Martha's Vineyard.
Island Queen ferry from central Falmouth to Martha's Vineyard.