Wednesday, August 4

There’s still time to summer on the Cape — these are the top hotels in Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard


FAQ: Cape Cod hotels

Where is Cape Cod?

Cape Cod is a roughly 70-mile-long, crescent-shaped peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic in Massachusetts. It includes two islands, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and is divided into four regions, each with its own distinct personality and rich history .

What is the best area to stay in Cape Cod?

Closest to the mainland, the Upper Cape is home to some of the oldest towns in America including Sandwich, which dates back to 1639. Mid Cape is considered the urban hub with the biggest population and largest city, Hyannis; this is also where most people catch ferries to the islands.

Once you reach the “elbow,” or the Lower Cape, you’ve entered quaint towns such as Chatham, Orleans, Harwich, which are home to some of the region’s finest beaches, including Nauset Beach.

The Outer Cape also includes miles of pristine beaches, seagrasses, and sand dunes, plus the 43,000-acre Cape Cod National Seashore, and has a wilder, more remote feel. That is, until you reach the easternmost tip and Provincetown (commonly referred to as P-town), which is a bustling LGBTQ enclave known for its artsy vibe and eclectic nightlife.

Finally, there are the islands: Nantucket, with its picture-perfect cobblestoned historic district, and the showier Martha’s Vineyard, which regularly lures celebrities, former presidents, and royalty.

When is the best time to visit Cape Cod?

There’s nothing quite like summer on Cape Cod. Long sunny days spent at the beach followed by grilling out with fresh seafood as warm evening breezes lap by. There’s fresh seafood and ice cream to eat, and when the tide slinks out far on the bay, there’s nothing quite like walking out as far as the eye can see.

But while the warmer months are certainly a draw, the shoulder and off-season periods present a rare opportunity to savor the Cape too, sans crowds, with cheaper hotel prices, to boot. The beaches are still lovely to stroll and there’s a calmer, more local vibe to savor. Just know that many businesses shutter in winter, so some dining and shopping may be limited.

What kind of hotels are on Cape Cod?

On Cape Cod, you’ll find hotels of all sorts, from beachy motels and cottages to luxe five-star hotels with chic spas and a posh crowd.

For this list in particular, we also included several B&Bs or inns, as we believe they offer strong value in terms of price, location, and room type. Many hotels in Cape Cod are expensive, and these alternate lodgings offer an accessible way to visit that won’t cost a fortune. They also tend to be more personable and exude character. However, because most inns are located in smaller, historic properties, they may seem dated or show signs of wear and tear.

Additionally, many properties are seasonal and close for the winter.

What is there to do in Cape Cod?

The beach, of course. The Atlantic side of the cape enjoys wide stretches of beach framed by dramatic cliffs with large rolling waves. Keep your eyes peeled for passing friendly seals, as well as sharks.

On the bay side, the calm still waters are great for families with small children, and at low tide, the water draws back for miles, leaving the sandy bay floor to explore and take long walks.

Rustic seafood shacks serve local catches, while the signature Cape Codder, a mix of vodka and cranberry juice, is ubiquitous in local bars and taverns.

There are also many great trails for running, walking, biking, and beautiful state parks for exploring or camping.

Is Cape Cod safe to visit?

The CDC says it is safe to travel domestically if you are fully vaccinated, and we also talked to experts to identify the best ways to keep yourself and others safe during travel, as well as potential risk factors surrounding flying and renting a car. They say that in most cases, hotels are safe.



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