For a popular destination located in the small state of Massachusetts, Cape Cod offers so many different towns for a family vacation. Planning a Cape Cod vacation can sometimes be intimidating if you aren’t familiar with the area because it can be tough to figure out where to stay.
The various Cape Cod towns are all nice but offer many different activities, restaurants, and attractions. Here are the best towns on Cape Cod for a vacation to consider for your next trip including some of the tourist destinations you’ll find at each location.
Disclosure: We’ve received complimentary stays at several hotels on Cape Cod, and also own a vacation rental home there. This post contains affiliate links and a purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.
The Best Towns on Cape Cod for Vacation
Cape Cod is very popular in the summer months, so we recommend booking your lodging as soon as possible – especially if you are visiting the peak time of the year. While you can visit Cape Cod as a day trip from Boston, it’s best to stay there. You’ll want to be on Cape Cod for more than one day so you can fully enjoy the beaches, bike paths, restaurants, shops, outdoor activities, and other great things to do. The best towns of Cape Cod can be very busy during the summer months.
Keep in mind that while you’ll want to choose one of these beach towns to stay in, you can definitely visit the other towns as day trips. That’s what we typically do when we stay there. It’s a pretty short drive to get to any of these best Cape Cod towns, and it can be fun to visit different areas during your vacation.
There are plenty of hotels, motels, resorts, and inns on Cape Cod. Some families prefer to book a vacation home where they will have more space to spread out. There are lots of options for vacation rentals, so spend some time looking and book early – before the season if possible. Some will require a one-week stay minimum.
If you are a baseball fan, try to catch a Cape Cod baseball league game. These free games take place throughout the Cape from mid-June to early August. There are teams in the following towns: Brewster, Chatham, Yarmouth-Dennis, Orleans, Harwich, Bourne, Cotuit, Wareham, Hyannis, and Falmouth. Because they are free, they are a great option for families who aren’t sure how their kids will enjoy a game.
Located at the very tip of Cape Cod in the region known as the outer Cape, Provincetown is a bustling artsy town with lots to do. Museums and historical attractions include the Pilgrim Museum and Provincetown Museum, the Race Point Lighthouse, and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.
Provincetown also offers several sandy beaches, including a few that are part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. There are lots of waterfront activities to enjoy in this beautiful town. Nature lovers have lots of great activities, including kayaking, whale watching, and fishing charters.
You won’t want to miss a walk down Commercial Street. This waterfront street offers restaurants, cafes, shops, art galleries, live music, ice cream shops, and more. Paid parking is available right in this downtown area. It’s such a fun street and is worth a visit even if you aren’t staying in Provincetown.
You’ll find B&Bs and vacation home rentals in Provincetown, as well as some hotels. We’ve enjoyed a stay at the Harbor Hotel, an oceanfront motel offering a restaurant, pool, and quiet location on the end of Commercial Street.
If you are considering staying in Provincetown, here are some of the top-rated hotels:
This luxurious and elegant town is located in the lower Cape area, right in what is known as the elbow of Cape Cod (imagining the area of Cape Cod as an arm). Chatham is such a quintessential Cape destination, with beautiful beaches, quaint gift shops, and great restaurants. It’s one of my favorite towns for shopping.
Although Chatham is in the lower Cape area, it is fairly central to a lot of the more popular Cape Cod summer destinations. So, it’s a great place to stay. There are also some wonderful hotels and resorts in the area.
Things to do and see in Chatham include the Chatham Fish Pier (where you can find harbor seals), the Chatham Lighthouse, Lighthouse Beach, and the Chatham Shark Center.
Hotels in Chatham include:
Located in the Lower Cape Cod area along Cape Cod Bay is the town of Brewster, MA. This town is known as the home of Nickerson State Park, which offers campgrounds, hiking trails, ponds, and much more.
Bringing your bike? Brewster is also located along the Cape Cod Rail Trail. This 25.5-mile paved trail runs through several towns including Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet.
Throughout the year, but especially in the summers, families flock to the beautiful Brewster, MA to stay at the popular Ocean Edge Resort. This resort offers so much for families to do, including a private beach (available to some resort guests), a golf course, a spa, multiple pools, several restaurants, and much more.
If you are considering a visit to Ocean Edge Resort, you’ll find that there are several different lodging types available. These include townhouses, traditional hotel rooms, and suites. Ocean Edge also hosts many different family activities throughout the year, including during school vacations. It’s one of our favorite places to stay in New England and is definitely worth visiting.
This Upper Cape town is known for the 7-mile Falmouth Road Race, which is held annually in August. Because of its Upper Cape location, Falmouth can also be visited as a day trip from Boston. There is a lot to do, including some great shops, restaurants, and hotels.
The town of Falmouth includes the villages of Woods Hole, Davisville, Hatchville, East Falmouth, North Falmouth, West Falmouth, and Quissett.
Attractions and things to do in Falmouth include beaches, the Shining Sea Bikeway, Nobska Point Lighthouse, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. You’ll also find shops and restaurants on Main Street. Want to visit the small islands off the coast of Massachusetts? You can also take a ferry from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard (ferries to Nantucket depart from Hyannis).
There are lots of motels and hotels in Falmouth, but our favorite is the Sea Crest Beach Hotel. It’s located right on Old Silver Beach and also offers an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a pool bar, and two restaurants.
Located on the upper Cape is the fun town of Mashpee MA, and is one of the best places to stay if you are looking to shop. It’s bordered by Falmouth, Barnstable, and Sandwich, and includes the villages of Monomoscoy Island, Mashpee Neck, New Seabury, Popponesset, Seabrook, and Seconsett Island. Mashpee does have a large shopping area and some chain stores but is also beautiful and quaint.
My favorite area is Popponesset, where you can visit the Raw Bar at the Popponesset Marketplace. While you are there, be sure to get one of their colossal lobster rolls – one of the best lobster rolls I’ve had!
Yarmouth, which includes the villages of Yarmouth Port, West Yarmouth, and South Yarmouth, is one of my favorite places on the Cape for families to visit. It’s centrally located on the mid-Cape, between Dennis and Hyannis (a village in Barnstable), making it the perfect place to stay if you want to take day trips to the different towns.
Yarmouth offers so many family activities including Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf, Skull Island Adventure Golf and Sports World, and the Whydah Pirate Museum. There are also many beautiful beaches (some of the best beaches on the Cape, in my opinion)- our favorites are Seagull Beach, Smuggler’s Beach, and Gray’s Beach. Yarmouth is also on the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
There are several fantastic family resorts in Yarmouth – here are a few of the most popular ones.
You can also find other lodging options on the map below (affiliate links).
Other towns in Cape Cod to consider for your vacation include Eastham, Dennis, Wellfleet, Hyannis, and Sandwich.
Looking for more Cape Cod travel tips? Click to see our guide with town recommendations, things to do, restaurants, and more in Cape Cod.
Friday 29th of April 2022
Wellfleet is very much old Cape Cod, and it is off Route 6 so it only gets local traffic. Shops, galleries, restaurants and a working harbor.
Wednesday 27th of April 2022
Dennis is by far the most enjoyable town on the cape.
Monday 25th of April 2022
I'm surprised Wellfleet didn't make the list... We love it there !
Tuesday 26th of April 2022
Thanks for your comment!