15 Unique Towns
From Provincetown at the outer tip of Cape Cod, to Chatham at the "elbow," to Bourne at the Cape Cod Canal, each of the 15 towns on Cape Cod exudes its own unique character. And vacation rental homes within each town also offer a vast variety of vacation experiences appealing to the young, the old, families and romantic getaways for couples.
The Cape offers such a wealth of attractions including fresh, local seafood, fabulous museums, stunning nature preserves, great shopping, and tons of summertime activities. But probably its greatest allure comes from the Cape’s 65 miles of sandy shoreline providing pristine, white-sandy beaches. When seeking a vacation rental, consider which kinds of beaches would best suit your needs.
The Northern Shore on Cape Cod Bay
For those of you with young kids, beach rentals in towns facing Cape Cod Bay along the north side of Route 6A, including Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, and Brewster, are extremely popular. Although the water is slightly cooler than along the southern and western shores, the sandy tidal flats offer miles of safe shallow waters and tons of opportunity for young kids to explore sea life and frolic together. Many rental homes in this historically preserved area are within fairly easy walking or driving distance of the Bay beaches, and the area is relatively quiet and non-commercialized.
The Eastern Shore and the Cape Cod National Seashore
If your group includes teens or sports enthusiasts, you might be more interested in finding a summer vacation rental along the east-facing shores of the Atlantic Ocean on what’s known as the Outer Cape. The beaches bordering the east side of Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro, for example, including the Cape Cod National Seashore, offer vast open expanses of beach and sand dunes, and the open ocean can usually be counted on to provide exciting surf. Vacation homes on the Outer Cape are often set atop the dunes with dramatic sunrise views across the water. But the thin arm of the Outer Cape also borders Cape Cod Bay and thus offers the best of both worlds! Besides the occasional lobster shack or ice cream store essential to summertime bliss, the Outer Cape is devoid of commercial enterprises and attracts vacationers looking for a slower pace where quiet and solitude are of greatest value.
The Lower Cape region encompasses the southern section of the National Seashore and Pleasant Bay bordered by Orleans and Chatham with Brewster and Harwich to the west. All four of these Lower Cape towns offer distinct town centers with terrific restaurants and shopping and a diverse selection of summer rentals. Upscale Chatham is one of the most popular on the Cape due to its historic charm and proximity to so many bodies of water including the Atlantic to the east and Nantucket Sound to the south. Summer vacation rentals abound in this resort town.
The Southern Shore on Nantucket Sound
The southern shore of the Cape faces the warm waters of Nantucket Sound, looking out towards the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The surf is considerably less than along the Atlantic shore, but more active than the quiet of the Bay to the north. The towns along the southern shore, including Hyannis, Yarmouth, and Dennis, are considerably more developed and therefore offer significantly more commercial activities including shopping, ferries to the Islands, museums, and arcades. But lovely vacation homes can be found in quaint villages such as Osterville or Woods Hole, providing idyllic settings with easy access to night life or rainy day activities.
The Western Shore on Buzzards Bay
North of Falmouth are the west-facing communities along the shore of Buzzards Bay. Like the Sound, the waters of Buzzards Bay are warm and with moderate to light surf. One of the Cape’s most popular beaches, Old Silver Beach, is in North Falmouth, and the areas of Cataumet, Pocassett and Bourne north of there offer beautiful boating, swimming and fishing opportunities and a great rental home selection.
Freshwater Lakes and Ponds
One of the best kept secrets of Cape Cod are its many freshwater lakes and ponds, offering terrific values for waterfront vacation rentals at more reasonable rates than traditional, Ocean, Sound or Bay front ones. Some of the largest include Long Pond in Harwich, Lake Wequaquet in West Barnstable, and the five lakes in Nickerson State Park in Brewster.
Just Off Cape
The area designated as Just off Cape spans from Marion in the south along Buzzards Bay, north along the Cape Cod Canal, and up to through Plymouth, Kingston and Marshfield along southeastern shore of Massachusetts. Among the many advantages of renting a summer home in this special area are that it is usually more affordable than the Cape and offers easier proximity to the city of Boston.
The majority of Cape Cod vacation rentals are single family homes and cottages, although there are a number of vacation condo complexes in the Mid Cape region, especially popular among golf enthusiasts.