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Fishing villages, lovely beaches and quaint little towns along the peninsula of Cape Cod make this a favorite vacation destination for visitors from all around the United States. Decide where to stay on Cape Cod and get a head start when it comes to enjoying your Massachusetts vacation.

Upper Cape

The Upper Cape area consists of Sandwich, Mashpee, Falmouth (including the fishing village of Woods Hole) and Bourne. Everyone on a Cape Cod vacation passes through this area as they get off at either the Sagamore Bridge or Bourne Bridge. It’s the most convenient part of the Cape that’s closest to the mainland.

In this area, you can find historically preserved homes to rent that easily fit larger families. Vacation homes for rent are usually in quiet areas and within easy walking distance to beaches and stores. This part of the Cape is a little cozier than other, more open areas.

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Mid Cape

The Mid Cape area is made up of Barnstable (the Cape’s largest town, which contains eight villages), Dennis and Yarmouth. Barnstable’s eight villages offer everything from the tiny and picturesque Barnstable Village to the mall area of Hyannis. Dennis has the most cultural attractions, including a museum, playhouse and theater. The other parts of Mid Cape are sleepy and rural, while some are wealthier and preppier. Hyannis, as an aside, was made famous by the Kennedy family visits. In Mid Cape, the beaches are said to have calmer and warmer waters.

The vacation homes for rent here are more suburban in style, though there’s a fair share of quaint Cape Cod homes, too. Not everything is located within walking distance from home, so a car may be necessary. However, there’s more property with the vacation rental homes in this area. Mid Cape is also an ideal area in which to find condo complexes for rent that have proximity to golf courses.

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Lower Cape

The Lower Cape area, the elbow of the piece of land that looks like a forearm, includes Brewster, Chatham, Harwich and Orleans. These little towns have pretty main streets that are shopping destinations filled with expensive and high-quality fashion and furnishings. If you’re interested in waterfront Cape Cod vacation rentals, consider lakefront rentals. There are plenty of homes with private views of freshwater lakes and ponds in this area.

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Outer Cape

The Outer Cape area, or the very tapered end of the tip that resembles a forearm, consists of Eastham, Provincetown (also called P-Town), Truro and Wellfleet. If you stay in one of these towns, you’ll have passed through the entirety of the area and you’ll have a good taste of the many things to do in Cape Cod. Outer Cape is considered the most colorful part of the Cape due to the younger and more open-minded visitors. Wellfleet is considered the artsier part of the forearm.

Here, you’ll find new and older vacation homes often set on top of or near dunes with uninterrupted views of dramatic sunrises across the water. Though Cape Cod is far from commercialized, the Outer Cape area is the least built-up area, which means there’s more open, quiet space.

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Cape Cod Islands

Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are part of Cape Cod known as Cape Cod Islands. Martha’s Vineyard is seven miles off the coast of Massachusetts, but it’s an entirely different world from Cape Cod. There are no bridges to get you back and forth. As with Cape Cod, each of the islands has its own character, charm and busy and tranquil areas.

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Here, you’ll find an array of hidden gems, from cottage-style single-family homes to antique homes to more luxurious oceanfront homes. For a luxurious Cape Cod vacation, you can always consider staying at charming and tasteful boutique inns and resorts on both of these Islands.

Waterfront

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The waterfront sections of Cape Cod are found in all areas with varied views of the Atlantic Ocean or the sheltered Cape Cod Bay. Cape Cod rentals include big beach homes with large verandas overlooking the water, hotels with beach access and condos that offer private beaches for guests. The waterfront is busiest in the summer season beginning in mid-June and continuing through the end of August.