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Cape Cod is an iconic summer getaway with a blend of beautiful shorelines, golf, hiking trails, lighthouses and quaint seaside villages. The hook-shaped peninsula is located south of Boston, and is made up of four regions: upper, mid, lower and outer. Within these areas are unique towns such as Provincetown (known for its nightlife and LGBT community), Hyannis and Yarmouth (which have plenty of family friendly attractions) and Eastham (ideal for nature lovers). But with such a small window of ideal weather, hotels can often be pricey. So if you're looking to visit this popular vacation spot on the cheap, it's important to know that the majority of budget lodging options are intimate, “mom and pop” hotels that transport visitors back to a different era. With that said, here are the 10 best Cape Cod hotels if you're pinching pennies.
Best in Hyannis: SeaCoast Inn
The unassuming, 26-room SeaCoast Inn is a pleasant surprise in the center of Hyannis and is an easy walk to the shops and restaurants of Main Street or to the ferry terminal (which is great if you're interested in day-tripping it to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket). Rooms have contemporary décor, hardwood floors, kitchenettes, cable television, free WiFi and soft bedding with premium sheets to ensure a good night’s rest. The hotel is tidy, bright and quiet, and free continental breakfast and laundry services are available. TripAdvisor members gushed about the friendliness of the front desk staff and their willingness to help with any questions about local attractions or advice on restaurants. Free parking is included.
Best Beachside: Ocean Club on Smugglers Beach
Staying at the Ocean Club on Smugglers Beach allows travelers to step out of their rooms and walk along the sand. The hotel has a plethora of amenities such as a glass-enclosed swimming pool and Jacuzzi with a retractable roof, a community kitchen, and outdoor grills and a sundeck overlooking the beach. Get a workout in at the fitness center and unwind in the sauna, or grab a book from the library and relax on the patio. Completely renovated in 2011, rooms consist of spacious one, or two-bedroom units with kitchenettes or full kitchens, whimsical beach décor (think seashell lamps and paintings), fireplaces, balconies (in most) and rainfall bathroom showers.
Best for Amenities: Bayside Resort Hotel
The 128-room, Bayside Resort Hotel has amenities that cater to both families and couples. For starters, there are two pools: an outdoor pool overlooking Lewis Bay with a sundeck, Tiki bar, and volleyball court, as well as a heated indoor pool with a whirlpool and saunas. At night, guests can gather around the beach fire pit or enjoy a pint at the traditional pub. There’s also a fitness center, game room for kids and free continental breakfast. Standard Rooms include sitting areas, free WiFi, flat-screen televisions, free movies, pool towels and separate baths with tea tree bath products. The beach resort is located in West Yarmouth on the bay (not the ocean) and is in close proximity to numerous golf courses, several restaurants, the Cape Cod Inflatable Park and the Whydah Pirate Museum.
Best in Provincetown: Seaglass Inn and Spa
The family-owned, 55-room Seaglass Inn and Spa is perched atop a hill on four acres in the west end of gay-friendly Provincetown, and offers a peaceful retreat with surreal views of the sunset. The pet-friendly hotel offers a free shuttle to the beach or Commercial Street, the main hub that’s lined with art galleries and restaurants located about a mile down the road. Unwind in the outdoor pool and gardens or at the spa with options like Swedish reflexology massages and hot stone treatments. The rooms have patios, fireplaces (in some) and a welcome gift bag. A homemade continental breakfast is included, as well as free afternoon cookies and cake. TripAdvisor members have noted that cell phone service is spotty, and the free WiFi is limited.
Best for Romance: Eagle Wing Inn
Between Provincetown and Hyannis is Eastham, home to the stunning Cape Cod National Seashore, Nauset Lighthouse and Coast Guard Beach – it's the ideal spot for nature-lovers and romantics seeking a calming atmosphere. In addition to the 19-room inn offering free bike and laptop rentals, guest laundry room and WiFi, guests can also curl up with a good book from the library, take a dip in the outdoor pool or relax in an Adirondack chair in the manicured yard and gardens. Continental breakfast is included in the charming dining area, and freshly baked cookies are served in the afternoon.
Best in South Yarmouth: The Escape Inn
If you're willing to give up the prime beachfront location, but still want to be centrally located so you can explore the Cape, then you might want to stay at The Escape Inn. The 19 rooms have light and airy décor featuring pastel walls, wicker furniture, hardwood floors and amenities such as private baths and free WiFi. The outdoor pool is well maintained and has lounge chairs and sitting areas for relaxation, however, the hotel is located on a busy road (which can be noisy at times). Free continental breakfast is included in the darling breakfast room, and the owners are friendly people who are offer advice and guidance about South Yarmouth. The Bass River Beach is about two miles from the hotel, and the Judah Baker Windmill and several mini golf courses are just a five-minute drive away. All the antique shops and charming homes can be found in Yarmouth about five miles away on the north side of town.
Best for Families: Pleasant Bay Village
Families return to the Pleasant Bay Village year after year because of its beautiful setting and all the extra touches. The hotel has tranquil Japanese gardens with a Zen-like atmosphere (think flowers everywhere, koi ponds, plus a fabulous outdoor pool and Jacuzzi). Added amenities include a barbecue area, laundry service, beach gear, homemade cookies in the afternoon and a free continental breakfast in the sun-soaked dining area overlooking the gardens. Standard rooms have modern comforts such as flat-screen televisions, free WiFi and Keurig coffee makers. Suites also have kitchenettes or full kitchens, couches and are ideal for families who prefer a little more space. The hotel is located in Chatham (Lower Cape) next to two golf courses, and is a short drive from Main Street shops and restaurants.
Best in Falmouth: Red Horse Inn
Want to experience the Cape without trekking all the way out to the end of the hook? Stay in Falmouth. The 22-room, Red Horse Inn is located in the heart of town, just a five-minute walk to the Island Queen Ferry (so you can explore Martha’s Vineyard). There are five different room categories, but all are bright and spacious with free WiFi, individual heat and air and sitting areas. Each room has its own custom décor such as quilt bedspreads, wood or metal headboards, fireplaces, and a cottage-like atmosphere. Continental breakfast is included and is served in the barn – a remodeled space that doubles as a lounge area, but guests can also relax in the peaceful courtyard.
Best Bed and Breakfast: Sesuit Harbor House
It’s all the little touches - like crab pots for the kids, or cookies in the lobby - that make the Sesuit Harbor House so special. Located in East Dennis (mid Cape), there are five distinct buildings set on two lovely acres, with the main house dating back to 1735. A continental breakfast is included that can be enjoyed in several seating areas – both indoors or out. All rooms have refrigerators, Sony clock radios (many with docking stations), individually controlled heat and air, free WiFi and an outdoor seating area. For fun and entertainment, guests can partake in yard games like bocce and croquet, take a yoga class (held twice a week), go for a spin on a bike, or borrow some chairs and umbrellas and head to the beach.
Best Rustic Inn: Cove Bluffs Inn
Surrounded by pine trees and woods, this intimate, 12-room hotel has a peaceful setting in Eastham on the Outer Cape. It's the ideal spot if you're wanting a quiet stay. Sway in a hammock, take a dip in the pool, enjoy lunch on the outdoor picnic tables or stop by the gazebo in the afternoon for coffee and cookies and browse the tourism information inside. Guestrooms and suites have a cozy, rustic feel with partial wood walls and amenities like kitchenettes (or full kitchens in suites), free WiFi, comfortable mattresses and soft towels. TripAdvisor members appreciated the personalized service – like handwritten welcome notes or tips on the area. There are plenty of hiking trails and bike paths to explore near the inn, and the beach is about three miles away. Be aware that they do not allow children under the age of five.