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For all its renown as a summer playground, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is also a winter destination of undeniable beauty. Beaches formerly filled with sun-worshippers now offer seaside solitude. When it snows, historical homes in small towns take on a fairy-tale luster. Conservation trails wind through a silvered landscape and offer a chance to spy foxes, deer, eagles, and other wildlife.
Race Point Beach, Provincetown, MA
Bill DeSousa-Mauk/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
“Even on a cold day, hiking the Province Lands and its huge 100-foot dunes is dreamy,” says Bill DeSousa-Mauk, publicist for the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and an avid hiker. He counts the West Barnstable Conservation Area and Mashpee River Woodlands as his favorite winter haunts, but also recommends walking across the Provincetown Breakwater to Long Point, the absolute end of Cape Cod—“strenuous but exhilarating!”
After reveling in the beauty of nature, you can find civilized comforts, too, in the form of uncrowded shops and restaurants — as well as in a number of Cape Cod inns and hotels that stay open through the off-season to give visitors a warm welcome. Below are some of our favorite Cape Cod lodging options, all of which are taking reservations seven days a week. And with their off-season rates and specials, a Cape Cod getaway has never looked so good.
Best Cape Cod Winter Getaways
Best Cape Cod Winter Getaways | The Frost Bar at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club | Brewster
This AAA Four Diamond resort has all the winter-beating touches that you’d expect: heated pool, on-site spa, fireplaces and whirlpool tubs in select rooms. But it’s also added a creative dining pop-up called the Frost Bar that offers socially distant dining under the stars in private heated igloos, located behind the resort’s turn-of-the-century main house, The Mansion. (Cozy seating by the fire and inside the bar area is also available.) Choose from finely appointed guest rooms or multi-bedroom villas, and take this lavish opportunity to unplug.
Best Cape Cod Winter Getaways | Dan’l Webster Inn and Spa
Dan’l Webster Inn and Spa
Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa | Sandwich
Lodging has been offered on this site for more than 300 years; in its Revolutionary days, the tavern served as patriot headquarters. The Dan’l Webster Inn preserves its colonial coziness — many of the 48 rooms have gas fireplaces and hand-carved canopy and four-poster beds — while adding modern amenities such as whirlpool tubs, an on-site spa, and a restaurant serving updated New England cuisine alongside an award-winning wine selection.
Best Cape Cod Winter Getaways | The Landing at Pilgrim House
Pilgrim House | Provincetown
If you’re looking to stay in the heart of P-town, it’s hard to beat Pilgrim House, one block from Lopes Square and just steps off Commercial Street. Decorated in a simple, laid-back “beach chic” style, the 19 rooms range from standard with queen to a two-room suite with a skylight to banish that winter gloom. The on-site restaurant, The Landing Bistro & Bar, invites you to warm up by the fireplace with special “Appy Hours” from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. Plus, you can take advantage of free parking on nearby MacMillan Pier all winter.
Best Cape Cod Winter Getaways | Chatham Inn
Chatham Inn | Chatham
This luxe 18-room inn capped off a major renovation in 2019 with a brand-new accolade: Cape Cod’s only Relais & Châteaux property. Pampering here includes Matouk bed linens, Frette towels, Malin+Goetz bath products, and a “Chef’s Grand Breakfast,” served fireside in the dining room. Even better, a number of the rooms and suites come with wood-burning fireplaces and two-person soaking tubs, ideal for banishing winter’s chill. The off-season solitude of scenic Lighthouse Beach is within easy walking distance, as are Chatham’s downtown shops.
Best Cape Cod Winter Getaways | Palmer House Inn
Palmer House Inn
Palmer House Inn | Falmouth
One of the genteel homes of Falmouth’s Historic District, this 1901 Queen Anne mansion is today a romantic bed-and-breakfast with literary charm. You might opt for the Emily Dickinson Room (king-size mahogany four-poster bed, gas fireplace, whirlpool tub). Or perhaps the dog-friendly Henry David Thoreau Cottage (two bedrooms with a private deck and kitchenette). From the individually decorated 12 rooms in the main house to the four carriage-house rooms and cottage, every stay comes with a gourmet breakfast each morning (think: fresh fruit salad, home-baked scones, and blackberry bread pudding). A cracking fireplace in the parlor adds to the seasonal allure.
The Inn at Yarmouth Port | Yarmouth Port
You may feel as though you’re stepping back in time when you tread the century-old wide-plank pine floors at this c. 1843 Greek Revival manse. But odds are the original owner never slept as soundly as guests do today. Each of the seven rooms here is outfitted with a king-sized bed and luxury linens; other restful touches include soaking tubs and fireplaces. The inn may be best known, however, for its gourmet breakfasts, which change seasonally and feature locally grown produce. Highlights have included frittatas made with local asparagus, mushroom, and fontina cheese; and peach shortcakes with homemade almond biscuits. And look for the inn’s signature breakfast sausage, created with Peterson’s Market in Yarmouth Port.
Bayside Resort | West Yarmouth
This 128-room hotel has something for everyone. Couples will love making a winter escape in a Jacuzzi suite with bay views, while families can opt for togetherness in bigger rooms with cathedral ceilings (many rooms also have connecting doors). When you want a break from the chill, you can do a few laps in the heated indoor pool, get your heart rate up in the fitness center, or test your reflexes on a vintage arcade game in the Family Fun Center. Full breakfast included.
Do you have a favorite Cape Cod winter getaway? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2020 and has been updated.