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Cape Cod Vacation Rentals: What You Need to Know

It's hard to beat the advantages and benefits of Cape Cod vacation rentals, whether you're planning a family vacation, a solitary retreat or a romantic getaway for two. Renting a cottage on the Cape is a time-honored summer tradition in many families, and while the most famous of them get a lot of press, you don't have to be the First Family or a Hollywood star to enjoy a weekend, a week or longer in one of the delightful towns that dot the 560 miles of Cape Cod coastline. It does help, however, if you know a few things about Cape Cod vacation rentals and the towns in which you'll find them.

Renting Cape Cod Cottages

The summer tourist season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but most Cape Cod vacation rentals are available for a couple of months on either side of those dates and many Cape Cod rental houses are available year-round. If you book your vacation in the off-season, you can often get bargain basement prices for your week away.

If your main reason for a Cape Cod vacation is lazing on a sunny beach, you can usually count on at least a few warm, sunny days in the couple of weeks before Memorial Day and through late September or early October in the autumn.

Most Cape Cod vacation rentals are owned by individuals or families rather than corporations. Most owners take a great deal of pride in the properties they own and in providing a welcoming and convenient pied-a-terre for your holiday. Expect to be treated as a welcome guest rather than a customer. Don't be surprised to get a telephone call from the owner to make sure that you've got everything you need for your stay or to find a hand-written list of things to do and see while you're in town.

What to Pack

You can pack light when you spend your holiday in a Cape Cod rental house. Most of them are stocked with just about everything you'll need to settle in and enjoy yourself. You'll almost always find the beds made up with clean linens, towels in the bathrooms and everything you need in the kitchen to prepare your own meals except the food.

Depending on the season, you may also find a fire laid in the fireplace ready to be lit and extra wood stacked under cover on the back deck. Many Cape Cod vacation rentals also include a gas grill for cooking out and laundry facilities so that you don't have to ration your clothing or look for a Laundromat during your vacation.

Where to Stay

The Cape is often referred to as if every town is a quaint little village out of the 1950s, but the fact is that every town on Cape Cod has its own character and personality. Plymouth, often called the Gateway to Cape Cod, is a treasure house of history, with the Mayflower II and Plimoth Plantation alongside world-class restaurants. Provincetown, at the other end of the Cape is a cosmopolitan, quirky vacation capital where you can rub shoulders with people from all walks of life and participate in campy festivals in the afternoon, then dine in some of the world's finest restaurants in the evening. Falmouth is a long-time fishing port - no Cape Cod vacation is complete without booking a whale watch out of Falmouth Harbor - and Woods Hole is as far from tourist-y as you can get and still be on the same map.

The one thing they all share is the stunning views of the ocean and the easy availability of Cape Cod vacation rentals. Of course, since you can easily drive from one end of Cape Cod to the other, it really doesn't matter where you book your Cape Cod rental house - you'll still have the entire Cape to explore as your playground.

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