Cape Cod, Massachusetts is one of America’s most famous summer resort destinations. It is known for its miles of white sand beaches, marshes, and dunes combined with charming towns and villages to explore. Why is Cape Cod famous? For more than 200 years, it was mostly a fishing and whaling region but train service from Boston began in 1848. The creation of the Cape Cod Canal in 1914 then the construction of bridges onto the cape in the 1930s allowed the population to explode.
For about 100 years, towns on Cape Cod have been a major summer haven for city dwellers in New England and New York. Most famously, the Kennedys made Cape Cod their summer home and President John F. Kennedy established the gorgeous Cape Cod National Seashore during his presidency.
Cape Cod is made up of more than one dozen towns and many more villages, many of which quadruple in population during the summer. Are you planning a trip to the cape or thinking about moving to the area? We’ll explore all 15 Cape Cod towns by population. Here’s a complete guide to Cape Cod towns and villages and what they are known for!
P.S. Massachusetts cities, towns, and villages can be tricky to pronounce. Here is a quick primer on how to pronounce Cape Cod towns.
Overview of Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is the hook-shaped peninsula conterminous with Barnstable County in southeastern Massachusetts with Cape Cod Bay to the north and the Nantucket Sound to the south. The county covers all the Cape as well as satellite islands. Most of Cape Cod is separated from mainland Massachusetts by the Cape Cod Canal. There are two major bridges crossing the canal: the Bourne Bridge and the Sagamore Bridge.
There are four regions of Cape Cod:
- The Upper-Cape includes the towns of Bourne, Falmouth, Sandwich, and Mashpee.
- The Mid-Cape includes the towns of Barnstable, Yarmouth, and Dennis.
- The Lower-Cape region includes the towns of Orleans, Chatham, Harwich, and Brewster. It’s the “elbow” of Cape Cod.
- The Outer Cape region includes the towns of Eastham, Wellfleet, Provincetown, and Truro. This is the most remote area of Cape Cod.
Cape Cod can also refer to “the Islands.” This area includes Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in Dukes County. Usually, “Cape Cod” refers to the area of the cape and “the Cape and the Islands” is used to include the entire region of Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties.
There are 15 towns on Cape Cod, most of which are comprised of several villages. One Cape Cod town, Barnstable, is incorporated as a city with a city form of government, but it has chosen to retain “the town of” in its official name. This Cape Cod town guide covers all 15 towns and many of the most well-known villages.
Cape Cod Demographics
- Population: 228,996
- Population density: 540 people/sq mi
- Area: 394 sq mi
- Median age: 54.1
- Median household income: $74,336
- Median home price: $569,000
- Educational attainment: 96% high school grad or higher; 43% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Population: 48,916
- Population density: 741 people/sq mi
- Area: 59.9 sq mi
- Median age: 48.3
- Median household income: $72,733
- Median home price: $549,500
- Educational attainment: 94% high school grad or higher; 39% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Barnstable, MA map
The Town of Barnstable is the largest of the 15 towns on Cape Cod and the only one with a city government. There are seven villages in the Town of Barnstable:
- Village of Barnstable
- Marstons Mills
- West Barnstable
Hyannis is Barnstable’s central business district and its largest village. It’s perhaps the most famous village on Cape Cod and home to the Kennedy Compound. West Barnstable boasts Sandy Neck Beach, one of the best beaches on Cape Cod, while Centerville is known for its younger population. While Cape Cod overall has a high median age, Centerville feels younger with a larger population of young families and millennials.
You can learn more about what may be the nicest beach town on the cape with our complete guide to living in Barnstable!
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- Population: 32,517
- Population density: 707 people/sq mi
- Area: 44.1 sq mi
- Median age: 55
- Median household income: $75,820
- Median home price: $708,000
- Educational attainment: 94% high school grad or higher; 45% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Falmouth, MA map
Falmouth is a great Cape Cod town if you want to be close to Boston and other New England destinations while still enjoying the Cape Cod lifestyle and beaches. Second on the list of towns on Cape Cod by population, Falmouth is known for its picturesque and historic Main Street, Old Silver Beach, and Chapoquoit Beach. You’ll also love biking along the scenic Shining Sea Bikeway and day trips to Martha’s Vineyard from the ferry in Falmouth.
- Population: 25,023
- Population density: 966 people/sq mi
- Area: 24.2 sq mi
- Median age: 53.8
- Median household income: $63,432
- Median home price: $415,000
- Educational attainment: 95% high school grad or higher; 37% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Yarmouth, MA map
Yarmouth is one of the oldest towns on Cape Cod. It’s also one of the most affordable places to live on Cape Cod! Popular with families thanks to its kid-friendly amenities, affordability, and outdoor attractions, there’s plenty to see and do in Yarmouth, MA.
Yarmouth is comprised of three villages:
- Yarmouth Port, the smallest and quietest village popular with retirees and close to beaches and golf courses
- South Yarmouth, the largest village and home to some of Cape Cod’s top attractions and resorts
- West Yarmouth, a village close to the beaches but less overrun by tourists during the summer
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Yarmouth has more to offer than just beautiful beaches – although it has those too! Along the south shore are freshwater and saltwater beaches including a residents-only beach. One of the best beaches in Yarmouth is Seagull Beach, the town’s largest beach with summer lifeguards. Families love attractions like the Whydah Pirate Museum and the fun Cape Cod Inflatable Park.
Check our guide to moving to Yarmouth, MA to learn more about the fun Cape Cod town!
- Population: 20,452
- Population density: 488 people/sq mi
- Area: 40.7 sq mi
- Median age: 49
- Median household income: $75,634
- Median home price: $755,000
- Educational attainment: 96% high school grad or higher; 37% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Bourne, MA map
The first town on Cape Cod you’ll reach after crossing the Bourne or Sagamore Bridge is the Town of Bourne. Home to several villages like Sagamore Beach, Pocasset, Buzzards Bay, and Monument Beach, Bourne is fifth on the list of Cape Cod towns by population, but just barely! Its neighbor, Sandwich, is almost the same size, but Bourne is one of the least expensive Cape Cod towns on the Upper Cape while Sandwich has a median home price more than $300k lower.
Bourne is prized for its pristine inlets and harbors that offer excellent swimming, boating, and fishing. The Gateway to Cape Cod, it boasts warm waters at Buzzards Bay and 7.8 miles of shoreline along Cape Cod Canal, a top destination for sport fishing.
- Population: 20,259
- Population density: 473 people/sq mi
- Area: 42.9 sq mi
- Median age: 50.2
- Median household income: $98,827
- Median home price: $430,000
- Educational attainment: 97% high school grad or higher; 47% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Sandwich, MA map
Sandwich is one of the best Cape Cod towns for families and one of the most famous. It’s the oldest town on Cape Cod, founded in 1637, and the richest town with a median household income approaching triple digits.
The many amenities in the town come with a cost. Sandwich is one of the most expensive Cape Cod towns. The median home price is misleading because, despite having some of the lowest home prices on the cape, Sandwich has the highest taxes in the county.
In exchange, you benefit from great schools with plenty of extracurricular activities and top attractions. Sandwich is home to the Hoxie House, Cape Cod’s oldest home, and Heritage Museums and Gardens, Southern New England’s largest public garden with over 100 manicured acres and an antique car collection.
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- Population: 15,060
- Population density: 605 people/sq mi
- Area: 23.4 sq mi
- Median age: 52.7
- Median household income: $77,019
- Median home price: $650,000
- Educational attainment: 98% high school grad or higher; 41% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Mashpee, MA map
The smallest of the four Upper Cape Cod towns is Mashpee, headquarters and home to most members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. This charming town has so much to offer with some of the top family-friendly attractions on Cape Cod. Residents and visitors enjoy the Cape Cod Children’s Museum and South Cape Beach State Park, a gorgeous barrier beach facing Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sound.
- Population: 14,674
- Population density: 677 people/sq mi
- Area: 20.6 sq mi
- Median age: 57.9
- Median household income: $65,616
- Median home price: $570,000
- Educational attainment: 96% high school grad or higher; 41% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Dennis, MA map
Dennis is the smallest of the three Mid Cape Cod towns, but it’s definitely one of the best towns on Cape Cod to visit! Located on the northern coast of Cape Cod Bay, Dennis is famous for its colonial mansions and warm beaches on the Nantucket Sound. The town is made up of five villages including Dennis Village, the enter of town, Dennis Port, South Dennis, East Dennis, and West Dennis.
Dennis is often voted the nicest town on Cape Cod for families thanks to its comparatively affordable home prices, great amenities, outdoor attractions, and some of the best Cape Cod beaches: West Dennis Beach and Mayflower Beach with warm waters and white sand.
You can learn more about living in Dennis, MA with our complete guide!
- Population: 13,440
- Population density: 582 people/sq mi
- Area: 20.9 sq mi
- Median age: 57.6
- Median household income: $76,822
- Median home price: $632,000
- Educational attainment: 97% high school grad or higher; 48% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Harwich, MA map
Harwich is the largest Lower Cape Cod town and a popular vacation spot thanks to its close proximity to the Cape Cod National Shore and family-friendly amenities. There are more than 20 beaches in Harwich and three parks plus a ferry to Nantucket. Some of the top attractions in Harwich are Grand Slam Entertainment with zip lines and bumper cars and Red River Beach, a top spot for swimming.
Check out our complete guide to living in Harwich, MA to learn more!
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- Population: 10,318
- Population density: 429 people/sq mi
- Area: 22.9 sq mi
- Median age: 54.3
- Median household income: $75,321
- Median home price: $611,000
- Educational attainment: 97% high school grad or higher; 49% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Brewster, MA map
Located on Cape Cod Bay next to Dennis, Harwich, and Orleans, Brewster is one of four Cape Cod towns on the Lower Cape region. Brewster seemingly has it all: home prices on the lower end for Cape Cod, top-rated schools, excellent outdoor recreation, state parks, and some of the best beaches on Cape Cod. Brewster is home to the cape’s largest state forest, the 1,900-acre Nickerson State Park, plus multiple beaches and Long Pond, the largest freshwater pond on Cape Cod with swimming, fishing, kayaking, and a floating dock.
- Population: 6,594
- Population density: 372 people/sq mi
- Area: 16.2 sq mi
- Median age: 61.8
- Median household income: $83,839
- Median home price: $5.87 million
- Educational attainment: 97% high school grad or higher; 59% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Chatham, MA map
Chatham ranks 10th on this Cape Cod towns list by population, but it’s by far the most expensive place to live on Cape Cod! While median home prices range from around $400k to $900k in other towns, the median home price in Chatham is more than $5 million.
This affluent Cape Cod town located on the “elbow” of the cape is comprised of five villages. Chatham village is the center of town while South Chatham on the peninsula offers beachfront living while Chatham Port offers beautiful waterfront views. North Chatham offers great access to Pleasant Bay and Chatham Harbor plus Ryder’s Cove.
Chatham is adjacent to the Nantucket Sound to the south, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Orleans to the north, and Harwich to the west.
You can learn more about living in Chatham, MA with our complete guide to the town!
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- Population: 6,307
- (up from 5,890)
- Population density: 410 people/sq mi
- Area: 14.2 sq mi
- Median age: 60.1
- Median household income: $73,778
- Median home price: $398,000
- Educational attainment: 99% high school grad or higher; 58% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Orleans, MA map
Orleans is a great place to live on Cape Cod as you’re close to the amenities of Harwich and Chatham with great schools and affordable living. Orleans is the most affordable Cape Cod town to buy a home!
While the town doesn’t feel as cohesive as some, you’ll find plenty to love. The East Orleans village is a fun area to explore off the beach. Overall, Orleans has a very quiet, laid-back vibe that feels far removed from the packed beaches and crowds elsewhere on the cape.
The major landmark of Orleans is Nauset Beach, the southernmost part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and one of the most popular destinations on the Lower Cape.
- Population: 5,752
- Population density: 351 people/sq mi
- Area: 14 sq mi
- Median age: 60.1
- Median household income: $72,075
- Median home price: $605,500
- Educational attainment: 98% high school grad or higher; 51% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Eastham, MA map
The largest of the Outer Cape Cod towns, Eastham is famous as the gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore founded by President John F. Kennedy. Eastham is bordered by Cape Cod Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the towns of Wellfleet and Orleans. The town is also known for its historic sites, the iconic Nauset Lighthouse, and its beautiful freshwater and saltwater beaches, the most well-known of which is Coast Guard Beach.
- Population: 3,617
- Population density: 183 people/sq mi
- Area: 19.8 sq mi
- Median age: 57.2
- Median household income: $74,639
- Median home price: $820,000
- Educational attainment: 95% high school grad or higher; 54% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Wellfleet, MA map
Wellfleet is one of four Outer Cape Cod towns and located between the elbow and tip of the cape. Home to a year-round population of 3,600, it’s one of best Cape Cod towns to visit during the summer when its population soars to almost 30,000.
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Looking for towns near Cape Cod National Seashore? You’ll want to head to Wellfleet, home to the Cape Cod National Seashore, a massive federal park with 43,000 acres of beaches and wooded preserves to explore which covers about half of the town.
Planning a trip to the area after the tourist season? Wellfleet is also one of the best Cape Cod towns in fall. Famous for oysters, it hosts the popular Wellfleet OysterFest every October.
- Population: 2,973
- Population density: 307 people/sq mi
- Area: 9.7 sq mi
- Median age: 56.8
- Median household income: $59,063
- Median home price: $890,000
- Educational attainment: 96% high school grad or higher; 55% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Provincetown, MA map
North of Truro is one of the smallest and most remote towns on Cape Cod: Provincetown. The small town is part of the Outer Cape and covers the most extreme tip of the cape. Despite its small year-round population of just 3,600, P-town, as it’s affectionately known, has a summer population of 60,000!
Provincetown is a popular resort town known for its picturesque harbor. The town developed into an artists’ colony in the beginning of the 1900s, and it’s one of the top gay summer resort destinations on the East Coast with a large LGBTQ+ population.
- Population: 1,122
- Population density: 54 people/sq mi
- Area: 21 sq mi
- Median age: 61
- Median household income: $68,367
- Median home price: $549,000
- Educational attainment: 89% high school grad or higher; 49% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Truro, MA map
Truro is the smallest of the towns on Cape Cod and it’s comprised of two villages: North Truro and Truro. The town is part of the Outer Cape on the northern tip of the cape and takes its name from Truro, Cornwall, England. Men in Black fans will know the small town as where Agent K retired to become a postal worker in Men in Black II.
Towns on Cape Cod Map
Cape Cod Towns FAQ
Is Cape Cod a town?
Cape Cod isn’t a town; it’s a cape and surrounding islands connected to mainland Massachusetts. It shares the same boundaries as Barnstable County and it’s made up of 15 towns and many more villages.
What towns are considered Cape Cod?
Cape Cod is made up of 15 towns: Barnstable, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Bourne, Sandwich, Mashpee, Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Provincetown, and Truro.
Which Cape Cod town has the best beaches?
There’s no way to choose a single beach or town as “the best.” Here are some of the most popular Cape Cod beach towns and beaches.
- Sandwich for South Cape Beach State Park
- Dennis for West Dennis Beach & Mayflower Beach
- Wellfleet and Eastham for Cape Cod National Seashore & Coast Guard Beach
- Barnstable for Sandy Neck Beach
- Orleans for Nauset Beach
Where is Cape Cod, MA?
Cape Cod is the hooked peninsula of Barnstable County in southeastern Massachusetts. It’s bounded by Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound, Nantucket Sound, and extends into the Atlantic Ocean.
Which of These Cape Cod Towns Is Right for You?
Cape Cod is home to more than one dozen beautiful towns, each with something unique to offer. Have you decided which Cape Cod town to visit or make your home? If you’re moving to Cape Cod, Vanguard Moving Services is ready to help with a team of full-service movers who can make moving day a breeze!