Lying midway on the Cape's "arm," the town of Barnstable, Massachusetts, is one of historic splendor and coastal wonder. From a well-maintained and busy harbor to historic structures dating back to the mid-19th century, Barnstable was founded in 1638 and incorporates seven villages - from bustling Hyannis to quaint Barnstable to historic Cotuit - making it the largest town on the Cape. Our selection of Barnstable vacation rentals provide the most authentic way to experience this charming region!
Mom-and-pop shops abut traditional gray clapboard homes, making one feel as if he or she has stepped into the past. Preservationists have doggedly worked to maintain the historic nature of the villages - more than 75 structures are on the National Register of Historic Places - and with notable residents such as Kennedys, the visitors keep coming. Our Cape Cod vacation rentals in Barnstable offer traditional accommodations, with a bit of modernity thrown in. This summer, why not head to one of our Barnstable homes and see for yourself why this town is a destination nonpareil on the Cape?
Things to Do in Barnstable
Barnstable will keep you occupied however long you stay - and thanks to its historic sites and museums, you'll be entertained rain or shine. The Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit showcases the work of Ralph and Martha Cahoon and other 19th century pieces. The Trayser Museum was once the custom house and post office but is now the U.S. Coast Guard Heritage Museum and boasts a 17th century jail and lighthouse.
One of the most popular spots in town is the Kennedy Compound. The former home of family Patriarch Joe Kennedy as well as his sons JFK, Robert, and Ted, the expansive estate features three houses and other structures on six acres of prim coastline. After Ted's death, the family donated the main house to the Edward Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in 2012 to host public seminars and tours. The project remains ongoing, but you can still take pics and admire the Camelot splendor from afar. The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum celebrates the legacy of our 35th president, and his love of Cape Cod.
History buffs should head directly to the Olde Colonial Courthouse. One of the oldest courthouses in the United States, this wooden structure played a pivotal role in the founding of our nation. It's here in 1774 that Samuel Adams and more than 1,500 men interrupted the King's Court proceedings that sought to deny a trial by jury for colonists. Today, it hosts "Tales of Cape Cod," a lecture series recording the voices of past Cape Codders.
Of course, Barnstable is also known for its duney beaches abutting the Atlantic. Sandy Neck Beach Park is one of the Cape's finest, with miles of dunes, marshes, and forests featuring local wildlife. Craigville Beach is on the Nantucket Sound and is popular with kite surfers in the summer.
Day Trips from Barnstable
With its unique position on the "bicep" of the Cape, Barnstable is the perfect base from which to explore the region, from forearm to upper arm. Our Barnstable vacation rentals make it easy. Hyannis is the transport hub, and offers flights to and from cosmopolitan Boston as well as flights and ferry service to tony and windswept Nantucket and beguiling Martha's Vineyard.
The towns of Dennis, Yarmouth, Falmouth, Plymouth, and Sandwich are less than an hour away, and each offers a multitude of delights, from historic structures to duney beaches to cozy restaurants where everyone is treated like a local. The rest of the Cape, from gay-friendly Provincetown to vintage Chatham, is just a drive away.
From dramatic coastline to presidential palaces to historic homes, all the charm of the Cape awaits you at our Barnstable vacation rentals!
Photo credit: Gregory James Van Raalte via Shutterstock