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- As travel resumes following the novel coronavirus, many travelers are looking for easy escapes within driving distance.
- Private vacation rentals such as Airbnb also remove interactions with other guests, which experts say promotes social distancing and can be safer than hotels.
- For East Coasters, Cape Cod offers an appealing coastal getaway just one hour from Boston and four hours from New York.
- While summer on the cape is lovely, visiting off-season means cheaper prices, fewer crowds, and cooler, more comfortable weather.
- We found highly rated, affordable listings across the Cape that include new cleaning policies to offer additional peace of mind.
- Read more: Are Airbnbs safe? We spoke to experts, a company representative, and an Airbnb host to share everything you should know before booking someone's home.
As states reopen following the novel coronavirus, many travelers are planning getaways within driving distance to resume travels a bit more cautiously.
For many East Coasters, that makes Cape Cod appealing, given that it's just an hour from Boston and only about a four-hour drive from New York. With over 500 miles of coastline, the Cape offers a wide range of towns and attractions to suit travelers' needs.
Towns like Falmouth and Sandwich are close to Boston for shorter travel times, while Dennis, Yarmouth, and Chatham are well-situated in the middle of the Cape and are close to Hyannis, where you may catch a ferry to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard.
Meanwhile, while it takes longer to access the Outer-Cape, that's where you'll find some of the best beaches, the legendary Provincetown party scene, as well as more remote areas like Wellfleet.
For fewer crowds (an important point when considering safe travel during COVID) and better deals, look to shoulder seasons like fall when the nightly average for an Airbnb home rental is $282, and often, far cheaper. In the summer, that quickly jumps into the $300 to $400 range for a modern, well-located home.
And if you're wondering if travel is safe, experts consider private vacation homes, such as those on Airbnb, as one of the safer places to stay, especially when compared to hotels. This is because you are often booking an entire home protected from interaction with others.
Airbnb also announced rigorous new procedures including the Enhanced Cleaning Protocol, which includes guidelines on personal protective equipment, disinfectants, and mandatory waiting periods between previous guests and cleanings.
Of course, without a vaccine, there is no firm guarantee with regard to safety. It's crucial to follow guidelines from organizations such as the CDC and WHO, and practice safety measures including wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing. Additionally, consider your own level of risk, and whether you're traveling from or to a hotspot, so as not to increase the rate of infection. Finally, be sure to check state restrictions at the time of booking, as some New England states are prohibiting visitors from hotspot areas.
With that said, we sorted through hundreds of Airbnb listings and carefully selected a range of homes throughout the area based on the following criteria:
- All listings are in private homes, cottages, or stand-alone apartments.
- All are highly rated with an overall score of at least a 4.5 out of 5.
- The home is priced between $79 and $350 per night to start and is available to book as of publishing time.
- All properties have desirable amenities, whether it's impeccable decor, stunning waterfront views, or access to private beaches.
Additional costs such as cleaning, facility, or building fees, are at the discretion of the property's host. Note that some facilities may be impacted by COVID and many homes require minimum night stays and strict cancellation policies. If you're unsure about travel plans, you may want to look for a listing with a flexible policy or check across multiple booking platforms to ensure you're getting the best deal.
Fees aside, we recognize that safety is of the utmost concern when booking your next Airbnb. We also broke down each property's cleaning procedures, and encourage you to contact the host for more information before booking your stay.
Looking for more East Coast beach getaways?
- The best Airbnbs on the Jersey Shore
- The best Airbnbs in the Hamptons
- The best Airbnbs in Connecticut
- The best Airbnbs in Maine
These are the best Airbnbs in Cape Cod, sorted by price from low to high.
Located in P'Town, as the locals call it, the best part of this cozy studio is its views. Enjoy panoramic scenes of the Long Point Lighthouse and the harbor. Extra lucky guests might even spot dolphins and whales. While best suited to couples and solo travelers (it's just 310 square feet) this home can sleep up to four guests if you're willing to squeeze and use the Murphy bed and couch.
This studio is located within a resort complex, so guests have free access to a private beach, outdoor pool, and tennis courts. There are also two barbecue areas for guest use, though you'll have to bring your own charcoal, and you should confirm with the host to ensure facilities are open during the pandemic.
Bookings are currently available from mid-September to early December, and then opens up again beginning March 2021.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures: This home participates in Airbnb's Enhanced Clean program, meaning the host is committed to a rigorous cleaning protocol developed with leading health and hospitality experts.Chic tiny home in Port Dennis, $134
This tiny house is bursting with charm from the seafoam green couch to the pink paisley comforter and tiny turquoise dining table. Despite the small size, it comes equipped with everything you'd need for a comfortable stay, including a full kitchen, wash/dryer, and a Trex deck with furniture.
The home is just a 1/2 mile to both the beach and the village of Dennisport. Sundae School Ice-Cream is a particular favorite among locals that's within easy walking distance. Note that this property currently requires guests to bring their own sheets and towels.
This property also donates a percentage of its profits to charitable organizations. Past programs they've supported include opioid addiction programs, animal shelters, community theater, Habitat for Humanity, and others.
This home has a few dates left in October, but then remains limited until next year.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures: No specific COVID policies are mentioned, and this home does not participate in the Enhanced Clean program, however, the owner is Superhost and past reviews and ratings comment on how clean and tidy the home is.Cozy apartment in Yarmouth, $135
Central to plenty of restaurants, boutiques, beaches, and the Cape Cod Rail trail, this one-bedroom apartment is a cozy option for couples and solo adventurers since the maximum occupancy is two people. Colorful pops of green and turquoise create a lively atmosphere without becoming overbearing.
The owner's home is on the same property, but this guesthouse apartment is separate and accessible via a stone walkway through an elegant garden in the backyard. It also comes with a private patio separate from the main house. Beach chairs, beach towels, coolers, beach umbrellas, and beach bags are all supplied free for guests. The property is also right across from a golf course and golf clubs and bags are also available for guest use.
This property is limited for bookings until spring 2021, for those looking to get a head start on planning travel next year.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures: This home participates in Airbnb's Enhanced Clean program, meaning the host is committed to a rigorous cleaning protocol developed with leading health and hospitality experts.Classic cottage in Eastham, $150
Charming white and blue exteriors and a wooden deck complete with a grill, picnic table, and turquoise umbrella welcome guests to this cottage in Eastham. The two-bedroom spot is within walking distance to Thumpertown Beach and just a short drive from the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Indoors, the cozy space is highlighted by vaulted ceilings, pine board floors, and a wood stove, and those seeking solitude will appreciate that this home sits on a full acre. The owner even bought the two adjacent lots for the specific purpose of creating a secluded getaway. Take advantage of that privacy in the brand new outdoor shower after a day at the beach.
This listing has limited availability, though that is subject to change. Check back, or consider booking for next year while it's still available.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures: This home participates in Airbnb's Enhanced Clean program, meaning the host is committed to a rigorous cleaning protocol developed with leading health and hospitality experts.Loft cottage with private deck in Barnstable, $165
An Airbnb Plus listing, this space offers stylish coastal charm thanks to its blue and white color palette. The space includes a living room, full kitchen, lofted bedroom found at the top of a ship ladder-style staircase, and a patio complete with wicker furniture and a bright green umbrella. There's also a decent size yard with a grill for guest use.
One recent guest raved about the property. "Barbara's place is one special treasure in Cape Cod area. Pragmatically, it's the best location you can imagine: 6 min drive to the major highway; 10 min to town center with everything you need like Target, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods; 15 min to beach; not too far from the end of the Cape. Living-wise, it has the best setup and supplies. The whole cottage is cozy, serene, and well-organized. Some highlights: comfy sofa, decors on the wall, HUGE backyard lawn, a pair of travel notebooks with adventure stories from previous visitors that you can read and contribute to. The hosts Barbara and Stephen are absolutely helpful and supportive: warm welcome, respect to our privacy, more than enough cleaning supplies at this crazy time."
Bookings are currently available from mid-October to early December, and then open up again beginning March 2021.
Staying here is like entering your own secret garden. White interiors with touches of green instantly set the tone and the green theme continues outside. Big, windowed doors lead out to four acres of lush gardens and there's even a small outdoor seating area for enjoying a cup of coffee or tea among the foliage. A trail from the property runs along the nearby creek and includes a 52-foot suspension bridge.
One recent guest couldn't get enough of this listing, saying "Judith's place is nothing short of magical. We came here on a short getaway and fit in numerous activities recommended in the guide such as kayaking, fancy dinners, cute brunches and many walks around the stunning property. Judith truly went above and beyond at making our stay comfortable from the quick communication to the bathrobes and extra toiletries and waters in the studio. This is truly a vacation we will always remember!"
This property is wide open beginning in October.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures: No specific COVID policies are mentioned, and this home does not participate in the Enhanced Clean program, however, the owner is Superhost and past reviews and ratings comment on how clean and tidy the home is.Large classic home for groups in Eastham, $225
Found in the Eastham/Wellfleet area just a few minutes from Bay Beaches and the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches trails, this huge home is a steal for big families and groups traveling together.
The home sleeps up to 12 guests and is pet-friendly. Be aware that there is a smaller accommodation on the same property that is also rented out through Airbnb, so you may encounter other people around the premises. However, guests have the option to rent out both listings to ensure the entire property is yours, or to accommodate up to 20 guests.
Kids and adults alike will love the bocce area, horseshoe pit, fire pit, and hammocks for lazying around. The front porch includes teak rockers for early morning coffee or sunset cocktails.
This listing has a few days left in November.
This cozy and stylish Airbnb Plus listing features vaulted ceilings, a brick fireplace, and a raised deck complete with a grill for enjoying al fresco dinners. The gentle blue and white decor has a slight nautical nod without being kitschy.
Ideal for groups and families, the four-bedroom spot can sleep up to eight guests. The home is ideally situated close to the main street in Chatham, which is itself centrally located on the Cape and close to excellent beaches, bars, and hotels.
A recent guest raved about their stay, saying "Bill and Patty are the best hosts I've ever dealt with on Airbnb. The home is extremely well decorated and truly felt like home away from home. Close enough to town that you could be anywhere in no time, while far enough that we felt we had privacy. I would recommend this home to everyone!"
This listing still has fall availability in October and November.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures: No specific policies are outlined, but the host is a Superhost with excellent reviews across the board.Waterfront cottage in Wellfleet, $295
If you book this property on Lieutenant Island in Wellfleet, you'll likely spend a good chunk of your time on the wraparound porch. The ocean and sunset views from it are downright cinematic. But the interior is plenty nice, too, and with a queen bed in the master bedroom and two twin beds in the guest bedroom, it's a great choice for families.
Pets are also welcome and a surfboard, kayak, boogie board, and life jackets are available for complimentary use. One thing to note: Guests are expected to supply their own linens unless specifically requested.
This listing has availability starting at the end of November.
Chatham is ideally situated in the middle of the Cape so it's easy to get to all areas. It's also where you'll find idyllic beaches like Lighthouse Beach, seaside restaurants, and luxury favorites like Chatham Bars Inn.
This waterfront retreat includes three bedrooms and sleeps up to nine guests, which makes the heftier price point a strong value for groups or big families splitting the cost. The modern design boasts blue slate floors, high ceilings, panoramic views, a screened-in lounge with plenty of natural sunlight, and a hot tub. There's also a fire pit and an indoor fireplace for chilly evenings. The house has access to a private dog-friendly beach within walking distance and dogs are welcome for an additional fee of $75.
One recent guest gave a glowing review. "The house is a gem and has everything you would want in a summer house especially for a family vacation. To top it all, we even had a family of swans come out from the lake and hang out in the yard with us. It was a wander land for the kids. Lindsey is the best host ever - super responsive and pleasant to communicate with. It was an absolute pleasure and we will definitely stay there again."
This listing has availability in October, well into 2021.
It's nearly impossible to decide whether the exteriors or interiors are more enticing at this spectacular home. Overlooking Follins Bay, the three-bedroom house features an idyllic stone patio for morning coffee or an evening meal while watching all the boating activity. You can swim, fish or kayak (two are included) right from the backyard.
Meanwhile, elegant interiors include high-vaulted ceilings with beams and decor in soothing tones with bright blue accents. A spiral staircase leads to a cozy reading nook upstairs along with a loft bedroom. The modern and spacious kitchen makes cooking meals a cinch and a fireplace in the living room is a good spot to curl up on crisp nights.
This home has a few days left in October and remains open through next year.
COVID-19 cleaning procedures: No specific COVID policies are mentioned, and this home does not participate in the Enhanced Clean program, however, the owner is Superhost and past reviews and ratings comment on how clean and tidy the home is.