The 15 towns that comprise Cape Cod (Barnstable County) are unique and special – each with their own “flavor” and charm. In addition to being divided into 4 areas (Upper, Mid, Lower and Outer Cape), each town has several villages with distinct characteristics of their own. Figuring out which town or village best meets your lifestyle is your first step in selecting a home. If you are considering relocation (what Cape Cod natives deem a “wash ashore”), the place you vacationed most may not be your choice for a year-round residential community. The good news is, because this 70-mile long and narrow sandbar is relatively compact, you can live in one village and easily visit and enjoy the amenities of the others and all along scenic roads.
In addition to miles and miles of saltwater shoreline, Cape Cod also has over 360 fresh-water ponds and lakes. No one is ever far from water bodies on Cape Cod!
REGIONAL CAPE COD LINKS OF INTEREST:
Sources: Year-round population statistics taken from StatsCapeCod and are estimates as of 2018. Summer populations are estimates, variable by nature, and were gleaned from Cape Cod Times demographics database (2007). Tax rates do not include water district tax (if any) or the Community Preservation Act (3% surcharge assessed on Cape Cod real estate). All prospective buyers should speak with appropriate town agencies to verify.
This Cape Cod town has “real estate” on both sides of the canal.
Villages: Buzzards Bay, Cataumet, Gray Gables, Monument Beach, Pocasset, Sagamore, Sagamore Beach, Sagamore Highlands
Year-Round Population: 19,839
Summer Population: 40,000 (estimate)
Tax rate: $10.74 (2020)
Sandwich is the Cape’s oldest town, located north side. Historic Sandwich Village is also known well known for it's museums
Villages: Sandwich, Forestdale, East Sandwich, South Sandwich. It borders the Cape Cod Canal (a rich recreational center) and Cape Cod Bay.
Year-Round Population: 20,342
Summer Population: 41,000
Tax rate: $14.31 (2020)
Falmouth has more shoreline than any other Cape Cod town. It includes Buzzards Bay to the west and Nantucket Sound to the south, as well as miles and miles of bay and estuaries.
Villages: Davisville, East Falmouth, Falmouth, Falmouth Heights, Hatchville, Maravista, Megansett, North Falmouth, Quisset, Silver Beach, Sippewissett, Teaticket, Waquoit, West Falmouth, Woods Hole
Year-Round Population: 31,177
Summer Population: 108,500
Tax rate: $8.59 (2020)
Mashpee’s shoreline is Nantucket Sound with two primary public access salt water beaches. Miles of shoreline is in private ownership, particularly in New Seabury and Popponesset. In addition, this town boasts 2 of the Cape’s larger recreational fresh-water lakes, Mashpee-Wakeby Lake and John’s Pond.
Villages: Mashpee, New Seabury, Popponesset, South Mashpee
Year-Round Population: 14,101
Summer Population: 34,800
Tax rate: $8.96 (2020)
The Upper Cape is the beginning of the peninsula (just over the Bourne and Sagamore bridges). The 4 towns that comprise this area have larger year-round populations than the rest of the Cape Cod towns with the exception of the Town of Barnstable.
Barnstable is the largest town, both in land area and population, on Cape Cod. It is also the seat of the County (also named Barnstable).
Villages: Barnstable, Centerville, Cotuit, Craigville, Cummaquid, Hyannis, Hyannis Port, Marstons Mills, Osterville, Santuit, West Barnstable, West Hyannisport
Year-Round Population: 44,314
Summer Population: 120,000
Tax rate: $8.59 (2020)
From tranquil north side with access to Gray’s Beach and the famous boardwalk with incredible marsh and bay views to the bustling south side with lots of tourist attractions and Nantucket Sound beaches, these communities have much to offer in the way variety.
Villages: Bass River, Hyannis Park, South Yarmouth, West Yarmouth, Yarmouth, Yarmouth Port
Year-Round Population: 23,381
Summer Population: 50,000
Tax rate: $10.00 (2020)
The north side historic village (along Route 6A known as the Olde Kings Highway) and popular Cape Cod Bay beaches contrast the lively south side along Route 28 with its plentiful options for family fun entertainment.
Villages: Dennis, Dennis Port, East Dennis, South Dennis, West Dennis
Year-Round Population: 13,962
Summer Population: 65,000
Tax rate: $6.10 (2020)
All three of the mid-Cape towns are special because they are the 1st communities traveling from the bridges that have access to both north (Cape Cod Bay) and south side (Nantucket Sound) beaches.
A community with much to offer including temperate Nantucket Sound beaches, a lively and charming commercial center in Harwich Port with boutiques and restaurants and a historic and charming “Main Street". It is also home to three active harbors, Saquatucket, Wychmere and Allen Harbors.
Villages; East Harwich, Harwich, Harwich Port, North Harwich, Pleasant Lake, South Harwich, West Harwich
Year-Round Population: 12,142
Summer Population: 37,500
Tax rate: $8.73 (2020)
Located north side and along both sides of historic Route 6A, this charming community has much to offer. It borders Cape Cod Bay. The Brewster Flats are a tidal phenomenon that are quite unique. The flats run from Brewster up to Eastham. Blazing sunsets are it's hallmark.
Villages: Brewster, East Brewster, West Brewster
Year-Round Population: 9,868
Summer Population: 24,000
Tax rate: $8.62 (2020)
Located at the southeastern most tip of Cape Cod, Chatham, with its quaint shops, museums and fabulous restaurants, is a both a tourist mecca as well as a quaint place for the locals to gather. Fabulous beaches, renowned resorts, beautiful beaches, notable lighthouses and Monomoy Wildlife Refuge.
Villages: Chatham, Chatham Port, North Chatham, South Chatham, West Chatham
Year-Round Population: 6,155
Summer Population: 25,000
Tax rate: $4.82 (2020)
At the cusp of the Lower and Outer Cape, Orleans has access to serene Cape Cod Bay beaches, a great vantage point for fabulous sunsets, and famous Nauset Beach, considered one of the world’s best beaches.
Villages: East Orleans, Orleans, Rock Harbor, South Orleans
Year-Round Population: 5,821
Summer Population: 22,000
Tax rate: $7.56 (2020)
The Lower Cape communities have signficiantly lower year-round populations than Upper or Mid Cape towns but are still quite active year-round. From the unique environmental phenomena of the Brewster Flats on Cape Cod Bay (12,000 acres that stretch out to Eastham) to the incredible southside beaches that run from Harwich Port to Chatham, at the “elbow” of arm-shaped Cape Cod, where Nantucket Sound meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Villages: Eastham, North Eastham, South Eastham
Year-Round Population: 4,893
Summer Population: 30,000
Tax rate: $8.72 (2020)
Villages: Wellfleet, South Wellfleet
Year-Round Population: 3,481
Summer Population: 26,000 to 30,000
Tax rate: $7.55 (2020)
Villages: North Truro, South Truro, Truro
Year-Round Population: 1,254
Summer Population: 25,000 to 30,000
Tax rate: $7.33 (2020)
Year-Round Population: 2,960
Summer Population: 30,000
Tax rate: $6.62 (2020)
With the sparsest year-round populations, these communities located on the narrowest part of the peninsula retain much of their natural beauty and wilderness. Considerable amounts of the land have been designated as National Seashore. It is very quiet in winter months, but it’s population increases substantially in season and becomes a busy tourist mecca. These communities have the largest percentage of differentiation between year-round and summer populations.