Massachusetts is home to probably more quality lodging than anywhere else in the United States. The great thing about bed and breakfasts in Falmouth, MA, is you’re right smack in the middle of it. Big-city Boston is a short 1-hour drive away, but you also have the peace and solitude of Cape Cod National Seashore right up the scenic Highway 6A as well. Other world-class destinations such as Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, and Plymouth are some of New England's most visited locations.
There is a B&B just waiting for you that will act as your home away from home as you explore these historical places. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway to relax and unwind, a home base for a family reunion, or that unique wedding venue, there is no shortage of fabulous inns to suit your every desire.
From the maritime to the sublime, the diversity and extravagance available in every direction provide you with myriad options. In addition to the first-rate lodging available, there are more galleries, museums, historical venues, shops, and restaurants in Falmouth and the surrounding area than you can possibly get to in one visit. Great reason to come back again, yes?
Falmouth’s history stretches back to the late 1600s. The town takes its name from Falmouth, England, home of the first European explorer to arrive in the area. Industries that started out as small fishing and boat-building businesses evolved and grew into more substantial whaling and shipbuilding enterprises by the 1800s.
Other industries grew as well, such as harvesting salt from the seawater. And how amazing is this - the fertilizer trade was spawned from the droppings of Pacific island’s seabirds. All that dodo dung was shipped back to Woods Hole for processing. Seems like a long way to go for bird doo!
By the mid-18th century and after decades of relentless pursuit, the whaling industry was coming to a close as the behemoth’s numbers began to fade. The towns and villages in the Falmouth area that depended on the cetacean’s perceived endless numbers were struggling to survive and needed a new commerce source.
As ships grew bigger, Falmouth needed a new port. Dredging operations began in the early 1900s to accommodate the larger vessels now delivering goods such as wool from the Falmouth Heights sheep farmers, glass, onions, and fertilizer to more distant ports farther up and down the east coast and beyond.
Eventually, wealthy business owners from Boston and New York built vacation homes on the Cape in the post-war years. Inns, restaurants, and hotels flourished. Even those who didn’t have the resources for a second home by the sea could at least enjoy a break from city life by renting beachside lodging.
Located on the “heel” of the Cape Cod boot-shaped peninsula, Falmouth is perfectly placed to provide endless summer activities such as swimming, boating, water skiing, para-sailing, and deep-sea fishing. These are just the beginning of a long list of ways to enjoy the beauty of the sand and surf. Laze on the beach and soak in the sun, or stroll the boardwalk for some people-watching.
For those interested in whale watching, Hyannis is the place to go for a tour that is sure to introduce you to these gentle leviathans. Animal lovers will want to check out Yarmouth Port, home of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), one of the world's largest animal welfare charities.
Museum enthusiasts will want to find their way to Brewster to check out the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. Located just west of town, it’s an exciting display of marine life that also features the fascinating art of beekeeping, a butterfly house, and the Mudflat Mania. Perfect for kids of all ages!
Whether you arrived at Cape Cod by plane, train, or automobile, add the adventure of a ferry ride and head over to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket Island for the day. Martha’s Vineyard is just a short hop, while the float to Nantucket can take up to two and a half hours. It’s a great way to relax, and qualifies as a real sea “voyage.” Ahoy Matey! There’s also an express ferry to Nantucket that will get you there in an hour.
Because Falmouth is on the doorstep of the ocean, you can expect the weather to be a bit milder during the winter months and a little cooler during the summer. Thunderstorms frequently arrive from the mainland or the rogue system coming in from the sea. Expect humid and breezy conditions year-round with a significantly salty composition.
Summer highs are tempered with the cooling sea breezes, with July being the hottest month of the year and June the driest. Winters are typically frigid, wet, and very windy, making it uncomfortable to be outside for any length of time. Annually, temperatures usually range from lows in the mid-20s Fahrenheit to highs in the low 80s. Rarely do the extremes run below 15 degrees or higher than 85.
It pays to maintain weather vigilance all year round as low-pressure systems and hurricanes that pummel the southeast and Mid-Atlantic states often continue wreaking havoc up the seaboard to the New England coast. And don’t be caught off guard during the spring and autumn shoulder seasons as powerful storms can roll in from the North Atlantic at any time.
Except for Cape Hatteras National Seashore off the coast of North Carolina, there is probably no piece of land on the eastern seaboard exposed to the elements of the open ocean while still being influenced by landmass weather.
After the beaches, dunes, and surf of the coastal areas, which are an endless source of fascination all by themselves, perhaps the most prominent feature in the area is Woods Hole, locally referred to as Woods Hole Passage. Usually, a geographic “hole” refers to a valley or open terrain surrounded by mountain peaks.
The maritime version describes a strait or navigable waterway between two pieces of land. In this case, it is the channel of water that separates the southwestern-most point of Cape Cod at Falmouth from the Elizabeth Islands.
There is nothing remarkable or unusual about this strait other than the fact that it is home to the world-renown Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Science Aquarium. Marine scientists worldwide come to this venerable research center to learn, lecture, and further their science of the seas.
A visit to Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and White Cedar Swamp makes for a day of discovery with its easy walking trails, wildlife viewing, and tidal flats. Arrive early in the day for captivating light that enhances the beauty of the salt marshes—also an excellent spot for sunset watching. During the hot summer months, the shade keeps things cool but bring the insect repellant – it is the swamp!
When the weather goes south and a day at the beach is out of the question, there are many exciting alternatives. At the top of many sightseeing lists are the Cape Cod lighthouses (a ‘Light’ in local parlance). At last count, there were 14 of them, so you’ll be at it a while if you plan on seeing each of them.
When you’re up for a good long walk or bike ride, spend a day on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Stretching just over 25 miles, it’s a splendid way to see the Cape from a different vantage point. It’s paved and courses through many of the villages and towns, so there’s ample opportunity to stop for breaks.
The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is another destination to be added to your must-see list. Re-discover the life and influence this dynamic statesman brought to our nation before being tragically cut short. The Kennedy clan is on full display through lectures, interpretive exhibits, and historical documentaries.
Want to see where America got its start? Head up the coast just a bit to Plymouth, as in Rock. Come and see the spot where the pilgrims landed in the New World and began the experiment that would become the greatest nation on earth.
Falmouth’s dining scene has forever centered around seafood such as fried clams, grilled lobster, clam chowder, and a heaping pile of sides all washed down with sweet tea or a cold beer. Menus today are much more upscale and diverse. Although the old staples are present on every menu worth its salt across the Cape region, high-end plates that represent the best cuisine available are just as prevalent now and can be pricey.
Raw bars offering fresh, locally-sourced oysters are always popular. And mid-summer, keep an eye out for grilled fish specials with a side of garlicky steamed mussels. A favorite for the non-New Englander is the “lazy man’s lobster,” that is, lobster prized from the shell, grilled or steamed with spices, and then loosely returned to the shell for presentation. Hey, anybody got an extra napkin!
The classic choice of landlubbers and locals as well is, of course, New England clam chowder. Enjoyed as an appetizer or as the main meal, this creamy white broth served with clams, potatoes, and spices is a meal all of its own.
In addition to the customary selection of beer on tap and bottled, try the local Naukabout or Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery. Choice seasonal brews round out the menu and will go with any grilled or steamed dish.
For wine lovers, the Cape Cod Winery in East Falmouth might become your next best friend. Located just three miles from the ocean, they offer nine different varieties to please your palette. From clam shack and a cold beer at lunchtime to a high-end Boston-style bistro and a fine white wine for dinner, you’ll always have the fresh bounty of the sea to make the meal a special one.
Whether you’ve arrived from Boston and/or the mainland by car or flown into one of the private airfields, getting around by car is usually the best choice. However, there are also mass transit options that serve various segments of the peninsula from Falmouth to Provincetown and points in between. Check with Cape Cod Transit Authority (CCRTA) for routes and fares. Catch a Whoosh trolley for a fun way to make the rounds and new friends too.
If you choose to drive, Route 6A runs the length of the peninsula from the mainland to Provincetown as it winds its way through some of the oldest villages in America. This drive can make for a grand day as you can frequently catch glimpses of the bays and inlets between tree-shaded sections of The Old King’s Highway.
If your chosen B&B is within walking distance of town, you might decide to rent a scooter, maybe a bike, or have a stroll and save the hassle of finding parking during the crowded summer months. It’s also an excellent way to see the sights often missed when driving.
Staples of your B&B stay will run the gamut from comfortable beds, spacious rooms, or a guest house in some of the newer properties to a cozier feel in some of the more historic inns within walking distance of Main Street. Those that welcome pets and private hot tubs in the guest rooms are increasingly in demand, and some will even host elopements.
Many feature private baths where the finest linens, towels, robes, bath & body, and spa products are de rigueur. Of course, the prerequisite air conditioning is a must to chase off the ever-present humidity. Some inns will offer a full breakfast menu, while others include a continental breakfast with your stay. And all necessary pre-cautions are being taken against the spread of covid.
While Falmouth’s B&Bs are never far from the shore, for the ultimate romantic getaway, book a seaside inn. You’re sure to capture a lifetime of memories with classic views of the seashore and all it has to offer.
Free wifi, free cancellations (with advance notice), and other amenities are included at many of the inns. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm before check-in which ones offer free versus paid add-ons, so there are no surprises at checkout. Free parking is one item to double-check due to space limitations at many seaside properties.
For decades the Falmouth bed and breakfast scene remained somewhat of a cottage industry and a bit sleepy, if comfortable in its own skin. Many still offer this downbeat ambiance as a selling point. But new money and a more refined business approach often drive today’s havens of upscale hospitality. Boutique guest rooms are sanctuaries in their own right at high-end B&Bs, while some even offer a carriage house a short walk away from the main home.
The B&B innkeepers go the extra mile to ensure all the modern amenities, and then some, are included in your stay. And for good reason – the bed and breakfast Falmouth market is a competitive one. Although hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the area each summer, innkeepers do all they can to make their properties as inviting as possible. Naturally, the guests benefit.
A vacation at a Falmouth bed and breakfast on the beach is one of those bucket list items. Classic seaside scenery, salty tang in the humid breeze, and somebody somewhere close is grilling lobster! Does it get any better?
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Woods Hole Inn is in the heart of this end-of-isle village and a short walk from the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry. Check out the free aquarium, and the submarine that first explored the wreck of the Titanic. Another Falmouth favorite is the romantic Palmer House Inn. The owner built this lovely getaway as a gift for his bride in 1901. How's that for some zing in your marriage?
Captain’s Manor Inn, located in Falmouth Village’s National Registry Historic District, and Inn on the Sound, which overlooks the sea with spectacular cliff side views just steps from your room, are billed as two of the best Falmouth bed and breakfast inns. And the 5-Star Frederick William House is a luxury boutique hotel that grants all your wishes in advance with their outstanding concierge service.