by Stephen Jermanok
Cape Cod juts out of Massachusetts like the flexed arm of a bodybuilder. A peninsula surrounded by water on both sides, you would expect the region to boast many beachfront properties. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Cape Cod National Seashore takes up a good chunk of the coastline, and many towns want their beaches to remain public, not private — the reason why Green Harbor Resort is such a rare find. Located in West Yarmouth on Lewis Bay, just east of Hyannis, Green Harbor features a wide swath of white sand and shallow ocean waters that are ideally suited for children.
For families who yearn for a vacation on the Cape, Green Harbor Resort delivers all the goods. Rooms have full kitchens, so you don’t have to dine out every meal and watch your budget slip away. There’s a pool on the property, which serves as the focal point for events throughout the day. Entertainers come to offer face painting, magic shows and even dance lessons. At twilight, everyone watches the sunset from the grounds. After that, families head off to nearby Route 28 to eat their fair share of fried seafood and homemade ice cream before playing a round of miniature golf. If you’re looking for a quintessential family holiday on Cape Cod, you’ve chosen the right locale.
Our Editor Loves
- Kids' Club
- Private stretch of beach
- Rooms with full kitchens
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The resort is a mix of 53 suites, cottages and townhouses, all sprinkled around the small property. All are available for two-night stays or longer.
We chose to stay in a two-bedroom Admiralty Suite with a waterfront view. The suite houses two double beds in a master bedroom, two twin beds in a smaller bedroom, a double pullout sofa in the living room and two full baths. There's also a small outdoor patio with water and beach views. The highlight, however, is the spacious kitchen with a full refrigerator, oven, microwave, coffee maker, dishwasher and cupboards full of dishes, glasses and silverware. There's a large kitchen table that could fit a family of six.
All rooms, including the living room, have flat-screen TV's with DVD capabilities. Bathrooms offer blow dryers and shower and tub combinations. Other amenities include air conditioning and complimentary Wi-Fi.
The Cape Codder cottages are built for two, four and six people, and house up to three bedrooms. Many have fireplaces in the living room, private patios with charcoal grills and water views. There are also one and two-bedroom townhouses, with decks facing the ocean. All accommodations come with full kitchens, which is a huge bonus for families.
This is one of my favorite New England spots to visit in the summer. It's so peaceful and beautiful. Incredible cottages, outdoor activities, and a pool on the ocean. What more could you ask for?
I love that every cottage has a private grill area on the water. It's such a peaceful way to spend every evening.
Janice is also the nicest and funniest person ever. I think she's my favorite part about booking at Green Harbor.
If you get a chance, go visit the Dennis beaches (short drive away) at low tide. So fun to play on the tidal flats.
Wife and I visited Cape Cod for first time, and wanted a mid-Cape location with a water view. After reading so many reviews, I was struck by 3 things: (1) water location, (2) comments about cleanliness, and (3) roominess this resort offered versus so many B&Bs.
We loved it. My wife was very comfortable because it was spotlessly clean. I loved the view out the living room windows and porch onto the water. We enjoyed walking out on the beach and all the water. Resort also had bikes we were able to take out to ride around the neighboring area, which was nice. Had a separate living space from the bedroom, which to me is a real nice feature.
Staff was friendly (including in calls beforehand) and helpful, and arranged a late checkout.
Could probably use a refreshing on carpets, decorations, etc, but that was trivial as far as we were concerned given its cleanliness and other benefits.
Green Harbor Resort fronts a private beach, so you'll probably want to spend much of your time there. When you need a break or want to do something different, however, the hotel has plenty of family-friendly activities.
The hotel has a Kids Klub, offered Monday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., from late June through August. Best of all, it's a free perk, included in the room price. Join the recreation staff for 3.5 hours of fun in the sun, including soccer, Wiffle ball, kickball, relay races and parachute play on the lawn; T-shirt, origami and jewelry design; and races and swimming lessons in the pool. Meet at the putting green every morning, if interested.
Children should know that the good times don't stop once the Kid's Klub ends at 1 p.m. Every afternoon at 2 p.m., there's some event at the pool, like a magic show, face painting, balloon art created by clowns or hermit crab races on the lawn. There's also an ice cream truck that pulls up to the pool several times in the afternoon.
Parents will want to start with yoga on the beach from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., then plant their towels on a chaise lounge to whisk away the hours reading a good book and watching the Hyannis ferry venture to and from Nantucket. If you're feeling active, grab one of canoes and rowboats docked on the sheltered estuary and go for a quiet paddle. Shuffleboard is also located on the property if you're in need of competition.
A minute's drive from the resort is Route 28, the main thoroughfare in this part of the Cape. Turn right and you'll find a slew of miniature golf courses and the petting zoo at Zooquarium. Turn left to reach Hyannis and the ferries leaving for Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, great day trips for families.
There aren't any restaurants on the property, however, nearby Route 28 offers many family-friendly options, including Keltic Kitchen, a must-visit for breakfast, and Cape Cod Creamery, where you have to sample Hyannis Heath Bar and Provincetown Pistachio.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The folks working the front desk are long-time locals who are incredibly knowledgeable about Cape Cod. They'll give you their opinions on the best places to dine, the finest Cape Cod National Seashore beach to spend the day and the best bike trail to take. That's how we found both Keltic Korner and Seafood Sam's. The resort goes overboard to entertain the children. This is not a place where your child will turn to you and say, "I'm bored." Between the ocean, the pool, the Kid's Klub, the afternoon entertainment and the nearby miniature golf courses, families can be scheduled all day.
The Art of Smart Timing
Ideally, you'd like to visit Green Harbor Resort from late June to late August, when the Kid's Klub is in full swing. Yes, there will be much more traffic on Route 28, since this is the height of summer, but this is also the best time of year to escape the heat and humidity of your hometown and feel the cool ocean breeze. If you have toddlers, September is another wonderful time to be on the Cape. The ocean waters are still relatively warm and the crowds are gone.
For Mom and Dad
If you want fine dining instead of fried calms, head to the Cape Sea Grille in Harwich Port. Start with East Dennis oysters and clams on the half shell or the local seafood "chowda." Then move on to entrees like seared sea scallops, the pan seared whole lobster, or regional cod, topped with chanterelle mushrooms. It's a tasty diversion from the usual fried fare found in this part of the Cape.