The optical properties of in-plane integrated surface plasmon polariton (SPP) cavities comprised of a thin film area sandwiched between two one-dimensional Bragg SPP mirrors are investigated numerically and experimentally. We discuss the resonance condition of these cavities, and we analyze in details the physical origin of the dispersion of this resonance. On the basis of numerical results, we show that in-plane SPP cavities can be used to achieve local SPP field enhancement and antireflecting SPP layers. The numerical results are compared to near-field optical images recorded by operating a photon scanning tunneling microscope. From the near-field images recorded over cavities with different sizes at different frequencies, we verify the resonance condition obtained numerically and we measure the quality factor of a submicrometer in-plane integrated SPP cavity.