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Best Time to Visit Cape Cod, MA (Historical Sites & Seaside Events!)

Plan your Cape Cod trip with our guide on the best times for historical sites & seaside events. Ideal tips for travelers seeking the perfect visit!

Tobi Miles
June 5, 2023
Best Time to Visit Cape Cod, MA (Historical Sites & Seaside Events!)

Cape Cod is a travel destination of endless possibilities with its 15 towns and gleaming seashores. Tourists always return to the hook-shaped peninsula because of its charm and coastal landscape. Every town in Cape Cod features some of New England’s most idyllic rental cottages and award-winning seafood restaurants.

The best time to visit Cape Cod is from late September to October when it’s the least crowded. The temperature averages about 55 F around this time. For the best prices, visit in between November and January. December boasts round trip flights for under $300. You can also find a cottage around this time for around $120 per night.

Visit Cape Cod to experience the unspoiled beauty of its national seashore. Though it’s cool all-year long, the winters are relatively mild thanks to the salty air.

Worst Time to Visit Cape Cod

July and August are considered peak season months. Crowds are heaviest at this time, and hotel rates increase up to 32%. Week-long stays are common and most hotels and rentals require a 2-4 minimum night stay. July is the hottest month, with average highs of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most towns are quiet in December and January, but the temperature stays under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. June and September are better choices for traveling. It’s quieter and less expensive, but you’ll still have excellent weather and warm waters for swimming.

What is the Cheapest Time of Year to go to Cape Cod?

November – January is the cheapest time to travel to Cape Cod. In December, you can book a round-trip flight for under $300 and find a cottage for around $120 per night.

To find the best discounts, booking in advance after the Christmas holidays is best. After the new year, deals start, and you can find the lowest prices from January 15th to March 25th.

Since Cape Cod is only 70 miles long, it’s easy to get around by bus and bike depending on where you are staying. Not renting a car will save you a considerable amount.

If you are into camping, staying at one of Cape Cod’s many campgrounds can save you even more money. Cape Cod has affordable, flexible options if you’re on a budget.

What Time of Year has the Best Weather in Cape Cod?

September and October are two of the most beautiful months to visit Cape Cod in. Temperatures stay in the mid-60s and the fall colors begin to cover the Cape. It’s warm enough to still visit the beaches, though the water starts getting colder in October.

January: Walking in the Winter Wonderland of Cape Cod

Though Cape Cod winters can be cold with average temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it doesn’t get the heavy snowstorms that other parts of the northeast do. It snows just enough to make it feel like you’re walking in a winter wonderland.

Cape Cod has dozens upon dozens of inside attractions to see, like the Cape Cod Museum of Art.

You can start the new year by seeing the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra perform at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center. And if you’re an adventurer, you might want to take the Polar Bear Plunge in Provincetown.

A benefit event for the Center of Coastal Studies has attendees all plunge into Cape Cod’s winter waters. There are warm drinks and foods right after, though.

  • Cape Cod Museum of Art
  • Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra
  • Barnstable Performing Arts Center
  • Province’s Polar Bear Plunge

Related Read: New York to Cape Cod Road Trip Itinerary: Weekend Escape!

February: Go on a Rubber Duck Scavenger Hunt in Harwich

Every year, the Harwich Community Center celebrates its birthday by hiding 22 large, labeled rubber duckies around the town. Locals and tourists love to spend time exploring the city hoping to find a duck. Duck finders receive special prizes from the center.

After hunting for ducks, you can meet the animals from the storybook world of Peter Rabbit at the Green Briar Nature Center. In the Green Meadow Forest, you can meet Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rabbit, Grandfather Frog, Happy Jack Squirrel, and more.

  • Harwich Duck Toss
  • Green Briar Nature Center
  • Outermost Contra Dance
  • Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

March: Explore Cape Cod's History in Sandwich

March is the perfect time to walk around Cape Cod’s oldest town, Sandwich. You can tour the oldest house on the Cape, the Hoxie House. And see live glass-blowing demonstrations at the Glass Museum.

The town is full of shops and places to eat. You will see the Dexter Grist Mill and other historical landmarks throughout the city. Then there’s the Sandwich Boardwalk, which connects the salt marshes to Town Neck Beach.

  • Town of Sandwich
  • Hoxie House
  • Glass Blowing Museum
  • Sandwich Boardwalk

Related Read: 34 Best Romantic Getaways In Massachusetts

April: Explore One-Quarter of Cape Cod all by Bicycle on the Cape Cod Rail Trail

If you’ve never been to Cape Cod, biking the 25-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail is a great way to get to know the region. The trail runs from Yarmouth to Wellfleet and passes through Nickerson State Park. You can easily rent bikes from Barb’s Bike Shop pr the Dennis Cycle Center.

  • The Cape Cod Rail Trail
  • Nickerson State Park
  • Barb's Bike Shop
  • Dennis Cycle Center

May: Take a Wonderful Day Trip to Nantucket Island

Visiting Nantucket Island is a great way to experience a different part of the Cape Cod region. You can take the Freedom Ferry out, and it will drop you off right in the middle of the main town. Though it’s modern, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you arrive.

Make sure to visit The Nantucket Wine & Food Festival while you’re there. During the second weekend of May, luxury winemakers and chefs conduct tastings and educational seminars and offer the most delicious dishes.

  • Nantucket Island
  • The Nantucket Wine & Food Festival

Related Read: 33 BEST Places To Visit In New England

June: Soak up Sun on the Beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore

The Cape Cod National Seashore stretches 40 miles long and is made up of six beaches: Coast Guard, Head of the Meadow, Herring Cove, Marconi, Nauset Light, and Race Point.

Race Point is a dog-friendly beach if you plan on traveling with your furry companion.

  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • The Wild Goose
  • Sundae School Ice-cream Shop
  • Provincetown Film Festival

July: Walk on the Ocean Floor by Exploring the Brewster Flats

Experts claim that the Brewster Flats are some of the largest in North America. Up to a mile of the sandbar is exposed when it’s low tide. Walk out on the ocean floor to find seashells, sea dollars, and clam beds. It’s even better if you take a walk at sunset!

If you plan on taking any souvenirs home from your trip, the best place to visit is Cuffy’s. They are known for their famous Cape Cod sweatshirts, and almost every tourist who visits the Cape leaves with one. Their penny candy store is a great hit with kids.

  • Brewster Flats
  • Sesuit Harbor Café
  • Cuffy’s

August: See Cape Cod’s Whales Up Close in Provincetown

Cape Cod is one of the top destinations for whale watching in the U.S. Provincetown offers several different whale and dolphin boating tours like Sea Salt Charter and Whale Watch Dolphin Fleet. The touring companies guarantee whale sightings, or they refund your ticket.

During tours, it’s common to see humpbacks, finbacks, minkes, and dolphins.

  • Sea Salt Charter
  • Whale Watch Dolphin Fleet
  • Beachcomber Boat Tours
  • Goose Hummock Guided Tours

Related Read: 19 Best East Coast Beaches For Families

September: Wander Through the Magic of Spohr Gardens

September is the perfect month to explore Cape Cod’s nature sights. Falmouth’s Spohr Gardens is one of Cape Cod’s hidden gems and was laid out in 1952 by Charles D. and Margaret Spohr.

There are six acres full of daylilies, daffodils, and rhododendrons. You can also enjoy the quiet views of Oyster Pond, which is surrounded by flowers.

Spend the day outdoors at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge near Chatham. It is a protected area for migratory birds and is spread across three islands. It’s beautiful for walks and beachcombing.

  • Spohr Gardens
  • Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
  • Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

October: Experience the Spirit of Cape Cod at the Yarmouth Seaside Festival

If you’re lucky enough to visit Cape Cod this month, you’ll find the autumn by the sea has the perfect sweater weather. The average temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the ideal weather for outdoor fall festivals like the Yarmouth Seaside Festival.

The festival takes place on Columbus Day weekend and has activities for the entire family. Over 120 craft vendors set up booths, and there are carnival rides and games. Other attractions include canoe and kayak races, a sand-sculpting contest, and a fireworks display at Seagull Beach.

  • Yarmouth Seaside Festival
  • Wellfleet Oysterfest
  • Art’s Dune Tours
  • Highfield Hall & Gardens

November: Celebrate Thanksgiving in Cape Cod at the Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument

Every November, locals, and tourists gather in Provincetown to see the lighting of the Pilgrim Monument. A 252-foot-tall monument is lit with thousands of white lights to remember the pilgrims first landing in Provincetown in 1620.

And we bet you’ve never heard of an entire festival based on turnips. The Eastham Turnip Festival has been happening for over 15 years. Local restaurants compete in a cookoff. You can compete in the Turnip Shuck-Off, or guess the weight of the largest turnip you’ll ever see.

  • Eastham Turnip Festival
  • Cape Cod Astronomical Society
  • The lighting of the Pilgrim Monument

December: Celebrate Holiday Cheer at the Gardens Aglow Lights Festival

Though the Cape is thought of as a summer spot, it has some of the most beautiful holiday traditions. The Heritage Museum & Gardens hosts the Gardens Aglow Lights Festival every December. The grounds are covered in magnificent light displays, and you can walk through all of them.

Children can take a ride on the iconic 1908 Looff Carousel. And on weekend nights, you can listen to live music performances while roasting marshmallows outdoors with your family.

  • Heritage Museum & Gardens
  • Gardens Aglow Lights Festival

Best Time to Go to Cape Cod to Avoid Crowds

Cape Cod sees very few tourists in December and January, when it’s the coldest. You can get the best hotel and cottage rates in these months until March. The heaviest crowds are during the summer months of June and July.

If you want to visit Cape Cod at a time when it’s less crowded, but you can still use the beaches, August and September are your best bet. Crowds are moderate, and hotel rates are reasonable.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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