Best time to visit Cape Cod, MA, depends on what you want, but you need a complete guide on what to expect to enjoy the trip thoroughly.
Each season is lined with different activities, and the weather changes from season to season.
Memorial Day used to be the most popular time in Cape Cod.
Currently, Cape Cod has many inhabitants and tourists who flock the destination throughout the year.
Many prefer not to tour during Memorial Day to avoid the insane crowds and party madness during this period.
Depending on the season, there are different activities on Cape Cod. Below is a list of things to do per season.
Best Time to Visit Cape Cod, MA – Activities Per Season
Low crowds characterize the winter period. During the winter, the temperatures fall, and vacation prices drop.
The Cape remains with the locals as visitors leave and many businesses close.
This period is calm, quiet, and peaceful and many tourist shops and restaurants close.
If you are looking for a quiet romantic getaway, then the winter period in Cape Cod will suit you.
The winter period in Cape Cod is different and fun-filled, with several festivals happening during this time.
Christmas here is celebrated uniquely.
The Christmas festivities are filled with events such as caroling at Chatham Bars Inn, candy cane-making demos at Chatham Candy Manor and stunning light displays at the Gardens Aglow.
In early December, a Christmas Stroll happens, and Santa’s arrives on a ferry on Martha’s Vineyard.
Different towns have different festivities.
You will find different festivities in Chatham, Osterville, Falmouth and Sandwich. Provincetown and Falmouth are famed for lighting ceremonies and Christmas parades, respectively.
After December, the January to March period represents a time when the area is quiet, and the visitors have left.
It is time to interact with the locals and explore the lovely historic towns and landscapes.
The weather during this period is not welcoming at all. This could mean you spend your holidays watching performances by Cape Symphony, getting a massage at the Chatham Bars Spa, or visiting the Taylor-Bray Farm and checking out the Holiday Festival.
Other hotels offering charming spa services include Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa, Ocean Edge Resort and Crowne Point Hotel.
The Winter Weather
The Cape Cod winter climate can be unforgiving.
The temperatures during the day can go as high as the mid-50s, and at night, they drop further to as low as the 20s.
The surrounding environment during the winter is often covered in snow.
This cold environment keeps most tourists away during the winter period. Still, if you want serenity and privacy, winter is the best time to visit Cape Cod, MA.
All you have to do is to dress warmly and take walks along the vast dunes or the deserted beaches and their surroundings.
Do not worry about the restaurants closing, as some of the best restaurants remain open to offer some of the best menus in Cape Cod for the visitors visiting during this period.
The summer period in Cape Cod is abuzz with all kinds of activities and ranks as the best time to visit Cape Cod, MA.
The scent of fresh seafood steamed with melted butter and the fresh air, coupled with the lazy afternoons spent on the beach, attracts numerous visitors to Cape Cod.
During Memorial Day, Cape Cod becomes alive. Thousands of visitors come here, packed in all rental houses, inns, hotels, and restaurants closed during the off-season period.
The peak summer is the best time to visit Cape Cod, MA. During the peak summer, every business is open, and the days are long.
The fantastic warm weather means more extended periods on the beach, strolling and splashing the warm waters as you enjoy the best seafood in the world or participate in the many activities available.
The Summer Festivals
The Memorial Day weekend is often event packed.
The Figawi sailboat race takes place this weekend, and this race marks the official beginning of summer.
The Provincetown Jazz Festival also takes place, capturing New England’s good memories and good vibes.
Additionally, the famous annual Woods Hole Film Festival takes place, capturing the hearts of many. Visitors get to catch eight non-stop days of independent films.
The Pan-Mass Challenge happens during summer when bikers from all corners of the country congregate to race and raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Food lovers have also been included.
The annual Grecian Festival takes place during this time.
During the Festival, visitors can sample the delicious Mediterranean cuisines as they enjoy Greek culture, music and dancing.
Other festivals in Cape Cod include the Summer Concert Series in Martha’s Vineyard, the Cape Cod Food Truck Festival, the annual Chowderfest event, and the marvelous handmade arts and crafts at Craftfest Cotuit.
There are many activities here for everyone.
Other activities you can participate in include biking, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding and sampling the different cuisines on offer in Cape Cod.
The summer marks the harvesting season meaning there is plenty of local produce and fresh seafood is in plenty too.
The Disadvantage of Visiting Cape Cod During the Summer
Due to the popularity of the summer period, there is a price that comes with all this fun as it is the best time to visit Cape Cod, MA.
If you are on a limited budget, summer is not the best time to visit Cape Cod, MA. Everything during this period is expensive – hotels, restaurants, plane rides, guest houses, drinks and food.
Restaurants experience huge crowds, and the prices of most items on offer shoot, but you will be assured of having fun.
Additionally, summer is not the best time to visit Cape Cod, MA, if you are uncomfortable with huge crowds.
Roads, beaches, ferries to the islands and hiking trails are often full of people.
You may be forced to consider the spring period if you are uncomfortable with huge crowds.
The Summer Weather
The summer period weather is the best compared to other periods making it the best time to visit Cape Cod, MA.
The temperatures average between the 60s and 80s in July and August, with July being the warmest month in the year.
However, expect unpredictable fog and rain during your stay.
The Fall Period
Smaller crowds characterize the Fall period as the visitors who flocked to Cape Cod leave.
The locals can now breathe a sigh of relief as the temperatures fall. The fall period is beautiful and offers potential benefits to visitors.
The roads in the area become deserted, finding a table in an eatery or restaurant becomes easier, and the prices of meals drop.
The ideal weather, endless beaches, grassy moors and massive dunes make the Cape during fall perfect for several activities.
These activities include jogging, long walks on the beach, or just strolling with a camera while catching the area’s spectacular views.
Combining the gloomy grey skies and the surrounding green environment makes it perfect for stunning photos.
Outdoor activities during the fall are fun, and you can enjoy them without sweating as the temperatures are more excellent than in the summer.
However, early morning temperatures may fall hence the need for warm apparel.
You can brave the cold ocean waters and swim, but this period is better for having fun and enjoying the best seafood from restaurants.
Several restaurants have decks that overlook the oceans as you watch sailboats disappear into the horizon.
Several festivals happen during the fall period.
The Cape Cod Marathon in October and Cape Cod Challenge Half Marathon in September are top on the list.
Marathoners from all over the nation gather here for these two massive events.
The fall period marks the official oyster season and, with it, the Wellfleet OysterFest.
Take your spot, shuck some oysters and have a sumptuous fresh seafood meal in your favorite restaurant as you listen to local music playing in the background.
Check out the Harwich Arts and Music Cranberry Festival.
This Festival involves several local crafts, outdoor music performances, cuisine and arts. The Harbor to the Bay Bike Ride is another popular event within Cape Cod.
This event is undertaken to create awareness of HIV/AIDS matters and offer support to the community activities aimed at creating sensitization on the same.
The Cape Cod Brew Fest is another famous festival. There are over 100 breweries that take part in the event showing their wares. Do not miss out.
The fall period is characterized by rain. These rainy days present a perfect opportunity to participate in indoor activities.
Visit the local theatres, antique shops and museums and take this opportunity to learn about Cape Cod’s culture and history.
The Cape Cod Museum of Art is among the most famous museums. Check it out.
Also, visit the Cape Playhouse and enjoy performances, the Edward Gorey House, and exhibits.
The spring period in Cape Cod marks a new beginning for everything.
Shops that closed down during the winter are now open, and flowers have begun blooming.
Tourists that were hard to come by during the winter start flocking in slowly, and the whale watching season begins.
Life in Cape Cod begins a new chapter!
The spring period offers a perfect opportunity to escape the winter doldrums of the city.
The conditions during this period are perfect for long strolls across the streets and the beach and bike riding along the Shining Sea Bikeway.
Drive around admiring the beautiful little towns or visit the local antique shops and see what they store for you.
Alternatively, you can sit on the hotel deck, watch ships disappear into the horizon, or watch fishermen howl their nets full of their morning catch.
The flower blooming during the spring period ushers in the flower festivals everywhere.
Some popular festivals include the Daffodil Days at Spohr Garden, the Cape Cod Rhododendron Festival at the Heritage Museums and Gardens and the Brewster in Bloom Festival.
The Spring Weather
The spring weather in Cape Cod is warm, and by June, the daily temperature averages about 70 degrees.
Some days experience rainfall, and those who love whale watching should brace themselves for cold winds blowing across from the Atlantic Ocean.
The visitors are few, and the beach waters are still cold.
The restaurants and hotels have discounts on various services, and if you are not into crowded areas, spring is among the best times to visit Cape Cod, MA.
Best Time to Visit Cape Cod, MA, for Whale Watching
Whale watching is one of the most popular activities on Cape Cod, MA.
The main reason there are many whale sightings off the coast of Massachusetts is that the area is rich in marine life.
Species such as herring, krill, mackerel and other schooling fish breed and thrive in the waters due to the rich minerals available.
This availability attracts numerous whales that come to feed.
Once the waters become cold, the whales migrate to warmer waters, where they copulate and give birth before returning to feed again.
The most common sighted whale is the humpback whale, but other species can also be found in the area.
They include the minke whales, Finback whales, right whales and pilot whales.
The ideal spot for whale watching is located 25 miles off the coast of Massachusetts at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
This area is vital for the feeding of the whales.
You can see seals and dolphins in some cases as you head to the deep waters where the whales feed and pass.
Several excellent companies offer services that relate to whale watching.
It would be best if you considered them when planning a whale-watching excursion.
Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises
Several cruise companies offer services for taking visitors on whale-watching trips.
Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises are among the most popular ones.
The company operates several boats that take visitors to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to watch whales feed or pass by.
Their boats are specially designed for whale watching with a bench-sitting arrangement and three levels within the boat.
On board, trained staff provide information about whales and answer any questions posed by the onboard visitors.
The tours last up to three and a half hours, and the boats make two trips daily to the sanctuary.
Kids under the age of 3 are not charged for this trip, while those aged 3 to 12 pay $45. Adults and senior citizens pay a fee of $65.
This company operates from Provincetown, and since it is located close to the marine sanctuary. Visitors can view the whales as soon as they depart from the port.
Their cruises last for three to four hours, and on board, they have a trained staff who offers information to the visitors regarding whales and answers any questions raised.
Some of the information given includes the species of whales, their feeding habits, their natural habitat and how to identify and distinguish different species.
MacMillan Pier at Provincetown is the starting point, and trips run a few times within 24 hours.
The boats are designed to have decks and a cabin that is air-conditioned and heated.
When whales are not sighted, visitors are often given a free boat ride again to try and view the whales.
Adults are charged $65, kids aged 5 to 12 are charged $40, while those below the age of 4 enjoy these services for free.
The Best and Cheapest Time to Visit Martha’s Vineyard in Cape Cod, MA
Martha’s Vineyard is among the most popular places to visit on Cape Cod, MA.
Due to its popularity, summer is the most expensive time to visit the area.
During this period, visitors flock to the Cape to enjoy the warm waters and the beach and watch the whales.
The roads become congested, big crowds are seen on the beaches, and vacancies in hotels and restaurants become rare.
As the weather changes, so do the prices. The cold weather sees many visitors leave Cape Cod, and most businesses start offering discounts right after the summer holiday.
Therefore, August 13th to November 18th, April 16th to May 6th and January 15th to March 15th are among the best times to visit.
Early to mid-September is the cheapest period throughout the year.
Over the recent past, events organizers have changed some of the festivals to this period to ensure more visitors attend during the quiet periods.
This change has seen a steady increase in the number of visitors coming during the Fall, Winter and Spring periods.
The discounts cut across all sectors, including ferry services, airline tickets, markets, restaurants, hotels and grocery stores.
Cape Cod in August
The month of August is the busiest and most popular of the year.
Cape Cod bursts with huge crowds as the beautiful weather, perfect for kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and water splashing, attracts thousands of visitors across the country.
The famous Cape Cod Rail Trail also experiences huge crowds as visitors gather to hike and ride bikes.
Seafood lovers have not been left behind, as it is plenty, and you can also have the famous Clam Chowder that is popular in Cape Cod.
Wine lovers have not been left behind also. The month presents a perfect opportunity for wine tasting at the Truro Vineyards.
Music lovers should brace themselves for the annual Cape Jazz Festival.
This event runs from June through to August and takes place in the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Harwich.
Due to the popularity of the events in August and the conducive weather, the prices of goods and services are at their highest.
To avoid the last-minute rush, you should book your accommodation in advance and save a lot.
However, if you miss out on early booking, you can try the Outer Cape, where accommodation services are cheaper and crowds more bearable.
Small towns like Wellfleet, Eastham and Truro are among the most preferred.
The August Weather in Cape Cod
The weather is quite comfortable in August.
The daytime temperatures average 23 degrees Celsius but can drop to 21 degrees Celsius in the morning.
The average is 22 degrees Celsius. Apart from being the driest month, some rainfall is experienced within the month.
Cape Cod in September
September in Cape Cod is characterized by short days, meaning more time for long beach walks in search of shells.
The month is characterized by few visitors, as most have left Cape Cod. The restaurants and other service providers offer discounts.
You can sit and relax on the deck of your favorite restaurant as you do not have to worry about waiting to secure space.
Parking is free during Labor Day, and September marks the peak period for the famous Wellfleet Oyster festival.
Be assured that your belly will be full of oysters and other seafood without worrying about crowds.
Have a bite of your favorite fried clams or gorge on lobster rolls or fish and fries.
Golf lovers in September have to be excited as most visitors have left the golf courses.
The weather is perfect, so get your golfing gear and hitting the greens. There are many public golf courses on Cape Cod.
September is the best month to hit the road for those who love hiking. With over 114 miles of hiking and bike trails, you can be assured that you will not be disappointed.
There are over 25 miles of running paths and trails for those who love light jogging and exercise. As you explore the area, the blooming plants and flowers will offer a stunning background.
September is also full of fairs and festivals.
The Bass River, Arts and Crafts Festival is the most famous one, which sells art, photography, jewelry, apparel, and more.
The Truro Agricultural Fair is another popular event. Come and taste lobsters or local honey as you watch live performances.
Attend The Seaside Le Mans Formula One Kart Race that seeks to raise funds for charities.
The Harwich Cranberry and Music Festival is another popular event famed for music and art.
Lastly, the annual Tennessee Williams Theater Festival showcases his plays and is among famous drama festival lovers.
Cape Cod in September Weather
September in Cape Cod marks the end of winter and the start of fall, with the temperatures averaging 60s and 70s during the day.
The day’s weather is usually warm but gets cold and chilly as the sun sets down, so be prepared with warm clothing.
The other parts of the state have unpredictable weather patterns. It will occasionally rain or experience fog. Therefore, be prepared for anything.
Cape Cod in October
Cape Cod in October is characterized by foliage littered around the state with splashes of red and gold among the local vegetation.
Temperatures in October are lower than in September, but most days are sunny, perfect for hikes and long drives around Cape Cod.
The unpredictable weather may surprise you, so be prepared for a drizzle, sudden rain or fog.
The nature trails and beaches are lined with bright orange rose hips and late-season wildflowers.
Bogs filled with plump, red cranberries ready for harvest and beautiful colors of an autumn sunset reflecting off the ocean waters.
October Weather in Cape Cod
The days are usually mild, and the nights crisp, with temperatures averaging 60s during the day and 50s during the night.
Rain may occasionally surprise you during your long walks, hikes, or strolls along the beach.
Final Thoughts on the Best Time to Visit Cape Cod
The best time to visit Cape Cod, MA, is summer for endless beaches, spring for early blooms, winter for peace and tranquility, and fall for the many festivals.
All you need to do is decide what best fits your holiday plans, as each season has something special for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the least touristy Cape Cod towns?
Falmouth is Cape Cod’s least touristy Town
Which is better between Falmouth and Hyannis?
Hyannis will be more centrally located than Falmouth. However, Falmouth is a nicer area to be in
What is the most walkable town in Cape Cod?
Provincetown is the most walkable town in Cape Cod. It has lots of charming houses and side streets. While you still technically need a car to explore the rest of Cape Cod from Provincetown, you also don't necessarily have to leave Provincetown once you're there.
What is the best place to live in Cape Cod?
Chatham is the best place to live in Cape Cod. It offers a charming and walkable Main Street, some of the best beaches on Cape Cod, and plenty of shopping areas.