The fall is considered the “second summer” at Cape Cod. This is because the weather is still as comfortable as summer during the September-October months but with lesser crowds, as tourists are starting to head back home. If you’re looking for a quiet vacation away from the crowds and cheaper accommodation, September-October is ideal for visiting Cape Cod in the fall.
Cape Cod in the fall offers comfortable temperatures at 60-70 degrees (sometimes 80). Water is warm enough to swim in these months, and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities like biking and kayaking. The cool nights are ideal for sleeping after days spent exploring.
What is there to do on Cape Cod in the Fall?
Cape Cod in the fall is ideal for outdoor pursuits like visiting beaches or hiking in the sand dunes on the outer Cape. The warm weather is also great for watersports, or hiking and biking along trails.
You can go camping, visit museums and theaters, or take the kids to a waterpark or mini golf course. It is a special time to enjoy all the Cape has to offer in the temperate weather with less people around to compete for parking spots and making reservations.
Head to the Beach
Cape Cod is known for its pristine beaches. You can find the warmest waters off the coast of Nantucket Sound or the Old Silver Beach in Falmouth. Many wait for this time of year to head to the beach, when some of the parking is free and it is easier to find a parking spot.
Many beaches offer plenty of walking space when the tide is low, so you can go for a stroll with your loved ones or throw a frisbee around with your kids. Some beaches allow pets after Labor Day but check to make sure it’s a dog friendly beach before you go.
On many beaches you can also find tidal pools for the little ones to splash around in. You can watch the sunset at Race Point Beach or the sunrise at Ballston Beach. You could check out the boats on the shoreline in Hyannis Harbor or have a picnic on the sand.
During September and early October, water temperatures are comfortable enough–around 70 degrees–to take a dip or swim, but they tend to get colder in November. Although even in the cooler weather you are likely to spot some avid swimmers or surfers enjoying the waves.
Biking and Hiking Trails
The cooler crisp air on Cape Cod in the Fall, inspires you to get outside and explore. Cape Cod has a ton of hiking and biking trails that wind through dense forests and marshes and around scenic beaches and ponds.
You could ride along the Shining Sea Bikeway, which drifts along the sparkling waters of Vineyard Sound all the way to the picturesque Woods Hole village. If the timing is right later in the fall, you might even witness the cranberry harvest as the trail skirts around a cranberry bog.
Grab a bike with the family and set out on the Cape Cod Rail Trail that extends through Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. Take a break at the Nickerson State Park, which comes along the way. The trail ends at the breathtaking National Seashore.
Go hiking along the Beech Forest trail that twists through tall pine and beech trees and passes by shallow ponds. You’ll feel like you’re back in the 17th century, journeying through the preserved lands.
Follow a natural trail at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, watch the wildlife in the salt marshes, or observe the beauty of rare shorebirds exclusive to Cape Cod. Take a boat ride to a wilderness island. Watch the seals swim with their pups or visit the Sandy Neck Beach Park with its thousands of acres of dunes and forests, a “living museum” for all to admire.
Pack up the RV or Pitch a Tent
Cape Cod has many campgrounds to explore. Cape Cod in the fall is the perfect time to pitch your tent at Nickerson State Park and enjoy the beauty of the pine trees and crystalline ponds, as well as numerous trails where you can bike or hike with the family.
Or go to the North of Highland Camping Area in Truro, where you can camp at night and visit the Head of the Meadow Beach during the mornings.
Launch a Boat or a Board
You can have fun kayaking in the Swan River or sailing in Yarmouth to the unique Ocean Beach. Learn a new skill, paddle boarding, at the Cliff Pond in Nickerson State Park. If you don’t have your own equipment, RideAway Adventures delivers kayaks and paddleboards anywhere on the Cape. They also offer guided tours if you want to experience the Cape exploring creeks and salt marshes.
Waterparks or MiniGolf
When the weather is less than favorable, take your family to the indoor waterpark at Cape Cod Resort in Hyannis. The park has four slides, a lazy river, a splash area for the kiddos, 10,000 sq feet of a wave pool, and a hot tub where parents can relax.
Great Time to Visit Museums
The Heritage Museums and Gardens offer a great combination of natural and historical displays in the same venue, sure to please everyone in your group. Learn about the unique flora of the Cape throughout their gardens, follow the nature trails and observe some natural Cape Cod fauna–like the birds and red squirrels. To learn more about the local fauna stop by the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.
If you are interested in maritime history of the Cape check out the Coast Guard Heritage Museum, Chatham Marconi Maritime Center and the Cape Cod Maritime Museum. From the Maritime Museum, you can take the Kennedy Legacy Trail to get a picture of President Kennedy’s life on Cape Cod and go to the nearby JFK Museum to learn more about their connection with the Cape.
Fall on Cape Cod is also a great time to explore some of the smaller lesser know museums such as the Atwood House, Wampanoag Museum, Sandwich Glass Museum or the Whydah Pirates Museum. Whether you are visiting or call Cape Cod home, these gems offer something for the whole family and provide a deeper understanding to the unique history of the Cape.
Catch a Show at the Theater
The Cape has many theaters to choose from, many providing entertainment all year round. The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater has shows into September, but the Payomet Performing Arts Center in North Truro continues later into the fall. Mid Cape you will find the Cotuit Art Center and the Barnstable Comedy Club have shows that continue throughout the year. For entertainment year-round you can always check out our Events Calendar for suggestions of what is happening in your local area anywhere in the Cape Cod region.
The Perfect Vacation or Staycation on Cape Cod in the Fall
So whether you are looking for the perfect getaway or you live on the Cape year-round, fall on Cape Cod is the perfect time to get out and explore. With cooler temperatures, lower rates and fewer people to contend with, you’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t take their vacation in the fall!!