Best Times to Visit Cape Cod

The best time to visit Cape Cod is during April, May, October or November. These shoulder months are far less crowded and expensive than the busy summer season, plus the weather is warm enough to enjoy the outdoor attractions. Visiting between June and September is best if you want a beach-centered vacation, but you'll pay through the nose for it. Plus, crowds get unbearable on holiday weekends. In contrast, the Cape is near abandoned from December through March. And hotel prices are cheap then. If you're looking for some time to curl up with a good book in quiet solitude, winter is the time for you. 


With just-right temperatures -- averaging from the high 50s to the low 80s -- warm waters and cool ocean breezes, it's easy to see why the summer is the most popular time to visit. But the Cape's high season is also plagued with the usual suspects of summer: crowds, high prices and most importantly, traffic. Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends are notoriously crowded; driving and dining out become major headaches. If you're dead set on a holiday weekend visit, we recommend getting to your home base by early Thursday at the very latest.

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The fall shoulder season is one of Cape Cod's best-kept secrets. Hotels drop their rates considerably as the tourists flock back to the mainland. And although it's a bit chilly to go swimming, the weather stays pleasant well into November -- temperatures hover between the 40s and the 60s.

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With the ever-present ocean breezes, plus temperatures in between the low 40s and low 20s, a low-season visit is not for everyone. But hotel rooms -- some with 30-percent discounts -- and dinner reservations are easy to find. Keep in mind that major tourist attractions will shorten their hours or even shut down in the off-season, so it's best to call your must-sees ahead of time.

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If you want to avoid hordes of tourists, sneak in a visit during the spring shoulder season. That way, you can take advantage of all the tourist hot spots that are opening up shop. The weather slowly warms up too, with temperatures rising between the high 30s and low 50s in April, and by May you'll rarely see a day under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. But keep in mind that hotel rates get progressively more expensive as Memorial Day weekend nears (it is after all the official start of the summer season).

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