Cape Cod Travel Guide

USA  #3 in Best Weekend Getaways in New England
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Courtesy of KenWiedemann/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit Cape Cod

The best time to visit Cape Cod is May, June, September or October. These shoulder months usher in pleasant temperatures for outdoor pursuits, fewer crowds than the busy summer season and reasonable room rates. Visiting between July and August is best if hitting the beach is a top priority for you, but you'll shell out a pretty penny for a seaside cottage during the peak tourist season. In contrast, the Cape is near abandoned from December through March and hotel prices are much less expensive than the warmer months, though many shops and restaurants close in the offseason. If you're looking for some time to curl up with a good book in quiet solitude, winter is the time for you. 

Weather in Cape Cod

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
37
23
37
23
44
29
52
37
62
48
72
56
79
63
77
62
70
55
60
45
51
38
43
28
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
0.15
0.12
0.16
0.14
0.12
0.12
0.11
0.12
0.15
0.14
0.17
0.15
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

July-August

With just-right temperatures – ranging 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 also brings with it high prices, and most importantly, traffic. Long weekends like Independence Day and Labor Day are notoriously crowded; driving and dining out can be stress-inducing. If you have your heart set on a holiday weekend visit, make sure to reach your home base by early Thursday at the very latest.

Key Events:

September-October

The fall shoulder season is one of Cape Cod's best-kept secrets. Hotels drop their rates considerably as the tourists head home. And while it is starting to get chilly, the water is usually warm enough to still go swimming in September. The weather stays pleasant well into November – temperatures hover between the 40s and the low 60s.

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November-April

With the ever-present ocean breezes, plus temperatures between the low 40s and low 20s, an offseason visit is not for everyone. But hotel rooms – some with up to 30 percent discounts – and dinner reservations are easy to find. That said, major tourist attractions will shorten their hours or even shut down during these months, so it's best to call all must-see sites in advance.

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May-June

If you want to avoid hordes of tourists, sneak in a visit during the short but sweet spring shoulder season. That way, you can take advantage of all the top tourist spots that are opening up shop. The weather slowly warms up, too; by May you'll rarely see a day below 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).

Key Events:

Popular Times to Visit Cape Cod

Average Tourist Volumes

Ttourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.

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