15 Reasons to Visit Cape Cod in the Fall: Top Things to Do + Attractions

by Jon Miksis
Cape Cod in the Fall Featured Image
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As the summer crowds disperse, the Cape transforms into an autumn paradise. The salty sea breeze mingles with the earthy scent of fallen leaves, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and nostalgia. Welcome to Cape Cod in the fall!

It’s no secret that Cape Cod is a popular summer destination. In July and August, vacationers head across the Sagamore Bridge in droves to enjoy the Cape’s endless beaches and sunshine. Cape Cod and the islands are teeming with life during those peak summer months, so you can expect lots of crowds and traffic during this time.

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the peak season isn’t the best time to visit Cape Cod. The “second summer” in September and October, is.

If you’re looking to escape the long lines and standing shoulder to shoulder with other people, visit Cape Cod during its shoulder season, specifically from mid-September to mid-October. This is also known as the “second summer,” when you get to enjoy the Cape’s exciting outdoor activities along with some solitude.

With picturesque landscapes, unique festivals, and delicious seasonal cuisine, Cape Cod falls are a celebration of nature’s splendor and New England’s rich heritage. You’ll quickly find out why Cape Codders consider this the best time of year on the Cape.

Whether you’re exploring the historic lighthouses, strolling through cranberry bogs, or cozying up by a roaring fire, fall in Cape Cod promises an unforgettable experience that awakens all the senses. Here are 15 reasons why you should visit Cape Cod in the fall!

Cape Cod in the fall pinterest image
Disclosure: My visit to Cape Cod was in partnership with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Pelham House Resort. As always, all opinions are my own.

#1 tip for planning fall trips to New England: Book early!

Before we dive into all the best places to visit in Cape Cod in the fall, I want to share a key tip that will save you time and money.

Autumn in New England is quite famous around the globe. It draws MILLIONS of travelers from every corner of the world – not just the East Coast. With this year expected to be its busiest yet, it’s crucial to buy your hotels and car rentals well in advance. Otherwise, you run the risk of rental cars and hotels being sold out. Trust me, this does happen, especially in touristy areas.

> To save money on accommodations: I recommend using Booking.com, which has the biggest selection of hotels across New England (and the best deals). Expedia is often a close second. For vacation rentals, I recommend VRBO.com – it often comes out more than 10-15% cheaper than Airbnb.

> To save money on rental cars: I highly recommend Discover Cars. Not only does it offer more rental car listings than any other site, it also tends to be $20+ cheaper per day than other rental car sites.

> To save money on airfare: I HIGHLY recommend signing up for a free email service like Scott’s Cheap Flights and Dollar Flight Club. They send out mistake fares and other flight deals directly to your inbox. I literally save THOUSANDS of dollars each year thanks to their email alerts – so I couldn’t recommend them more!

To learn more about my favorite travel websites, read this next: Top Travel Booking Sites in 2023

Best time to visit Cape Cod in the fall

The best time to visit Cape Cod in the fall is from late September through October. During these months, the summer crowds have thinned, and the weather remains pleasant, with daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the low 70s°F.

Late September brings the onset of the stunning fall foliage, painting the landscapes in shades of amber, orange, and red. By October, the colors reach their peak, especially in the more wooded areas of the Cape. It’s an ideal time for scenic drives, hiking, or simply enjoying the views from a waterfront café.

This season also offers a chance to partake in fall festivals and events like the Wellfleet OysterFest or cranberry harvest tours. The water is still warm enough for kayaking and other water-based activities.

Accommodations are easier to find, and many hotels offer off-season rates. However, since fall is becoming an increasingly popular time to visit Cape Cod, it’s still wise to book in advance.

For those looking to experience Cape Cod without the summer bustle and with all the splendor of autumn, keep reading. Late September to October in Cape Cod offers the perfect blend of weather, scenery, and activities.

Cape Cod in September gives you views like this
Cape Cod in September gives you views like this

15 Reasons to Visit Cape Cod in the Fall

Now, without further ado, here’s all the reasons why you should consider fall in Cape Cod. Below, you’ll find all the the best fall getaways, activities, and experiences in Cape Cod in 2023. These fall trips to Cape Cod include everything from charming New England towns and scenic cities to local farms and fall activities.

1. Beautiful weather without the crowds

This is the main draw to visiting Cape Cod in September and October.

With warm days and cooler nights, the weather is still comfortable so you can enjoy the outdoors without bumping into lots of people.

Classic Cape Cod home in Provincetown.
Classic Cape Cod home in Provincetown.

During this time of year, the weather is perfect for biking, hiking, kayaking, golfing, and paddle boarding, among other outdoor activities. It’s not uncommon to have some 80+ degree days thrown into the mix, so you can still go swimming at the beach or hotel pool as well. At the time of writing this article on September 16, 2020, the water temperature on Cape Cod is 73.4 °F (23 °C) according to watertemperature.net, which is still suitable for swimming!

I really enjoyed the weather during my visit in mid-September, wearing short sleeves and shorts during the day and a light sweater some nights. I prefer it this way when there’s less heat, humidity, and mosquitoes!

Come to Cape Cod in September and October, and you’ll never want to visit any other time of year.

Beautiful weather on Cape Cod in the fall
The weather on the Cape is perfect in the fall.

2. Discounted hotel room rates

Like everywhere else, hotel prices in Cape Cod drop significantly if you go during the off season. After Labor Day, you’ll start seeing some discounts on accommodations that only get better as you move further into the shoulder season. Why pay full price in July and August when you can come a little bit later, pay less, and basically have the whole place to yourself? It’s a no-brainer, really. Fall in Cape Cod is where it’s at!

Where to stay in Cape Cod

Unless your heart is set on one particular area, I recommend staying somewhere near the “elbow” of the Cape. That way, you’re centrally located between Sandwich and Falmouth (in the west) and Provincetown (on the northern tip). Anywhere between Dennis, Chatham, and Orleans are convenient for getting around the Cape. The map below shows these three locations; I recommend staying somewhere within that triangle if you can!

During my recent visit to Cape Cod, I stayed at the Pelham House Resort in Dennis Port. It was recently renovated, so the rooms, facilities, and grounds are all beautiful! The hotel is also super close to Route 28, so it’s easy to get around the Cape (especially the southern parts).

The Pelham House Resort has a beautiful private beach.
This Pelham House Resort has a beautiful private beach.

The Pelham House Resort is a classic Cape Cod accommodation with beachfront hotel rooms, a pool, private beach, rooftop restaurant, and cozy patio where you can feel the cool coastal breeze and warmth of nearby firepits.

The rooftop restaurant at the Pelham House Resort serves some amazing food
The rooftop restaurant at the Pelham House Resort serves some amazing food

By day, relax at the pool with a cocktail in hand or soak in the sun at the beach. By night, overlook the Nantucket Sound from the rooftop terrace or your hotel room balcony. You’ll never want to leave – trust me!

Looking for some unique stays on the Cape? You’ll find some on this list of the coolest Airbnbs in Cape Cod and the best places to stay in Massachusetts.

3. The fall foliage in Cape Cod is next level

The fall foliage in New England never disappoints, and you’ll definitely want to add Cape Cod to your list of places to see it!

Take a drive down Route 6A (the Old King’s Highway), a scenic byway that takes you past some of the most beautiful towns and landscapes on the Cape. If you’re into bike riding, head down the Cape Cod Rail Trail where you’ll also find some spectacular fall foliage. Additionally, the Cape Cod National Seashore is a great place for hiking and leaf peeping. Nothing beats seeing red, orange, and yellow leaves amid a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s no wonder that this is among the top things to do on Cape Cod in the fall.

In Cape Cod, the leaves typically begin changing color in late September, and the peak foliage is between mid and late October. I recommend checking out this New England Fall Foliage Map to see when you can expect the peak foliage on the Cape. Happy leaf peeping!

Fall foliage on the Cape is not to be missed!
Fall foliage on the Cape is not to be missed!

4. Golfing in Cape Cod during fall

Autumn in Cape Cod presents the perfect opportunity for golf enthusiasts to hit the links. The mild weather, with cooler temperatures, creates an ideal environment for playing a round or two. The bright blue skies and colorful backdrop of fall foliage adds a touch of magic to the experience.

Cape Cod is home to several golf courses, each offering its unique challenges and stunning views. Some of the most popular ones include The Captains Golf Course in Brewster and Cranberry Valley Golf Course in Harwich. From public courses that welcome golfers of all skill levels to exclusive private clubs that provide a more elite experience, there’s a course for every player.

Many of the golf courses also lower their green fees in the fall, making it an affordable time for those looking to play on a budget. Local pro shops may offer seasonal discounts on equipment and apparel, so it’s a great time to upgrade your gear.

Golfing in Cape Cod during the fall is not just about the game. It’s about immersing yourself in the natural beauty and enjoying a leisurely day in an extraordinary setting. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking to challenge yourself or a novice wanting to enjoy a relaxed game, fall in Cape Cod provides an unforgettable golfing experience.

5. Whale watching

If there’s one unique thing you should do on the Cape, it’s a whale watch.

Cape Cod is globally renowned for being a top whale-watching destination. The Cape’s warm coastal waters host a variety of whales, including humpback, fin, minke, sei, and right whales. The one you’re most likely to see on a whale watch is the humpback whale, which grow up to 52 feet (16 m) long and can weigh 66,000 lbs (29,937 kg), or 33 tons. You can’t miss ‘em! But in the extremely rare event that you don’t see them, all whale watches provide refunds/credits.

I did my whale watch with Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch, which sets sail from Provincetown. Founded in 1975, this was the first New England whale watch, and based on TripAdvisor and Google reviews, it’s consistently ranked as one of the best. After doing a whale watch with them, I would recommend it to anyone!

It was an incredible experience to see these massive and majestic whales up close! I also enjoyed the commentary onboard, which helped me learn a little bit more about whales and their ecosystem. The whale watch was a little over 3 hours long (typical for a whale watch) and I got to see several humpback whales and even some dolphins.

Responsible whale watching on the Cape is a great way to boost awareness of these beautiful creatures so we can do our best to protect them. This was an eye-opening experience and I’d recommend it for anyone who loves animals and the ocean.

This is a great activity in the late summer and early fall before the whales migrate south for the winter.

Read also: Top Cape Cod Things to Do in the Winter

Whale watching on Cape Cod Bay is always a great idea!
Whale watching on Cape Cod Bay is always a great idea!

6. Farmers’ Markets

With fall weather comes the fall harvest, so it’s no surprise that farmers’ markets pop up all over the Cape during this time.

From Sandwich to Provincetown, there are many farmers’ markets held throughout the week where you’ll find everything from fresh corn and tomatoes to squash, apples, and pies. Local produce and artisan goods are sold here, so you’re bound to find something delicious and festive wherever you go!

Each town’s farmers’ market is held just one day a week for a few hours. Here’s the 2020 schedule of different farmers’ markets around Cape Cod:

2023 Farmers Markets Schedule

If you don’t have time to visit a farmers’ market, don’t fret! Many restaurants around the Cape source ingredients locally, so you’ll have other opportunities to enjoy the local fall flavor.

Farmers' markets are something you won't want to miss in the fall on Cape Cod.
Farmers’ markets are ubiquitous during the fall on Cape Cod.

7. You’ll have most bike trails to yourself

Cape Cod has mostly flat terrain, perfect for bike rides!

There are over 100 miles of paved bike paths, including the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which runs from Dennis to Wellfleet. There’s also a 7-mile path that runs along both sides of the Cape Cod Canal.

Unlike the summer, when you’re sharing these bike paths with lots of tourists, the fall sees mostly locals using them. There are far fewer locals than tourists, so you’ll have these bike paths almost all to yourself in September/October. Plus, it doesn’t get too hot during the day, making bike rides more comfortable and enjoyable.

Bring your own bike or rent one from one of the many bike rental shops sprawled around the Cape. I recommend calling the rental shop before showing up, as these rentals tend to book out.

Soak in the foliage, crisp fall air, and gentle sea breeze as you cycle around Cape Cod. You won’t want to get around the Cape any other way!

Bike riding on Cape Cod in the fall
Bike riding on Cape Cod in the fall

8. Hiking is more enjoyable with cooler weather and fall colors

Nature walks are another amazing way to explore Cape Cod and take in the fall scenery.

From seaside sand dunes to dense woodlands, Cape Cod offers an array of hiking trails for hobbyists and advanced hikers alike. Here are my favorite hikes:

Dune Shacks Trail: This is one of the most unique hikes on Cape Cod. It’s a 2.6-mile out and back trail in Provincetown where you’ll pass by rolling sand dunes, sweeping coastal views, and historic dune shacks. Be sure to wear proper footwear, as trekking up these steep sand dunes can be pretty tough! This hike is featured in my article: best hikes in New England.

Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail: A 1.2 mile loop in Wellfleet where you’ll walk through Cape Cod’s scenic woodland and swampland. A boardwalk takes you past white cedar trees that have a cool and mysterious look to them. If you visit Cape Cod in early September, bring bug spray for the mosquitoes! Otherwise, in the fall you won’t have to worry about that. Don’t let the word “swamp” scare you, as this trail is incredibly inviting and picturesque.

Great Island Trail: A four- to nine-mile trail (depending on how far you wish to go) in Wellfleet, MA. The trail takes you along the Cape Cod National Seashore, one of the most beautiful and “wild” parts of the Cape.

Other outdoor attractions in Cape Cod to explore in the fall

Be sure to also check out some of Cape Cod’s State Parks, including Nickerson State Park in Brewster, South Cape Beach State Park in Mashpee, and Scusset Beach State Reservation along the Cape Cod Canal.

In addition, go for a stroll along the Cape’s many beaches, which are basically empty this time of year. Tip: many beaches allow dogs after Columbus Day, so be sure to bring your pup along!

Expect to find mostly empty beaches when you visit Cape Cod in the fall.
Expect to find mostly empty beaches when you visit Cape Cod in the fall.

9. Outdoor dining until October in Cape Cod

Outdoor dining in Cape Cod is a truly unique experience, especially during the crisp and colorful fall season. As the summer crowds begin to wane, the area’s eateries embrace the harvest flavors, offering menus filled with fresh seafood, locally sourced vegetables, and autumnal spices. There are tons of great outdoor restaurants scattered from Falmouth and the Upper Cape all the way to P-Town.

Imagine savoring a succulent lobster roll or a bowl of rich clam chowder, all while seated at a waterfront table, wrapped in the golden glow of the setting sun. The gentle breeze off the Atlantic Ocean adds to the ambiance, carrying with it the faint scent of salt and seaweed.

Many restaurants in Cape Cod feature spacious patios and decks, perfect for taking in the scenic coastal views. String lights add a magical touch as the evening sets in, and heaters ensure a comfortable dining experience as temperatures drop.

Farm-to-table experiences are also common, allowing you to taste the seasonal bounty of Cape Cod. From oysters harvested that very morning to cranberries picked from nearby bogs, the connection to the local landscape is palpable in every bite.

Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy an al fresco meal during your fall visit to Cape Cod. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or a laid-back lunch with friends, outdoor dining in this picturesque region is an experience that captures the essence of New England charm and hospitality.

Outdoor restaurants are a great idea until late October in Cape Cod.
Outdoor restaurants are a great idea until late October in Cape Cod.

10. Sunrises and sunsets are amazing in Cape Cod in the fall

Fall sunrises and sunsets are the best, so find yourself a beach on the Cape and enjoy them!

During the autumn months, dry Canadian air begins to sweep into the northeast USA. This makes the sky more vibrant than in the summer. I’m not going to get into the science behind this, but as a travel photographer, I’ve found this to be true. If you don’t believe me, feel free to read this article on weather.com. 😊

My favorite sunrise spot is Nauset Beach in Orleans, MA (not to be confused with Nauset Light Beach in Eastham, which is home to Nauset Lighthouse – featured on the Cape Cod Potato Chips bags!). Here, you’ll have a great view of Cape Cod’s eastern shoreline when the sun rises over the horizon.

Sunrise at Nauset Beach
Sunrise at Nauset Beach

You can enjoy sunsets from pretty much anywhere on the Cape, but I recommend Bound Brook Island Beach in Wellfleet if you’re looking for solitude. This is a hidden gem on Cape Cod, especially during the fall months, so you’ll likely have much of the beach to yourself.

Bound Brook Island Beach in Wellfleet.
Bound Brook Island Beach in Wellfleet.

To get to Bound Brook Island Beach, park at the Atwood-Higgins House and then walk a mile down a dirt path to the beach. When you hit a fork in the path, keep left along Bound Brook Island Road until you find yourself next to sand dunes and the beach.

Catching the sunrise and sunset is a must when you’re on the Cape. So bring a sweater, camera, and companion, and enjoy!

11. Fall festivals galore

The summer isn’t the only time of year with fun festivals. Come here in the fall, and you’ll have plenty of festivals, fests, and fairs to choose from.

Cape Cod is always bursting with fun fall festivals. Here’s what you can look forward to in 2023:

Wellfleet Oyster Fest: A popular event held in mid-October that celebrates the region’s local shellfishing traditions. Here, you can sample the town’s famous oysters, while enjoying art, music, and games.

Yarmouth Seaside Festival: A craft fair in October with a parade, music entertainment, games, contests, and more! The bonfire and fireworks are another highlight of this free event.

Cape Cod Brew Fest: A 3.5-hour beer festival where you can sample beer from over 100 local breweries. It’s definitely one of the top Cape Cod fall events.

Fall for the Arts Festival: A month-long celebration in October and November that hosts live music performances, art exhibits, and other family-friendly activities.

For more unique Cape Cod fests, check out the Cape Cod Chamber website!

Cape Cod becomes very festive during the autumn months.
Cape Cod becomes very festive during the autumn months.

12. It’s the best time of year to tour a cranberry bog

Ever thought about taking a tour of a cranberry bog? Make your taste buds tingle and support a local industry in the process by visiting one of these cool cranberry bogs on Cape Cod: https://www.cranberries.org/visit

Interestingly, Massachusetts harvests about 1/3 of the country’s total supply of cranberries. There are over 14,000 acres of cranberry bogs in the state, and many of them are on the Cape. These natural bogs were left behind by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago!

Massachusetts’ cranberry harvest season begins in late-September and usually wraps up by late October or early November. It coincides with the fall foliage season, so the Cape is brought to color in more than one way. You can also tour the bogs outside of this season, as tours typically run from June to December.

By taking a cranberry bog tour, you will not only learn about an important local industry, but also get your photo taken and try some fresh cranberries. They’re even better than the kind that ends up on your plate on Thanksgiving!

A cranberry bog tour is a cool way to experience Cape Cod in the fall.
A cranberry bog tour is a cool way to experience Cape Cod in the fall.

13. Local vineyards and breweries

Whether you’re visiting Cape Cod in September or October, local vineyards and breweries truly come alive this time of year. Here are some of my favorite spots:

Local Vineyards

  1. Truro Vineyards: Located in the Outer Cape, Truro Vineyards offers tastings of their estate-grown wines surrounded by breathtaking coastal views. In the fall, you can explore the vineyard’s harvest events, enjoying a variety of reds, whites, and rosés made from grapes like Chardonnay and Merlot.
  2. Cape Cod Winery: Nestled in East Falmouth, Cape Cod Winery crafts wines that embody the essence of the Cape. With tastings set in a garden overlooking the vineyard, visitors can enjoy wines made from grapes like Seyval Blanc and Pinot Grigio. The fall season brings unique offerings, such as their popular cranberry-infused wine.
  3. First Crush Winery: Located in Harwich, First Crush emphasizes local ingredients and a strong community connection. Their tastings provide an in-depth experience with options like Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, ideal for those looking to delve into the complexity of wine making.

Local Breweries

  1. Cape Cod Beer: In Hyannis, Cape Cod Beer is renowned for its craft ales, stouts, and seasonal specialties. Fall is the perfect time to sample their autumn brews, like the pumpkin-infused Harvest Ale. They offer brewery tours and tastings, allowing you to learn about their brewing process.
  2. Hog Island Beer Co.: Situated in Orleans, Hog Island offers a laid-back brewery atmosphere with outdoor seating. Their beer garden is an ideal spot for enjoying fresh brews with a coastal view. Don’t miss their Oktoberfest celebrations and seasonal releases.
  3. Devil’s Purse Brewing Company: Located in South Dennis, Devil’s Purse specializes in handcrafted European-style ales and lagers. Their tastings and tours give an insight into the art of brewing, and their seasonal beers are a highlight in the fall.

Exploring Cape Cod’s local vineyards and breweries in the fall not only offers a taste of local flavors. It also provides an opportunity to engage with the community, artisans, and the landscape. The blend of coastal beauty, seasonal harvest, and the creativity of local winemakers and brewers creates an unforgettable experience, adding a rich layer to your Cape Cod visit. Whether you’re a connoisseur or simply curious, the region’s wine and beer scene is not to be missed.

Cape Cod in September is the ideal time to visit a winery
Cape Cod in September is the ideal time to visit a winery

14. It’s a great time to visit the Heritage Museums & Gardens

Stroll around the Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich and you’ll see why this is one of the best Cape Cod fall activities. It’s home to over 100 acres of beautiful gardens filled with flowers, trees, and shrubs that will boost your mood.

Heritage Museums and Gardens windmill

Throughout the gardens, you’ll find a traditional Cape Cod windmill, a Norwegian-inspired treehouse, and so much more! There’s also a car museum housed in a building that was modeled after the Round Stone Barn at Hancock Shaker Village in the Berkshires (photos below). Though instead of finding cows and lambs inside, there are 40 classic American cars ranging from 1899-1962. To anyone who likes cars, it’s a very impressive collection!

The Heritage Museums & Gardens is the perfect outdoor outing in the late summer and early fall. It’s open through October 18, so be sure to squeeze in a visit before the weather gets colder. After visiting here in the fall, you’ll absolutely want to come back for more in the spring and summer when flowers are in full bloom!

A Norwegian-inspired treehouse at the Heritage Museums & Gardens.
A Norwegian-inspired treehouse at the Heritage Museums & Gardens.

15. Eat your way through Cape Cod without having to make a reservation

For many, eating and drinking is the highlight of any vacation, and that’s definitely the case on Cape Cod. Here, the restaurant and ice cream scene are fantastic, so take advantage!

Unlike the peak summer season when restaurants and ice cream shops are jam-packed, the late summer and early fall isn’t very busy. Aside from some weekends, you likely won’t have to make a reservation for dinner well in advance, nor will you wait forever in line at your favorite ice cream shops.

The farm-to-table dining on the Cape is especially awesome during the fall harvest season. Here are some places you’ll want to check out for a bite to eat:

Fall restaurants on Cape Cod (top picks):

The Canteen (Provincetown): A restaurant on Commercial Street in P-Town where you can dine alfresco in an oceanfront setting or pick up your meal to-go.

Lobster roll at the Canteen in P-town.
Lobster roll at The Canteen in P-town.

Beach House Grill (Chatham): A great place to enjoy fresh seafood with stunning views of the ocean. It’s located at the Chatham Bars Inn, one of the most famous hotels on the Cape. So be sure to take a stroll around the hotel!

The Chatham Bars Inn is one of the most iconic hotels in New England.
The Chatham Bars Inn is one of the most iconic hotels in New England.

Mac’s Seafood (Wellfleet & Provincetown): A shack in Wellfleet that prides itself on serving some of Cape Cod’s freshest seafood and other foods from the season’s local harvest.

Cape Cod Beer (Hyannis): A popular brewery in Hyannis with tours and tastings.

Cape Cod Beer

The Knack (Orleans): A roadside stand that sells Cape Cod classics including lobster rolls, fried fish sandwiches, burgers, and ice cream. They certainly have a knack for good comfort food!

Spanky’s Clam Shack (Hyannis): A seafood restaurant known for its clam chowder, fried clams, scallops, and shrimp.

And here are two ice cream shops I’ve had the pleasure of trying (the first one, I’ve been to several times):

Best ice cream on the Cape:

Sundae School (Dennis Port and Harwich Port): A place that makes some of the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever had. It will cost you a pretty penny, but it’s 100% worth it.

Ice cream at Sundae School: the highlight of an visit to the Cape!
Ice cream at Sundae School: the highlight of an visit to the Cape!

Cape Cod Creamery (South Yarmouth & Hyannis): A family-owned ice cream place with some of the best frozen treats on the Cape.

Kream ‘n’ Kone (Dennis): A place that serves both fried seafood and ice cream. If you’re looking for some soft-served ice cream after a day of outdoor activities, this is a great choice.

All the places above offer outdoor dining and take-out options. Some also have waterfront views. Tip: Many restaurants are closed on Mondays, so be sure to check their official websites or give them a call before showing up.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
Cape Cod has no shortage of outdoor eateries.
Cape Cod has no shortage of outdoor eateries.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Cape Cod autumns

Looking to learn more about Fall on Cape Cod? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get a lot about Cape Cod in September and October.

Is Cape Cod worth visiting in the fall?

Yes, Cape Cod is absolutely worth visiting in the fall. The region offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and seasonal activities that make it an enticing destination during the autumn months. Here’s why:

  1. Fall foliage: Cape Cod’s autumn leaves are a spectacle of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. You can take scenic drives, hikes, or bike rides to witness the colorful landscape.
  2. Crisp weather: The cooler temperatures of fall provide a comfortable environment for outdoor exploration without the summer crowds.
  3. Local vineyards and breweries: As described earlier, fall is a great time to explore local wineries and breweries, many of which offer seasonal tastings and events.
  4. Fishing and whale watching: Fall is an excellent time for fishing in Cape Cod, particularly for species like striped bass. Whale watching is still possible in the early fall, with humpbacks, finbacks, and other species making appearances.
  5. Festivals and events: Cape Cod hosts various fall festivals, like the Wellfleet OysterFest, providing opportunities to experience local culture and cuisine.
  6. Beach visits without the crowds: While the water may be cooler, the beaches are still beautiful, and you can enjoy them without the summer throngs.
  7. Delicious Foods: Enjoy seasonal specialties, including fresh seafood and farm-to-table meals, accentuating the bounty of the harvest season.
  8. Affordable accommodations: Outside of the peak summer season, you may find more affordable rates on accommodations, making it a budget-friendlier time to visit.
  9. Outdoor activities: Hiking, biking, and kayaking are just a few of the outdoor activities you can enjoy in the crisp fall weather.

In all, Cape Cod in the fall offers a tranquil yet vibrant experience, filled with natural beauty, cultural richness, and culinary delights. The reduced crowds and mild weather create an atmosphere that’s both relaxing and engaging – perfect for fall things to do in Cape Cod.

Is October a good time to go to Cape Cod?

Yes, October is a good time to visit Cape Cod. During this month, you’ll experience many of the unique and appealing aspects of fall in the region. This includes seasonal festivals, fall foliage, cheap hotels, and more.

Is there fall foliage on Cape Cod?

Yes, Cape Cod experiences fall foliage, and it can be quite beautiful. While Cape Cod may not be as renowned as other parts of New England for its autumn leaves, there is still a delightful display of colors to be seen.

The foliage typically starts to change in late September, with peak colors often occurring in mid to late October. You’ll find a variety of hues from bright yellows to warm oranges and deep reds, especially among the oak, maple, and birch trees.

Many of the area’s walking and biking trails, such as the Cape Cod Rail Trail, offer excellent opportunities to take in the fall scenery. Driving along scenic byways or enjoying a leisurely hike in the local conservation areas and state parks can also provide beautiful views of the autumn landscape.

Keep in mind that the timing of peak foliage can vary from year to year, depending on factors like temperature and rainfall, so it’s a good idea to check local forecasts if viewing the foliage is a priority for your visit.

How should I dress for Cape Cod in October?

October in Cape Cod sees cooler temperatures, with averages ranging from around 50°F to 65°F (10°C to 18°C), but it can occasionally be chillier, especially in the evenings. Here’s a general guide for what to wear during your visit:

  1. Layers: Bring lightweight layers that you can add or remove as the temperature fluctuates throughout the day. A short-sleeved shirt with a sweater or light jacket over it can be perfect.
  2. Outerwear: Consider a medium-weight jacket or a windbreaker. This is especially true if you plan to be by the water, where it can be windier and cooler.
  3. Pants: Jeans or other long pants would be suitable for the daytime, with perhaps something warmer for the evenings.
  4. Footwear: Comfortable walking shoes are a must if you plan to explore the area. If you’re going to the beach, even just for a walk, you might want to pack some sandals as well.
  5. Accessories: Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses, even if the temperatures are cooler, the sun can still be strong. Gloves and a scarf could be helpful if you tend to feel cold or if a chilly snap is forecasted.
  6. Rain gear: October can be a bit unpredictable, with the chance of rain. So packing a small umbrella or a raincoat might be wise.
  7. Evening wear: If you plan to dine out in some of the nicer restaurants, you might want to bring some smart casual wear for the evenings.

Remember, the weather can change. So it’s always a good idea to check the forecast shortly before you go to ensure you’re packing appropriately for the expected conditions.

Is Cape Cod too cold in October?

No, Cape Cod is generally not considered too cold in October. However, it can be cooler and more brisk than the summer months. Average temperatures in October range from around 50°F to 65°F (10°C to 18°C).

While it’s not beach weather for most people, it’s still a pleasant time to explore the outdoor beauty of Cape Cod, enjoy the fall foliage, and partake in outdoor dining, wine tastings, and other autumn activities. Though if you’re into cold immersion like me, hitting the beach this time of year is no problem!

Do keep in mind that weather can vary, and occasionally there may be chillier days or evenings. It would be wise to pack appropriately with layers and potentially some warmer items. This includesa medium-weight jacket, gloves, or a scarf, depending on your personal comfort with cooler weather.

Many visitors find Cape Cod in October to be a charming time to visit, with fewer crowds and a beautiful autumnal atmosphere. Checking the local weather forecast close to your travel date can give you a more precise idea of what to expect during your stay.

What is Cape Cod like in September?

Cape Cod in September is often considered one of the best times to visit, as the summer crowds have thinned out but the weather remains pleasantly warm. Here’s an overview of what you can expect during September in Cape Cod:

  1. Weather: The temperatures in September typically range from 55°F to 75°F (13°C to 24°C). The days are often sunny and mild, with cooler evenings. It’s still warm enough to enjoy the beaches, but without the intense heat of mid-summer.
  2. Water temperature: The ocean water remains relatively warm after the hot summer months, making it comfortable for swimming or other water-based activities.
  3. Activities: Many of the summer tourist attractions remain open, and outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking are enjoyable in the mild weather.
  4. Foliage: Towards the end of the month, you may start to see some fall foliage, particularly in the wooded areas of the Cape.
  5. Crowds: With schools back in session, the crowds are noticeably reduced, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere. This can also lead to more availability in Cape Cod accommodations and potentially lower prices.
  6. Seafood: September is a great time for seafood lovers, as many local specialties, such as lobster and oysters, are in season.
  7. Events: The Cape often hosts various events and festivals in September, ranging from art shows to seafood festivals.
  8. Clothing: Light layers are advisable, with some warmer clothing for the evenings or cooler days.

September’s combination of pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and an abundance of activities makes it a favorite month for many visitors to Cape Cod. It provides a balance between the lively summer season and the calm, scenic beauty of fall.

What are some things to do in cape cod in October?

Visiting Cape Cod in October offers a unique experience with autumn’s cooler temperatures and changing colors. Here’s a list of things you can enjoy during your October visit:

  1. Fall foliage tours: Explore the beautiful fall colors on a scenic drive or hiking trail.
  2. Visit local vineyards and breweries: Many are open in October and offer tastings of wine, beer, and locally made cider.
  3. Whale watching: Though the season is winding down, you might still be able to catch a whale-watching tour.
  4. Pumpkin picking and corn mazes: Many farms have fall-themed activities like pumpkin picking, hayrides, and corn mazes.
  5. Biking: Cooler weather is ideal for biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail or other local paths.
  6. Fishing: October is a great time for striped bass fishing in Cape Cod.
  7. Golfing: Enjoy a round of golf at one of Cape Cod’s beautiful golf courses.
  8. Seafood Dining: Indulge in local seafood specialties at waterfront restaurants.
  9. Beach walks: Though it may be too cool for swimming, the beaches are still great for walking, beachcombing, and enjoying the peaceful ocean views.
  10. Attend fall festivals: Check the local calendar for special fall festivals and events taking place during your visit.
  11. Spa day: Consider pampering yourself at one of Cape Cod’s luxurious spas.
  12. Bird watching: Fall is a wonderful time for bird watching, with various migratory species passing through.
  13. Kayaking and canoeing: If the weather is mild, you can still enjoy paddling in the quieter estuaries.
  14. Photography: Bring your camera to capture the stunning fall scenery and coastal landscapes.

October in Cape Cod is less crowded, and the pace is more relaxed, offering a chance to enjoy the natural beauty and local culture in a serene setting.

Cape Cod in the Fall: Recap

I hope you enjoyed my article on Cape Cod in the fall! It’s truly an amazing place to visit any time of year, but the September-October timeframe is particularly special!

With the summer crowds gone, visitors can relish the peace and charm of the Cape amid a backdrop of vibrant autumnal colors. Whether it’s savoring local wines and brews, strolling along windswept beaches, or engaging in outdoor activities like biking and fishing, Cape Cod in fall provides an enriching and unforgettable experience.

With beautiful weather and lots of fun outdoor activities in the fall, it’s no wonder why locals consider it the best time of year on the Cape!

Cape Cod in the fall pinterest photo
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For further reading, check out my other New England and East Coast articles:

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