Cape Cod in the Winter: Things to Do, Where to Stay + More

by Global Viewpoint
Cape Cod in the Winter Featured Image

Everyone knows that Cape Cod is a summer vacation paradise, but what about the winter? As temperatures drop, so do the prices for lodging. This time of year, the Cape becomes quieter and more serene with its uncrowded shops, restaurants, and beaches. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or solitude, Cape Cod in the winter will dazzle you with its many winter activities and things to do.

I recently visited Cape Cod and was amazed by the sheer number of Holiday-themed events happening in December. Beach towns were transported into winter wonderlands, filled with Christmas lights, Holiday strolls, parades, fairs, concerts, and more. But even if you don’t have a chance to visit in December, you can’t go wrong with a Cape Cod winter vacation in January, February, or March.

Planning a winter getaway in New England? Enjoy a fun and relaxing vacation to Cape Cod in the winter and you’ll fall in love with the atmosphere and activities! Here are the top 10 things to do in Cape Cod in the winter.

For further reading:

– Things to do in Cape Cod in the Fall

– Coolest Vacation Rentals on Cape Cod

– Upper Cape Cod Travel Guide

– Cozy Cottage Getaways on Cape Cod

The coolest Cape Cod winter activities for all types of travelers
Disclosure: My visit to Cape Cod was in partnership with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Chatham Bars Inn. As always, all opinions are my own.

Winter Holiday events

If you have a chance to visit Cape Cod in December, make your way across the Sagamore Bridge where you’ll find yourself in a winter wonderland! Cape Cod goes all out during the Holiday season with its endless lighting ceremonies, village strolls, horse-drawn carriage rides, and Holiday fairs.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus make an appearance at Gardens Aglow in Sandwich, MA.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus make an appearance at Gardens Aglow in Sandwich, MA.

Enjoy Christmas caroling and cocoa at the Chatham Bars Inn, check out the light displays at Gardens Aglow, and watch a candy cane making demo at Chatham Candy Manor. There’s also a Christmas parade in Falmouth and a lighting ceremony in Provincetown that you won’t want to miss.

Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, these Cape Cod winter activities will surely get you in the Holiday spirit!

The illuminated lobster pot tree in Provincetown is made of real lobster traps.
The illuminated lobster pot tree in Provincetown is made of real lobster traps.

Enjoy a spa day at a charming Cape Cod hotel

On a cold winter day in Cape Cod, get pampered and treat yourself to a massage. There’s no shortage of charming Cape Cod hotels offering a range of spa services, including the Chatham Bars Inn, Ocean Edge Resort, Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa, and Crowne Point Hotel.

From in-room massages and whirlpool tubs to salon services like facials and body treatments, spa treatments are a must during the winter in Cape Cod!

Relaxing at the spa is one of the top winter things to do in Cape Cod.
Relaxing at the spa is one of the top winter things to do in Cape Cod.

Winter hikes on Cape Cod

In Cape Cod, there aren’t any mountains. The Cape is known for its super flat terrain, so it’s generally a safe place for winter hiking.

For a smooth and scenic stroll, walk along the Cape Cod Canal, which offers eight miles of paved walking paths with beautiful waterfront views and bridges. Wildlife lovers will enjoy exploring the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and its many acres of woodlands, salt marshes, and sandy beaches. Not far away is the Cape Cod National Seashore Trail, which is absolutely stunning when covered in white snow.




<p class=Another fun and easy hike can be found in Lowell Holly Reservation (Sandwich/Mashpee), where you’ll pass by two ponds and lots of wildlife. You can’t go wrong with a short stroll along one of the Cape’s many beaches, either. And unlike in the summer, you won’t encounter any crowds!

While Cape Cod is typically warmer than Boston in the winter, plan on wearing plenty of layers when hiking, as well as a hat, scarf, and gloves. Several of the best hiking trails in New England are found on Cape Cod, so you’ll definitely want to experience the outdoors this time of year!

Lowell Holly Reservation is among the best winter hikes in Cape Cod.
Lowell Holly Reservation is among the best winter hikes in Cape Cod.

Gardens Aglow at the Heritage Museum & Gardens

Visiting Cape Cod in December? Don’t miss one of the coolest Holiday traditions, Gardens Aglow, which takes place at the Heritage Museum & Gardens in Sandwich.

Old East Mill covered in Christmas Lights
Old East Mill covered in Christmas Lights.

From November 26 to December 26, these gorgeous gardens come to life with festive Holiday décor, Christmas lights, seasonal treats, and fun activities for the whole family. Kids can see Santa and Mrs. Claus at the J.K. Lilly III Automobile Gallery and pay a visit to Magnolia Café and the Cape Cod Donut Truck. There’s also a merry-go-round and lawn games that you’ll want to check out while you’re here!

The Heritage Museum and Gardens goes all out for the Holidays.
The Heritage Museum and Gardens goes all out for the Holidays.

Gardens Aglow occurs from 4:30-8:30pm on select dates during the Holiday season (typically Thursday-Sunday). Refer to the official website for tickets, entry times, and other details about this magical evening event.

Roasting marshmallows at Gardens Aglow is one of the best things to do in Cape Cod in the winter.
Roasting marshmallows at Gardens Aglow is one of the best things to do in Cape Cod in the winter.

Stay at a cozy hotel or cottage on the ocean

Looking for a cozy stay on the Cape this winter? During the off-season, hotel prices are fantastic and there are plenty of seasonal specials to draw you in.

Spend a weekend getaway at an oceanfront inn, resort, or cottage where you can watch the waves and soak in the crisp ocean air each day. With dry weather during the winter months, sunrises and sunsets on the Cape are incredibly vibrant, so staying along the coast is the best way to see them!

The Chatham Bars Inn is the perfect place for a winter getaway on Cape Cod.
The Chatham Bars Inn is the perfect place for a winter getaway on Cape Cod.

I recently stayed at the Chatham Bars Inn, one of New England’s most iconic hotels and was blown away by the experience! My December visit coincided with the Holidays when Christmas festivities were in full swing. The inn boasts so many amazing decorations, including:

– 13 ten-foot Christmas trees

– 65 wreaths

– 4 life-sized nutcrackers

– 45,000 Christmas lights

– 80 decorated light poles

– 1 Gingerbread village replica of Chatham

Festive Christmas decor at the Chatham Bars Inn.
Festive Christmas decor at the Chatham Bars Inn.

In addition, there were lots of Holiday-themed events happening at the inn, including Santa workshops, holiday mixology classes, carolers and cocoa, gingerbread house decorating, wreath decorating workshops, and more.

Gingerbread village replica of Chatham guarded by life-sized nutcrackers.
Gingerbread village replica of Chatham guarded by life-sized nutcrackers.

At the Chatham Bars Inn, there’s a main inn as well as 30 cottages all belonging to the hotel. There’s also a private beach on the property, perfect for morning strolls. The inn is just a five-minute walk from Main Street in Chatham, however, after stepping foot inside this luxurious property, it’s hard to leave!

For more hotels and resorts that are open during the winter, see the “Hotels in Cape Cod that Remain Open in Winter” section at the bottom of this article.

Loving the Christmas decorations at the Chatham Bars Inn.
Loving the Christmas trees at the Chatham Bars Inn.

Beer and wine tastings

It’s always five o’clock somewhere on the Cape! And when the weather isn’t too great outside, a tasting at a brewery or winery is just the right idea. Here are some cool spots you’ll want to check out during a winter in Cape Cod:

Breweries

Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery – Martha’s Vineyard

Barnstable Brewing – Hyannis

Cape Cod Beer – Hyannis

Cisco Brewers – Nantucket

Devil’s Purse Brewing Company – South Dennis

Hog Island Beer Co. – Orleans

Naukabout Brewery and Taproom – Mashpee

Provincetown Brewing Co. – Provincetown

Cape Cod Beer's retail center in Hyannis is open year-round, where you can do beer tastings.
Cape Cod Beer’s retail center in Hyannis is open year-round, where you can do beer tastings.

Wineries

Cape Cod Winery – East Falmouth

First Crush Winery – Harwich

Truro Vineyards – North Truro

In December, Cape Cod Winery is open from Friday to Sunday
In December, Cape Cod Winery is open from Friday to Sunday. Refer to the official website for hours of operation.

While there are many breweries sprawled around the Cape, there are only three wineries. For wine tastings, you have the option of booking each on your own or doing a tour package with TapTastings. Whether you’re into wine or beer, you’ll find that brewery and winery visits are among the best things to do in Cape Cod during winter.

Beer tasting flights are among the coolest winter things to do on the Cape.
Beer tasting flights are among the coolest winter things to do on the Cape.

Holiday shopping is among the best Cape Cod winter activities

Cape Cod is always a prime place for shopping, but just wait until you see this place during the Holiday season.

Take a stroll down Main Street in Falmouth or Commercial Street in Provincetown, where you’ll find many festive shops selling Christmas gifts. Water Street in Woods Hole, Lemon Tree Village in Brewster, and Main Street in Chatham are also great places for Holiday shopping!

Downtown Falmouth in the winter.
Downtown Falmouth in the winter.

For shopaholics, you’ll want to add each of these spots to your Cape Cod winter itinerary!

Main Street in Chatham is a popular place for winter shopping in Cape Cod.
Main Street in Chatham is a popular place for winter shopping in Cape Cod.

Bowling is a favorite pastime on the Cape

Looking for a fun indoor activity on Cape Cod in the winter? Hit the lanes and go bowling!

Bowling and arcade games are fun family activities on Cape Cod when the weather is cold.
Bowling and arcade games are fun family activities on Cape Cod when the weather is cold.

Cape Cod is home to several bowladromes, but some of the coolest ones are The Alley Bowling & BBQ in Orleans and The Ten Pin Eatery in Hyannis. In addition to the bowling, each alley offers pub food and arcade areas for the whole family. Located inside the Cape Cod Mall, The Ten Pin Eatery has escape rooms, laser tag, and a golf simulator.

Whether you’re into candlepin bowling or looking for a bite to eat in a lively setting, these Cape Cod bowling alleys have got you covered. It’s no wonder this is among the top things to do on a Cape Cod winter vacation.

Bowling at Ten Pin Eatery in Hyannis is one of the best winter activities in Cape Cod.
Bowling at Ten Pin Eatery in Hyannis is one of the best winter activities in Cape Cod.

Gallery and museum hopping

From Sandwich to Provincetown, Cape Cod is treasured for its art galleries and museums. As the cultural capital of the Cape, P-town is a notable art colony where you’ll find no shortage of local galleries. However, there are many more throughout the Cape that feature the peninsula’s finest artwork, past and present. Here are some popular ones:

Addison Art Gallery – Orleans

Cape Cod Museum of Art – Dennis

Chapman Art Gallery – Barnstable

Julie Tremblay Gallery – Provincetown

The Nines Art Gallery – Harwich

Spend an afternoon perusing the Cape Cod Museum of Art during the winter months.
Spend an afternoon perusing the Cape Cod Museum of Art during the winter months.

Aside from art galleries, there are plenty of museums in Cape Cod worth exploring. This is especially so during cold and dreary winter days on Cape Cod. Here are some top museums that history buffs and lifelong learners won’t want to miss:

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History – Brewster

John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum – Hyannis

Nantucket Whaling Museum – Nantucket

Sandwich Glass Museum – Sandwich

Whydah Pirate Museum – West Yarmouth

Woods Hole Science Aquarium – Woods Hole

Looking for unique things to do in Cape Cod during winter? Bring the whole family along to the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
Looking for unique things to do in Cape Cod during winter? Bring the whole family along to the Nantucket Whaling Museum.

To get you into the Holiday spirit, check out Gardens Aglow at the Heritage Museum & Gardens or the Sandwich Glass Museum, which offers a holiday exhibition.

With so many museums and art galleries to choose from, this is one of the best Cape Cod winter activities, hands down.

Sandwich Glass Museum on Cape Cod.
Sandwich Glass Museum on Cape Cod.

Bakeries, cafés, and candy shops: The best Cape Cod attractions in the winter

No matter the time of year, you’ll be in for a treat satisfying your sweet tooth at a bakery, café, or candy shop on the Cape. When the weather is cold, there’s nothing better than nibbling on your favorite pastries and chocolates while sipping a cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

Chocolate connoisseurs won’t want to miss the Chatham Candy Manor in Chatham. They offer everything from homemade fudge and hand-dipped chocolates to specialty candies like candy canes and sour gummies.

Other places you should add to your Cape Cod winter bucket list is White Lion Baking Company in Mashpee and Scapicchio’s Bakery in South Yarmouth. The former specializes in gluten-free baked goods like cakes, brownies, cookies, and muffins, while the latter is known for its Italian cookies, pastries, and breads.

Don’t feel guilty about it either – as these extra calories will help keep you warm when the weather is cold! From old-fashioned candy shops to cozy bakeries and cafés, it’s no wonder these are among the coolest things to do in Cape Cod in the winter.

Cape Cod bakeries are always in high demand during the winter.
Cape Cod bakeries are always in high demand during the winter.

See a show at a cozy Cape Cod theater in the winter

When the weather outside is gloomy, enjoy a show, film, performance, or comedy skit from a historical theater on Cape Cod. Here are some top venues where you can enjoy a fun night out with your favorite drink in hand:

Barnstable Comedy Club – Barnstable

Cape Cinema – Dennis

Chatham Orpheum Theater – Chatham

Falmouth Theatre Guild – Falmouth

The Cape Playhouse – Dennis Village

Visiting Cape Cinema is a top thing to do in Cape Cod in winter.
Visiting Cape Cinema is a top thing to do in Cape Cod in winter.

Hotels in Cape Cod that remain open in the winter

It’s no secret that Cape Cod is seasonal destination that’s most popular during the warm summer months. While many hotels close down shop after the busy tourist season, there are plenty that stay open during the winter. Here are some fantastic options:

Chatham Bars Inn – Chatham, MA

As mentioned above, the Chatham Bars Inn is a sought-after hotel at all times of year. In the summer, it can be quite pricey, but in the winter, you can find good deals here. With such an amazing location and top-notch amenities, staying at the inn is a no-brainer!

Stay at one of these oceanfront cottages at the Chatham Bars Inn
Stay at one of these oceanfront cottages at the Chatham Bars Inn

The Chatham Bars Inn offers 217 guest rooms and suites sprawled around 25 oceanfront acres. There’s a high-end spa on the property with lots of seasonal specials and wellness programs that you’ll want to take advantage of during the winter. Also, you can’t miss the private beach, large pool, tennis courts, and lawn games.

Another benefit of staying at the Chatham Bars Inn is the hotel-owned fleet of boats offering sunset cruises, harbor tours, whale watches, sailing and fishing excursions, charter trips to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and more. What more could you want in a Cape Cod winter getaway?

Sunset at the Chatham Bars Inn.
Sunset at the Chatham Bars Inn.

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club – Brewster, MA

At the Ocean Edge Resort, winter rates start at around $115 per night. You’ll have plenty of indoor amenities to enjoy, including a heated indoor pool, spa area, ensuite whirlpool tubs, and fireplaces. There are also private heated igloos where you can dine beneath the stars.

Is this one of the best places to stay in Cape Cod in the winter? Absolutely!

The Ocean Edge Resort is a great place to spend a winter vacation on Cape Cod.
The Ocean Edge Resort is a great place to spend a winter vacation in Cape Cod.

Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa – Sandwich, MA

For a cozy winter getaway on Cape Cod, consider a visit to the Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa. This historic colonial hotel offers 48 charming rooms with gas fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. The restaurant on the property is also top-notch, offering contemporary American cuisine and local seafood specialties.

If you’re looking to pamper yourself at a steep off season discount, look no further!

A winter road trip in New England wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Cape.

Dan'l Webster Inn and Spa is a top hotel during the Cape Cod off season.
Dan’l Webster Inn and Spa is a top hotel during the Cape Cod off season.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about visiting Cape Cod during winter

Does it snow in Cape Cod?

Surrounded on three sides by the ocean, Cape Cod has a temperate climate. The ocean cools down the Cape during the summer and warms it up during the winter. While it can sometimes snow on the Cape, it typically rains instead due to warmer than freezing temperatures. According to the National Weather Service, the average winter temperatures on Cape Cod range from 40-42° F (5-6° C) from December through March, which lends itself to rain rather than snow. Though Cape Cod snowfall is rare, it certainly does happen. So be prepared!

What are the best places to visit in Cape Cod in the winter?

The best places to visit in Cape Cod in the winter are generally the same places you’d want to check out in the summer. Consider a visit to Provincetown, Falmouth, Hyannis, or Chatham, each offering its own unique charm and fun winter activities on Cape Cod.

What is the best month to visit Cape Cod in the winter?

To get into the Holiday spirit, you’ll want to visit Cape Cod in December. For great hotel deals and a quiet getaway, consider a visit to Cape Cod in January or February. Cape Cod in March is a great idea if you want to do more outdoors. For instance, around late March, you’ll begin to see more miniature golf courses opened around the Cape.

The off season in Cape Cod is truly magical, and you can’t go wrong with a visit during any of these months.

Cozy fireplace at the Chatham Bars Inn
Cozy fireplace at the Chatham Bars Inn

What to do in Cape Cod in the Winter

I hope you enjoyed reading about these getaway ideas and top things to do in Cape Cod in the winter! Whether you’re looking to explore Cape Cod as a day trip from Boston or a weekend getaway, you’ll find that winter is a great time of year to visit. Have you ever stayed on the Cape in December, January, February, or March? Let me know what you enjoyed most about your stay!

Happy Travels,

Jon

Best things to do in Cape Cod in Winter for families and romantic getaways
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