Cape Cod might not be the conventional New England Fall getaway spot, but there are plenty of reasons to visit this coastal side of New England during Fall. Due to its milder weather, autumn is considered the “Second Summer” on Cape Cod. Locals consider this as the best season of all.
Fun Fall festivals, great outdoor adventures, warmer weather, and fewer crowds make this a perfect destination during Autumn. We spent a Fall weekend on Cape Cod and did some really fun stuff. If you are interested in family-friendly outdoor activities, just like us, then Cape Cod has so much to offer in the Fall.
So, here I am going to share a few ideas to get you started planning your Fall visit!
Hike along the Red Maple Swamp Trail
Hiking or taking a nature walk through one of the scenic Cape Cod trails is the most enjoyable during the crisp autumn weather. During our visit, we covered the Red Maple Swamp Trail in Eastham. It is an easy .8 mile, 30-minute round trip hike through flat ground and boardwalk, and it was spectacular amidst the changing autumn leaves. This hike is pretty family-friendly and great for kids.
Stroll through the Bass Hole Boardwalk
The Bass Hole Boardwalk is a distinctly unique terrain. I consider this as the best kept secret on the Cape. The boardwalk stretches over serene salt marshes at Gray’s Beach in Yarmouth Port. This 0.5-mile out-and-back trail is open year-round and pretty easy to cover. The views are breathtaking, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Bike ride through Shining Sea Bikeway
Cape Cod has many biking trails. During our visit, we went on a biking adventure through Shining Sea Bikeway, a 10.7-mile bike path. It runs from North Falmouth to Woods Hole and options for bike rental are available. We parked our car at the free parking area in North Falmouth and rented our bikes from Bike Zone, which is conveniently located just next to the parking. This paved, multi-use trail is ideal for casual and beginner cyclists. As you travel along the path, you pass cranberry bogs, farmland, salt marshes and the coastline along Trunk River in Falmouth.
Attend a Fall Festival
Fall is the season of fun Fall festivals. Throughout September till November, the towns and local businesses across Cape Cod host a lot of family-friendly events. During our visit, we attended the Mashpee Oktoberfest in Mashpee Commons. This event features face painting, pumpkin decoration, games, food trucks, a local brewery, live music, and more. There are many other Fall events, like Harwich Cranberry and Music Festival, Vinegrass Music Festival at Truro Vineyards, Wellfleet Oyster Fest and Chatham’s Pumpkin People in the Park. For more Fall events, checkout VisitCapeCod’s Events Calendar.
Check out the Picturesque Nauset lighthouse
Any trip to the Cape is incomplete without checking out one of the beautiful lighthouses on this sandy peninsula. Fall months are especially amazing for lighthouse hopping, as you will encounter very few people and can take some amazing photos of the quintessential lighthouses. We decided to visit the iconic red and white Nauset Lighthouse in Eastham. Nauset Beach Light is a restored lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore. This might look familiar as it is the one featured on Cape Cod Chipsbags.
Enjoy the less crowded beaches
Due to warmer weather during September and early October, you still get to enjoy the beaches on Cape Cod. Stroll through the less-crowded beaches, enjoy the autumn breeze, and experience some spectacular sunsets. Cape Cod National Seashore has the most pristine beaches and if you visit after Labor Day, you don’t have to pay the daily fee to park, which is an added advantage.
Visit a local Farm
Our Fall trips are incomplete without checking out some local farms. To soak in the spirit of Fall and Halloween, we make sure to visit a local farm for pumpkin picking. During our trip, we quickly checked out the Tobey Farm in Dennis. It is a cute farmer’s market with flowers, pumpkins, and, local produce. A quick stopover at the farm was great to keep up with the Fall spirit.
Explore the beautiful downtown areas
Chatham and Provincetown are undoubtedly two of the most popular and vibrant towns on Cape Cod. Strolling through the beautiful downtown areas is a must. During Fall, the town’s storefronts are decorated with beautiful Fall and Halloween decorations. Both the towns have great shopping and dining options. We had lunch at the Canteen at the Provincetown and I highly recommend this place. This beach-themed nook has a very casual vibe and serves some great fresh lobster rolls.
Try some donuts at Captain Baker donut Shop
Trying some donuts at Captain Baker Fonut Shop at Dennis is a must. They are famous for their Fall seasonal Apple Cider donuts. They also serve breakfast sandwiches and coffee.
Check out the Judah Baker windmill
Check out the 18th Century Judah Baker windmill at South Yarmouth. It was named after its original builder, Judah Baker, who constructed the mill in 1791. It is a picturesque area in any season and offers plenty of photo opportunities.
Stay in a cozy Boutique Hotel
Fall is the best time to grab some great deals on hotels and other accommodations on Cape Cod. Prices start to fall after Labor Day, and drop even more in October and November. Pelham on Earle is a recently renovated budget-friendly option for your Fall getaway. Located in the quaint neighborhood of Dennis, Pelham on Earle is a cozy boutique style hotel, just a few blocks away from the beach. Surrounded by colorful hydrangeas, it has the New England charm and a very casual coastal vibe. The hotel has an outdoor pool, fire pits, patio, and a newly opened Mexican restaurant. It also offers free beach chairs and wagons,which you can take to the nearby beach, During our stay, we tried food and drinks at the in-house restaurant called Tides Kitchen & Bar, and everything was delicious! They also provide complimentary morning coffee and muffins, which are super tasty. Head over to their website to book your stay – https://www.pelhamonearle.com/.
All in all, Cape Cod is an amazing destination for Fall. If you are not a fan of other overly crowded areas of New England during leaf peeping season and want more of a relaxing getaway then Cape Cod should be in your list. And keep the upcoming holiday season in mind for a visit too, as the region offers plenty of festive village strolls, parades, illuminations and harbor lightings all through December. Visit https://www.capecodchamber.org/ to learn more!