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Second Summer on Cape Cod

Josie Cataldo | 8/14/2023 (updated 10/4/2023)

It’s officially second summer on the Cape and Islands! While we love the hustle and bustle, sun-soaked slow days, and sweltering heat of summertime, there’s something special about the arrival of autumn and the winding down of the busy season. The cool breeze that wafts in from the water signifies it’s time to start wearing light layers. Nighttime drapes a cool blanket over the landscape and the stars shine bright. Bonfires on the beach flicker in the distance and the smoky smell lingers in the air until early morning. Second summer is all about embracing the beauty of the impending shoulder season all while enjoying the last bit of the sun's soft glow. Check out WeNeedaVacation's suggestions below on how to celebrate second summer!

Take to the Trails and Check out the Changing Foliage

If there was a color palette for second summer on Cape Cod, it would be comprised of soft gold, burnt orange, and brick red, the colors of the leaves that decorate the Cape and Islands' trees. Feel the gentle crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet while admiring the sunrise gradient of color that emanates from the foliage on your favorite walking path.

Take a Tour of the Cape and Islands Lighthouses

Now we're not quite sure why, but for some reason, we associate second summer with lighthouses. Maybe it's the way the strong structures stand out among the gradually changing landscape, or maybe it's simply because their red and white color scheme is complimented by the colors of autumn. Regardless, there's something both nostalgic and serene about visiting and admiring these landmarks after the peak summer season has ended.

Attend Shoulder Season Festivals

What many people may not know is that a majority of the festivals that take place on the Cape and Islands happen during second summer! Just a few of these highly anticipated events include Wellfleet Oyster Fest, Cape Cod Canal Day,, Yarmouth Seaside Festival, and Eastham Windmill Weekend.

Scour the Beach for Sea Glass

Now that the swarm of crowds that populated the beaches during peak summer months have returned home, there's finally space to search for sea glass. You no longer have to tip-toe around large parties of beach-goers in search of the elements' colorful creations. The wind has slightly intensified and the seas have grown rough, churning out perfectly smooth pieces of beach glass.

Enjoy a Serene Beach Day

If you spend a day at the beach during second summer, you'll find that the sound of excited children splashing in the water has been replaced by the music of gentle waves and dancing dune grass. You'll also find that you no longer have to circle the parking lot six times before securing a spot. If you're looking to have a relaxing afternoon with little disturbance, head to the nearest beach and soak up the sunshine while you still can.

Find your Way to a Farmers Market

While there were farmers markets happening on the Cape and Islands all June, July, and August, we find them to be a bit more enjoyable when you're not searching for produce in the stifling heat. Take your time walking through one of the many famers markets on Cape Cod before making yourself a beautiful meal with the locally grown ingredients.

Have a Bonfire on the Beach

The stars in the sky seem to shine extra bright during second summer, so why not sit beneath their glow and warm up by the fire? Grab a few friends, plenty of warm blankets, and keep your eyes peeled to the sky to see if you can spot a shooting star!