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When to Go
Prime time on the Outer Cape—when everything is open—is from Memorial Day to around Columbus Day; July and August are by far the most crowded times. The shoulder seasons of late May and June, and after Labor Day, have become more and more popular with childless travelers who aren't locked into a school schedule. Rates are lower during these times, and restaurants and shops are still open. If the weather has been generous, swimming is still a pleasant possibility.
Wellfleet pretty much seals itself up after OysterFest, held the weekend after Columbus Day; most galleries and restaurants close, leaving just a handful of year-round businesses. But you'll have the entire outside world to explore, now free of thousands of others trying to do the same thing. Ocean climates keep winters milder than on the mainland. It's quiet—beautifully so—and distractions and pleasures take on a more basic flavor.
Provincetown clears out as well, but not as fully as Wellfleet. Various theme weekends throughout the year have boosted tourism in the off-season, and there are always readings, films, and places to eat. The off-season is truly a time to discover the essence of the place, see its changing natural beauty, and experience a more restful and relaxed pace.
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