One of the things I love about living on Cape Cod is the way the people leave at the end of August. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a tourist-hater - but the drop in population (and traffic) is always welcome. Since we moved here almost 8 years ago, the year-round population has increased to almost 250,000 residents spread throughout the Cape. In contrast, I read a recent article that said almost 6 million people visit the Cape each year, which is roughly equivalent to the entire population of the state of Massachusetts!
With this kind of population explosion and contraction each year, many businesses shut down for the off-season. Over the years that we have lived here, I have discovered many year-round places to enjoy, but if you are thinking of coming here for a visit, I recommend coming in the fall. September and October are great down here - the weather is mild, still hot enough for the beach at times but cooler at night. The seasonal businesses don't begin shutting down until the end of October. You can drive up to almost any restaurant, park right in front, and be seated immediately, no matter how crowded and exclusive it may be in the summer months.
The best part is the great outdoors. Right now, it's green and lush outside, but in a few weeks, the colors will start to come out. The cranberry bogs will turn scarlet, and the trees will flame, and a walk around the bog in the back of our house will be a new adventure for my kids. The bugs that make slogging through the woods miserable for them will go away, and as the undergrowth thins out the kids are happy once again to go poking around for rocks and leaves and twigs - treasure!
If you are thinking of coming to the Cape in the fall with your kids for outdoor fun, The Insider's Guide to Cape Cod website has loads of information. There are conservation areas and walking trails all over the Cape. One of our favorite places is the Botanical Trails in Yarmouthport. You can also find guides on the websites of most towns under conservation or recreation. For example, here is the list of downloadable PDF files for various Barnstable trails.
For rainy days, there are other options, such as the Cape Cod Children's Museum, but honestly? Some of the best nature walks I've had with my kids have been on these not-too-warm, not-too-cold drizzly fall days ...just like today!