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JimC May 8th, 2006 09:00 AM

Cape Cod - warmest water
We are thinking about a week in Cape Cod this summer (I know it's late planning!).

The problem is that my in-laws live in St. Thomas and we are big babies when it comes to cold water. Is the water warmer in mid-July on the Bay side or on Nantucket Sound? I've seen both claimed as the warmest, so I'm confused. I realize that "warm" is a relative term.
Thanks. Jim

milemarker0 May 8th, 2006 09:59 AM

The warmest waters (relatively speaking) are on the South side (Nantucket Sound side).

The Bay side is cooler, but you can find warm water on the tidal flats, but that would be very shallow water.....the coldest of them all are on the Outer Cape Atlantic Ocean side.

ccrosner May 8th, 2006 10:19 AM

We have a house in Brewster which is on the bayside. My kids have actually gone swimming on 90 degree days in April!!! But it's quite 'warm' as early as late June/early July. It won't be like St. Thomas but it will be in the high 60s. And we've had a warmer spring so that should help. Can't compare it to the Nantucket Sound side because we don't go down there to swim.

As to the shallowness of the Bay...the issue would be the tides. When it's high tide, it is plenty deep for swimming on our beach in Brewster. When it's low tide the water goes out over a mile. So you may want to check a tide chart for the best week to visit.

Let me know if you need suggestions of places to stay or rent.

irishswampyankee May 8th, 2006 10:28 AM

The Sound side is definitely warmer bcs the Gulf Stream runs along there. Past the "elbow" the water gets very cold bcs it's open ocean. The Bay is medium compared to the other 2.

cybor May 8th, 2006 10:53 AM

I agree with irish in that the south ocean waters are warm. Certain protected beach water on the Bayside can be much warmer than open baywater. Our bayside beach waters in Truro are nicely warm during the summer months and stays heated in Sept. - probably however, not as warm I'm guessing as St. Thomas.

JimC May 8th, 2006 11:20 AM

Thanks for all the helpful replies. Yes, we are seriously spoiled by tropical waters, but some refreshing 70-degree water will be a nice change.
ccrosner - thanks, I may take you up on your offer as soon as I have the dates exact.

gail May 8th, 2006 11:35 AM

I am not sure the water will be quite as warm as the 70 degrees you hope for - I think you may still find it quite cold.

bakergirl May 8th, 2006 12:18 PM

Yeah, I'm with gail. The water might not hit 70. (The later in the summer, the better chance you have.) I love the Cape, spend much of my summer there, but the water temperature cannot compare to St. Thomas. It will be cold, even on the south side which has, undoubtedly, as most of these folks have suggested, the warmest water.

But it will be "refreshing"......
Have fun!

starrsville May 8th, 2006 12:30 PM

Check it for yourself -

Enter the dates you want. I used July 15th of last year.

It's gonna be COLD - nothing like St. Thomas.

capxxx May 10th, 2006 08:47 AM

You might be able to warm up in a kettle pond (there are a several freshwater ponds on the Cape with swimming beaches).

Or try the hotel hot tub ;-)

gail May 10th, 2006 09:53 AM

Another thought - while what has been said about Gulf Stream and southern part of Cape, I remember when our kids were little we found some warm shallow water in northern side of Cape around Wellfleet - there are several small beaches with small bays that have water shallow enough to get warmer.

But I still would not spend any time chasing warm water on the Cape - it is not there, and the difference of a few degrees is not going to matter to those used to Caribbean water. Pick where you stay for other reasons, not the water temperature.

gomiki May 10th, 2006 10:57 AM

The bayside beaches in North Eastham can get quite warm. As someone said, the tide is extreme. When the sand is exposed the sun warms it and then the sand warms the water when the tide comes in. I am a wimp but can easily go in (Kingsbury Beach, Campground Beach) the water. It has been well over 70 degrees. On the other hand I can barely get my feet wet on the ocean side.

charlesaf3 May 11th, 2006 09:59 AM

The North Side of Marthas vineyard (on the South Side of the Cape) has water that goes up to the low 70s in August. Swimmable, but as I grew up in the Caribbean I still find it a bit chilly. But you adapt once you are in it.

In general the ponds will be warmer.

Intrepid1 May 11th, 2006 10:02 AM

You honestly think 70-degree water is "tropical"????? We get that and higher water temps routinely here in the mid-Atlantic in the Summer.

JimC May 11th, 2006 11:21 AM

Thanks again for all the help. (I think Intrepid misunderstood about what tropical waters means to me!.)

I see your point, Gail, about not getting hung up about a few degrees difference between the Sound and Bay. I think the tidal flats will be a lot of fun for the two toddlers on the trip. The beauty of the cape is that both sides are easy to reach.

jsquared May 22nd, 2006 03:54 AM

We're from Buffalo, NY &, right now, ANYTHING seems warmer. It was 41 this morning & our furnace kicked on, however, we're also going to the Cape this summer...Nantucket side!! Come on sunshine!!!

z May 22nd, 2006 04:14 AM

If you are used to swimming in a nice warm waters of St. Thomas I don't see how can you enjoy swimming in Cape Cod. Bring wet suits

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