How to Make the Most of Cape Cod’s Hydrangea Season

Below-average temps were unkind to the iconic flower this year, but you’ll still be able to see their gorgeous pastel bloom this summer. The best places to (literally) stop and smell the flowers.

Nobscusset Road in Dennis. / Photo by Greta Georgieva

Different species of hydrangeas grow in a range of climates across the U.S., but if you associate the flowers with Cape Cod, you’re probably thinking of the “endless summer” variety. It’s the sheer volume of the classic blue flowers that make them so iconic; you’ll spot them everywhere from beach parking lots to stately front yards.

On the Cape, the season starts in mid-June and can last through early August, but culminates with the annual Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival, a 10-day celebration during the flowers’ peak blooming period. This year, the festival takes place through July 16, with offering daily private garden tours, guided history walks, an educational talk called “Hydrangea University,” and more. Whether you’re in town for the festival or not, you’re bound to see hydrangea bushes in every direction. But for a little more focused appreciation, here’s the best way to enjoy their bloom.

Where to See the Best Hydrangea Displays

The Hydrangea Walk in Chatham. / Photo by Greta Georgieva

Shore Road in Chatham

Starting at Chatham Lighthouse, drive or cycle your way up Shore Road to see stunning roadside blooms. You’ll want to stop at what’s been dubbed “the Hydrangea Walk” — the private residence of 123 Shore Rd., which flaunts a flower-lined walkway that’s worth admiring from afar. Beyond it, the Chatham Bars Inn puts even more hydrangeas on Instagrammable display. Consider ending your journey with a lobster roll at the Chatham Pier Fish Market.

Photo by Madeline Bilis

Lower County Road between Dennis Port and Harwich Port

The charming cottages lining Lower County Road have yards laced with hydrangea bushes and white picket fences. Consider grabbing a scoop from Sundae School Ice Cream and then cruising east toward Harwich’s Main Street. The drive is short, but packed with explosive color.

Courtesy Heritage Museum & Gardens

Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich

For an educational hydrangea experience, head to the Heritage Museum & Gardens’ Hydrangea Display Garden, which was established in partnership with the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society. Here, you’ll find more than 155 species of the plant, though the garden is dominated by the kind you know and love: hydrangea macrophylla, or the “endless summer” variety.

67 Grove St., Sandwich,

Photo by Greta Georgieva

The Houses Featured in the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival

As part of the annual Hydrangea Fest, green-thumbed homeowners invite people into their gardens for tours. Hydrangeas are the main attraction, of course, but festivalgoers will see a range of flowers and plant species. Take stock of the addresses on the home tour list and create your own mini-hydrangea road trip.

Where to Stay for the Full Hydrangea Experience

Chatham Bars Inn’s main entrance. / Photo by Greta Georgieva

Chatham Bars Inn

This is Cape Cod’s crown jewel for glimpsing beautiful hydrangeas. Its 25 acres bloom with 14 varieties—though the inn’s flagship garden, visible from Shore Road, takes the cake for the Cape’s most eye-popping display. (On the grounds you’ll also find the Cape’s best spa.)

297 Shore Rd., Chatham,

Brewster Inn by the Sea

Though there are plenty of classic “endless summer” hydrangeas along Main Street in Brewster, a stunning display of blue and white lace cap hydrangeas surround Brewster Inn by the Sea’s pool. Lounge here for a sweet-smelling break from the beach.

716 Main St., Brewster,

Courtesy of Pelham on Earle

Pelham on Earle

Tucked away on a side street off Lower County Road in Harwich, Pelham on Earle is the sister property of Pelham House Resort in nearby Dennis. This cozy spot is steps from the beach, but it’s the hotel’s front yard where you’ll want to spend time — dozens of bright-blue hydrangeas can be seen from every angle.

30 Earle Rd., West Harwich,

Red Jacket Beach Resort

Make the most of the Hydrangea Festival with a stay at the Red Jacket in Yarmouth. The inn’s “Hydrangea Enhancement” package offers an in-room hydrangea arrangement, a guided art class, a tour of the property lead by the inn’s head gardener, and a flower-themed gift from towel and blanket company ChappyWrap.

1 South Shore Dr., South Yarmouth,

Courtesy of Wequassett Resort & Golf Club

Wequassett Resort & Golf Club

One of the Cape’s most stunning seaside patios is at Wequassett Resort & Golf Club, which erupts with color every summer. Stop by to dine at the resort’s Outer Bar & Grille to take in the views, or book a room for an extended stay with the blooms.

2173 MA-28, Harwich,

Where to Buy Hydrangea-Themed Gifts

On July 12, the Hydrangea Fest is hosting an “Artists in Bloom” event, where you can browse hydrangea-inspired art. But if you’re in town any other time of year, stop by one of these shops.

Voila! Designs by Frederique. / Photo by Madeline Bilis

Voila! Designs by Frederique

The hydrangeas in Frederique Poulain’s cheery gift shop are always in bloom. The French-born artist handpaints the iconic blue flowers on just about everything: scarves, bags, plates, mugs, wine glasses, candles, and even canvas sneakers.

169 Main St., Yarmouth Port,

Chatham Pottery’s wares. / Photo by Madeline Bilis

Chatham Pottery

Chatham Pottery has been a stoneware staple on the Cape for over 30 years. One of the shop’s most popular designs is its hydrangea collection, which graces mugs, vases, pizza stones, lamp bases, and more.

2058 Main Street, Chatham,

Hydrangea House Gift Shop. / Photo by Madeline Bilis

Hydrangea House Gift Shop

You’ll find wall-to-wall hydrangea gifts inside this centuries-old purple house just off Dennis Port’s Main Street. Items from slate welcome signs to wine glasses have been handpainted by optometrist and artist Marsha Ross.

227 Depot Street Dennis Port,

Courtesy of Cupcake Charlie’s

Cupcake Charlie’s

Cupcake Charlie’s has five locations across southern New England, but you’ll want to head to its shop at Mashpee Commons to enjoy a hydrangea cupcake during the Hydrangea Festival.

10 Central Square, Mashpee,

Photo by Madeline Bilis

Rifle Paper Co.’s Hydrangea Collection

Can’t make it to the Cape anytime soon? Order a hydrangea-themed tumbler, stemless wine cup, or scrunchie from Rifle Paper Co. to hold you over until your next visit.