I have the good fortune to live on Beautiful Cape Cod. It's an unusual place to live. As a tourist destination the year round population of 220,000 supports 4-5 million visitors, most arriving in July and August. The fall shoulder season is also becoming much more popular. September used to be our best kept secret - the best time to go to the beaches, shops and restaurants with very few tourists. Sadly, our secret is gradually getting out. Once you get past mid October things start to close for the season, and the winter season is very quiet indeed.
Because nearly all the activities: festivals, parades, etc. happen "in season" we do have to venture out occasionally among the tourists and "summer people". Yesterday was one of those days. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution operates year round, doing all kinds of research in concert with all kinds of universities and the U.S. Navy, but it's in August that they have their "Science Stroll". The Science Stroll is comprised of all kinds of exhibits, from films to tours of the ocean research vessel Atlantis. Due to a generous friend we were able to tour the Atlantis and it was fascinating.
Once off the ship we were able to visit with actual scientists, and see the actual equipment used in oceanic research. These are the instruments and ships that looked for Maylasia 3.0, map the floor of the ocean, trace ocean currents and temperatures - nearly everything you hear about the ocean comes from here. You should check out the link to their site for even more. The most exciting thing to me is that most research is private for a couple of years so the scientists have time to publish, then it's all available to the public. What a treasure trove of information!
Aside from all the science fun, Woods Hole is a charming town and worth a visit on its own merits. Just don't expect to have a lot of available parking!