As soon as the weather is warm enough to be outside, Provincetown is the ideal day trip or weekend adventure. Whether you travel by the Boston ferry, car or plane, you can ditch your car and walk virtually everywhere in town.What makes this tip-of-the-Cape destination so unique is the combination of scenic beauty (think water on three sides!), the vibrant but historic arts’ scene and the abundance of dining and entertainment. Whether one is seeking a quiet walk on the beach or a rowdy drag show, it’s all in this one small town.
Distance from Boston: 116 miles
Travel time: 2.5 hours
Boston to Provincetown Ferry:
Travel time: 90 minutes one way
Boston Harbor Cruises:
Adult roundtrip: $83
Children 4-12 roundtrip: $63
Bay State Cruise Company:
Adult roundtrip: $83
Children 3-12: $62
Walk the Breakwater
For scenic vistas, the outdoors enthusiast can head to the West end of town and walk the breakwater all the way to Long Point, the spit of land with the lighthouse visible from Provincetown’s center. If one wants to bask on the fairly secluded beach of Long Point without all that walking, there is a ferry service from the main wharf in town, Macmillan’s Pier. Flyer’s (508-487-0898) runs every hour during the summer from 10 a.m. to 5:20 p.m.
Fishing & Whale Watching
While at the main wharf, as the locals call it, check out the various options for whale watching and sport fishing. One option is to take a fishing trip on the Cee Jay, operated by local captains since 1932. They provide all the gear you need for a fun day of fishing, (choose morning or afternoon) and they even clean and filet the fish you catch! (508-487-4330 for reservations)
If you’re interested in a Whale Watch, Dolphin Fleet (800-826-9300) is the areas largest tour operator. Their 3-4 hour whale watch cruise costs $39 for adults and $31 for kids over 5. If you don’t see any whales, you get a free ticket for a future trip. Try this link for an online coupon, while supplies last.
For another fabulous view for the energetically inclined, climb to the top of the Pilgrim Monument (1 High Pole Hill Road, 508-487-1310), the iconic tower visible when entering town. For the price of admission ($7 adults, $5 seniors and students, $3.50 kids 4-14) one can learn some Provincetown history before heading to the top.
To go out to the ocean beaches, there are bicycle rentals at several spots along Bradford Street, including Ptown Bikes (42 Bradford Street, 508-487-8735). Or smack in the heart of downtown Commercial Street, you’ll find ‘Arnold’s Where You Rent Bikes’ (329 Commercial St, 508-487-0844). Both places will provide maps to the ocean beaches as well as the National Seashore bike trails, which include spectacular trails through the dunes at the Visitor’s center, Race Point and the Beech Forest.
The main drag of Commercial Street has many delicious options for dining, both casual and upscale. One can’t go wrong with the Provincetown tradition of the Lobster Pot, (321 Commercial Street, 508-487-0842) serving consistently good fresh seafood and an enormous menu selection, in the heart of Provincetown’s center. Enjoy high-quality meals and still wear your shorts and flip-flops.
For more upscale and elegant, try Front Street Restaurant (230 Commercial St., 508-487-9715) farther toward the West end of the center, also on the main drag.
One can’t go wrong choosing one of the wonderful twin Italian options of Ciro and Sal’s in the east end (4 Kiley Court, 508-487-6444) and Sal’s Place (99 Commercial St., 508-487-1279) in the way west end. Ciro’s boasts a large menu selection and traditionally reliable food, wine and service. Fabulous choices include the steamed mussels in garlic and white wine. Sal’s menu is much smaller, but serves fine Northern Italian food and has an outdoor deck on the water side for warm summer evenings.
Bars and nightlife include, for the heterosexual crowd: the Squealing Pig (335 Commercial, 508-487-5804); the Governor Bradford (312 Commercial St., 508-487-2781), which hosts live music; and the Old Colony (323 Commercial St., 508-487-2361), a down and dirty beer hall filled with local color in the center of town.
Popular gay bars include Vixen (386 Commercial Street, 508-487-6424) for women; and the A-House (4 Masonic Place 508-487-3821); the Crown & Anchor (247 Commercial Street, 508-487-1430); and the Gifford House Bars (9 Carver Street, (508) 487-0688) for men.
The Post Office Cabaret (303 Commercial Street, 508-487-0006), the Art House (214 Commercial Street, 508-487-9222) and Crown and Anchor all have drag shows, comedy or other entertainment.
For an offbeat cross between day and night, check out the poolside outdoor dance party known as Tea Dance, afternoons at the Boatslip bar 161 Commercial Street, 508-487-1669).
Locals love Friday nights for the gallery openings. One can walk Commercial Street, beginning at the Schoolhouse Gallery on the corner of Howland and Commercial (in the east end) to the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), 460 Commercial, and work your way west, mingling with locals and artists, drinking free wine and enjoying original works of art until your feet tire or you’re ready to go out dancing! Check the local papers for each week’s gallery schedule.