When you visit Provincetown, the beaches are a bike ride away, iconic lighthouses add to the quaint Cape Cod scenery, protected nature is accessible all around, and at a towering monument, you’ll find both unbelievable views and local history. There’s so much to see and do here on the outer Cape, and it’s all just minutes from our Provincetown lodging.
Not-to-Miss Attraction: Herring Cove Beach
Coastline surrounds Provincetown on both sides, so the beaches are plentiful, but none is more easily reached from town or well-loved than Herring Cove Beach. From our downtown location, it’s just two miles down Bradford St (the same street we’re on) to Province Lands Road, where you make one right turn and arrive at the miles-long stretch of beach at Herring Cove. You can walk, bike, or take a local bus and be on the legendary dunes of outer Cape Cod within just minutes of the friendliest year-round hotel in Provincetown. If you drive during the busier summer season, try to get there early in the morning, as the parking lot can fill up.
In addition to having clear, smooth, and calmer water than some of the other beaches (it’s more protected from the direct surf of the Atlantic Ocean than some other spots like Race Point), the beach is dog-friendly as long as they are on a 6-foot leash. Starting in late June, locally-owned deli Far Land Provisions opens their Herring Cove On the Beach snack shack, a great place to grab a bite while enjoying a day by the water. They have the usual snack-bar items like hot dogs and cheeseburgers, but you’ll also find lobster rolls, eggplant fries, kale salad, and local microbrews. On Wednesdays evenings from late June through late August, stay for the live music from local bands starting at 6:30 pm on their deck right on the sand.
Visit Provincetown and Explore Race Point Light
Although 14 lighthouses are spread throughout the Cape Cod peninsula, Race Point Light is the closest one to Provincetown that is easily accessible (Wood End Light and Long Point Light are also nearby but require crossing a rock jetty at low tide – they’re worth visiting too, but only for the more adventurous). See our recent blog about all the Cape Cod lighthouses for more detailed info about their locations and histories.
Race Point Light is run by volunteers who offer tours every other Saturday during the summer if they have enough staffing. No guided tours are on board for 2023, but check their website for updated info before your visit. But even when these tours aren’t offered, you can walk the beautiful 1.75-mile stretch along the dunes from the parking area at Race Point Beach, enjoying the solitude and sound of the Atlantic waves (Race Point has bigger swells and is popular with surfers) as you make your way to the white-walled 200-plus-year-old lighthouse at the very tip of Cape Cod. From this unique vantage point near Race Point Light, you’re surrounded by water – the Hatches Harbor inlet is on one side, while on the other are wide-open views of the Atlantic Ocean, where the lighthouse has guided ships into Provincetown Harbor since 1816.
Visit Provincetown: Cape Cod National Seashore
Herring Cove and Race Point are the two most popular beaches when people visit Provincetown, each within the 41 miles of protected coast that makes up the Cape Cod National Seashore. After spending time at the beach, make sure to explore other preserved nature areas within the Seashore adjacent to Provincetown, like Beech Forest – it’s just a few miles from downtown but feels like a shaded oasis, with several ponds, extensive bird species (keep an eye out for Canadian geese and brightly-colored warblers among many other birds), a wooden boardwalk trail through dense forest, and foliage that is equally stunning during every season.
The Province Lands Bike Trail is an excellent way to take a scenic cruise through this P-Town adjacent zone of the national park, with connecting paths between the stretches of beaches, dunes, marshes, ponds, and hiking trails along the route.
Discover Pilgrim Monument
The Pilgrim Monument is impossible to miss, a landmark in the center of P-Town, and a place where history is celebrated and the views are spectacular. The tower itself is impressive – it’s the tallest granite structure in the United States – and well worth the 116 steps to get to the top, where you’ll get 360-degree views of Cape Cod Bay, the entirety of Provincetown, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Cape Cod National Seashore. And you can ride the newly-built outdoor incline elevator, right next door to us on Bradford St, up to the tower’s base, enjoying the unobstructed views of the tower as the elevator climbs.
Before or after climbing the tower, visit the museum at the base, featuring everything from Cape Cod’s Native American roots to Provincetown’s fascinating whaling history and, of course, the story of the earliest Pilgrim settlers aboard the Mayflower. The museum’s much-celebrated annual juried art exhibition runs all summer, showcasing some of the best art in town, and the Anecdotal LGBTQ+ History of Provincetown exhibit tells the richly-layered stories of P-Town’s LGBTQ+ community over the past century.
Stay with us, add these attractions to your itinerary, and make your visit to Provincetown unforgettable!