Day Tripping to Cape Cod’s Provincetown!

During the summer months, I am lucky to be able to spend a lot of time on Cape Cod. One of my favorite spots to visit is Provincetown, a community of 3,000 year-round residents. I feel like I am on a real vacation when we take a drive to the very tip of Cape Cod — its beauty is incredible.

If you’re looking for a fun excursion this summer, there are two main ways to get to P-town. Once on the Cape, just take Route 6 East to the very end. Or if you’re in the Boston area, you can take a fast ferry from the Seaport and skip the traffic!

Whether your visit is a day trip, an overnight, or a long weekend, here are a few of my favorite kid-friendly activities to try in Provincetown:

Beaches

Provincetown’s main beaches are Herring Cove and Race Point. There are parking lots at both, or, if you’ve taken the ferry, you can bike to either. The Province Lands Bike Trail connects both beaches. Herring Cove has beautiful sunsets and a snack bar, and it’s easily walkable from downtown. Race Point has the Province Lands visitors center, a 360-degree lookout tower, and a lighthouse. 

My favorite beach in P-town, however, is not often listed in the local guides. It’s called Long Point Beach, and it’s the very end of the Cape! The best way to get to this small peninsula is to take a 10-minute (cash only) boat shuttle from MacMillan Pier, which lets you out (into a few feet of water) directly on the beach. Once you’re there, it’s beautiful and secluded.  

Other things to do

Explore Commercial Street, which is the heart of this LGBTQ-friendly town. The street is a colorfully lined place to check out the shops and art galleries, and to grab a bite to eat.

MacMillan Pier, located on Commercial Street, is the main port where ferries and boats come and go, and it’s a great place to take a stroll. You can watch the boats or board a whale watching trip out to Stellwagen Bank.

Kids will love climbing the Pilgrim Monument, a tower that was built to commemorate the pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown. On the 116-step climb to the top of the tower there are stones carved with different local town names; your kids will enjoy trying to find their own town! And the view at the top is amazing. Close to the tower is also the Provincetown Museum, but if you only have time for one, definitely climb the tower!

Arts Dune Tours is a family business that has been in operation for 75 years and is definitely worth checking out. Reserve in advance for a one-hour off-roading tour through the dunes of the Cape — an unforgettable adventure. The dunes are part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, so families will also learn about conservation efforts and the beautiful natural habitat.

Where to eat

Commercial Street is overflowing with great restaurants sure to please all kinds of appetites. There are plenty of seafood restaurants (many with an ocean view!). Some of my favorite stops include Fanizzi’s, The Mews, The Canteen, Strangers and Saints, Far Land Provisions for takeout sandwiches, and the casual cash-only Spiritus Pizza. Also, don’t miss the Portuguese Bakery, where you must try the fried-dough-like malassadas, which often sell out!

I love to make an annual trip to Provincetown, which truly embodies what summer is all about. It’s an authentic Cape getaway you will never forget! 

Cheryl is a native of Salem, MA, with just a slight Boston accent that remains from her childhood. She has been a high school counselor for over 20 years and enjoys helping her seniors navigate the college application process. A lifelong Boston Bruins fan, Cheryl began attending hockey games with her father in the original Boston Garden at the age of 8, a tradition she is now sharing with her son. Cheryl published a children’s picture book about (what else!) a child attending his first Bruins game. A graduate of Boston College, Cheryl is also passionate about soccer, travel, Cape Cod, and spending time with her family. As much as she loves to travel, she equally loves coming home. Cheryl resides in Arlington with her husband and son, who was born in 2014. Loves: playing soccer on the weekends, Italian culture and GOOD pizza, hot summer nights, seafood shacks, '80s music, sneakers, and being organized Dislikes: long meetings, loud noises,  messiness

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