Are you looking for what to do in Provincetown, Cape Cod? This coastal city sits right on the tip of the Cape and is truly one-of-a-kind! Provincetown is known for its artists & art galleries, beaches, and quintessential Cape Cod houses. It’s a summer vacation destination for the LGBT+ community, so we were glad to visit during Pride month, even though not everything was reopened just yet in June 2020.
We visited for a few days and packed in a lot of fun summer activities to our trip! If you haven’t see my post on where we stayed in Provincetown, you don’t want to miss it – it’s the same property where iconic artists like Jackson Polluck and Mark Rothko used to vacation!
What to Do In Provincetown
Here are some of the fun activities we did during our visit to Ptown, read on for more details on our adventures!
- Biking & sightseeing quintessential Cape Cod houses
- Exploring the town itself
- Visiting the lighthouses
- Frolicking in the sand dunes
- Strolling along the beach
- Browsing art galleries (when they reopen)
Biking & Sightseeing Cape Cod Houses
Provincetown is filled with adorable quintessential Cape Cod houses, and what better way to see them all than with a bike ride around town! We got ours from Arnold’s Rent – A – Bike, which was just $22 to rent for the day, or $10 if you rent at the end of the day. They close around 5/6pm, but you can return it any time after it and just lock it up yourself (super convenient).
We biked around town to admire all the gorgeous houses. I loved this pink one and really any house with flowers outside! We even took the bikes further down to the beach and found a biking trail. Word to the wise: the beach bike trail has a LOT of hills! I was definitely on the struggle bus there but it was beautiful.
Side note: Growing up in San Francisco, I never really learned how to use bike gears. The hills in my neighborhood were often near 70/80/90 degrees, so you pretty much automatically walked it up any hills. That said, the beach trail is really gorgeous and the downhills were fun to whizz through!
Ready for a tour through the beautiful houses of Provincetown?
Exploring Provincetown Cape Cod
Must-see stops in the town itself:
- Arnold’s Rent-A-Bike (obvi)
- Lobster Pot (wasn’t open yet but look how cute it is)
- Lewis Brother’s Ice Cream (Laid-back counter serve with traditional & boozy housemade ice cream, plus sorbet & smoothies)
- Perry’s Fine Wines & Liquors
- Angel Foods Market
- Cabot’s Candy
- The Shell Shop
- Art Galleries (when they reopen)
While biking around Ptown, we stopped to grab some drinks from a take-out wine & spirits store called Ptown Perry’s. Here we happened to run into one of the owners, who was awesome and gave us all the tea of the history of Ptown. It’s so interesting! Are you ready? Sitting down with your tea?
First of all, back in the 1600’s it used to be called Hell Town (like what!!), and was filled with, as he put it, “pirates and hookers.” Sound like a movie yet? There’s more. While they originally lived on a nearby island 2 miles out, one day they all decided to settle on the mainland of what is present-day Provincetown. So instead of building all of their houses from scratch, they FLOATED all of their houses over to the mainland. To this day, any houses with a blue plaque outside are one of the original houses from Hell Town that was floated over! See an example of one below:
Fast forward a few hundred years, and Provincetown is really cute and quaint. It reminds me of a tv or movie town with a main street, cute boutiques, restaurants, and ice cream shops. It also reminds me a lot of the Castro district back in San Francisco. A few places were open when we went, but not everything had opened up yet since we went in June. It’s really known for its art galleries so if you can go when those are open I would highly recommend checking them out!
They also have a great community feel here. One of us went to Angel Foods market early in the morning for toothpaste and since it was below their minimum credit card spend, they just gave it to her and said they trusted her to come back later and pay. That would never happen in a big city!
Ptown has a ton of cure restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries to visit once they reopen. It’s great to feel their appreciation for art, especially painting, combined with the traditional beach culture on the Cape. We were told that on the second of the month they even have live music on the beach! Hopefully this opens up again once it’s safe to do so.
Frolic in Sand Dunes at the Beach
The sand dunes in Provincetown are massive and stunning! They’re also a real hike up and down large hills, so be sure to bring your hats, sunscreen, and water. From the top of the dunes, we could see far above the treetops to one side and all the way to the beach on the other. We hardly saw anyone else on the dunes which was nice and felt super safe.
We went to two different sand dune spots along different beaches, and they had very different scenes. One was more of a desert feel during midday, with multiple steep rolling hills stretching out to the horizon, each further testing your motivation to reach the beach. The other spot was at sunset, just one steep hill, and felt like we were in another country entirely.
What to Do In Provincetown: See the Lighthouses
What is it about lighthouses that is so calming? For sailors they’re a literal beacon of safety, security, and coming home. They manage to always look right out of a picture book from my childhood, and they signify proximity to my favorite type of place – the beach & the ocean. They also make for some incredible photos. Provincetown has a number of gorgeous lighthouses to visit.
Strolling Along the Beach
We were lucky that our rental property had deeded beach access just a couple blocks down. We went through what felt like a gateway to the Secret Garden which opened up to a long stretch of beach which runs alongside the main town.
We walked along the shore and basically lost track of time / how far we went since it was so pretty! Everyone is so friendly here and we met a few people walking their dogs.
What to Do in Provincetown: Final Thoughts
Our stay in Provincetown with Del Mar Vacations was seriously the perfect staycation. We’ve been couped up for so long these past few months, and it’s important to be able to get out in the safest way possible. We got to explore while social distancing and catch up with friends. It brought a sense of normalcy and that everything will be ok which is truly priceless. We did bring masks and wore them constantly when not in front of the camera, in addition to gloves and antibacterial hand sanitizer.
Need a staycation? I highly suggest booking yours directly through the Del Mar website! You’ll save a lot of money booking direct since they don’t have all those extra crazy fees that a lot of other rental booking sites have. Plus, you’ll get an extra 5% off of the room rate with code CHOWNDOWNUSA! They have over 172 rentals all over Cape Cod and they are all SUPER cute, so I definitely recommend checking them out! Browse their properties at Del Mar Vacations and don’t forget your discount code CHOWDOWNUSA to save an additional 5% off the room rate! Rooms are going quick for summer and more are open for fall at the moment – you can adjust your search according to certain dates to see what’s available!
Where do you want to visit next? Are you planning on visiting Cape Cod this year?
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