Things to do in Provincetown, Massachusetts in a day. Includes tours, museums, where to eat the best lobster roll in Provincetown, and more!
*A big thank you to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce for assisting us in our trip planning and to Art’s Sand Dune Tours and the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum for providing us free tours in exchange for this review.*
Best Things To Do In Provincetown In A Day
Our week in Cape Cod, Massachusetts would not be complete without a day trip to Provincetown, also known as Ptown. We’d heard it was a fun and exciting town, so we were looking forward to visiting and seeing how much we could do in Provincetown in a day.
Where Is Provincetown?
So where is Provincetown? Locals describe it as being on the tip of the Cape. If you picture Cape Cod as an arm that is flexing to show off it’s muscle, Provincetown would be where the fist is.
How To Get To Provincetown
You can get to Provincetown by car, plane, or boat. If you’re looking for fun day trips from Boston, Provincetown is a good option as it’s only 90 minutes by boat and 2.5 hours by car.
Some plane and boat options are seasonal. If you want to travel to Provincetown from Boston by boat, Bay State Cruises comes highly recommended. Just be sure to check their schedule online for departure times.
For our day trip to Provincetown, we were already on the Cape and drove over from Falmouth which took us about an hour and a half.
Parking In Provincetown
Parking in Provincetown can be a bit tricky. If you are driving to Provincetown, we suggest parking your car in one spot and leaving it for the day. Provincetown is known as a walking town, so you really won’t need your car. We parked in the Grace Hall Parking Lot; it is reasonably priced and an easy walk to downtown Provincetown.
Art’s Sand Dune Tours
One of the best things to do in Provincetown is to take a tour with Art’s Dune Tours. This family-run business has been giving tours of the sand dunes in The Cape Cod National Seashore since 1946.
The business was started by Art Costa, who loved the dunes and was passionate about telling stories about them. We had the pleasure of meeting Rob, Art’s son and current owner, and he told us a bit about the company’s history.
We then met up with George, our tour guide, and off we went to the dunes. During the hour long tour, we learned more about the history of the area. As we went up and down the incredible dunes, we saw different birds and vegetation with George telling us about everything we saw.
Our favorite part of the tour was being able to get out of the vehicle and walk around at the top of a dune. The views were amazing!
Another cool thing about Art’s Sand Dune Tours is that you can do add-ons to your hour long tour. Some of the additional options they offer are kayaking, sunset dune tour, and even a clambake. This means that you can have a different experience every time you go!
Pilgrim Monument And Provincetown Museum
Another of the top Provincetown attractions is the Pilgrim Monument, which can be seen from miles away. The Pilgrim Monument was built from 1907 to 1910 and it commemorates the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in Provincetown in November 1620.
The tower is 252 feet tall and it is the tallest all-granite structure in the US. Unlike a lighthouse with a spiral staircase, to go up to the top of the rectangular tower you have to climb 116 steps and 60 ramps. So stairs, ramp, stairs, ramp, etc. and it takes about 10 minutes. The views at the top are worth the climb!
Pro Tip: Check out these other views from around the world that were worth the climb!
At the base of the monument is the Provincetown Museum. Inside are exhibits that showcase the history of the area, including more information on the Pilgrim landing and Native American artifacts like tools and arrowheads.
Walking along Commercial Street in Downtown Provincetown is so fun! It actually reminded us a lot of walking down Duval Street in Key West. Everyone is walking along the sidewalks and sometimes on the street itself, enjoying the shops, restaurants, and overall vibe.
One of the top things to do in Provincetown is to indulge in the city’s amazing cuisine, especially seafood. There are a lot of restaurants in Provincetown, but we were craving something in particular: lobster rolls!
We were told the best lobster roll in Provincetown was at Pepe’s Wharf so that’s where we decided to have lunch. Not only do they have fresh and delicious food, they also have spectacular views because the restaurant is right on the water and has two decks to eat on.
We had the hot Connecticut style lobster roll which was poached in taragon butter and served on a toasted hot dog bun. It came with French fries and cole slaw on the side. It was so good! We seriously could have eaten a second one. You could tell the lobster was fresh and each bite was buttery and tender.
Provincetown Public Library
After lunch, another of the Provincetown attractions that we enjoyed was the Provincetown Public Library. This may seem odd, but this library is unlike any we’d ever visited because inside the library is a ship!
That’s right, inside the library is a half-scale replica of the Rose Dorothea and it spans almost 67 feet! The schooner won the coveted Lipton Cup during the Boston-Gloucester Fisherman’s Race in 1907. The cup can also be seen as you enter the library. Be sure to grab a pamphlet and take the self guided tour around the replica to learn about the original ship and about how the replica was made.
Provincetown Murals – Destination Alley
If you’re a fan of street art and murals, we recommend you take a stroll down Destination Alley outside of Shop Therapy on Commercial Street. Here you’ll find a crazy assortment of vibrant paintings; some obscene, some political.
The paintings were originally done by Bob Gasoi in the late 1980s on plywood, which covered the store during the winter off-season. Most of those original murals have now been restored and are on display and many still serve powerful messages.
Provincetown has always been known as a place where any and everyone is welcome. We could feel love in the air and as we walked around town we saw many rainbow flags hanging proudly outside of shops and hotels.
We also heard that one of the most fun things to do in Provincetown is to attend Provincetown Carnival in August. It’s a week long celebration that includes parties, art fairs, a costume ball, and parade! Ptown has LGBTQ+ events all year round, though, so check out this list to see which you can attend.
Provincetown’s Arts Culture
Known as America’s oldest continuous art colony, Provincetown has been welcoming artists and writers of all kinds for over a hundred years. Art schools have been around since the late 1800s and famous painters like Jackson Pollock have spent time in this creative town. So as you walk around downtown Provincetown, make sure to step into the many art galleries and if you have time, consider catching a show at one of the local theaters.
Dog Friendly Provincetown
If you were wondering about taking Fido on your day trip to Provincetown, you can! Provincetown is dog friendly and as we walked around town we saw many bowls filled with water, which we thought was very sweet.
Wrapping Up Your Day
At this point, you may want to start wrapping up your day in Provincetown. If you’d like to watch the sunset in Provincetown, Herring Cove was suggested to us as a good spot. Otherwise, you might want to start heading south early to avoid some traffic.
While you’re heading back on US-6, we do suggest making a couple of stops though…
Located in North Truro, Truro Vineyards is a lovely place to spend the afternoon. They offer wine tastings for $10 a person, where guests get to sample five wines and keep their glass as a souvenir.
The tastings are done every half hour on the hour and half hour with the last tasting at 4:30pm and the tastings are done in their open air tasting room which is right along their vineyards which makes for a beautiful setting.
Mayo Beach In Wellfleet
The last stop we suggest before you head home for the day is the hidden gem of Mayo Beach in the town of Wellfleet. It’s a small beach, but the parking lot conveniently goes right up to the beach and there are benches and tables that are perfect if you want to catch the sunset. We loved this beach because it was secluded and there was hardly anyone else there.
Additional Provincetown Attractions
We personally didn’t get to visit the following attractions, but they came highly recommended by locals. We consider them insider tips and hope to do as many as we can during our next visit.
- Stop by the Province Lands Visitor Center to learn about the geography and history of Provincetown and the 4,000-acre Province Lands themselves.
- Take the Long Point Shuttle across Provincetown Harbor to Long Point, the very tip of Cape Cod.
- Walk along the Provincetown Breakwater. It’s almost a three mile walk out and back, but from it you can look back into town and also see the two lighthouses on Long Point, the Wood End Light and the Long Point Light.
- Leaving Provincetown, stop by Atlantic Spice Company. They have all kinds of spices and cooking supplies and it’s a fun place to walk around and browse.
Final Thoughts On Things To Do In Provincetown In A Day
We think we managed to do a lot during our day trip to Provincetown, but we’re already planning our next trip back. We hope this list of things to do in Provincetown, as well as a couple of things to do outside of town, inspires you to visit as well. Ptown has such an amazing energy and vibe that you have to feel for yourself!