With its mix of a lively arts scene, diverse restaurants, drag-queen shows and salty fishermen, Provincetown, Massachusetts, is arguably the most eclectic port in the Northeast, and a must-see destination for every boater in the region.
Occupying the last bit of land on Cape Cod as it curls back toward Boston, Provincetown is the kind of destination where you can just roam the area and be amazed at the creativity around you – from the elaborate home gardens along the streets to the art galleries filled with imaginative paintings and sculptures to the theaters, where actors, comics and singers perform New York City-caliber acts. Even on the sidewalks you’ll find highly skilled musicians playing for change and human statues drawing crowds. Provincetown is a place that truly has something for everyone, with one of the best collections of restaurants, bars and shops anywhere in the Northeast, the history of a centuries-old fishing village, and the culture of the nation’s oldest art colony.
Boating to Provincetown is fairly easy. The approach and entrance to Provincetown Harbor from Cape Cod Bay are free of obstructions and are marked by three lights: Race Point Light, on the extreme eastern tip of the Cape (flashing white every 10 seconds); Wood End Light, at the southern point of the Cape’s final curve (flashing red every 10 seconds); and Long Point Light, at the harbor entrance (steady green). You can find transient slips at the Provincetown Town Float at MacMillan Pier by calling the harbormaster (508-487-7030; VHF 9, 12). The Provincetown Marina (508-487-0571; VHF 9) also reserves a number of slips and moorings for transients. Anchoring is allowed anywhere outside the breakwater and outside the main channel, but be aware that the bottom is somewhat hard so use appropriate ground tackle.
Once on land, you’ll want to explore Commercial Street, with its numerous gift shops, boutiques, candy stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, bars and theaters. You’ll also want to visit the Pilgrim Monument, which commemorates the Pilgrims first landing in Provincetown and offers exceptional views of Cape Cod.
Renting bikes is a great way to explore the town and its bike paths and beaches. Among the many bike rental shops are Galeforce Bike Rentals; 508-487-4849 and P’town Bikes; 508-487-8735.
Provincetown is home to tons of great places to eat, from world-class restaurants to tiny mom and pop eateries. You can explore Commercial Street and find a different interesting place to eat every night of the week. A couple of local legends that visitors must check out are The Lobster Pot; 508-487-0842 and the Provincetown Portuguese Bakery (508-487-1803) near MacMillan Wharf.
** Photos by Allie Herzog