Provincetown, MA located on the tip of Cape Cod (on the lower Cape or outer Cape), is a beautiful, vibrant seaside town with so much to do. In the summer months, it’s an extremely popular destination to visit. Whether you are staying in the area or just want to visit for an afternoon, here are some of the best fun family things to do in Provincetown, MA.
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Fun Family Things to Do in Provincetown
Getting to Provincetown Massachusetts
Provincetown is located at the very extreme tip of Cape Cod. From Boston, it can be about a two-hour drive with no traffic. In the summer, the traffic can be really backed up, especially on the weekends and holidays. So plan accordingly.
In addition, you can take a boat ride from Boston to Provincetown’s MacMillan Pier on both the Boston Harbor Cruise and the Bay State Cruise Company. These ships run seasonally and can be a fun way to get a day trip from Boston to Provincetown without the stress of driving.
Provincetown also has an airport – the Provincetown Municipal Airport. It’s serviced by both Cape Air and JetBlue.
If you are driving to Provincetown, you’ll find that the downtown Commercial Street area is very busy. Paid parking lots are available throughout the area. If you have an electric car, there are several Chargepoint chargers available by the waterfront. We were excited to find one unoccupied by a parking lot – charging was less money than paid parking!
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
For a beautiful view, visit the Pilgrim Monument. This monument, built in the early 1900s, was built to commemorate the pilgrims on the Mayflower landing first landing in Provincetown (they later sailed to nearby Plymouth MA). It’s a 252-foot tower and can be climbed with the purchase of a ticket to the monument and museum. An inclined elevator (funicular) is currently being built to take guests up from Bradford Street up to the base of the monument.
Guests also receive admission to the Provincetown Museum, which offers exhibits focused on the history of Provincetown, as well as information about the pilgrims visiting Provincetown. Timed advance tickets need to be purchased, and include both the monument and the museum. It’s a great place to visit.
Kayaking is always a fun activity, and it’s especially nice among the beautiful scenery of the Cape Cod Bay. Visitors can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards hourly, daily, or by the week. Depending on where you are staying, you can also get them delivered to your hotel or rental home.
If you’d prefer to do a guided tour, Provincetown Aquasports offers a National Seashore Kayak Tour. It runs for two hours and should be booked in advance.
Race Point Lighthouse
The Race Point Lighthouse has, in the past, offered accommodations and tours. However, due to the current situation, these have been suspended. I’m hopeful that they will be resumed again in 2022.
Beautiful Beaches in Provincetown
Due to its location on the Cape Cod Bay, Provincetown offers miles of coastline and of course, beaches! The beaches in Provincetown are some of the best beaches in New England.
Herring Cove Beach, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore National Park, is located in Provincetown not too far from downtown. Seasonally, it offers restrooms and a snack bar. It’s a gentle beach that is great for families.
Another option is Race Point Beach, also part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. This beach offers changing rooms and restrooms and is located near the Province Lands Visitor Center.
Passes to these popular beaches are sold at the actual beach, during the times where admission is charged. There are several free admission days per summer, and annual passes are also available. See their website for details on the current cost.
Biking is a very popular summer activity on Cape Cod. As you head over the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges and drive down route 6, you’ll see lots of cars carrying family bicycles for the week. Provincetown is a very bike-friendly town.
The Province Lands Bike Trail is located in Provincetown and is a 5.45 miles long loop. If you want to bike but didn’t travel with your family’s bicycles, rentals are available from several companies in the area. It’s a great option if you want to explore the area and get some exercise. The rental companies can help provide information about bike trails in the area.
Whale Watching is a fun Cape Cod activity and is very popular with families. You’ll find several different companies offering whale watching tours. While the season runs approximately from April to October, some tour companies operate primarily in the summer.
If you are traveling with kids, look for a whale-watching tour that has a naturalist on board. That way, you’ll get some information and education about the whales you are seeing.
Provincetown Art Association and Museum
Located on Commercial Street, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum is open seasonally. At this time, guests need to purchase timed tickets online. The museum offers permanent art exhibits, as well as temporary exhibits.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum also offers educational programming. This includes summer events for kids – check their website for the schedule.
Shop Downtown on Commercial Street
Commercial Street is one of my favorite downtown shopping areas among the small towns I’ve visited in New England. Located along the Provincetown waterfront in the center of town, the Commercial Street area offers art galleries, restaurants, theaters, inns, ice cream shops, and gift shops.
I can never resist shopping on vacation, and Provincetown offers a variety of different shops. These include chain stores like the Black Dog, Kiehl’s, and Ben and Jerry’s, along with quaint independent shops. My kids especially loved the candy shops.
Provincetown is very dog-friendly. You’ll see lots of dogs walking with their families down Commercial Street and it’s a fun place to visit, even if you don’t want to shop.
Eat Seafood by the Waterfront
Provincetown has lots of delicious restaurants, including many seafood spots. The most iconic spot is the Lobster Pot, which offers a raw bar, lobster rolls and other dishes, chowder, stews, and much more. You can choose to dine in the dining room facing the waterfront.
Another fun spot is the Aquarium Marketplace – a small food court located in the old aquarium. Grab your favorite dishes and head to the Aqua Bar along the water to order your favorite beverage. This is such a great option for families because everyone can get something different.
On our recent trip, my daughter chose a burrito, my husband got a vegan sandwich, my son opted for a grilled cheese sandwich, while I got shrimp and oysters. We loved sitting along the water while we ate.
Don’t forget to stop at the Provincetown Portuguese Bakery, to try patas de nada, malassadas, and more.
Book a Fishing Charter
Fishing is a popular activity on Cape Cod. There are several fishing charters that you can book leaving right from Provincetown. If you are staying at a vacation home, you can bring your catch back to your home to prepare. During our Cape Cod fishing charter, we had enough fish for three meals!
A unique site among is Cape Cod National Seashore is the coastal sand dunes that comprise about a third of the area. If you are interested in touring these beautiful formations, you can take a sand dune tour in an SUV with Art’s Dune Tours. These tours run for an hour and must be reserved in advance.
Drive-in Movie at the Drive-In
Drive-in theaters have slowly disappeared around the United States, so it’s always fun to find one showing movies. The Wellfleet Drive-In Theater, located near Provincetown in Wellfleet, MA, offers regular outdoor, drive-in movies throughout the summer season.
It’s a very popular activity in the summer, so you’ll want to get your tickets early if possible. They are generally available 3-5 days before. While some tickets may be available on-site, shows do sell out. You can find out all of the details on their website.
Where to Stay in Provincetown
Provincetown is a great day trip, but it can also be a wonderful vacation getaway. There are hotels, motels, and inns to choose from, as well as vacation home rentals.
During our first stay in Provincetown, we were hosted at the colorful Harbor Hotel. This hotel is located in a quieter part of Provincetown, away from downtown. It’s motel-style, with exterior doors, and has an outdoor pool.
Other hotels with great reviews include: