Best Cape Cod Day Trips

road trip

Let’s be honest, Provincetown is just about as out of the way as it gets (arguably one of its best attributes) which means it may not be the best home base for exploring the Cape.  Nevertheless, there is much to see and do beyond the town limits.  If this is your first time to Cape Cod and/or Massachusetts, it is definitely worth the wander.  Every town is different and beautiful in its own way and the contrast with Provincetown will be striking.

Wellfleet

The closest option.  Wellfleet has some of the most amazing beaches and hikes.  Great Island (a state park), actually a peninsula jutting out into Wellfleet Bay, is one of my favorite spots on the entire Cape.  The town has galleries, restaurants, a working harbor, not to mention the drive-in, a weekly flea market on Saturdays, and arguably the best seafood bisque on the Cape (courtesy of PJ’s).  Stop at PB Boulangerie, right on Route 6, and pick up a loaf of their bacon bread (only if you like bacon, of course).

Chatham

Chatham is charming, quaint, and picturesque.  It has its lighthouses and beaches but most folks hit Main Street for the shopping and restaurants.  For the more adventurous, a ferry ride to Monomoy Nature Wildlife Refuge offers great birding, walking, and seal viewing.

The Islands

Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are their own little worlds.  Each is worth a visit.  Nantucket, the smaller of the two, is a little more bustling in its own downtown and has excellent shopping and restaurants.  Oh yes, and it’s got the cobble stone streets, the whaling museum, the history and the whole Moby Dick thing, if that’s your style.  Martha’s Vineyard, larger, more sprawling, is a bit more varied in the contrast between the towns such as Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs and the rest of the island, which is quite rural and bucolic.  A bike is a great mode of exploration and transportation for both islands.  There are plenty of ferry options, departing from Hyannis, Harwich, and Woods Hole.  Which one you choose depends on your destination and the time you want to spend in car versus on boat.

Boston

If you arrived in Ptown without checking out Beantown, then you may want to carve out a day for New England’s “big city.”  It is an easy ferry ride away and they run daily.  The best thing about Boston is that it is entirely walkable (assuming that you enjoy some vigorous walking).  Boston does history well, with its meandering, mismatched streets, antique buildings squished in between the newer high-rises and the Freedom Trail, which follows the steps of the American Revolution.  I personally go for the world-class museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium.  Dotted with antique shops and boutiques, Beacon Hill’s Charles Street is one of my favorites for window shopping and walking.  And of course, there’s Cambridge, on the other side of the Charles River¾a city of its own with great restaurants, shops, and its own supply of world-class museums at Harvard University and MIT.

My Favorite Commercial Street Shopping Spots

Brass Key Guesthouse

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If you are a first time visitor to Ptown, Commercial Street is a must-see.  In terms of originality, variety, and beauty, it also offers some of the best shopping on the Cape.  From the upscale and classy to the raucous and rambunctious, there is literally something for everyone.

Where to start?  The scope of this blog isn’t long enough to capture the all of the delicious offerings on sale in Provincetown.  So I will stick to some of my favorites.

Roots Home

This eclectic shop has a vintage, mid-century modern vibe in its offerings of everything from art to home décor, furniture, rugs, and jewelry.  Plenty of color and sunshine here¾a great spot to pick up a beachy, Cape Cod themed gift.

193 Commercial Street, 508-487-2500.

 

Tim-Scapes

This is a go-to for locally themed, great looking t-shirts, sweatshirts, and the like.  Even the locals sport them.

208 Commercial St, 917-626-4052.

 

Kiss and Makeup

Shopping should be a treat and this little gem of a shop takes those words to heart.   There’s a balance of well-known and hard to find skincare, makeup, and bath products for both men and women.  Great products, delightful treatments, what’s not to love?

357 Commercial St, 508-413-9337.

 

Yates & Kennedy

A dash of Dickens and a sprinkle of Melville!  As a modern day cabinet of curiosities, Yates & Kennedy is a must for a good, healthy dose of the 19th century.  Owner Mitch Yates’ exquisite taste is on display in everything from antique taxidermy, leather goods, and custom screen-printed t-shirts.  Eccentric.  Quirky.  Covetable.

368 Commercial St, 508-487-4400.

 

Henry & Company

This is the place to find your next bag/pair of sneakers/hoodie that you’ll wear for months.   You know, the one that everyone will be asking you about when you get back home?  This shop specializes in basic, beautiful casual wear for men.  Or the women who borrow their clothes.

210 Commercial St, 508-487-6215

DeadZone Zombie Tag

Zombie Tag Banner

David Flower Productions
New live interactive gaming experience!
If you are looking for something different to do in Provincetown on a
Friday or Saturday night, try DeadZone Zombie Tag. Everyone wears
a cool high-tech LED device that interacts at a 3-foot distance and the
area of play is spread throughout the center of town. It’s hide-and-seek
on the cutting edge, a scavenger hunt after the apocalypse, and
an escape room without the walls.
There are two ways to play. You can play as a human, scurry around
town while you solve the puzzles, collect the data, avoid the zombies,
and be a winner. Or, you can be a merciless zombie, hunt down the
humans, infect as many as you can, and prevent them from
completing their mission. There are clues, maps, recovery centers,
safety bunkers, and guaranteed excitement!
The game runs every Friday and Saturday night from June 17 to
September 3, 7:30-9:30 pm. It’s a great partner or family
activity. Sign up as a group or form teams ad hoc with other players
you meet at Headquarters, 330 Commercial Street, where the game
starts. Reserve your spot online at
http://www.playzombietag.com/tickets.
Brought to you by David Flower Productions, a local business that
has been synonymous with quality events since 2001.

Provincetown By Boat: Kayaks, Schooners, and Whales—Oh my!

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You may have noticed that Provincetown has a lot of…water.  Not the fresh water stuff¾although we’ve got that too.  I’m talking salty stuff.  Jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean at the end of a peninsula pretty much guarantees that you are surrounded by it.  Ptown has fabulous beaches and a bustling main shopping district well within feet of the ocean.  You can walk to see lighthouses; you can visit the harbor and pier.  But by far the most memorable way to really experience the ocean is to get out into it!  Unless you arrived with your own water bound mode of transportation, you may need a little help.  Here are some of our favorite ways to immerse yourself in Ptown’s great big blue.

#1 Whale Watch

Whales are amazing creatures.  Best seen in person.  There’s only one way to do it: by boat.  Ptown has several different options, from small, boutique boats to larger, ferry trips.  There are dog-friendly options too.  Just be sure to bring warm clothes¾no matter how hot it is onshore, it’s always cooler out on the water.

#2 Sail Aboard a Wooden Schooner

Want to experience what it feels like on a 100-year-old wooden sailing vessel?  I’ll answer for you: yes, you do.  The Hindu, originally built in 1925 as a pleasure yacht, will always be one of my personal favorites (we spent the afternoon of our wedding on it) but there are others too.  There’s a reason these sailboats never retire.  A leisurely sail around Provincetown Harbor is magical and soothing—just about as timeless as it gets.  Plus, today, in the 21st century, the boats are cleaner, rodent-free, and only go out on nice weather!

#3 Kayaking & Stand-up Paddling (SUP)

Whether on your own or as part of a tour, a kayak ride or a paddle around Ptown’s waters offers exercise and scenic beauty, all in one.  No need to lug your own kayak or board all the way out here.  Provincetown Aquasports, located conveniently on Commercial Street, provides rentals, lessons, and tours.  Provincetown Harbor is the safest place for a paddle, as it is on Cape Cod Bay and has calm waters and currents.  For the more adventurous, a paddle out to Race Point offers some of the best whale watching in the U.S. (just make sure you keep your distance¾it is illegal to get within 200 yards of a whale).  Time of year matters for catching the whales¾spring is the best time to see them inshore.  To be sure, the Center for Coastal Studies usually posts recent sightings on its Facebook page.