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.
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 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.
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.
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.