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Things to do in a day in Provincetown

There is quite a bit to see and do when you travel to the Outer Cape. If you only have one day to experience the area, we recommend that you spend it in the colorful, yet family-friendly, town of Provincetown! This popular vacation destination, located at the very tip of the Cape, was once known as an artist colony. It boasts many art galleries, tons of fantastic restaurants, a wealth of sightseeing, and plenty of boutique and eclectic shopping—while still maintaining its fisherman-town allure.

Provincetown Harbor boats

Art’s Dune Tour

As you drive into P’town from Truro, you will pass miles of dunes. Experience an over-sand adventure and soak in the beauty of the Provincetown dunes by taking a tour with the company that’s been giving dune tours for over 50 years.

Provincetown dunes beach ocean

Whale Watches

At certain times of the year, migrating whales can be seen from land, but nothing is better than taking a whale watch and getting up close and personal with these majestic creatures on a whale watch. There are a number of fleets that leave Provincetown Harbor. It’s a wonderful way to spend a few hours, especially for the kids!

Provincetown whale ocean

Pilgrim Monument

Built to recognize the first landing of the Pilgrims back in 1620, this iconic structure is something that should not be missed! Climb the 252 foot granite monument to take in the panorama, including glimpses of Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod Bay and its surrounding towns, as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Adjacent to the monument is the Provincetown Museum with exhibits that highlight the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims, the town’s rich maritime history, the early days of modern American theater in Provincetown, and the building of the monument.

Provincetown monument town cape cod

Provincetown Beaches

The ocean beaches of Provincetown are gorgeous. Two popular beaches are Race Point Beach and Herring Cove Beach, both part of the National Seashore. Race Point is known for its gorgeous landscape with dunes and beach grass galore, as well as its rougher surf. Herring Cove is a little more family friendly with calmer, warmer waters. Both beaches boast stunning sunsets.

Provincetown race point beach cape cod ocean

Shopping and Art Galleries

If you’re headed to Provincetown, you must walk the main thoroughfare—Commercial Street. Packed full of wonderful shops, galleries, restaurants, tourists, and locals, you can spend a whole day just walking the streets and watching the day go by from the benches. Enjoy American Art at the Berta Walker Gallery and the Bowersock Gallery. Visit the Provincetown Museum of Art a “nationally recognized, year-round cultural institution that fuses the creative energy of America’s oldest active art colony with the natural beauty of outer Cape Cod that has inspired artists for generations.” Then stop in the colorful store, Shop Therapy for . . . just about anything! From clothing to jewelry, beads, sunglasses and incense, this iconic shop has it all! Perhaps you’d like a silk-screened shirt as a memento of your trip to Provincetown, then be sure to stop by Birdie Silkscreen Studio. You might catch Birdie in the act of printing while you shop!

Directly off Commercial Street, in the heart of town, is MacMillian Pier. Stroll down the pier, breathe in the salt air, and watch the fishing boats and whale watches come a go. Located at the end is the fascinating Whydah Pirate Museum featuring real pirates and real treasures—a must-see attraction for all ages!

Provincetown commercial street shop


Come hungry, because Provincetown boasts some amazing fare! From the famous fried dough from the Provincetown Portuguese Bakery, to the yummy confections at Penney Patch Candies and Cabot’s Candy Factory, your sweet tooth will surely be satisfied! Hungry for lunch? Grab a slice of pizza from the incredibly popular Spiritus Pizza or a lobster roll or footlong hot dog from John’s Footlong on the wharf. If you want to sit with a view of the water, try Pepe’s Wharf and if you want to people watch, check out Patio American Grill. For dinner, enjoy some amazing seafood at the iconic Lobster Pot Restaurant or delicious Italian food at Ciro & Sal’s. And if you want to enjoy one of the best views in P’town while you dine, then look no further than Fanizzi’s Restaurant. For dessert, try some ice cream from Lewis Brothers Ice Cream. This family-run business has been serving delicious ice cream to the area for over 25 years!

Provincetown Penney patch candy store

Visiting the town of Provincetown, with all the colorful people, many food options, beautiful beaches, and history, will give you an experience like no other and should definitely be on your list of places you “must visit!”

If you’re looking to stay for a few days, here are some vacation rentals perfect for your visit to P-town!

1) Spacious 4th floor condo with a bird's-eye view

2) Provincetown artist's cottage

3) Court street hideaway

4) Ultimate privacy - 9 acres overlooking Shank Painter Pond

About Jennie Sparrow

About Jennie Sparrow: A true Cape Codder, born and raised, I am thrilled to call Cape Cod my home. I have been with WeNeedaVacation since 2017 and am grateful that my position at WeNeedaVacation has offered me the opportunity to combine my love for the area with my passion for marketing. My favorite pastime is driving onto Nauset's outer beach with my family where I'm happiest feeling the sun on my face and the sand between my toes!