Provincetown Outdoor Activities
Beaches in Provincetown
Herring Cove Beach in the Cape Cod National Seashore actually comprises several beaches. Turn right at the guard shack after you pay for admission for kid- and disabled-friendly beach access. (FYI, it’s free after 5:00 for sunset watching: this is one of the few places in the East where you see the sun set into the water). Turn left at the guard shack and you’ll find:
- Women’s beach: At the end of the parking lot is a path leading down to the water. The name is a misnomer: this is really an everyone-friendly beach.
- Boys’ beach: You can go past—way far past— the women’s beach and you’ll find it. Alternately, cycle out, park your bike with all the others across from the Moors, and take the path in. Either way, it’s a hike. Clothing is required on all National Seashore land, but the rule is often ignored here.
Race Point Beach, also in the Seashore, is past the airport on Race Point Road. This is a particularly family-friendly beach. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle and want to get a permit to drive in the dunes, this is where you’ll be able to do that.
Town beaches: You can access the town beaches on either side of MacMillan Pier or through labeled access points strategically placed throughout town. This is a great way to take a little break from a long day of shopping or sightseeing in the town.
Long Point Beach: You can’t drive to this beach: it’s an adventure to get here! You can either walk across the breakwater on the West End of town or you can take a water taxi across Provincetown Harbor. Since it is harder to get to, it is a quieter, more secluded beach that offers a wonderful view of town and has its own lovely lighthouse.
Hatches Harbor Beach: If you want to visit a more marshy, grassy part of town, Hatches Harbor (and the walk there) is the right place for you! You park just past Herring Cove and walk along the fire road through the salt marsh. It’s a very photogenic area so be sure to take your camera!
Great white sharks are now regularly sighted off Outer Cape beaches, so use common sense. Don’t swim anywhere near seals—they aren’t cute and cuddly themselves, and they’re the ones attracting the sharks.
The Cape Cod National Seashore allows bonfires on the beach, but only with a permit, and you must apply for the permit in person at the Province Lands Visitor Center. (While you’re there, you can enjoy an indoor theater showing five short films daily on a rotating schedule, and a bookstore with Cape Cod National Seashore- related books, tapes, videos, toys and gifts. The observation deck at this Visitor Center provides a 360-degree view of the Province Lands dunes, the Outer Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.) A limited number of permits are available every day, so be in line when they open their doors at 9:00 am. You can apply for your permit up to three days in advance, and pick it up by 3:30 on the day you’ll use it. There are no bonfires allowed on town beaches.
Pools in Provincetown
Want the water without the sand? There are public swimming pools with free admission at the Crown & Anchor, the Provincetown Inn, and the Boatslip. All have cocktail bars and serve food from the inns’ respective restaurants.
Boating, Whale-Watching, Schooners and Fishing in Provincetown
If you want to be out on the water, you’re in the right place!
Want to rent a motorboat or 19-foot sailboat and just hang around in the harbor or head over to Long Point for a day at the beach? Head over to Flyer’s Boat Rentals. They also give boating lessons, provide moorings, and run the water-taxi out to Long Point. Dog Gone Sailing Charters is another great option.
Fishing Charters in Provincetown:
Schooners in Provincetown:
Sail Cape Cod: The Bay Lady II Schooner: Afternoon and sunset cruises continue with Captain Bob Burns and the crew of the Bay Lady II, now celebrating 52 years of sail! For 2020, all trips have limited capacity (a maximum of 25 passengers, 60% of current capacity) to fulfill social-distancing requirements, and face masks are required when passing within six feet of other passengers. Three two-hour sails daily (two afternoon sails and one sunset sail) either cross Cape Cod Bay toward Corn Hill or travel around Long Point Light toward Wood End Lighthouse.
Nothing can detract from the joy of what happens when the engine is turned off and 2,230 square feet of sail fills with wind! The Bay Lady II glides quietly across Cape Cod Bay with the grace and beauty only found on a sailing vessel. Each trip is unique as the varied moods of the wind, sky, and set combine to create an ever-changing panorama, accompanied by the sounds of wind in the rigging and the lapping of water against her hull.
Moment Sailing Adventures: Now in its seventh season, Moment Sailing offers fabulous day-sails out of Provincetown’s West End. Captain Chris Bartick welcomes private guests (up to six per sail) aboard his beautiful boat, Moment—named after a series of paintings done onboard using a pendulum, called Moment of Sailing — where they can enjoy two-hour sails around the harbor and Long Point, or six-hour sails into Cape Cod Bay to Wood End Light and Race Point or out toward Wellfleet. Guests can anchor the boat, swim, or take a dinghy ashore to explore Long Point or Herring Cove, and enjoy seeing a host of marine wildlife, including seals, birds, and sometimes dolphins or whales! Weddings are a specialty but Moment is the right choice for any special occasion.
Things are naturally different this year, but the mesmerizing beauty of sailing and the sea haven’t changed! The open air, sunlight, and exclusivity of private sailing offers an attractive and safe alternative to feeling too close to other parties. Masks are required, Moment is regularly sanitized, and all local, state, and federal guidelines are followed.
Whale-watching in Provincetown:
Affiliated with the Center for Coastal Studies, the Dolphin Fleet is the oldest (and best!) whale-watching fleet in New England. Learn about whales, seals, and other pelagic creatures, or just enjoy the sundeck on a beautiful day. Provincetown has gone from whaling to whale protection and we’re proud to be able to share that transformation with visitors. The Dolphin Fleet is running whale watches through October after re-opening in July.
The Dolphin Fleet requires that all passengers over the age of two wear face masks on the vessel; passengers without masks will not be allowed to board. No coolers, food, or beverages will be allowed onboard (with the exception of infant needs), and the ship’s galley is cash only.
The fleet is operating with reduced capacity on all our vessels to practice social distancing. There will be times where social distancing will not be possible such as scanning tickets or passing employees or other passengers on the vessel, so face-mask use is mandatory. There are plastic barriers on ticketing booths, office, and galley areas to further reduce contact. Passengers are sectioned off within a boarding line area roped off along the side of the pier. Flooring is marked with six-foot markings for spacing to encourage proper social distancing while in line to board. Boarding and disembarking of the vessel is guided to ensure a safe flow.
Kayaking in Provincetown:
Parasailing in Provincetown:
Provincetown Parasailing on MacMillan Pier.
Tours of Provincetown
- Art’s Dune Tours: One of our favorite things to do—you really shouldn’t leave town without taking at least one of these great tours. Choose from one-hour tours of the Peaked Hills dunes, or make it a sunset tour with a clambake, a lake or sea tour with kayaking added in, a tour with an additional sailing experience, or any number of specialized tours.
- Walking tour from Pilgrim Monument: This really great deal includes a two-hour walking tour and admission to the museum. Wednesdays at 9:30 am.
- Provincetown Ghost Tours: 90-minute walking tours leave nightly from The Coffee Pot in Lopes Square. Who knows whose spirit you might encounter?
- Bicycle tours: PedalPtown offers a number of “insider” tours: a e-bike dune tour, walking tours, Discover Ptown bike tour, and private VIP tours.
Where to Play Tennis in Provincetown
There are two public outdoor basketball courts in Provincetown, both of them on Bradford Street; one is in the East End and one in the West End.
The Provincetown Tennis Club features five green Har-Tru clay courts and two Omni (synthetic grass) courts.
Public tennis courts are located at Motta Field.
There’s more where that came from! Ptownie has insider tips for all of your Provincetown adventures. Check out our 2020 Guide to Coffee & Tea in Provincetown, MA!