Beaches in Provincetown
If you’re looking for traditional things to do in Provincetown, why not visit one of the beaches? Provincetown is practically an island surrounded by miles of beautiful beaches managed by the National Seashore. There are beaches for Gay men and Lesbians as well as families. The two main beaches are Race Point and Herring Cove.
Race Point Beach
Race Point Beach has been named #6 by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful beaches. It has steep dunes that overlook the Atlantic. If you walk to your right you’ll be able to find a quiet place. The main beach is basically occupied by families. It offers stunning vistas of the landscape and ocean. With its northern location facing the ocean, it is ideal for sunbathers. Due to its rougher waters, it tends to have a strong undertow which makes it difficult for swimmers. If you’d like to hike or bike instead, the paved Province Lands Bike Trail is nearby.
Herring Cove Beach
Once voted by The Travel Channel as one of America’s Best All-Time Beaches, this bayside beach is the most popular beach in Ptown. Warmer than Race Point with calmer waters, it is more enjoyable for swimming and water activities. Traditionally, heading to the right past the guard shack is considered more family oriented, while heading to the left is more gay-friendly. At the far end of the left side of the parking lot you’ll see a path to the beach. The first part of the beach tends to be occupied by women. As you walk further to your left, it becomes mixed and eventually all men. The Bath House is located to the left of the guard shack. Far Land Provisions offers delicious food for purchase (cash only) including dinners.
The sunsets at Herring Cove are spectacular. It is one of the few spots on the East Coast where you can watch the sun set over the water. If you turn right after the guard shack you will be able to park directly in front of the beach and enjoy the sunset from either the beach or your car.
Transportation to Provincetown Beaches
You may pay a daily entrance fee or purchase a pass for the season that is valid at any National Seashore Beach. If you’re here for a week or more and plan to go to the beach every day, the season pass would be a better buy. Parking to the left of the guard shack entails a short walk down to the beach. Turning right after the guard shack you will be able to park directly in front of the beach.
One of the nicest ways to get around Provincetown is by bike. You rent a bike at several locations hourly, daily or weekly. Ptown Bikes has the best selection — they’re located on Bradford Street across from Mussel Beach Health Club. There’s also Arnold’s across from The Patio.
Do be aware of poison ivy. It is everywhere in the dunes. When you trek this far, keep in mind that the snack bar is near the parking lot. You might want to bring some food and certainly something to drink since it is quite a walk back and forth.
In the high season, the bus runs every 20 minutes. It will take you right to the main parking lot of the beach. Click here for a schedule and map.
If you’re not a beach person and prefer a pool, there are three options to choose from. These are pools at hotels that allow non-guests to use their facilities. Many offer cocktail service and lunch by their pools.
Crown & Anchor
In the center of town. A more extensive lunch menu.
At the extreme West end of town. Popular with locals, mixed crowd. Lunch is very basic snack bar fare.
Until Tea Dance. Mostly men. Lunch consists of grilled burgers and sandwiches.