At the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts—an arm that curls into the Atlantic—Provincetown does more than invite visitors to bask in the beauty of sand dunes or drink and dine at celebratory establishments; P-Town, as it is lovingly referred to, acts as a queer oasis and artist retreat and has since the 1920s. Between beachside lobster rolls and a surplus of souvenir shops, guests will find drag shows and LGBTQ+ dance parties make the destination inclusive and so much more exciting.
As the tiny community once again welcomed tourists in a considered manner, we collected a 2020 Honda Passport and drove in comfort from NYC (for more than five hours). Once there, wearing masks and remaining respectful of quarantine regulations, we explored the beloved outpost’s offerings. Provincetown is one of the rare destinations that caters to the LGBTQ+ community in ways both nurturing and enjoyable. Whether you’re looking to venture out in the near future or make plans for the fall (an exquisite season in P-Town) or next year, our selections range from a sweeping beach to must-visit watering holes on the main strip, Commercial Street.
A P-Town staple, cherished for both its fresh food and outdoor seating, Commercial Street’s The Canteen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Its sunny backyard seating area offers a direct passage to the beach. And, of course the lobster roll (from local lobsters shucked by hand every day) is the go-to summer order but nothing fails to delight.
Salt House Inn
At the Salt House Inn, guests will find a well-priced boutique bed-and-breakfast experience. Located on a beautiful residential street, the quaint accommodation is a block away from Provincetown’s social artery. The rooms are minimal but upscale and breakfast is included. For a reliable alternative, the historic Red Inn rises up on the water.
Although superb candy stores dot dozens of corners, and souvenir shops sell hundreds of Cape Cod and P-Town branded items and apparel, it’s Room 68 that makes for the most exciting shopping destination. The contemporary art and design gallery stocks furniture and decor from both emerging and established artists, as well as home accents—all of which are fit for a cottage in Massachusetts or an apartment back home.
Race Point Beach
A bike ride ride from the center of town, Race Point Beach is a part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Sweeping dunes and vegetation give way to an expanse of smooth sands that stretch beyond the eye can see. Boats pass in the watery distance and bike trails weave out from the parking lot. The waters can be strong; the sun, too
Strangers & Saints
So much more than a tavern, Strangers & Saints pairs delectable Mediterranean dishes with craft cocktails (including a roster of drinks derived from a knowledgable tequila program). All of this takes places in a building that was once the home of a sea captain—they have outdoor seating, too. For more options, we’d recommend both Mac’s Fish House and the French-inspired Spindler’s.
For those who love breakfast all day, Cafe Heaven‘s menu will surely please. That said, the charming spot excels at heartier brunches, dinners and cocktail hour drinks. They also serve up vegan and gluten-free options. There’s a cozy atmosphere inside and out—though it does get busy.
Truly a bar of many splendors, Atlantic House has purportedly been in operation for two centuries—and been welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community for nearly half of that. Though the outside looks like a traditional pub, inside one finds several sub-sections: the original tavern, Little Bar, an upstairs spot called Macho Bar (for the leather community), and the nightclub A-House, among them.
Hero image by David Graver