Provincetown with Kids: 11 Must Do’s
Provincetown is the northern-most tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts and is a must stop destination if visiting Cape Cod. Its small town charm feeling along Commercial Street and plentiful opportunities for hitting the water, along with the great food, make it the perfect spot for your next family vacation. Read on for 11 reasons why you should visit Provincetown with kids!
Go on a Whale Watch
A whale watch is an absolute must when visiting Provincetown with kids. Sitting 28.5 miles off of the Northern coast of Cape Cod is the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, home to five different species of whales. During the summer months you may encounter Finbacks, Humpbacks, Minkes, Pilots, and the endangered Right Whales who migrate to the area for the rich Plankton supply.
Choose from a number of tour options, including the Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch and Seasalt Charters, for an approximately 3.5 hour cruise and whale watching experience. Whale watching is a great experience for the kiddos and adults alike. On the ride out enjoy views of the famous Provincetown sand dunes and lighthouses. You kids are bound to light up when they see the majestic, giant creatures rising up out of the water, followed by a relaxing cruise back to shore.
Hit the Beach
Another must do when visiting Provincetown with kids is a day trip to the beach. Provincetown is home to two of the most picturesque beaches in Cape Cod. The Herring Cove Beach is the more easily accessible beach with a parking area that is just a couple minutes walk from the beach. The white sand and calm water beach is the perfect place to spend a day sunbathing and is one of the best places in Provincetown to view the sunset. You can bring your own lunch or purchase some fresh beverages/snacks from Far Land Provisions.
Race Point Beach is another one of the best beaches on Cape Cod and is reachable by car. The back setting of the beach is the famous Provincetown sand dunes. The waters are a little more rough than those of Herring Cove Beach, but are still swimmable. If you are visiting with kids, it is recommended to stay in the shallow areas. Race Point Beach is also a great spot to view some wildlife, with seals frequenting the area. You can get some great views of the sunset here as well.
Visit the Pilgrim Monument & Museum
Although many believe that Plymouth was where the pilgrims first arrived in America, Provincetown is the true arrival spot. The Pilgrim Monument was constructed between 1907 and 1910 to commemorate the landing spot of the pilgrims. You can view the monument from below or if you are feeling up for it (and the little legs in your party can handle it), you can climb the 116 steps to the top of the monument for stunning 360 degree views of Provincetown and the Cape Cod Bay.
You can also visit the Provincetown Museum which highlights the history of the area, the arrival of the pilgrims, the maritime history of Provincetown, the history of American theater in Provincetown, and various other artifacts and displays on American History. Younger children may not find the museum interesting.
Visit a Lighthouse
Provincetown has three lighthouses on the northern-most tip: The Race Point Lighthouse, Wood End Lighthouse, and Long Point Lighthouse. The Race Point Lighthouse sits about 2 miles from Race Point Beach and can be reached by walking from either the Race Point Beach parking lot or from the Hatches Harbor parking lot for a shorter and easier walk. The second is the better option if visiting Provincetown with kids. You can also reach the lighthouse if you have a 4WD vehicle and obtain the proper permit.
The grounds of the lighthouse can be explored and if you are lucky enough to visit on the 1st or 3rd Saturdays of the month you may be able to enjoy a tour of the lighthouse. You can also stay the night at the Keeper’s House or Whistle House if you desire.
The Wood End Lighthouse and Long Point Lighthouse can be reached via the Provincetown Causeway, but this may be a little to strenuous if visiting with young children. After a mile long walk across the causeway you will have an additional 30-45 minutes of walking before coming to the Long Point lighthouse. This is not ideal for families, but worth mentioning.
If you want a different perspective, you can also view the lighthouses on one of the whale watching cruises.
Go On a Sand Dunes Tour
Art’s Dune Tours offer a family friendly off-road journey through Provincetown’s sand dunes. Along the tour you will drive through the Peaked Hill Bars Historic District Sand Dunes while hearing about the history of the area and viewing sights such as Pilgrim Lake and the artist shacks.
The day tours are one hour long in a comfortable SUV that holds up to 6 guests. There are other options available, including sunset tours, dune and water tours, and art and lighthouse tours. An Art’s Dune Tour is one of the most unique experiences when visiting Provincetown with kids.
Go Shopping Along Commercial Street
Commercial Street offers plenty of quaint, local shops perfect for finding unique souvenirs. Along the street you will find toy shops, souvenir and gift shops, jewelry shops, and an old fashioned candy shop.
If you are looking for some sweets, be sure to check out the Portuguese Bakery, the Nut Shop, or Cabot’s Candy. Stop at Puzzle Me This for unique toys, games, and gifts. Also along Commercial Street you can find many art galleries, including the Provincetown Art Association & Museum, Blue, First Light, and Tao Water Gallery.
When wandering Commercial Street be sure to check out the Bob Gasoi Memorial Art Alley. We can upon it by accident, but are glad that we did. Located just beside the Puzzle Me Shop you can find the unique and whismical artwork of Bob Gasoi, an interesting quick escape from Commercial Street.
Go for a Bike Ride Along the Province Lands Bike Trail
The Province Lands Bike Trail is a 5.45 mile flat loop trail along Provincetown. The trail will take you past sand dunes, pine forests, salt marshes, and cranberry bogs. If you choose you can add on Herring Cove Beach, Race Point Beach and Bennett Pond for an additional 2 miles. Completing the entire trail may be a lot for a smaller child, but you can certainly enjoy parts of the trail as a family.
The trail can be accessed from multiple points, including Race Point Beach, Herring Cove Beach, the Province Lands Visitor Center, and the Beech Forest parking area. You will also have access to Herring Cove Beach and Race Point Beach along the trail, the perfect spot to stop and cool off.
Walk Along the Provincetown Causeway
The Provincetown Causeway makes for a great walk along Cape Cod Bay. It is a mile long walk across a “jetty” to a secluded beach and the Wood End Lighthouse. If you add on additional 30-45 minutes of walking you can visit the Long Point Lighthouse as well. It is a fairly long walk and the gaps between rocks can be quite large at times, so it is better suited for older children. If planning on walking the causeway be sure to bring some good sneakers for safety.
Visit the Pilgrims’ First Landing Park
Pilgrim’s First Landing Landing Park is believed to be the official spot where the pilgrims first came ashore off of the Mayflower. The small park sits at the end of Commercial Street on a rotary and is marked with a plaque designating the area as the landing spot. Nearby you can find views of the West End Breakwater.
Take a Ride on the Mayflower Trolley
The Mayflower Trolley is a great way to get an overview of Provincetown with a 50 minute narrated tour of Commercial Street and to the Seashore. The trolley covers approximately 10 miles. The kids usually enjoy the trolley ride and adults can get some history and of the location and some unique stories/information.
Go For a Stroll Along the Harbor
A stroll along the Provincetown Harbor makes for an enjoyable walk along the Cape Cod Bay and is a must do when visiting Provincetown with kids. Fishing boats line the harbor, a sandy beach is accessible in the harbor with kayak and canoe rentals, and small vendors can be found along the pier. The harbor is located adjacent to Commercial Street for some shopping or plenty of small restaurants to enjoy lunch.
You can also find many spots perfect for photo taking along the piers.