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Provincetown, MA skyline
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How to Do a Day Trip to Provincetown, Massachusetts From Boston

Located at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Provincetown may feel like a far-flung vacation destination, but it’s surprisingly accessible for a day trip from Boston. Catch the morning fast ferry from Boston, and in just 95 minutes, you’ll be strolling down Commercial Street, Provincetown’s lively main hub. You can spend the day seeing the best of this charming coastal town and be back in Boston by 9 pm—so you don’t have to shell out for an expensive hotel.

Follow our itinerary to have the ultimate Provincetown day trip.

Boston to Provincetown Fast Ferry

To make the most of your day in Provincetown, catch the first sailing of Bay State Cruise Company’s Provincetown Fast Ferry, which departs from Boston’s Seaport neighborhood at 8:30 am.

The Provincetown Fast Ferry costs $70 round-trip and takes approximately 95 minutes, so you’ll be in Provincetown by 10:05 am. The ferry is definitely the best way to get from Boston to Cape Cod for a day trip. With no traffic, the drive between the two would take just over two hours. On a summer weekend, the drive could easily take over three hours—and then you have to worry about parking once you arrive in Provincetown. The ferry is much more comfortable and stress-free, and you’ll have great views of the Boston skyline on the way out of the harbor. 

I recommend making a reservation or buying tickets in advance, as the ferry does sell out, especially on summer weekends. 

Morning

The ferry will drop you off in Provincetown at a centrally located dock, a short walk from Commercial Street, Provincetown’s main hub. Start your day with a stroll down Commercial Street, stopping in Joe Coffee for caffeine and breakfast. 

Mario Hagen | Adobe Stock

Spend time exploring the lively downtown area, popping in and out of the unique locally-owned boutiques for some souvenirs. Once you’re fully shopped out, walk to the town beach near MacMillan Pier. This small beach is a great spot to catch some rays while you watch the boats come in and out of the harbor. 

Afternoon

Grab lunch at Box Lunch, a local institution that has been serving its unique “rollwich” wraps since 1977. This old-school eatery recently upgraded and moved to a larger location on Commercial Street. Enjoy your wrap at one of the tables on the beautiful outdoor patio perfectly positioned for people-watching. If you’re craving a classic Cop Cod lobster roll, this is the best place to get one.

After lunch, head to Art’s Dune Tours for the 1 pm departure. This hour-long adventure costs $41.20 per person. Sit back and relax in the comfortable SUV while your guide drives you through Provincetown’s iconic sand dunes and shares the history and ecology of the area. You’ll see the town’s famous dune shacks where artists and writers Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams, and Jackson Pollock have holed up and worked. 

After the tour, Art’s will drop you back downtown, where it’s an easy walk to the inclined elevator that will take you up to the entrance of the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. At 252 feet, the Pilgrim Monument is Provincetown’s most easily identifiable sight, as it’s the highest point for miles. (It’s also the tallest all-granite tower in the U.S.) 

ssviluppo | Adobe Stock

Climb the tower’s 116 steps and 60 ramps to be rewarded with beautiful views of Provincetown and the ocean—and on a clear day, you can even see Boston. Although all those stairs may sound intimidating, the journey to the top only takes around 10 minutes. Don’t forget to collect your free sticker that boasts “I made it to the top” from the museum at the end. 

After the climb, leave plenty of time to explore the Provincetown Museum, which showcases a variety of exhibits on the area’s history. 

The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum are open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The last climb to the top of the tower starts at 6:15 p.m. 

Tickets include entrance to the monument and museum and cost $20.94 for adults. Seniors 65 and older and teenagers aged 13-17 can purchase discounted tickets for $16.75. Tickets for children aged 4-12 cost $9.42. 

Evening

Make a 5:30 pm reservation for Liz’s Cafe Anybody’s Bar—you’ll beat the dinner rush at this popular place and have plenty of time to catch the last ferry back to Boston. Dine outside on the large patio, but make sure you take a peek inside to admire the Dory Bar, a quirky boat-inspired bar made out of historic maritime decor. Behind the bar, the bartender serves refreshing spins on standard cocktails, like the Fresh Paloma (served with a Tajani rim) or the Porch Swing (made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, fresh lemon juice, local honey, and peach tea).

The menu at Liz’s is classically Italian, with a Cape Cod influence. Start with the Portuguese Kale Soup, and opt for the traditional homemade pesto pasta for your main dish. This simple but perfectly executed pesto is made in-house with fresh basil and will ruin you for store-bought pesto from a jar for the rest of your life. If you have room for dessert after all that, the flourless chocolate cake is a decadent way to cap off your evening. 

Walk off your meal on your way back to the ferry. The last Provincetown Fast Ferry back to Boston departs at 7:30 pm. You’ll be back in the Seaport by 9:05 pm and can enjoy sleeping in your own bed. 

Editor’s Note: The writer of this story was hosted by the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum and its business partners.

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