Although Provincetown beaches might seem to take a back seat to the town's multitude of land-based activities, the two Cape Cod National Seashore beaches in Provincetown are an experience not to be missed.
Amenities: Lifeguards, restrooms, shower facilities, food concessions (on-site or mobile), and other amenities available in season only, during normal beach hours.
Parking Fees: In season, during normal beach hours, parking fee/sticker may be required. See beach descriptions below for details.
Note: If you'd prefer to ride rather than drive, the Provincetown Shuttle will take you to and from the Provincetown beaches for only a few dollars.
Parking at these beaches is by daily fee ($20) paid at the gate, or by National Seashore Season Pass ($60), Interagency Senior Pass ($10), or Interagency Access Pass for permanently disabled persons (FREE). Daily fee for motorcycles is $10; pedestrians and bicycles, $3.
Parking fees/passes are required during normal beach hours, every day from late June through Labor Day, and on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day to late June and from Labor Day through Columbus Day.
Contact the National Seashore at (508) 487-2100 or visit the Cape Cod National Seashore website for more info.
Race Point Beach
At the northernmost end of Cape Cod, Race Point Beach is the "wild child" of Provincetown beaches within the Cape Cod National Seashore.
As the roaring Atlantic Ocean surf sweeps around the tip of Race Point, its currents churn and boil - creating some very steep drop-offs and dangerously strong undertows. It's a wild sight to see, but probably not the best place to venture into the water if you're not a super-strong swimmer.
But for sun worshippers, Race Point Beach is heaven on earth! Surrounded by dunes as far as the eye can see, Race Point feels like the middle of nowhere. And thanks to its north-facing orientation, the sun shines directly down on the beach all day long! (No shade from the dunes, so bring your sunbrella!)
Herring Cove Beach
If Race Point is the "wild child" of Provincetown beaches ... Herring Cove is the "mild child". Rarely will you find any wild surf or rip currents at Herring Cove Beach.
The warmer, more calm waters of Cape Cod Bay, and the scenic setting of Herring Cove Beach, make it the most popular beach in Provincetown.
Families with children especially enjoy Herring Cove, not only for its kid-friendly waters, but also because there's easy access from the right-hand side parking lot onto the beach. That's a big plus when you're lugging chairs, coolers and all your other must-have beach stuff.
Later in the day, Herring Cove Beach is also a perfect place to watch the breathtaking sunsets over the Bay.
For a unique evening adventure, pick up a beach campfire permit. It's amazing how much fun you can have on a starlit night with just a few hunks of wood and a bag of marshmallows!
Harbor Beach is a ribbon of sand along Provincetown Harbor that runs parallel with Commercial Street in downtown Provincetown.
It's not what I'd call a "real beach", like the National Seashore beaches in Provincetown. But for a little respite from the shops, galleries and general busy-ness of the downtown area, it's a nice place to hang out for a bit.