Provincetown Cruise Port

Port of Provincetown: An Overview

Located at the northern tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown -- or simply P-town to locals -- is a well-established tourist haunt that has long been a haven for artists and writers, as well as the LBGT community.

The Pilgrims arrived there by ship in 1620. Portuguese whalers and fishermen came on the scene in the mid-1800s. At one point in the 1800s, the bustling port had 80 piers. By the 1970s, whaling had given way to whale-watching as the tourist industry took hold. Today, just three piers remain.

Cruise vessels dock at the quarter-mile-long MacMillan Pier, where artisans sell their goods from small stands. A town crier in full Pilgrim regalia greets visitors near the end of pier, calling, "Hear ye, hear ye. All is well in Provincetown because you are here!"

Its busy, boisterous and aptly named Commercial Street hosts a mix of scruffy and quaint -- T-shirt shops, taffy and fudge joints, high-end galleries and clubs featuring drag shows coexist here. Just outside of town, the Cape Cod National Seashore beckons with 40 pristine miles of habitats ranging from marshes to uplands to cranberry bogs. You can explore via biking and walking trails, or just hit one of its swimming beaches.

--By Jayne Clark, Cruise Critic contributor

Don't Miss

The Pilgrim Monument: This 253-foot-tall granite tower is a homage to the Pilgrim's first landfall here in 1620 after their ship, the Mayflower, sought shelter during a storm. (They were originally bound for Virginia.) The tower was constructed between 1907 and 1910. Sixty ramps and 116 stairs lead to the top, where your efforts are rewarded with a spectacular view in all directions. A well-executed museum on the site contains exhibits relating to the history of Provincetown and the Outer Cape.

Rose Dorothea Schooner: A half-scale model of the ship fills the length of a second-floor room (66 feet!) in the town library. It took a decade to construct and, beyond being a curiosity, is a thing of beauty. Continue to the library's third floor for bay and harbor views that on clear days stretch for up to 15 miles.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

There's an ATM in the alley by the Provincetown Portuguese Bakery at 299 Commercial Street. (After you get your cash, spend some at the bakery on malasada, a delicious fried-dough confection that's sort of a cross between a churro and a funnel cake.)


English is the official language.