Who needs dinner and a show when you can simply spread out a picnic blanket on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and watch the sky turn vibrant shades of red and orange? The sunset is beautiful anywhere along the expansive shoreline, which can be accessed by foot, bike, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, permitted over-sand vehicle. Only the dolphins that swim nearby could make the view even more breathtaking. Provincetown, MA 02657, nps.gov/caco/planyourvisit/race-point-beach.htm.
In a town where buff young men in designer newsboy caps spend the better portions of their sun-filled days debating the question of where to eat dinner, said dinner had better be worth the discussion. At Chester, it is. Even if it didn't boast a cosmopolitan interior of butter-yellow walls and bright art, a handsome, diverse clientele, and attentive service—Chester would be worth it for such culinary lovelies as foie gras with rhubarb confit and just-off-the-boat lobster in rich lobster coral sauce. Cap it off by ordering the orange blossom-honey mousse with caramelized blood oranges. Now the only question left is where to work off the calories. 404 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA chesterrestaurant.com.
With just two seatings per night and a daily-changing, seven-course menu highlighting mainly local ingredients—corn flan with lobster and sea beans; parsley tagliatelle with heirloom tomatoes and basil—chef Michael Ceraldi's summertime dinners are a fleeting delicacy to be remembered and cherished. 15 Kendrick Ave., Wellfleet, MA 2667, ceraldicapecod.com.
At first, we were hopelessly distracted by the eye candy, as Abbicci's exotic-looking French and Peruvian servers floated by sensuously to a soft instrumental soundtrack. Once the food arrived, though, our gazes were fully focused on the Mediterranean-inspired plates before us: scallion-and-pistachio-stuffed Peppadews, scotch-glazed squad, and pan-seared pork loin with sweet and sour pepperonata. Owner Marietta Bombardieri fiercely edits her wine list to match her menu. As for other types of matchmaking, you're on your own. 43 Main St. (Rte. 6A), Yarmouth Port, MA abbicci.com.
At this convivial South Wellfleet gem, chef Philippe Rispoli—a native of France—turns out superb French dishes (the spit-roasted chicken is not to be missed). Add in the top-notch cocktails, fresh-baked bread basket, and impressive selection of artisanal cheeses, and you'll soon be saying au revoir to fried seafood. 15 Lecount Hollow Road, South Wellfleet, MA 2663, pbboulangeriebistro.com.
In the land of beach bars and clam shacks, C Salt is a breath of fresh (salt) air. This tiny house looks more like a ski chalet than an oyster bar, but the locals who pack the dining room don't let that distract them. From an open kitchen, chef Jonathan Philips turns out root-beer-braised short ribs and a spicy tuna tartar tostada with avocado-cilantro aioli worth bottling. The clincher: the coldest, stiffest martini we've ever enjoyed. 75 Davis Straits, Falmouth, MA 02540, csaltfalmouth.com.
A true destination restaurant, Twenty-Eight Atlantic got an extra boost this year from the addition of former L'Espalier chef James Hackney to the kitchen. And the incomparable ocean vistas? Here they don't replace superb cooking—they make it that much easier to savor. 2173 Massachusetts 28, East Harwich, MA 2633, wequassett.com/dining.