How to Spend an August Weekend in Provincetown

Carnival is in town and the Bay State's party town is getting even more wild.

A float on Carnival’s parade route. / Getty Images

Getting There

You can reach this former Portuguese fishing village by land, by sea (both Bay State and Boston Harbor cruise companies run ferries from Boston’s waterfront), and by air (Cape Air offers flights almost every hour).

Staying There

One of the newest properties in the Lark Hotel empire, the AWOL opened last summer in arguably P-town’s most ideal spot. Located across from the tidal moors and just a five-minute bike ride into town, the 30 thoughtfully designed rooms, all of which have a balcony or a patio, overlook stunning coastal vistas (think grassy wetlands and sandy dunes).

A stylish suite at the AWOL hotel. / Photo courtesy of AWOL/Lark Hotels


The best way to discover the colorful but pintsize world of Provincetown is on two wheels. Didn’t bring your own ride? No problem: Arnold’s Bike Shop, a no-frills outfitter just steps away from the ferry terminal, will hook you up. Before you begin the 20-minute pedal to Race Point Beach, scoop up some sustenance from the fine folks at Relish, an upscale bakery and sandwich shop—you can’t go wrong with “The Beach,” an egg sandwich with black-bean mash and tomato. Enjoy the sand and the surf, but not for too long: If you’re in town during Carnival (August 15–24), an annual celebration of the area’s vibrant LGBTQ community, the party starts early and ends late.


Even if you’re not around for the parade on August 22, there are surely still celebrations under way downtown. Art collectors can take advantage of the galleries’ later evening hours during Carnival, while those who’d prefer to see beauty in the flesh can groove and mingle at the notorious Tea Dance at the Boatslip. Pause the party for a proper meal at the waterfront Italian restaurant Sal’s (don’t miss the linguine and clams) before catching legendary drag performers at the Crown and Anchor, joining a sing-along around the piano at Tin Pan Alley, or making some more moves at Club Purgatory. You can count on waking up with legs sore from dancing, a voice hoarse from singing, sides aching from laughter—and glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.