If you need a budget stay in Provincetown area in the summer months, you can't beat tenting in the dunes. The days are warm and breezy and the nights are cool. In the area we were, there were pines trees so we got the shiiiish from the wind in the pines and the sheewoosh from the waves on the beach; very soothing for contemplating your navel or sleeping.
Our camp site was on the fringe of the trees so we had a bit more sand than soil and that made securing the tent ropes a bit difficult but we managed to find some large stones to weight the pegs. We had the advantage of shorter pine trees and better view (and more breeze than in the main pine woods).
Our tent was an easy-to-setup 4-person model in which we put special shorted-legged cots to keep us off the ground. You still need a good sleeping bag at night because the seabreeze does get chilly even in summer.
Prices were $22 per night (in 2003) per couple with car and tent. RV rates were a bit higher
scenery, fresh air and quiet
I made reservations for a motel from an internet service I found through the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. I strongly suggest that you go this route as well, if you're traveling to the Cape in the months of June, July, and August. To try to find a place while you're at the Cape is difficult as vacancies are a rarity. While I was there I couldn't help but notice one 'No Vacancy' sign after another. Off peak (considered October through April) gives you cheaper rates and less traffic and a wider choice, but there are also many motels, hotels, and restaurants that close for the winter season. I think the Cape has it's charm in any season, but these are things to keep in mind.
The price range of hotels and motels is between $66 USD/day to $350 USD/day. If you're at the Cape to enjoy the Cape and spend little time at the motel or hotel, then why not go cheap? I did and we were more than satisfied. An example of 'cheap' is the Thunderbird motel at $66/day, where I stayed. The picture doesn't show it's outdoor pool, barbecue pit, or indoor heated pool. The rooms are clean and have all the amenities you need for the night, although I think the carpet could be replaced :-).
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