Check the alley ways and sandy walkways
Sometimes you can walk between the houses to where the beach opens up and other times it's a narrow lane between the two main streets. You always find something interesting along the way. We walked so long I thought my back would collapse...but we made it back...and after a bit of aspirin and a glass of wine...a good sleep... I was fine.
- Road Trip
Consider the "off-season"
Consider visiting in the winter if you're relatively close. There is a certain charm and remoteness to the Cape in Winter----and it's not always snowbound. It depends what you like. The sea breezes can be bitter, but on a calm day a walk on the beach is beautiful and quiet.
This area is filled with giant rolling sand dunes which you can explore by bike or licenced off-road vehicle (obtain a sand permit from the visitor's centre). Definately a good look at the wild flavour of the Cape. There are even sand tours on tank-looking vehicles which take you to the remotest parts of the park. Located north of the town centre near the Provincetown airport.
Cape Cod National Seashore -...
Cape Cod National Seashore - See this park the only way it's meant to be seen. Rent a bike and ride the trails through the dunes. There are a number of bike shops in town that rent mountain bikes at reasonable prices. They will give you maps and directions to all of the dunes, ponds, observation posts and museums. Don't think you can fit the whole park into one day either. It spans about 30 miles, and should be taken in over the course of a couple of days.
Most everything is ON the...
Most everything is ON the beaten path, or close to it.
There are nice places to drive to. Corn Hill Beach in Truro is a nice change. There are great graveyards all around, and great restaurants in Wellfleet. Flying Fish cafe with great food & beautiful waitstaff, Aesop's Tables...
Provincetown can be incredibly overcrowded in the high season. Wherever you go, there are likely to be like-mided people who just want to get away from it all - even if only for a few hours. Bicycles give you some freedom (as would a car - although you would then be confronted with the traffic heading in and out of the town). The salt marshes and tidal flats are one option (and out of season these really are moreorless deserted) as are the dunes of Race Point.
- Hiking and Walking
The Dunes and the beach
Crossing the large dunes you will find the main beach in Provincetown. I was here in August and the water was still very cold. There were many small pebbles on the water floor making it necessary to wear sandles or some type of shoe for comfort.
For provincetown, this is not an Off the Beaten path activity, but more a path well beaten ! However, most of us don't spend that much time in sex shops, and the ones in Provincetown are definitely way more "out there" than the Boston Puritan Scene allows. Check them out, they are a lark, and a-plenty on commercial street
Camping on Cape Cod
There are two campgrounds in Provincetown, Coastal Acres (www.coastalacres.com) and Dunes Edge (www.dunes-edge.com). They are both walking distance to town and beaches, though Coastal Acres is more convenient... you have to cross the one and only highway to get into town from Dunes Edge. These are your only choices out here & both are OK (but yes, there will be some RVs in the park but probably not too many in June. July and August it gets really crowded). If you're backpacking and have a small tent, you could try setting up in the dunes of the National Seashore, but if the Rangers catch you they'll roust you & possibly fine you.
In North Truro, about 7 miles from Provincetown, North of Highland campground specializes in tent camping and you can walk to Head of the Meadow Beach from there (www.capecodcamping.com). Horton's Campground is walking distance to Highland Lighthouse and Truro's Coast Guard Beach (www.hortonscampingresort.com), as is North Truro Camping Area (www.abcapecod.com) & they are both on the shuttle bus route that can get you into Provincetown.
Nickerson State Park in Orleans is beautiful and has lots of campsites... about 1/2 hour drive from Provincetown (www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/southeast/nick.htm)
At the far South end of the cape, near Mashpee and Falmouth is a place I plan to check out this spring, Washburn Island (this is a primitive, tent only camping situation) You need to have or rent a boat to get out there. (www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/southeast/wbnr.htm).
Hope this helps.
- National/State Park
Take some time to go to Race...
Take some time to go to Race Point. You can rent bikes or walk around. I believe you can get a permit to even drive your car on the beach. It's about 1 1/2 miles outside main town Provincetown. Here are my feet on the beach at Race Point.