Fire Island, Palm Springs, Rehoboth—don’t even try, girl. Provincetown is the best gay summer getaway, hands down.
Queers have been coming to this seaside town on the tip of Cape Cod since at least since the 1920s, as the area blossomed as an artist’s colony and the birthplace of the Provincetown Playhouse.
By the 1970s, P-Town as was synonymous with gay people as San Francisco.
And unlike other LGBT meccas, there’s room for everyone—twinks, bears, dykes, genderqueers and even families. (Provincetown has the highest rate of same-sex couples in the country.)
Not convinced? Here’s 13 reasons why P-Town is the best gay vacation spot in America.
You Can Hook Up Without A Hookup App
Remember when guys got together by meeting in three dimensional space? Go back to ancient times, when gays cruised each other at bars, street corners, even at getting a coffee at 8am. Or after last call, when everyone congregates at Spiritus Pizza.
After that? Word has it that there’s a lovely little gathering place for gentlemen affectionately called the Dick Dock.
Even The Straights Get Laid
Bring your newly divorced straight bestie! This place is crawling with horny heterosexuals. Take him to The Squealing Pig or Joon Bar, or introduce her to a Bulgarian pedicab driver. (There are a lot here and they’re all hot.)
It’s A Giant Outdoor Gym
Think of it as SoulCycle, but it won’t cost you $45. The bike trails are intense and beautiful, and a hike across the breakwater will work out your quads better than any personal trainer.
The ocean water is brisk and relatively safe for long swims—and it gives the studly year-rounders a wizened Paul Newman kind of sexiness.
Alton Brown Would Have A Mouth Orgasm Here
The food here is great, from the top end tinkly wine glass type of restaurant to the fish and burger joints on MacMillan Wharf. (There is also a supermarket so you can get your kale, bananas, peanut butter, etc, and do it on the cheap.)
Once I Saw A Queen In Full Fanny Brice Drag Marching Down Commercial Street Clutching A Suitcase And Hatbox, Lip-syncing To “Don’t Rain On MY Parade”
On Friday Nights You Can Get Cultured (And Tipsy) For Free
The town’s galleries open their doors Friday evening, many with bottles of inexpensive Pinot Grigio. I suggest starting up at AMP Gallery (above) on the West End and working your way east.
Hit up Four Eleven Studio, William Scott Gallery (where painter John Dowd shows), Provincetown Art Association and Museum and ending up at The Schoolhouse Gallery.
Then go back and hit the ones you missed. It’s fun, peaceful and good for your right brain.
They Sell More Than Rainbow Windsocks
The shopping is actually incredible. A few spots to check out:
Loveland (120 Commercial Street). Owner Josh Patner has a perfect eye for furniture, art and things that you never knew you wanted until your laid your eyes on it.
MAP (141 Commercial Street). The best men’s clothing and accessories selection, hands down.
Marc Jacobs (184 Commercial Street). Some surprisingly cheap stuff can be found here, like rain boots and visors.
Marines Specialties (235 Commercial Street). Some even cheaper stuff can be found here, like a nightshirt from the 50s, a starfish, military goggles and other things you need for your Fagbash costume, drag brunch outfit or a jumpsuit that weirdly looks really good on you.
Kiss and Makeup (244 Commercial Street). Cosmetics for everyone. Owner Christine Gero Horovitz knows her stuff.
The Gays Here Read (Books)
From Henry David Thoreau to Cookie Mueller, there is a rich literary history in this town. Find your beach reading at Provincetown Bookshop (246 Commercial Street) or Tim’s Used Books (242 Commercial Street).
It’s The Gay Borscht BeltStephen J. Cohen/Getty Images
Drag queens are king here: Dina Martina, Miss Ridgefield 1981, Varla Jean Merman and The Gold Dust Orphans are just a few of the must-see experiences, along with Ryan Landry’s Showgirls, Monday nights at the A-House, and Scream Along With Billy, Tuesdays and Fridays at Enzo’s Grotta Bar.
And Broadway dames like Sutton Foster and Sarah Jessica Parker are known to make one-night only appearances on the P-Town stage.
It’s The Home To The Best (Literally) Underground Dance Party On The East Coast
The best place to dance and be queer is in the basement of a straight bar: DJ Mark Louque, along with hostesses Mommalee Curtis and Feygeleh Esther Bloom, lavish you with transcendent music, good energy at Fag Bash, Wednesday nights in the basement of Governor Bradford’s, 312 Commercial Street.
Get into gag-worthy themes like “BloodBath and Beyonce,” “Keeping Up with the Fagbashians,” and “The Real Housewives of Osama Bin Laden.”
It’s Kid-Friendly AND Kink-FriendlyEssdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Depending on your tastes, you can plan your trip during Family Week, Bear Week, Carnival Week or any number of other themed events.Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Bear Week starts on Saturday, July 9. Stock up on food and supplies at the supermarket before the grizzlies roll into town.
Some other weeks to be aware of: Women’s Week, The Fantasia Fai and the National Gay Pilots Association gathering (gay pilots. I mean, right?)
You Can Find Your Crowd…
Sometimes the constant influx of theme-seekers can make the town feel like a convention center, but at the same time, it’s nice to see people feeling like they belong.
…Or Go Far From The Madding Crowd
Go for a walk along the coast singing songs to yourself and looking for sea glass. You can go to Tea Dance at the Boat Slip tomorrow.