Provincetown: The Famous Beach Town That Lets You Be as Gay as You Want

Provincetown's Commercial Street photo by Ted Eytan

It's Summer 101: P-town rules as an LGBT beach town -- a well-deserved rep. Proximity to a major city, idyllic beaches, fabulous and fabulously affordable art and an unpretentious, relaxed vibe. Packing yet? Keep in mind Provincetown, MA is only so big, so you're likely to see same people multiple times. There's little room for pretension and baggage, so do pack light.

Provincetown Independence 2013 courtesy of The Crown and Anchor

Here are reasons to go to P-town soon:

Independence 2014: June 28 - July 5

Celebrate America's birthday at P-town's party spot, The Crown and Anchor. This mainstay encompasses six distinct areas, including a leather bar, a nightclub and a cabaret space. The Independence circuit party brings top DJs from around the world (eye-candy Joe Gauthreaux and Gustavo Scorpio), pool parties hosted by New York's Chris Ryan Productions, and a special cabaret show by Holly Dae. Like a little sparkle with your July 4th celebrations? The Crown and Anchor promises to be a prime viewing spot for waterfront fireworks.

Bear Week®: July 12 - 20

Provincetown is serving up beers and bears in equal proportion this week. Parties abound: the Boatslip's daily Tea Dance, Saturday's Disco Dock featuring 70's and 80's disco, Ptown's edition of New York's famous Furball, and the Bear Boat Sunset Cruise. Bears will find more than a few reasons to get some sand in their fur.

If you're serious about your partying, hit the seven-day, no-holds-barred Carnival complete with costumes, drinking, dancing, and pool parties. This year's festival, the 36th one, sports a comic book theme, clear from such clever event names as Aquaman's Atlantian Pool Party, the Men in Tights Dance Party, Dick Tracy's Leather Dance Party, and the Krypton Closing Party. Of course, you should save some of your super powers for the main event, the Thursday parade. Pimped-out floats -- large, small, self-propelled or walking -- and costumes galore take over Commercial Street.

Provincetown by Tim Grafft for Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

You-Pick-It Long Weekend:

If you'd rather explore Provincetown without an event to distract, that's ok. There's no agenda to keep during your stay. Many gay tourists seek the sun and sights of Herring Cove beach, a short walk from town. This beach is notably cruisy. Go on, cruise, be cruised. Or to be more social, head to a late afternoon tea dance at the Boatslip Resort. There's no tea and no dancing, but you and everyone else will look amazing in the light of the setting sun. Then later still, you can go to the bars and clubs, but note that they close by 1 am. Tip: if you haven't found that lucky someone at the end of the night, find them at Spiritus Pizza. It's where everyone goes when the bars close.

Whenever you go, plan your Provincetown trip on