LONG POINT OF PROVINCETOWN
Explore the most secluded spot on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Long Point of Provincetown begins about a mile past downtown, at the very end of the curl of Cape Cod. This long, narrow beach is accessible by the breakwater that juts out from Pilgrim's First Landing Park at the end of Province Lands Road, or by the long beach's edge along Cape Cod Bay. This walk will grant you close-up views of two historical lighthouses, and will allow you to explore the quietest, most secluded spot on the Cape for hours. It's a great place to watch the sunset after a day of exploring Cape Cod.
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is a favorite stop on the way to Provincetown. You can walk many beautiful trails along the shore of Wellfleet Harbor, watch for a variety of bird species, and spot the bones of a whale just off the trail near the visitors center. Camping is also available to Mass Audubon members. It's one of our favorite Audubon properties.
Another great stop is Nauset Light Beach, for views of the ocean and iconic Nauset Light. The beach is long and wide, with a glacial scarp at its back. A boardwalk will take you down the scarp to the beach for amazing views of the Atlantic. Nauset Light has been maintained and cared for by the Nauset Light Preservation Society since the early 1990's. The organization worked to have the light moved back 300 feet from eroding cliffs in 1996. From Nauset Light, you can walk a short distance through a pitch pine forest to Three Sisters Lighthouses, now located along Cable Road. These towers were built as movable lights in the 1800's to replace the originals, which were ruined by the constant erosion of the Nauset cliffs. One foundation of the original lights can still sometimes be seen from the beach at low tide.
After exploring Provincetown, head out to Long Point. Walking the breakwater can be treacherous, but it'll give you such a great perspective of the town and the long peninsula that it's worth the trek. We visited in the early spring after a few nor'easters had hit, and found two ships wrecked on the breakwater. The West End Breakwater, or Provincetown Causeway, was built in 1911 and extends a mile or so across Provincetown Harbor out to Long Point between the two lighthouses. The breakwater can be submerged during high-tide, leaving you stranded out on Long Point for a few hours. Be prepared to spend a good part of the day out there. Bring a picnic and a bottle of wine, check out the lighthouses and explore the mile and a half stretch of beach between them. In the early spring, you might see a snowy owl and many other birds. It's peaceful and secluded.
Wood End Light was built in 1872, three years before Long Point Light. The lighthouses are identical. Wood End Light sits just west of the Long Point end of the breakwater, and at the beginning of the long thin beach that curves along Cape Cod Bay back to Provincetown. This light once had a keeper's house, but it was demolished in the 1960's. Walking further west past Wood End Light, you'll find awesome dunes along the beach and a simple trail to follow through the shrubs. During high-tide, like on the breakwater, much of this thin beach may get washed out, but during low-tide you can walk for miles.
Long Point Light sits a little over a mile past the far end of the breakwater. Walking to the light on the inner edge of the peninsula will give you awesome views of Provincetown and the Pilgrim Monument. Across the dunes, you'll get an expansive view of Cape Cod Bay. The current 38-foot tower was built in 1875 and put on the National Historic Register in 1987. The original light had been built in 1827 and shared the peninsula with a small fishing village. Today, the current Long Point Light stands alone with a small oil house. There is little evidence of the early settlement.
This sandy, windy stretch of Cape Cod is beautiful in the off-season. It's quiet and secluded, and if you're prepared to explore for hours, the feeling of being stranded out on this historic piece of land during high-tide is amazing. Just don't forget the wine.