What’s it like tenting in Provincetown in the course of the pandemic?


Staying in Provincetown can be expensive, but I’ve recently found camping there is quite affordable. Until that summer I had no idea that there were campsites in P-town. My friend and I decided to visit Dunes’ Edge Campground, a family-friendly campsite on Route 6 run by The Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit conservation and conservation organization. We reserved a place for three nights in August for far less than we would have paid for a single night at a hotel or Airbnb. Campsites at the Dunes’ Edge are small but inexpensive (basic campsites are $ 55 per night, sites with electricity are $ 65). If you don’t feel like pitching a tent, they also offer hut-like bungalows for $ 140 a night (the bungalows have no electricity or water, but they come with bunk beds and battery-operated lanterns). One thing to note: wood fires are not allowed at Dunes’ Edge, but charcoal grills and propane stoves are allowed.

With more than 90 campsites close together, Dunes’ Edge is densely populated and there wasn’t much privacy. We had a clear view of our neighbors on the adjacent campsites. But overall the campsite was calm and peaceful throughout our stay. The bathroom facilities were clean (showers cost 25 cents for 3 minutes so bring quarters if you go) and there were separate sinks outside specially for washing up which was handy. The location of Dunes’ Edge was also perfect. It is just a few minutes’ drive from beautiful beaches and the hustle and bustle of Commercial Street.

We made our plans for this trip before the July COVID-19 outbreak and decided to take precautions and try to be outdoors as much as possible. When we got to P-town there was a mask requirement for indoor use, so face coverings were required in all indoor shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and performance venues. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the shops that required customers to provide proof of vaccination. I left my vaccination card at home and I didn’t have a photo of it either. That meant I couldn’t go dancing at Boatslip Resort, see a show at Crown & Anchor, or go to drag karaoke at Governor Bradford. But we were good with that. There were many other things to do. We walked all over town and spent time at Cape Cod National Seashore. On a particularly hot and sunny day, we went swimming at Race Point Beach, which turned out to be an unforgettable experience. When we got there, nobody was allowed in the water because it had sighted a great white shark. As soon as the beach was open for swimming again, we ventured into the sea with our hearts pounding, our eyes scanning the water for signs of a shark fin. Luckily that didn’t happen and we were able to enjoy the water before heading back to our budget friendly campsite.

Overall, it was a great trip and very affordable. We have already reserved a campsite for September.

Dunes’ Edge (386 US 6, Provincetown, 508-487-9815) is open Memorial Day through the last weekend of September, and reservations can be made online at www.thetrustees.org/place/dunes-edge-campground for a year in advance. Members of The Trustees of Reservations receive a 10 percent discount. Annual membership costs $ 50.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.