“There are so many colors and rainbows everywhere. All the houses and stores are really pretty, there were lots of gardens and even a fish pond in one yard.” -Kinsley

Provincetown, Massachusetts: five stars

Provincetown is a fantastic place for families to visit. We only stayed two days but could have explored for a lot more than that.

Climbing the Pilgrim Monument is worth it, says Kinsley. There are windows at the top that let you look down at your boat in the harbor. It’s really windy at the top which is good after a long climb. On the way up or down you can read the names of Massachusetts towns and see when they first became a town. We found Charlestown (home!) as well as some of the towns where our family lives.

There are lots of candy and fudge stores in Provincetown. Both kids give high rankings to anywhere they can dinghy ashore and find ice cream. We tried ice cream at Lewis Brothers Ice Cream and it was ok. Nothing amazing, but super convenient. Future trips we will search a little more for really good ice cream. The kids were happy to fill small bags at Cabot Candy penny candy store. They have individual pieces, by the pound, and a good mix of old fashioned candy as well. I thought we were well sugared up after that stop but then we walked past the Provincetown Fudge Factory. The smell reached out, grabbed us by the nose, and hauled us inside. The homemade peanut butter cups were amazing, easily the best I’ve ever had. My only regret is buying only one.

Even if you family isn’t into books (is that possible?) the Provincetown library is absolutely worth a visit. How many libraries can you visit with a ship inside? The second floor contains a nice children’s section, as well as a 66 foot half scale model of the sailing ship Rose Dorothea. The ship was built in place inside a former church which was later converted into the library. The library also has a small section of games and puzzles, making it a great escape on a rainy or hot day.

Our first morning in town we spent almost an hour in Mind Games, a games shop. It’s a small shop and filled floor to ceiling with games so it would feel cramped on a busy afternoon but the morning was fine. We added almost ten games to our someday list.

We walked along the town beach for a while but towards the east the shore becomes increasingly rocky, making it uncomfortable for those of us that insist on bare feet. Next visit we plan to dingy across to the very tip of the Cape and explore the beach and lighthouse there, but the wind didn’t cooperate for this trip.

We spent time each day walking the streets with no particular destination in mind, discovering beautiful touches. The gardens, fences, walls, and statues gave us beautiful surprises again and again. Kinsley decided that the purple house was her favorite, I fell in love with a series of stone walls all by the same artist -- who would have thought of adding amethyst geodes to your wall? Owen was a fan of the almost hidden alleys leading down to the water.

Parent notes: We had good luck anchoring just to the east of the breakwater. The winds were mellow while we were there and we didn’t have any problem with swell, just the occasional wake. The dingy dock is located on the east side of the main town dock, in close to the beach. There are grocery stores and even a marine supply store within easy walking distance, not to mention all the amazing restaurants if you can sneak away from the kids for the evening.

(Written by parents, approved by kids)