Maybe not as well known as Key West or Palm Springs, Provincetown on the Massachusetts coast is actually America's premier gay resort, and has more than 60 gay-owned inns and B&Bs with many others gay-friendly. You can easily get there from the UK by flying into Boston and then it's a short hop to P-town as it's known locally.

It can be tough to find somewhere in high season (late May - early Sep), and because of the huge selection, tricky to choose the perfect room. It's also popular in the festive season as it's the perfect place to enjoy the New Year with some fun events. Places can look similar from their brochures and websites, but then differ considerably in style, clientele, and personality.

In recent years, numerous upmarket properties have opened, many of them exceptionally attractive and well-run, but Provincetown still abounds with affordable gay resorts that retain the feel of the old boarding houses that dominated the town's art colony days of the early 20th century. Many rooms in P-town share baths; most places do not have air conditioning (although that's rarely needed), extensive off-street parking, or substantial cupboard space; and quite a few are without TVs, although they may have wi-fi. Only a smattering have pools, though several have hot tubs. Many places require four-to-seven-night minimums in summer, especially around holidays.

What follows are detailed recommendations of some exceptional Provincetown lodgings, but keep in mind that this list is a cross-section of properties representing different prices, styles, and locations. There are many more outstanding guest houses and resorts to consider, and the Provincetown Business Guild Website has the details on dozens of others.

Bar-hopper's Delight - The Crown and Anchor (mixed gay/straight). Completely rebuilt after a fire leveled this historic hotel and entertainment compound in 1998, the Crown and Anchor is much improved in its present incarnation. Rooms come in both standard (with pleasant, modern hotel decor) and luxury (with whirlpool baths, fireplaces, and private decks). Of course, a big advantage is staying in the heart of the Commercial Street action, with several rollicking bars on-site.

Classic Elegance - The Brass Key (mixed gay male/lesbian). While several outstanding new or refurbished inns now compare favourably with the Brass Key, this splendid resort still sets the standard for top-notch service and amenities in Provincetown. Rooms are in a few Victorian and newer buildings set around a central pool as well as inside the original 1828 inn: every conceivable detail has been considered; furnishings are subtle and attractive New England-style, and the craftsmanship in the bedrooms and bathrooms is stunning. All units have goose-down pillows, 250-thread-count linens, and many have whirlpool tubs and fireplaces. The pool, hot tub, and brick patio are among the prettiest in town.
(c) P-town Office of Tourism
Lazing by the Pool - Benchmark Inn and Central (mostly gay male). This fine, beautifully restored property comprises two buildings. The 1840s Greek Revival has rooms with fireplaces, separate entrances, refrigerators, and AC; some have whirlpool tubs, and many have bay views. Rooms next door in the Benchmark Central (the inn's former annexe that was completely and dramatically rebuilt in 2000) are ultra-plush with the same amenities as in the inn but with an airier and more contemporary feel. Over here you'll find the pool (and spa and sauna), one of the few at any gay resort in P-town. The whole complex is lovely, with great furnishings and sun-filled rooms.

Private and Convenient - The Gaslamp Bed & Breakfast (gay male) is a true Victorian era gem nestled in the very centre of P-Town with five major clubs within a 1/2 block. There's a secluded private deck which is clothing optional festooned with flowers and a very sociable hot tub. You're not far from antique shops, clothing stores, galleries, ocean beaches and P-Town's historical points of interest. All rooms have cable TV, air-conditioning and most have small refrigerators.

Town History - The Crowne Point (mixed gay male/lesbian). The 33-room Crowne Point is one of the top accommodations in Provincetown, comprising three historic buildings (including the former Dusty Miller inn, previously a women's establishment) that have been magnificently renovated top-to-bottom. Everything from period wallpaper and colors to original moldings now graces this upscale establishment, whose guest rooms all have period antiques, elegant pine floors, TVs , refrigerators, AC, and fine bath amenities. The staff is highly courteous and professional - this place is a true showstopper.

Revellers' Retreat - Crew's Quarters (mostly gay male). One of the most social houses in town, Crew's Quarters draws a frisky bunch of younger guys seeking basic but very clean rooms and bathrooms and plenty of camaraderie. It's down the street from the Gifford House, which draws a similar bunch. It's very well run, and it offers some of the lowest rates around.

Victorian Splendour - Tucker Inn (mixed gay male/lesbian). This delightfully restored former sea captain's home in the Second Empire style is slightly east of the center of town. The light and spacious rooms are warmly furnished with elegant antiques, and the handsome bathrooms have tile floors. Run by congenial host Howard Burchman, this alluring yet reasonably priced guest house is less publicized than some and a real find.

On the Waterfront - BayShore Condo Community (mixed gay/straight) is located in the P-town art district. On Friday nights May to September, the galleries host opening receptions for their latest shows, called Friday Night Gallery Stroll! This attractive women-owned and pet-friendly complex is one of the best deals in town for long-term visitors - (during high season, only weekly rates are offered). Each of the one and two bedroom units has a fully (and impressively) equipped kitchen, tasteful furnishings, and plenty of space; most have decks or patios, and many have direct bay views. Best of all, guests have use of a private beach and pretty lawn that extend down to the bay.
(c) P-town Office of Tourism
Where the Girls Are - The Provincetown Hotel at Gabriel's (mostly lesbian). Chiefly a women's guest house for many years, Gabriel's increasingly welcomes a mixed crowd. However, the 20 rooms and apartments (which have full kitchens) are still named and themed after famous women: the Georgia O'Keeffe Room has Southwestern furnishings; the Diane Fosse Room has a loft filled with stuffed gorillas; and many units have fireplaces. For general use, there's a large sundeck, two whirlpools, a gym and sauna, and a women's lending library and workshop center. All in all, an excellent, professionally run guest house.

Year-round Romance - The Mercury Hotel (mixed gay male/lesbian). One of the few inns in P-town that keeps the light burning year-round (and Provincetown can be unbelievably enchanting during the brooding, windy winter months), The Mercury Hotel which used to be called the Beaconlight has long ranked among the region's most sumptuous properties. The building, part of which dates to the 1850s, is surrounded by lushly landscaped grounds; inside, a piano is often heard from the living room, and an octagonal roof deck affords panoramic views. The thoroughly plush guest rooms are beautifully furnished and have refrigerators and private baths - several have fireplaces. The hotel is in part a homage to Freddie Mercury and includes a display of memorabilia


BayShore Condo Community (493 Commercial St.; T: +1 508-487-9133; Website)
Benchmark Inn and Central (8 Dyer St.; T: +1 508-487-7440 or 888-487-7440; Website)
Brass Key (67 Bradford St.; T: +1 508-487-9005 or 800-842-9858; Website)
Crew's Quarters (198 Commercial St.; T: +1 508-487-5900; Website)
Provincetown Business Guild (Gay/lesbian business and tourism association; 3 Freeman St # 2; T: +1 508-487-2313 or 800-637-8696; Website)
Provincetown Chamber of Commerce (307 Commercial St #5; T: +1 508-487-3424; Website)
The Crown and Anchor (247 Commercial St.; T: +1 508-487-1430; Website)
The Crowne Point (82 Bradford St.; T: +1 508-487-6767; Website)
The Gaslamp Bed & Breakfast (97 Bradford St.; T: +1 508-487-6636; Website)
The Mercury Hotel (12 Winthrop St.; T: +1 508-487-9603 or 800-696-9603; Website)
The Provincetown Hotel at Gabriel's (104 Bradford St.; T: +1 508-487-3234; Website)
Tucker Inn (12 Center St.; T: +1 508-487-0381 or 800-477-1867; Website)

Revised November 2023.

Andrew Collins authored Fodor's Gay Guide to the USA, the Connecticut Handbook, and six regional gay guides for Fodor's.

Nightlife & Events in P-town


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